Law School News

STCL Houston President and Dean Welcomes Spring 2021 Class at New Student Orientation

Fifty new 1L students in STCL Houston’s spring 2021 class gathered — in person and virtually — this month for new student orientation and a special welcome by South Texas President and Dean Michael F. Barry.

Balancing a healthy dose of encouragement and honest feedback on the rigors and challenges of law school, Barry underscored the differences between undergraduate and graduate work and shared that law school will teach them new ways to think, debate, read, write, and analyze. He noted that this new way of learning comes with a new set of habits, expectations, and responsibilities.

He emphasized to the new 1L students that they were not just preparing for a job, but for a profession — and their legal careers begin on their first day of law school. Barry shared that preparation and persistence are two key traits that will help the students excel in law school.

Barry told the new spring class that STCL Houston professors — many of whom have practiced law and taught for 30 years — still prepare approximately two hours for every hour they spend with students in the classroom. He reiterated to the students that they, too, must commit to studying 35 to 40 — even 50 — hours a week to master classroom material.

Barry shared that — of the 50 new students joining the South Texas family — 36 percent are minority students, their class is composed of 22 females and 28 males, and their class includes students from 24 different undergraduate institutions and eight states who moved to Houston to study with them.

To help the new students succeed, Barry presented a 1L Matriculation Commitment, composed of 10 key points, that he asked the students to sign at orientation. He advised the students that committing to and following the 10 guidelines will help ensure their successful tenure during law school. He emphasized to the students that they were making a commitment to him, to each other, to their families, to their future clients — and most importantly, to themselves — that they would give their best effort as a law student. The 10 points include:

  1. I will get involved;
  2. I will challenge myself;
  3. I will take no shortcuts;
  4. I will maintain balance and perspective;
  5. I will ask for help;
  6. I will be professional;
  7. I will maintain my integrity;
  8. I will respect others;
  9. I will enjoy law school; and
  10. I will do the work.

Barry concluded his address to the new 1L students by sharing one of his favorite quotes from the famous American long-distance runner, Steve Prefontaine. He said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

He underscored the gift they had been giving with their admission to STCL Houston and reminded the students of the many resources and support they can expect from the school’s professors, administration, staff, and alumni.