Commencement Speaker: Me?

Got a call yesterday from the Dean of my law school, who was calling to let me know that the student committee responsible for picking a commencement speaker had asked to invite me. I’m more than a little blown away by this: it’s an incredible honor, but it’s also daunting (to say the least).

So while I give the Law School a day to figure out that they’ve made a terrible mistake, I’m genuinely interested (particularly from the lawyers who drop by here from time to time): what would you tell a graduating class of lawyers if you had the chance?

8 responses to “Commencement Speaker: Me?”

  1. Lawyers tend to be asses. A lot of that assiness comes from a marriage between first cousins Incredulity and Closed-Mindedness. Try diversifying the gene pool. Practice healthy skepticism, but don't let it be the primary aperture through which you see the world. Your experience as a lawyer and the profession as a wholes(in particular the way it's perceived) will thereby be enhanced.

  2. I've always loved Lincoln's “Notes for a Law Lecture”:sThere is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.s

  3. Congrats, Rick! That's quite an honor. You understand, of course, that next you'll be invited to serve on the alumni board and then chair the capital campaign… all of which is a lead-up to soliciting you and everyone you know for large donations!sSeriously, speak from the heart and focus on what makes you tick, not what you think they may want to hear. sYou have carved out an interesting career path without practicing law yet utilizing every bit of the training you received in law school. sYou bring passion to your job and hobbies, which is not always true for those who pursue the BigLaw path. sWhether they follow you down an alternative career path or head down the traditional lawyer path, show them that their job and their passion can be one and the same, and that there's a way to be successful while still maintaining the right balance at home. Good luck!

  4. I would definitely mention something about your wonderful roommates in lawschool and how they played an integral part in shaping your future and success.s Or not. 😎 An old roomie.

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