Orientation Gives JD Students an Overview of the Profession

September 3, 2013 — For 1L students participating in Orientation Week 2013, the faculty talks and tours on Thursday were a unique blend of what’s old and what’s new in Washington.

Those wanting a taste of D.C. history could visit the Frederick Douglass Home with Professor Sheryll Cashin, tour Civil War historical sites with Adjunct Professor Michael Frisch or accompany Professor Daniel Ernst on a tour of the Library of Congress’s Jefferson Building. Those wanting to experience the new could visit the Green Roof of the American Society of Landscape Architects with Assistant Dean Vicki Arroyo.

And then there was a tour of a place so new it didn’t even exist this time last year.

Fifteen first-year students accompanied by Professor Joshua Teitelbaum and eight students in the Social Enterprise and Nonprofit Law Clinic, accompanied by Professor Alicia Plerhoples, toured 1776, a startup incubator that connects entrepreneurs with the resources they need.

Located a few blocks from the White House, 1776 includes glass-topped wooden doors for work spaces, visits from lawmakers, workshops on law and accounting, and other people with great ideas sitting just a few feet away (some on exercise balls instead of chairs).  

“We see this as a great way to promote startups globally … building communities across the world,” said Brittany Heyd (L’13, G’13), one of 1776’s founding team members who volunteered for the Startup America partnership while at Georgetown Law. “It’s been a fascinating experience deploying the skills I’ve learned in law school.”

It was also a fascinating experience for those whose legal careers are just beginning. “This is exactly why I wanted to go to law school,” said Jessica Yeh (L’16), who hopes to work with startups one day.

Meanwhile, back on campus, Professor Abbe Smith, director of the Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, read excerpts from her new book, How Can You Represent Those People? (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013; edited by Smith and Monroe H. Freeman). 

By providing able counsel to the accused, criminal defense lawyers keep the system honest; they also embody the ethical principles central to Georgetown’s Jesuit mission, said Smith, explaining why she defends the guilty. Smith advised students never to lose their respect for humanity, their love of craft or their sense of outrage. “You have to believe in it to do this work," she said.