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August 21, 2006

WELCOME University of Oregon School of Law class of 2009!

Law Class of 2009

This week, the University of Oregon School of Law welcomes its 122th entering class – including two new students who were contestants on “The Price is Right”!
One hundred and seventy-eight first year – or “1L” – students began class on August 21. Thirty-nine percent are Oregonians, forty-two percent are women, and twenty percent are ethnic minorities (compared to 13.6 percent for the UO as a whole).

“Applications to our law school went up four percent, even though they were down at law schools all over the country,” said Larry Seno, assistant dean of law admissions. “As always, the entering class shows a distinct personality – they are strong academically* and they seem to be cohesive and civic-minded, a group that understands the importance of working for the good of the community.”
Assistant Director of Admissions Jessica Merkner said the entering class has earned degrees in 50 different undergraduate majors at 100 colleges in 29 states. Almost 10 percent have already earned a master’s degree, a doctorate, or other graduate degree.
Thirty-seven percent of our new students come from small colleges and universities. But large western public universities are well represented: twenty students come from University of Oregon, eight from University of Washington and seven from University of Colorado.
As might be expected, a good many incoming students have either worked in administrative or paralegal positions in law firms and in the criminal justice system or else have parents who are lawyers.

And quite a few come directly to law school from college; one is getting a concurrent doctorate in molecular biology at the UO.

Many boast unusual occupations or achievements — horse trainer; poet; magician; Forest Service engine foreman; 2000 Portland Rose Festival Queen; researcher in Havana, Cuba; and project manager with the Global Village of Beijing, a nonprofit environmental organization in China.

A number of 1Ls are making law their second career. They are former elementary and high school teachers, journalists, public relations or development officers, bankers, and skilled tradespeople. (Not to mention a former packaging designer, a labor organizer, and an investment brokerage project manager.)

But what seems true of almost all of them is their internationalism and their devotion to public service.

Many speak Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese. One or more of them also speaks Italian, Malay, Cantonese, Japanese, German, Tamil, Swahili, Danish, Portuguese, Farsi, and Tagalog.

They have lived, worked, or studied in most of the countries of North, Central, and South America, Europe, and East Asia as well as in India, Iraq, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Tazania, South Africa, and Morocco.

They have volunteered for nearly every national charitable organization, from the Red Cross to the Boy Scouts. Many have worked in church-based social service groups and for local efforts in their home towns to combat homelessness, domestic violence, hunger, and lack of access to healthcare and legal services.

Seno says, “The law school has won the top Oregon State Bar award for student pro bono work for five years running – I predict that the Class of 2009 will help keep the trophy right here in Eugene.”
* Academic Profile 
75th percentile    161
50th percentile    159
25th percentile    157
75th percentile    3.63
50th percentile    3.40
25th percentile    3.08 
-Eliza Schmidkunz 


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