Peter Berends is a case coordinator at the Law Office of Hall & Associates in Madison, Tennessee. His boss, Wes Hall is a 2018 graduate of Nashville School of Law. And his colleague, Jasmine Patton, is a second-year student at NSL.
So, when Berends attended this week’s NSL Orientation as an incoming first-year student, he made sure to get off to a good start.
“I wanted to be here as early as I could,” Berends said.
Which is why he showed up an hour before the day started.
“I have mixed emotions coming in. I know a couple lawyers who went through law school and didn’t pass the bar on their first try, so I am coming into this with some humility, but I am going to give it my all,” said Berends. “It’s exciting, it’s daunting – it’s all the things.”
The two-day orientation was filled with lessons in ethics, legal writing and how to be successful in law school.
Members from the American Board of Trial Advocates shared why it is important to have integrity and show respect when our students become lawyers.
And Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee delivered the Oath of Professionalism, a requirement of all new NSL students.
One of the highlights for students this year was getting to know Justice Lee and NSL Dean William C. Koch, Jr., over lunch.
“Orientation is an exciting time for the students and the school because it marks the beginning of a life-changing journey. Having lunch with them provides an opportunity to narrow the distance between them and the school. We talked about their backgrounds and their reasons for studying law. They were particularly interested in how our careers evolved in unexpected ways,” said Dean Koch.
Orientation speakers included: NSL Writing Coach Dr. Thorunn McCoy, Advanced Legal Studies Professor Chuck Shonholtz, and Dr. Elizabeth Helton, a second year NSL student.
And a popular session at every orientation is our NSL student panel. These upperclassmen and women visited with our new students to give them advice on helpful study habits, how to avoid feeling overwhelmed and how to succeed in their first year.
“The orientation grounded my expectations a little bit. You don’t know what you don’t know until you experience it and even if you have ideas of what law school might be like, orientation provided the realistic perspective,” said Ashley Brown, NSL 1L student. “It’s exciting to get started.”
Classes for our 1Ls begin on Thursday, August 10, 2023.