The Fordham Law School building buzzed with activity once again as the newest class of students met one another and Law School leaders during orientation this month. More than 550 students enrolled in the J.D. (day and evening divisions), LL.M., M.S.L., and S.J.D. programs this year.
When welcoming the students to campus, Fordham Law Dean Matthew Diller emphasized his, and the Law School’s, commitment to helping them succeed in their academic endeavors as they prepare to become the kind of lawyers who contribute to the social good and work effectively to make our society more fair, equal, and just.
“I believe that you can do this and can make these contributions through any kind of legal practice, whether you’re working as a public interest lawyer, a prosecutor, government lawyer, corporate lawyer, IP lawyer, or in-house counsel, or in roles that don’t require a law degree but draw on your legal skills,” Dean Diller said.
He added, “Therefore, how we—and by we, I mean all of us in the legal profession or soon-to-be in the legal profession—fulfill our responsibilities and how we think about what we do, are critically important.”
Community Engagement and Building
The academic portion of orientation included legal process and quantitative methods as well as a range of programming about professionalism, wellness, leadership development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The incoming 1Ls met with their house leaders, full-time faculty who coordinate a series of programs throughout the academic year, and liaisons from Alumni Relations, the Career Planning Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Maloney Law Library, the Public Interest Resource Center, and Student Affairs.
Students also had the opportunity to interact with leaders from the Board of Student Advisors as well as hear from and meet Josh Cockream ’24, this year’s Student Bar Association president. He challenged the incoming class to grow, both as individuals and future Fordham lawyers, during their time at the Law School.
“I challenge you to hold on dearly to whatever motivated you to apply to law school and what led you to the very chair that you sit in,” Cockream urged. “Use that energy to create the positive change we need in law and channel it towards becoming world-class attorneys.”
“Our law school is truly a special place, and I encourage you to use this space for all that it’s worth, including the stumbles you may take along the way. Because we know that the world is depending on you to make it a better place outside the classroom,” he added.
Edward “Ed” Joyce ’86, partner at Jones Day and president of the Fordham Law Alumni Association (FLAA), also introduced himself and explained the power behind the Law School’s alumni network. The network, which has grown to include 31 national and international chapters and 11 affinity groups, is 22,000 strong with representatives in 50 U.S. states and 91 countries.
“We, the alumni of Fordham Law, are incredibly loyal to our law school,” Joyce said. “This is because we are so grateful for what the Law School has given us, and we are paying it forward like those who came before us. And I know that you will pay it forward for the next generation and those who come after you.”
Other informal events, including a welcome barbecue and pizza party, capped off orientation. Classes begin on Aug. 23.
Taking the Oath of Professionalism
On Aug. 21, the incoming J.D. class heard from distinguished Fordham Law alumni about the importance of maintaining high professional standards and what it means to be an attorney. Moderated by Dean Diller, the Professionalism Panel featured Jojo Annobil ’90, Executive Director of the Immigrant Justice Corps; Stephen Cugliari ’19, Chief Operating Officer of Accelerating Performance and Principal of INB Capital; Kathleen Cunningham ’99, Vice Chair of Corporate, M&A, and Securities Practice Group at Blank Rome; Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker ’92 of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; and Anna Newsom ’97, Chief Legal Officer of Providence St. Joseph Health. The goal of the program was to provide students with various perspectives from experienced alumni who are leaders in their field. The panelists provided their unique insights into the demands of lawyering and the privilege that comes with being an attorney.
“We are the guardians of democracy,” noted Newsom. “Whether we’re working in the prosecutor’s office or in an immigration clinic, or, for that matter, serving as a judge, I don’t think there’s a profession that gets any closer to playing that role in society.”
“Make use of the alumni, explore new areas, engage in work that you are interested in doing over the summers, and talk to people who are in those fields to make sure that that’s what you want to do,” Annobil urged. “You’re going to enter a profession where you have an opportunity to change people’s lives and to change the world.”
Following the panel, which was sponsored by the FLAA, Judge Parker led the students in reciting the Fordham Law Professional Oath, a pledge taken by all Fordham Law students to act ethically and with integrity in law school and in their legal careers.
Fordham Law School Professional Oath
As I enter into the legal profession and begin my legal studies at Fordham Law School, I pledge to act with the utmost good faith and integrity.
I will study diligently, commit myself to honest performance on every assignment and examination, and uphold, at all times, Fordham Law School’s Code of Academic Conduct.
I will interact with colleagues and adversaries alike with honesty, professionalism, and civility.
I will seek opportunities to provide leadership and to serve my community and will behave in ways that reflect positively on me, Fordham Law School, and the legal profession.
View more photos from orientation below: