Albany Law School provided a socially distant—but academically, personally, and professionally united—welcome to the incoming class at an Orientation like no other this August.
Of the 211 new students, 189 are pursuing a Juris Doctor, representing Albany Law School’s largest incoming J.D. class since 2012. More than 1,250 individuals applied to the J.D. program, a 4% increase from last year, and a significant 39% increase since 2017.
Members of the J.D. class:
- Represent 18 states and have citizenship in five countries (Canada, China, India, South Korea, and the United States).
- Include five military veterans across all branches (two Army; one each from the Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy).
- Were born in 10 different countries.
- Represent 101 undergraduate institutions and more than 40 different undergraduate majors.
- The median (154) and 75th-percentile (157) LSAT scores climbed one point apiece from last year.
- 25% self-identify as students from a diverse background.
- 27 students have a family member with an Albany Law School degree.
- Languages spoken by members of the class include: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, French, Creole French, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Hindi, and Punjabi.
Twenty-two students are enrolled in Albany Law School’s graduate programs: Master of Science in Legal Studies (M.S.L.S., 9), Master of Laws (LL.M., 10), and advanced certificate (3).
Orientation officially kicked off August 17 with one of five separate welcomes by Albany Law School President and Dean Alicia Ouellette. Students who chose to attend remotely tuned in via Zoom; others were in the Dean Alexander Moot Courtroom along with the dean—in masks and at a safe physical distance.
Orientation was spread over five days, rather than the typical three, and broken into nine smaller sections. Each day allowed for smaller group sessions and some fully remote events—including a Tuesday evening virtual session, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now,” which connected new students with alumni for an exclusive opportunity to tap into their perspectives ahead of the first day of classes.
There were plenty of opportunities throughout the week for students to get acquainted with one another, faculty, and, for those in person, the campus itself. Students met their faculty advisors, took their first sample classes, and attended a virtual introduction to the law school’s various student organizations and the Student Bar Association.
There was also special attention to mental and physical health. For those on campus, the Wellness Initiative hosted two socially distant, outdoor exercise classes on the lawn between the 2000 building and the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Additionally, this year’s incoming law students had access to the Zero-L program. The program was designed by Harvard Law School to ensure all incoming students start with foundational legal knowledge.
Though the start of this year looked different than of years’ past, one of the most popular Orientation traditions remained: the swearing-in ceremony. Five judges administered the oath of professionalism:
Hon. Daniel J. Stewart ’88, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Northern District of New York;
Hon. Leslie E. Stein ’81, Associate Judge, New York State Court of Appeals;
Hon. Elizabeth Garry ’90, Presiding Justice, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department;
Hon. Christina L. Ryba ’01, Justice, New York State Supreme Court, Third Judicial District; and
Hon. Paul V. Morgan ’90, Judge, Rensselaer County Surrogate's Court.
The class took the oath during several sessions Wednesday and Thursday—and they’re now on their way to making an impact.