The Law School is actively planning for what the University has termed “a responsible return to in-person education and a residential fall semester.” The prospect of full classrooms, lunch activities, student group activities, and whispering “hello” to friends and colleagues in the Reading Room is exciting in a way that would have been hard to imagine in 2019. Though planning will continue throughout the summer, expectations are firm that we will be able to safely restart almost all Law School activities.

Law School faculty and staff are thus more eager than ever to welcome the entire student community back to the Law Quad. And after a year of completely virtual recruiting, the 1Ls— very few of whom had an opportunity to visit campus in person because of the pandemic—carry a certain air of the unknown that increases the anticipation. According to the Admissions Office, though, all signs point to an exceptional class. While Sarah Zearfoss, the senior assistant dean for admissions, says that she hates to do the touchdown dance on the 10-yard line, she notes that the Law School received more applications than ever before; made fewer offers than ever before; and had a higher percentage of applicants accept those offers than ever before. The result is that the 1L Class of 2024 collectively is shaping up to be one of the most highly credentialed and diverse cohorts in school history, despite the unconventional virtual admissions cycle. The incoming JD class will be complemented by an equally impressive and diverse group of LLM students, after a year in which—again because of the pandemic and associated travel restrictions—many LLMs were simply not able to enroll at all.  

Students will be joined in the classroom by new and recently promoted world-class faculty. Daniel Fryer, a 2018 graduate of the Law School, and a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, joins the faculty as an assistant professor of law. He previously served as a research scholar here, writing about how legal and political institutions should be constructed to respond to various forms of social and economic inequality, the history of African American political thought, criminal justice, and race theory. Professors Maureen Carroll and Gabriel Rauterberg have been promoted to Professor of Law, with tenure. Carroll teaches and writes about civil procedure, civil rights litigation, and the dynamics of the legal market. She is particularly interested in how procedure, substantive law, and the structure of the legal profession interact to define the scope of access to justice for identity-based discrimination and other broadly shared injuries. Rauterberg teaches Corporate Law, Capital Markets Regulation, and Contracts. His research interests include financial trading markets, empirical research in corporate law, and nonprofit organizations. 

While there is necessarily some uncertainty in the details of the fall, one thing is clear: whether you have a multi-decade tenure at the Law School or you will be stepping foot in the Quad for the very first time, we all have a reason to be excited about this new beginning (iterum ab initio).