Monday, May 14, 2012

Top Ten List: Law School Graduation Highlights

It's Monday morning, just two days after the graduation ceremony for our law school class. The voice mail light on my phone at work is blinking furiously, and the weekly attorney meeting is just a few minutes away. Still, I can't resist taking one more look back at the moment the Class of 2012 walked across the stage and finished law school. Here's my Top 10 List of the best moments from graduation:

Getting ready to graduate
10. Scanning the program at graduation and thinking about all of the ridiculously successful and hard working, interesting people in our class. We had about 125 people finish law school. There were grads in their mid-twenties, at least one who is older than fifty, some with multiple kids, and a few who had kids during school.

9. Listening to Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson delivery our commencement speech. She focused on the unexpected ways that life delivers success, and how mistakes and problems can turn into possibilities.

8. Walking across the stage and getting the official handshake from Dean Jim Chen, who will no longer be the school's dean after next month, but will continue to be connected to the law school. He's done a terrific job, and will leave big shoes to fill.

7. Standing up in our chairs on the stage and giving a somewhat unplanned standing ovation to Harrison Rich, the valedictorian of our class. For an interview with Harrison, click here.

6. Not thinking about the bar exam. Even for a minute.

5. Watching all of the other students cross the stage, and thinking about our collective future. Some of us will no doubt run into trouble. Some will be substance abusers. Some will fail the bar. Some will commit ethics violations. But right now, the future seems bright. We're heading into judicial clerkships, first-year associate jobs, additional academic degrees, and all sorts of other lofty pursuits. Louisville Law has done a great job preparing us during the last 1,000 days. The next 1,000 are up to us.

4. Receiving our hoods from Dean Kathy Urbach, head of the law school's Professional Development. I thought it was pretty cool that, in a down economy in which many of us are still struggling to find jobs, we selected her for this honor. If you're thinking about going to law school at Louisville, rest assured that Dean Urbach will not rest until you are employed. Here's a message that she sent to our class a few days ago:

Dear Law School Graduate Peeps,
I find myself thinking about each of you, hoping that your law school experience was meaningful and inspiring.  I suspect the answer is complicated but I sincerely hope that it was more positive than negative.

I can tell you without reservation that your law school experience was meaningful and inspiring to me.  Many of you have allowed me the privilege of getting to know you fairly well, which has been a joy.  I've observed each of you  work hard without stopping, lead with integrity and face the enormous hurdle that is post-law school life with grace.   I've admired your dedication, intelligence, talent and humor both up close and from afar. I'm most honored to be your hooding professor. 

3. Thinking, even during graduation, about how exciting and hectic my life as a lawyer is going to be. I'm already swamped with work, handling demand letters for personal injury cases, interviewing clients for medical malpractice suits, writing subpoenas and briefs, and analyzing thousands of pages of medical records for our mass tort practice, which involves prescription drugs and medical devices. By the way, I'm going to continue using this space to blog about the bar exam this summer, and then life as a lawyer in Louisville. If you have blog ideas, send 'em my way.

2. Throwing a party at my house the night of graduation, and spending time with all of the law students, attorneys, friends and others who showed up. I felt loved beyond anything that I deserved.

1.  Seeing all of my wonderful family and friends before, during, and after graduation. I could not have done the last three years without them. Here's one final sappy thank you.