News - July 2004
U-M Law School welcomes summer starters
Thursday, July 22, 2004
From a Big 10 female ice hockey player to a copy editor for the nation's leading inside-the-beltway newspaper, and from a ukulele player to a professional musician who played with Grammy nominees not to mention the woman who hosted an 800-person toga party to foster diversity among Greek fraternities and sororities on her campus--the 2004 summer starters at the University of Michigan Law School bring varied and interesting life experiences to the Law School community.
"It never ceases to amaze me that year after year we are able to put together another outstanding first-year class for our summer-start program. And that they choose to come to Ann Arbor in the late spring to start their study of law when most people are planning their summer vacations is remarkable," Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions Sarah Zearfoss commented when asked about this year's group of summer starters. "Time and again they tell me that our summer start program is one of many factors that attracted them to Michigan."
The 96 students who began their legal education at the Law School in the late spring rather than waiting for the more traditional starting time in the fall have the advantage of being part of a smaller group. Traditionally Michigan summer starters form close bonds with their fellow students, and the added flexibility in planning their curriculum with the option of taking a few credits of additional coursework during their second-year of law school means they can graduate in December or choose to take a semester off and join the larger fall entering class and graduate in May.
"I already knew I was going to Michigan, but talking to a former summer starter helped get me here that much sooner. The wonderful benefits that she described helped me decide to take advantage of the program as well," says Chris Hopfensperger. "Summer starters get the run of the Law School as well as Ann Arbor," he continues. "I've fallen in with a great group of people, and getting a three-month head start on things has made Law School a more intimate and less intimidating experience."
This year's group comes from 26 states and one foreign country (Russia) and 38 different undergraduate disciplines, including 15 who are from "hard science" or engineering backgrounds. English and history were the most popular majors; 11 students earned degrees in each. Interestingly, fourteen people (fifteen percent) have advanced degrees; fourteen are coming to law as a second career, and sixty-six students (69 percent) have one or more years between undergraduate school and law school. "Having the summer starters arrive is always particularly rewarding, since it s the first glimpse of what the entering class as a whole will bring," reflected Zearfoss, "and they are invariably a fascinating group who bring an enormous amount of life to Hutchins Hall."