Dean Mark E. Brandon welcomed the Class of 2023 on Monday, August 10, for First-Year Orientation.
More than 50 percent of the 129 class members are women, and 21 percent identify as members of a racial or ethnic minority. The members of the Class of 2023 have studied, lived, or worked in 34 countries outside of the United States, including those in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East.
“You – individually and collectively – are impressive,” Brandon said. “And we – the entire faculty, staff, and student body – are excited to be able to welcome you into the community that is Alabama Law.”
Brandon said the members of the Class of 2023 will face two distinct challenges as they embark on the study of law.
First, he noted racial injustice and the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police or self-appointed vigilantes. It is clear, he said, that the nation’s laws, institutions, and culture will require rehabilitation and renewal if the country is to realize an elemental purpose of the Constitution: the creation of a “more perfect Union.”
“It falls to all of us to participate in realizing this purpose,” he said. “But it will fall with special force to you and your generation of lawyers to carry forward into the future the struggle to realize values that are central to the rule of law in a constitutional society.”
The second challenge, he said, is the global pandemic. It is affecting virtually every aspect of life, including how students will participate in the life of the Law School.
“First, try to be patient: with the circumstances in which we find ourselves, with the many inconveniences that the virus has precipitated, and with one another.”
Finally, Brandon invited the members of the Class of 2023 to leave a mark on law school, society, and the law.
“In your studies – and in your professional lives – leave a trace. And make it a trace you’ll be proud you left,” he said. “Make your mark: on the School of Law, on your community, nation, and the world through law, on the law itself. Make them better than you found them.”