Faculty of Law Welcomes the Class of 2023

Posted on February 16, 2023

The Faculty of Law (UP Law) welcomed first year students during orientation week from 14  to 17 February 2023. There was a lot of enthusiasm from the new class of first-year students as they set out to begin their journey at the University of Pretoria Faculty of Law.

The welcome session on the first day included brief presentations on student support structures and resources, remarks on the importance of personal and professional responsibility, and an opportunity for students to interact with law firms.

 As part of these sessions, the students were able to experience some of the traditional elements of orientation including a special message by the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, and Vice-Principal: Academic, Prof Loretta Feris. The students were further welcomed by Professor Elsabe Schoeman (Dean), Professor Charles Maimela (Deputy Dean), Mmopiemang Sesing-Letsike (Head of Student Administration) and Farhana Hassan (Senior Faculty Student Advisor).

The Deputy Dean, Professor Charles Maimela, showed great enthusiasm as he welcomed the first-year students to their four-year LLB programme: “On behalf of UP Law, it is my privilege to welcome you and we are all so happy that you are here… as a faculty we look forward to assisting you in fulfilling your professional ambitions over the next four years as students.” The Deputy Dean emphasised that the Faculty is here to support students and assist them in achieving their academic goals, and he also encouraged students to cultivate a culture of excellence. Additionally, Professor Maimela advised the students to make wise decisions during their university years. “We don't want to meet you in committees on disciplinary, but we want to see you across the stage, graduating, winning awards and participating in international platforms”, Professor Maimela said. In closing, he shared some words of motivation and inspiration with the students, encouraging them to work hard and put great effort into their studies.

The Dean of UP Law, Professor Elsabe Schoeman, also welcomed the first-year students to the No. 1 Faculty in South Africa and on the African continent. She emphasised the Faculty's culture of excellence, citing the Faculty's ranking as one of the top 100 in the world, and encouraged students to continue uplifting  the Faculty. “We became the top faculty and law school in Africa by having 76% of our staff, your lecturers, holding doctoral degrees. That is the highest percentage across South Africa. You can therefore rest assured that you will be taught by experts in every field of law”, Professor Elsabe Schoeman said to the students. Professor Schoeman encouraged the students to engage with their lecturers, who in her words “hold LLDs and PHDs and are able to supervise up to doctoral level, and look forward to engaging with you”.

The wellbeing and development of students is one of the main priorities of UP Law. Thus, students were encouraged to become well rounded individuals during their time at university by participating in the various activities and societies offered by the University of Pretoria. “We want you to really contribute and make a difference to society. Throughout these years at the Law Faculty, make use of these opportunities, find your niche and decide what you want to do. We are here to support you. You have succeeded in getting accepted at our faculty, and we will support you so that you graduate, all of you, and we wish you all the best”, said Professor Schoeman.

UP Law was privileged to have Former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke officiate the first year Oath as students swore to commit themselves to upholding the highest standards and ideals of the legal profession. These new first-year students join a legal community with an enduring legacy that spans more than 115 years. The first-year students were delighted to have doughnuts and waffles provided by Webber Wentzel, one of the biggest law firms in South Africa.

In the remaining days of Orientation Week, UP Law adopted a hybrid approach. Students attended live sessions online on Wednesday, during which presentations were given by various departments and structures within UP Law, such as the O R Tambo Law Library and Student Administration.

On Thursday, the students were back on campus as they attended the University's exhibition at the student piazza where they were able to engage with important UP structures and societies such as the Student Representative Council (SRC), Reach Out and Give (RAG), Stars Mentorship and Golden Key.

 On the last day of Orientation Week, Law House facilitated a session where important UP Law structures and societies presented to the students. It has already been noted above that UP Law encourages its students to engage in extracurricular activities that will prepare them for future leadership roles. It was therefore important for the Faculty to have a session in which students were introduced to different societies and structures. The societies and structures that gave presentations included:  Constitutional Tribunal (student court); Women in Law; Moot Society; Students for Law and Social Justice, and Legal Shebeen.

UP Law extends its best wishes to the incoming first-year students as they embark on this  new journey. May it be the best years of their lives and may they always remember:

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." — Pele



- Author Wendy Ngcobo

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