In preparation for a bright new school year, New York Law School welcomed its newest 1L students to a two-week orientation. NYLS’s comprehensive orientation is a treasured tradition which “always serves as the best opportunity to help get our newest students into the right mindset for the rigors of law school and showcase the unrivaled caring, supportive, and welcoming community they are joining,” said Dean and President Anthony W. Crowell.
Hailing from 27 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and five countries, this year’s 1L class has 362 students: 315 in the Day Division, and 47 in the Evening Division’s inaugural NYLS Pro class. 61 percent of new 1Ls are women, 29 percent are members of diverse racial or ethnic minority groups, and 17 percent identify as LGBTQIA+. In keeping with NYLS’s tradition of firsts, 25 percent of the students are the first to attend college in their families, and 80 percent are the first to attend law school. Twenty students have advanced degrees and the class is represented by veterans from all four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition, this group boasts the highest GPA and LSAT medians in NYLS history: 3.53 and 155 respectively. It is among the most highly-credentialed and diverse class in the School’s more than 130-year history.
The Class of 2025 and Class of 2026 gathered online and on campus for lectures, workshops, and tours. For the online portion, new 1Ls took a series of classes on Foundations for the Study of Law. These sessions were structured like real law school classes and gave the new students a preview of what to expect as they begin their studies. The sessions also introduced new ways of thinking that are critical to a legal education.
Dean Crowell led a memorable and highly engaging program on Law, Leadership, and Democratic Institutions, joined by William P. LaPiana, Dean of Faculty; Matt Gewolb, Sr. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Institutional Strategy; and Florence Hutner, Senior Director for Special Projects. They discussed the importance of civics education in upholding democracy and drew from the book Dean Crowell co-authored, Beyond Imagination? The January 6 Insurrection.
The students met Associate Dean for Information Services and Director of the Mendik Library Camille Broussard and other members of the NYLS Library team who provided instruction on NYLS research procedures. Dean LaPiana and Associate Dean for Academic Planning and Career Development Erin Bond ’08 led workshops on diversity, equity, and inclusion and professional development, including an introduction to the Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning.
When the students arrived on campus to finish orientation in person, energy thrummed through the halls. Members of NYLS leadership welcomed the new students, including Ella Mae S. Estrada, Associate Dean and Vice President for Enrollment Management, Student Financial Services, and Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, whose team had been working closely with the newly admitted students throughout the admissions process.
Professor Lynn Boepple Su led a workshop about health and wellness during law school, underscoring the importance of mental health practices and self-care during the rigors of a legal education and giving 1Ls the opportunity to hear from current students about their experiences. Students also attended a financial literacy workshop with Leslie Shannon, Director of Federal Work Study Program and Financial Literacy, and a Title IX workshop with Brian Kaszuba ’04 and Nina Jody, Title IX Coordinators.
The NYLS alumni also joined orientation to give advice to incoming 1Ls. Alumni Association President Drew Britcher ’84, Charles Philips ’93, and Abbey Elizabeth Quigley ’17 shared important insights from their own law school experiences and their legal careers.
Over the course of the orientation, new 1Ls also had the opportunity to meet with members of the Student Bar Association, student ambassadors, and members of the alumni association.
Orientation ended with Community Day, an intensive workshop led by Professor Kirk D. Burkhalter ’04 and Otto L. Walter Distinguished Professor of Tax Law Ann F. Thomas. Over the daylong event, students explored race in the context of American law—a critical conversation that will inform their work in the legal profession.
The opportunity to meet in person wasn’t lost on anyone present. As Dean Crowell put it, “this year couldn’t be more critical for us to ensure every student benefits from the special sauce that makes the in-person NYLS experience so wonderful.”
View photos from orientation.