I think in the first year of law school, it's really easy to lose sight of why I'm here, what am I doing here? You know, why am I in law school?
I think coming to this retreat really reminded me of the reason I came to law school, and the change that we all have the ability to to affect.
I really just hope we feel like I'm doing meaningful work, and learning from attorneys who have been successful in this field. And at the end of the day, knowing that I worked hard for this cause.
For 18 years, I've started the school year, every year with this retreat. There's a lot of reasons to bring the students out into an environment cut off from their usual environment. This isn't the same as a class, it's not the same as any class they've taken in their life.
The whole weekend is kind of geared around trying to get to know the students and make sure that we understand one another before we go back and do really serious work. And at the same time, obviously, teaching them about criminal justice system and what to expect when they're investigating their cases.
This time here, and helping them open up, is really important for us to all be more successful at what we do, and that's giving people back their freedom.
Everyone deserves to be heard, everyone deserves to have a voice. And so to be able to gain the knowledge, to be able to represent someone is one of the best things you can choose to do with your life.
It'd be really nice to have a day where innocence projects weren't needed. Now, the best that we can do is train law students who are going to go out and be lawyers to recognize causes of wrongful conviction and to be able to prevent them before they happen.
This experience will not be like any educational experience you've had in your life. I will guarantee that. It's about getting you guys ready to practice law, to work on real cases, real clients, and then with real consequences.
Our mission has three components to it. Number one, get innocent people out of prison. Number two, turn you guys into better lawyers. And number three, do policy work to improve the system.
You guys are all lawyers starting today.