Dear LSU Law family,
Greetings from one of many “remote” branch campuses of LSU Law. I hope this message finds you and your loved ones in good health and great spirits. I want to provide you with some updates on the effects of the ongoing public health crisis on the LSU Law Center community and how our students, faculty, and staff are working around the clock to overcome hurdles we never imagined we’d be encountering just a few months ago. Together, we remain committed to our institutional mission—we have simply had to make adjustments!
Like every other ABA-accredited law school around the country, we have shifted to remote delivery of all coursework for the remainder of the semester. The rest of LSU has done the same; moreover, the entire LSU campus has now been closed to all but essential personnel and the very few students who remain in on-campus housing. With heavy hearts, we also canceled or postponed a host of events that we were eagerly looking forward to. This includes our planned May 15 commencement exercises and Golden Graduates celebration. We remain committed to celebrating the achievements of our students and alumni with appropriate festivities once we can do so safely.
As could be expected, the transition to distance learning hasn’t been entirely seamless, but our faculty, staff, and students have admirably embraced the challenge with professionalism, patience, and optimism. Our mission at LSU Law has always been to provide our students with a rigorous, comprehensive legal education. We strive to place these educational demands on students today in a supportive, collaborative environment that will prepare them for successful careers. We place great value on the diversity of ideas, and of people and their experiences. This difficult time reinforces and challenges us in balancing all of these critical institutional values. New realities require new approaches, and I’m proud of the way our talented faculty and staff members are using innovative ways to educate and support our students. We are making sure that we provide the best possible education, along with other support services, including mental health support, during this highly disrupted and incredibly stressful time.
How can you help?
- If you are able, please continue your offers of summer employment to current students and continue to extend offers of full-time employment to the Class of 2020 graduates—they need to be employed and to gain that important initial experience. Just as important: Our communities continue to need the good work and wise counsel of well-trained lawyers.
- Give to the Law Center’s General Scholarship Fund to relieve next year’s enrolled students—both continuing and new students—of additional debt at a time of national financial crisis and a likely shrinking near-term employment outlook. As you know, the health crisis has rapidly become an economic hardship for many in our country. That includes some of our students and their families. I know some of you may be facing unanticipated financial challenges of your own. But if you can assist us with additional scholarship dollars, the link above is the best way to do so.
- We will be in touch again soon about a law student Emergency Relief Fund we are creating to assist students who may not be able to meet immediate, essential expenses due to the hardships related to this national crisis. If that need speaks to you particularly, please keep your eyes open.
As you may have heard, several LSU Law students have tested positive for COVID-19 since the crisis began. I’m happy to share that each student whose diagnosis has been made known to us to date is recovering or has fully recovered in self-isolation. Our thoughts and best wishes are with them, their families, and close contacts, as well as all others struggling directly with the virus. We know you feel the same.
I have been endeavoring to provide students with regular, thorough, and transparent updates from the Law Center via broadcast email. The students also support and speak with smaller and larger groups of their peers through a wide range of other tools now at hand—such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even closed “GroupMe” messaging for entire sections of each class, and more. The student community may be spread far and wide, but their community feeling remains strong.
Difficult times often bring out the best in us and draw us closer together as a community, and I know this will prove to be the case in our LSU Law community as we move forward. When we find ourselves on the other side of this crisis, I know we will be able to look back with pride on how we all pulled together to support one another and overcome the many challenges we are now facing.
Please stay safe and take care of yourselves, your families, and your friends.
Lee Ann Wheelis Lockridge
Interim Dean, LSU Law Center
David Weston Robinson Professor of Law
McGlinchey Stafford Professor of Law