Welcome Back!

Study Group in the Commons

Today is the first day of fall classes. As an admissions dean, the first class day of the fall semester is the day I look forward to, and work toward, all year. It’s the day we welcome the students whom we have gotten to know through the admissions cycle, and it’s the beginning of their journey toward a legal career. I LOVE the first day of school. It’s the day you meet new friends and reconnect with classmates whom you missed over the summer. It’s a day of new possibilities, new subjects to explore, and opportunities to seize. And after three (too) quiet summer months, what I most appreciate is that it is the day the campus comes back to life. So welcome entering class of 2014, and welcome back to our returning students and faculty. And for today I won’t even complain about the back-to-school traffic.

Orientation – Class of 2017

August 15th was the first day of orientation for the University of Houston Law Center’s Class of 2017.  The 1L’s were welcomed by Dean Leonard Baynes and received advice from faculty and current students on how to succeed during the first year of law school.  They also toured the facilities, met with library staff, had lunch with mentors and attended a student organization fair.

The second day of orientation was our inaugural “Community Service Day” project.  More than 180 first-year students volunteered at the Houston Food Bank or an immigration clinic. For those that participated in the immigration clinic, the students and faculty helped undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children apply for special legal status under the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  About 30 UHLC students helped immigrants fill out forms with about 40 applying for DACA renewals and 20 filing initial applications.

The Houston Food Bank volunteers packaged 11,860 meals containing 14,232 pounds of food.   DSC0113

Congratulations to everyone for their hard work and dedication to service!

Life is sweet at the Law Center

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Assistant Dean for Admissions Jamie Dillon and Associate Director of Admissions Nathan Neely, part of team “UHLCupcakes” (so aptly named by our own Associate Director of Admissions Pilar Mensah), participated in the Cougar Cupcake Challenge on Friday, August 8th, hosted by the University of Houston’s Office of Special Events. Although our talented group didn’t win the challenge, they clearly took the cake (pun intended) with the originality of their display, meant to replicate the brand new TDECU stadium on the UH campus. If you take a closer look, you’ll see various UH notables included as key players in the cupcake games, including Jim Parsons of The Big Bang Theory, Systems Chancellor Renu Khator, and Dean-designate Leonard Baynes, along with our very own Dean Dillon.

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Members of the Admissions staff worked extremely hard crafting the small mock-up of the long-awaited stadium, paying close attention to details such as bleachers made out of plastic cups and the ever-present bright stadium lights of every Texas football field. Participants in the cupcake competition were rewarded handsomely with the cupcakes themselves, which the rest of the Law Center staff had the pleasure of enjoying afterward. Dean Dillon indicated that while the Admissions Office’s display wasn’t chosen for first place, it was without a doubt the crowd favorite.

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See? It’s not all work at the Law Center! Our staff and students know how to play hard as well, as evidenced by the thought put into our office’s amazing cupcake display. In fact, any of our law students or Admissions staff are happy to tout our love of Houston and all the fun things there are to do in our city to any curious prospective student, so don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about life at the Law Center or in Houston.

And for anyone now nursing an insatiable hunger for cupcakes (or is that just me?), Houston has an amazing selection of gourmet cupcake shops, including Sprinkles, Crave, Ooh La La, What’s Up Cupcake, and Frosted Betty Bakeshop, just to name a few!

 

If You Wanna be Sedated*, Try The Woodlands!

A mere 34.4 miles from the steps of the Law Center sits Houston’s largest outdoor amphitheater.   While you won’t necessarily hear any spoken Greek, you can count on being entertained, should you elect to make the trip. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is one of several major concert venues located in and around the Houston area. Bringing in musical acts covering a wide variety of tastes, a law student, with a little time on their hands, could find themselves in The Woodlands for a much needed study break and still find plenty of time to prepare for class! Not only has the Pavilion brought in top tier acts like Frank Sinatra, CeeLo Green, Radiohead and Tim McGraw but they also play host, annually, to the Houston Symphony and Houston Ballet. In addition to some fantastic music, the amenities of Cynthia Woods greatly enhance the attendee’s experience. A few hills, the dense pine woods The Woodlands is known for, and a babbling waterway take the concert goer outside of the hustle and bustle of the Houston metropolis. While free parking is offered, make sure to bring your patience when navigating the many lots (pro tip: if you have a smart phone, drop a pin in your map where you park to find it with ease when you leave). Tickets are available for reserved, covered, seats or, if keen on the great outdoors, general admission is available on the amply spaced lawn (while blankets are not allowed, small, bath towel sized units are permitted in addition to the lawn chairs available for rental at $6.00). Whether it’s your first, second, or final semester at the Law Center, take some time to explore what the Houston area has to offer, before you go loco*! For a list of upcoming acts, visit http://www.woodlandscenter.org/events.html.

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*Please note, the Ramones have not performed at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Classes, Professors, and Books…Oh My!

As the summer is winding down, I know some of you may be getting a little anxious about starting law school next month.  Never fear, your answers are here!  Over the next few weeks you can expect the following:

First and foremost, you do not need to register for classes.  Your classes are assigned to you by our Office of Student Services.  In early August you will receive an email from Student Services that includes your section assignment, class schedule and professors.  After receiving your class schedule, you will be able to purchase your books, review your syllabus and see your first day assignment by visiting http://www.law.uh.edu/schedule/Fall2014.asp.

Student Services will also provide you information regarding Orientation.  Orientation is mandatory and will be August 15-16.  Orientation will further familiarize you with the Law Center and provide information on the program policies.  If you are unable to attend, please contact the Office of Student Services at 713.743.2182.

 There is not much you need to be doing right now other than enjoying your summer!  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on Facebook or via email – lpmensah@central.uh.edu.  I look forward to seeing you this fall!