Lawyer Magazine_Winter 2020


“That’s a challenge. You have to try and do it through description and video.” Osler said the biggest lesson learned last spring is that the law school is capable of change – going from a traditional school to an online one in a matter of days. There’s a higher comfort level with uncertainty now, he said. “The thing that impressed me about my colleagues is that nobody’s freaking out,” Osler said. “I see people at other schools [where] there’s a fair amount of negativity. I came here after 10 years of teaching at another law school, so I have a sense of what other schools are

Sarah Williams

“When they made it clear that every class would be fitted with the technology, I knew that for myself – and a lot of my classmates who might have elderly parents or who are staying with sick spouses or children – the decision was to do online,” Williams said. So far, her online experience has been a positive one. “Professors aren’t just engaging with the people in class,” Williams said. “They are also making sure to ask us for our input. They’re making sure they’re looking both at the class and us on the screen. We don’t just feel like we’re hiding in the background.” SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE As a student leader, Dixon said he and his fellow peers in student government made sure to set a positive example when classes started in the fall. “The reality is, in order to stay on campus, we have to show that we are willing to make these concessions – wear a mask properly, practice social distancing, wash your hands – all those things,” he said. “It’s not just students on campus, it’s the faculty and staff and the families they’re going home to. It’s about the common good. We’re all in this together, and let’s all get through it together.” With most people affected one way or another by the pandemic, Vischer said he understands everybody is going through their own journey of anxiety. We’re all part of a story bigger than ourselves, he said.

like. It’s rare the way we have a common purpose that allows us to focus on what needs to be done. That makes work so much better.” BUILDING A CULTURE OF CARE During her first year of law school, 3L Sarah Williams was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Throughout treatment for the disease, she continued her studies without missing a beat. Williams, who was born and raised in Zimbabwe, credits her friends, staff and faculty for helping her not fall behind during her cancer treatments. She said she has never felt like a number at St. Thomas Law, but a part of the greater community. A hardship grant she received from the law school last spring also helped relieve some of the financial stress she faced after her workplace shut down because of the pandemic. “After people came back from spring break, the school immediately notified us that if students had unexpected costs they could apply for this grant – it was a great bridge at the time,” said Williams, who was able to work remotely at a St. Cloud law firm over summer. This fall, she was hoping to take the hybrid approach and attend some of her classes in-person. However, she relies on public transportation to get to school and didn’t want to take a chance of being exposed to COVID-19 on the bus.

Winter 2020 Page 17

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