UC Answers: What are law students facing?

College of Law Dean Verna Williams shares advice for students and details about preparations

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/EEJRPNqmJOU?rel=0

Q: How has the UC College of Law adjusted in light of current events?

Williams: Safety of our community will be paramount as it must be during these times. The coronavirus and the racial justice movement suggest to us that our mission is more important now than ever. Our mission is to educate and inspire leaders who pursue justice and advance the role of law in society. And we will not waiver in our mission, but we will do it in a way that is different than we've seen before.

Q: How did the College of Law prepare for the return to campus?

Williams: Our preparations for the fall began in the spring and obviously throughout the summer. So we spent that time measuring classrooms, reviewing the CDC guidelines and making sure that we were up to date on best practices in terms of stemming the spread of coronavirus. And we adjusted accordingly. We also trained a lot of our professors in online teaching and best use of WebEx so that they could continue to provide excellent teaching to our students but do so in a way that is safe.

Our focus as always is on an excellent academic program and making sure that our students have all of the resources available to enable them to advance. And while the setting may be a bit different, our commitment to their success is absolutely unchanged. I'm very confident that the offerings that we'll provide for our students, as well as the programming, will advance their needs and move them into the position that they need to be in to be prepared to practice.

Q: How can I build relationships with my peers, faculty and staff remotely? 

Williams: One of the things that we prize at Cincinnati Law is our community, because we are so small students get to know professors. They know staff, and of course they know each other. And even though we are operating in a different context this semester, we are going to do whatever we can to continue to enhance and build our community. So, that will take place in lots of different ways. There will be Bearcat chats. Professors are doing what they can to have coffee hours and interact with their students. And our alumni have gotten on board as well. And so it's all a big part of our way of doing whatever we can to meet the needs of our students and our community. And of course, to do so in this time, in a way that keeps everybody safe.

Q: Any advice on how to thrive in this COVID-19 world?

Williams: COVID-19 has exacted a price on everyone — from losing loved ones to postponing important life events like graduations and weddings to even such simple things as getting a hug from good friends. So we're all mindful that it is a really difficult time. And on top of that this summer and the violent deaths that occurred in front of our eyes really only made matters worse. It was enraging. It was disappointing. And for us at the College of Law, that tells us it's time to get to work. And I'm actually hopeful because as lawyers, we actually have the skills to make change. And so I'm excited to work with these young people because new lawyers are the ones who are going to make things different for us tomorrow.

Featured image at top: UC College of Law Dean Verna Williams. photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

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