Fordham Law School’s Family Day Event Creates Connections Between Students and Loved Ones

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On September 19, Fordham Law students along with their parents, spouses, grandparents and other family members, attended a virtual Family Day. 

The annual event is an opportunity for “first-year students to share their law school experiences with friends and family,” says Susan Kalicharan-Garcia, associate director of Student Affairs. “Through various presentations given by the Dean, faculty, administrators, and students, families learned about the outstanding people and programs that make Fordham one of the best places to study law in the country.”     

This year’s event, held over Zoom, had approximately 125 participants and included a Q&A portion, information about Fordham Law’s public interest and social justice focus, law school clinics, and a mock law school class that gave family members a taste of what the law school experience is really like. 

Every year, guests find it exciting to participate in a mock law class, where they volunteer to sit in the ‘hot-seat’ and answer Socratic questions posed by one of our first-year professors,” says Kalicharan-Garcia. “This year they were just as excited to hear students speak so passionately about their involvement with some of the social justice lawyering initiatives offered through our Public Interest Resource Center and their involvement with our nationally recognized clinics.”

Family Members Share Their Experiences 

Dale Cendali, mother of Fordham Law student John Fitzpatrick ’24, attended the event and noted that she appreciated Fordham Law’s holistic approach to student success. “It really struck me how much the school was concerned about more than simply teaching the students the law,” says Cendali. “The school seems concerned about students’ overall experience at the law school including mental health, engagement, and career planning. It was very comforting.” 

Cendali and her husband are both lawyers, but much has changed since their time at law school, she says. “I was struck by how much family engagement and overall student focus there was. When I was in law school, there was no Family Day,” Cendali explains. “I don’t think there was really much in the way of orientation, and the focus was definitely exclusively on academics. But times have changed.”

For George Elwood, grandfather of Fordham Law student Blake Elwood ’24 and a Fordham Law alumnus himself, even more had changed since his time in law school. Elwood, 94, attended classes at the now-shuttered 302 Broadway location, where elevator operators took him up to class on the 11th floor and women made up only a tiny percentage of students—only five in his graduating class of 1952. 

The Elwoods have something of a Fordham family tradition, with Blake’s father and sister, also graduating from Fordham as undergraduates. “It’s nice having it in the family,” says George. “I’m very pleased that she’s gone to my alma mater.” 

Though technologies and physical buildings have changed, much has stayed the same. “I had [Blake] tell me what all her courses were the first year. Not too different from what mine were,” he says.

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