Meet the Class of 2011
The class of 2011 is one of the most geographically diverse in the law school's history, with 28 percent of the 325 incoming students hailing from 40 states. The representation of international students is also among the highest on record, with students from France, China, Singapore, Taiwan, India, the Bahamas, and Canada.
"Having so many students come from all across the country and around the world speaks to the growing reputation of the law school and the appeal of our mission to educate outstanding lawyers to be leaders for a more just and humane world," said Dean Kellye Testy. "What sets this law school apart is that we provide our students not only an excellent grounding in legal theory, but also the skills and values they need to become transformative leaders in the pursuit of justice."
Two members of the incoming class who particularly embody that mission are Patricia Sully and Reyna Ramolete Hayashi, this year's Scholars for Justice. They will both receive full tuition scholarships in recognition of their work on social justice and their commitment to pursue a career as a public interest lawyer. Sully recently returned from two years in Botswana with the Peace Corps, , and Hayashi's interest is in public health and sustainable housing.
The scholarship allows two of the most promising students who have proven their dedication to this important but traditionally lower-paying field of law to earn their degrees without incurring the debt that is often an obstacle in choosing such a career. Scholars make a moral commitment to devote much of their careers to public interest law or to donate to the law school's scholarship fund an amount at least equal to the scholarship should their career path change.
This year, for the first time, the law school also awarded community service stipends to six entering students. The stipends recognize participation in Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, City Year, Teach for America, VISTA, or the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
The new class also comprises students with a more traditional path to law school, including careers as personal bankers, paralegals, legislative directors, medical researchers and college administrators. While the cohort of Boeing employees in the evening class has been holding steady at about 25 percent, the number of Microsoft and Starbucks employees has been on the rise in recent years.
The average age of the entering class is 27. Women make up 57 percent of the class, and people of color 33 percent.
Orientation Focuses on Professionalism
Professional formation is an important element of a comprehensive law school education. To help the students start their journey on the right foot, the theme of this year's orientation was professionalism.
Presentations covered every aspect of the topic, from professionally appropriate use of electronic media such as e-mail and social networking sites to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Students from the Student Bar Association, Social Justice Coalition, Intellectual Property Law Society and the Black Law Student Association highlighted the opportunities available for professional involvement through organizations at the law school. Diana Singleton ‘98, director of the Access to Justice Institute, and Professor from Practice John McKay spoke about what it means to conduct oneself as a professional in any situation.
Paula Littlewood, executive director of the Washington State Bar Association, welcomed students to the legal profession. Dean Testy introduced keynote speaker Jeannette Walls, author of the acclaimed memoir The Glass Castle. Before writing the book, Walls, a successful writer and journalist, had concealed the truth about her childhood - a nomadic existence marked by poverty and her father's alcoholism - fearing that colleagues would think less of her for it. Her journey from southwest desert to New York's Park Avenue offered an inspiring vision of determination and achievement.
Following Walls' presentation, Professor Dean Spade, a poverty law expert, and Ada Shen-Jaffe, Senior Adviser to the Dean, commented on her remarks and related them to their own work for equal justice.