Monday Morning Message 7.15.19 Jump Start the Next Chapter of Your Life

Posted 2019-07-15 10:25am

 “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” –Plato

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our vision is to be the leading student-centered public law school in the nation, but every law school says that they are “student-centered,” so what does that really mean? It means that at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, we’re dedicated to every student’s success…. even before Day One.  

Students often experience some anxiety over the summer before they start law school. I know I did. It’s primarily anxiety about the unknown. Law school is very different from the undergraduate experience.

That’s why we created C|M|LAW Jump Start.  We want to help alleviate this anxiety and aid their smooth transition into law school. Jump Start is a voluntary four-week program offered to all admitted students prior to the fall semester. Most of our admitted first year students wisely choose to participate.

I had the opportunity to speak to our Jump Start students for about 45 minutes at the first session on July 8. I talked about some of the ways to succeed in law school and why a legal education is also an education in leadership and justice; hence our mission of Learn Law. Live Justice. It’s a way to make a real difference in peoples’ lives. Nick DeSantis, Director of Academic Support did his usual masterful job explaining what to expect during their first year. See our talks here: Jump Start - Day One

Jump Start Sessions continue every Monday and Wednesday through July 29th.  Orientation begins on August 19 and classes begin August 26. Jump Start provides our first year students with a brief introduction to the law school experience and the American legal system, as well as instruction on essential study and exam-taking skills such as reading and briefing a case, outlining, and basic legal analysis. They will also take part in simulated classes and meet fellow students and faculty.

As Professor Kevin O’Neill notes, “the first year of law school is challenging because you are not merely learning the substantive doctrine in such diverse areas as contracts, torts, property, civil procedure, and criminal law…. you are also learning the institutions, methods, and traditions of our legal system….plus, while trying to digest all of this, you are learning a new vocabulary. Finally, you are learning the ultimate skill -- how to perform legal analysis…”

Professor Michael Borden points out thatthe first year is not primarily about learning information, but about learning a way to learn and think about and approach law. It’s learning how to reason like lawyers, read like lawyers, and think like a lawyer.”

Law school is not easy, nor should it be. While the study of law can and should be fulfilling and rewarding, it’s also academically rigorous. No matter how bright and talented a student is, their success will be determined not only by their hard work but also by the support they receive from faculty, staff, fellow students, friends, and family.

Cleveland Marshall’s commitment to quality academic support is a critical component in our student-centered vision. Here students will find open doors and open minds and a level of accessibility, support, encouragement, and interaction that many law schools don’t offer. C|M|LAW provides academic support to all our students in all phases of their legal education, whether it’s before they matriculate on Day One, during their law school career, or while they study to tackle the bar exam.

Thanks to Professor Heidi Robertson, Associate Dean and Professor Carolyn Broering-Jacobs, Professor Pam Daiker-Middaugh, Nick DeSantis, Director of Academic Support, Michelle Bond, Academic Support Specialist, Mary Jane McGinty, Director of Bar Preparation, our entire faculty, those students and staff who participate in our academic support program, our academic advising program, and our wellness program, and our dedicated alumni who serve as mentors, we provide exceptional academic and personal support to all of our students.

Our Message is clear. We are here for you even before Day One. It never ends. We’re your law school for life.

*This Week’s Monday Moment:  Jump Start Your Week With These 7 TED Talks Each Morning

Have a great day. Have a great week.

For copies of past messages, please go to this link: Monday Morning Messages

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My views in all my Monday Morning Messages are my personal views alone and do not reflect the views of our law school or our university.

My best,


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