UChicago Law 2019 Diploma and Hooding Ceremony

UChicago Law 2019 Diploma and Hooding Ceremony

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[MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] THOMAS MILES: Good morning. Good morning. Please be seated. Members of the Class of
2019, family, friends, welcome to the
21st annual hooding ceremony of the University
of Chicago Law School. [APPLAUSE] Today is a day to celebrate
the accomplishments of you, the Class of 2019. You have accomplished
a great deal. It was not long ago that you
first came to the law school and had your first class. That class may have
been your first class in graduate school and
your first encounter with the Socratic method. You may remember
approaching your first class with a sense of
excitement, curiosity, maybe even a little anxiety. And in that class or
shortly thereafter, you encountered a reservoir
that flooded a neighboring mine, a group of
shipwrecked voyagers who resorted to cannibalism, and
an automobile distributor that sought to avoid
litigating in Oklahoma. Now your encounters with these
characters and many others were the focus of
your close study and perhaps sources of
confusion, maybe even frustration. But now, these characters
prompt a nod of recognition, maybe even a touch of nostalgia. These cases have
become old friends. For those of you earning
your LLM or MLS today, you may have learned
some of these same cases here at the law school or
in your prior law school. But each of you had a
first stay here full of nerves and excitement. Your first class with us
may have been your first in America, maybe even your
first taught fully in English, and it may have been
your first encounter with the Socratic method too. But however and wherever you
began with us, all of you leave here today the same way. As our graduates and
we are proud to say, as products of the education
at the University of Chicago Law School. Now the fact that the
Socratic method no longer makes you nervous, and the fact
that these cases I mentioned are familiar to you, indicates
how much you have learned and how you have grown in
your time at the law school. You’ve learned a great
deal of the law itself. You learned a lot
of legal doctrine. And between now and the bar
exam, July 30th and 31st in most states, in case
you need a reminder, you’ll surely learn a
lot more legal doctrine. But much of your
learning at the loss wasn’t about specific
points of doctrine, rather you learned about how
to think about legal problems, how to interpret legal texts,
how to engage in common law reasoning, how to disentangle
thorny legal problems, and how to find solutions
that can benefit everyone. You’ve learned to approach legal
questions with rigorous thought and careful reasoning,
and to examine questions from multiple perspectives. This analytical approach
requires an openness to ideas, and a commitment
to subject those ideas to scrutiny. This dedication to and even joy
in serious analytical inquiry has long been the hallmark
of the University of Chicago lawyer. Now in a few moments,
you’ll receive your degree and your academic hood,
and you will also become a University of Chicago lawyer. But to the extent to which you
have already dedicated yourself to serious analytical
inquiry in the law, and the fact that you are seated
here today suggests you have, you’ve already been transformed
into that University of Chicago lawyer. You’re no longer the student
who is apprehensive or confused about the shipwrecked
voyagers, the flooding reservoir, or the site of
the automobile distributors litigation. You’re a lawyer equipped
to tackle and to think about the hardest questions. This transformation
didn’t happen overnight. It happened over many days and
nights of study and discussion with your faculty and
with your classmates. All the hours that you
spent in the classroom and in the clinics in
dialogue with the faculty, the hours spent in library
carols, in conference rooms, in the green lounge, in the
journal offices studying, outlining, writing, rewriting,
rewriting again, discussing, and ultimately, thinking
are what transformed you. It was hard work. You did it. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Now you didn’t do it
fully by yourselves. It’s worth
remembering two groups of people who helped you. First, nearly all of you had the
support of family and friends. Sometimes family and
friends helped you in very tangible ways. Maybe they sent you mittens
when the weather got cold, maybe they sent you
cookies as the deadline for the brief approached,
maybe they paid your rent. They also help you
in intangible ways. They cheered you up when you
thought you wouldn’t ever finish law school
because you were so frustrated by those
shipwrecked voyagers, that flooding reservoir, or
the location of the automobile distributors litigation. And they gave you a rest when
all the hard work of law school left you tired and they
were a patient listener when you were so excited
by what you were learning in the law
school you couldn’t stop talking about law. So in these tangible
and intangible ways they help you get here,
when they congratulate you this afternoon, don’t
forget to thank them. And it’s also worth
remembering a second group who helped you here today. They’re sitting all around
you, your classmates. At times, your classmates
helped you in very direct ways. They worked with you side by
side in the clinic drafting a motion. Maybe they were your partner
in the moot court competition. Maybe they proofread your paper. Maybe they give you detailed
feedback on your comment draft. At other times, they helped
you in less direct ways. Maybe they gave an
answer during a cold call that was so great
you took notes on it. They asked a question that
was so insightful you’d wished you’d thought of it. You may have noticed
that are serious and analytical inquiry at
the University of Chicago is not a solo enterprise. It’s a collective endeavor. It’s a form of joint production. We push one another,
we ask hard questions. Your classmates helped you
get here, and so to you have helped them get here. So now, here you are
through your hard work with the support of
family and friends, through the help
of your classmates, and through challenges
from the faculty, you’re about to graduate. You’re about to have university
of Chicago Lawyer forever attached to your
professional life. And although you
leave us physically, your association with the
law school is permanent. You have, just as
every class does, left their mark
on the law school, just as we have left
are mark on you. It’s what you wanted
by enrolling here and what we wanted
by admitting you. In the years ahead,
this mutual association will grow deeper
and more meaningful. The faculty stands
ready to do its part to make sure that the hallmark
of the University of Chicago Lawyer continues to be
that dedication in and joy in serious analytical inquiry,
so when the JD Class of 2022 in the LLM class of
2020 arrive in the fall, we will introduce them to
the shipwrecked voyagers and the flooding
reservoir, and the auto distributors minimum contacts,
just as we did for you. Now most of you, you
must now do your part. Most people’s impressions
of the law school comes not from reading the
work and the scholarship of the faculty, I wish
it were so, but it’s not. It comes from encountering
one of our graduates and observing their
professionalism and the quality of the work that they do. Now as a graduate,
you will help shape what it means to be a
University of Chicago Lawyer. Your careers may
take many paths. Maybe it’s a courtship, maybe
it’s government service, maybe it’s big law, small law. Maybe you will leave
the practice of law altogether, and go off on
some new grand adventure. All of these parts are
worthwhile, and all of them need your serious and analytical
minds and your sound judgment. Whatever your path, it’s
unlikely your professional work will involve flooding
reservoirs or shipwrecks, but your professional
work is certain to involve important and thorny problems. The distinctive characteristics
of the University of Chicago Lawyer should serve
you well in tackling them. Think hard, analyze
these questions closely. Your education doesn’t end when
you walk out of this chapel or when you leave the Bar
exam on July 30th or 31st. Continue to collaborate
with your colleagues just as you did with
your classmates. Keep in touch with your
law school classmates, they are the lawyers
who know you best. And please stay connected
to the law school. Stay in touch with
the faculty, who will be excited to hear
about your accomplishments and your professional
challenges. But today, we celebrate
your accomplishment, we are proud of you, now
go out there in the world and make us proud again. Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Now before we proceed,
I want to take a moment and remember a member
of the Class of 2019 who is not with us today because
he was taken from us too soon. Zachary Zent. Zach’s time at the
law school was short. Too short. But Zach has made a lasting
impact on the friends that he developed here and
on our community as a whole. So it’s appropriate for us
to remember him, and remember the enthusiasm and
the energy that he brought to our community. So let’s please pause for
a moment and remember him. Thank you. It is now by great
honor to introduce this year’s distinguished
alumna, Katherine Adams, member of the Class of 1990. Kate Adams is the General
Counsel and Senior Vice President of legal
and global security for Apple Inc. Now Apple
perhaps needs no explanation or introduction to you. Many of you probably
have its products on your person at
this very moment. This is a reminder please
shut your buzzers off. Apple is a global company
with about $266 billion in revenues, 132,000 employees,
and a market capitalization of about a trillion dollars. As Apple’s General
Counsel, Ms. Adams oversees all of
their legal matters, including corporate governance,
intellectual property, litigation, and
securities compliance. Now before taking up these
responsibilities at Apple, Miss Adams led a
remarkable career. She graduated from
Brown University, and then matriculated
at the law school. Like many of you, she
had elements of the law from Professor David Strauss. And there’s a rumor,
which I cannot confirm, that she may have participated
in the Law School Musical. Upon graduating
from the law school, Ms. Adams clerked for
Stephen Breyer, who was then the Chief Judge of the United
States Court of Appeals for the First circuit, and
then following that, she clerked for Justice
Sandra Day O’Connor at the US Supreme Court. She practiced
environmental law, first in the environment
and natural resources division of the US
department of justice, and then at the firm
of Sidley Austin. At Sidley, she represented
a diverse portfolio of clients in
multiple industries, and rose to become a
partner in the firm. Ms. Adams then joined Honeywell,
the international conglomerate, and she became its
General Counsel, leading its global
legal strategy across more than 100 companies. And in that capacity, she
was responsible for all of her legal affairs, government
relations, and global security organizations. In 2017, she joined apple
as its General Counsel. Throughout her career, Ms. Adams
has given tremendous service to the profession. She is a member of the
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, at Honeywell, she
co led the Women’s Council, and she’s taught environmental
law at several law schools. In sum, Adams’ has led
a tremendous career that combined law, business,
and service in positions of extraordinary leadership
in large organizations. I’m delighted to welcome
her back to the law school. Please join me in welcoming
our distinguished alumna of 2019, Kate Adams. [APPLAUSE] KATHERINE ADAMS: I’m not
sure I recognize that person, but it is an enormous
pleasure to be here today, and Dean Miles, thank you for
that wonderful introduction. And thank you as well to the
faculty and the administrators here today. I and every one of
the graduates owe you a huge debt of gratitude
for all that you have done for us and for
this wonderful law school. And class of 2019,
congratulations. You have done it. Over the past
three years, you’ve read hundreds of cases
over what must have seemed like millions of hours. You’ve experienced the
terror and the thrill of Socratic cold call in class. And you’ve come out the other
side even more impressive, more confident, and more sleep
deprived than you probably ever could have imagined. So let today be a
day for celebration. And while you’re
celebrating, so are the people who helped
make this moment possible. The friends who studied with
you, the family members who picked up the late night, I
don’t know if I can do this, phone call and reassured
you, yes, you can do this. The professors who guided
you who explained the rule against perpetuities. And explained it again,
and explained it again. They’re a big part of
why you’re here today. Keep in touch with them
because those professors could be a big part of
whatever you do next. They certainly were in my case. When I was at this law school,
three professors, Jeff Stone, Larry Kramer, and
the late Paul Bator helped me secure the
clerkship with a man who was then the Chief Judge
of the First Circuit. A clerkship that defined
the whole arc of my career. It turned out that this
judge had a huge impact, not just on me, but on our
country, Stephen Breyer. I also want to thank two
other very important people. My parents. They were not actually able to
attend my U Chicago graduation, so it means a lot that
they are here today sitting in the audience with you,
along with my husband of 26 years, Duke Wiser,
also in the audience. So in some sense, I feel like
I’m graduating with all of you, so I’m a little emotional. [APPLAUSE] My parents showed
me at an early age what it meant to fight for
something bigger than myself. When I was eight, my parents
the Natural Resources Defense Council, or the
NRDC, and I watched as they grew it from four
volunteers in our tiny living room in Greenwich
Village, to one of the most impactful
environmental organizations in the world. When I sat where
you are now sitting, I could never have predicted how
profoundly my career would be and still is influenced
by the example they set and the
sacrifices they made. You too have made many
sacrifices to get here today. University of
Chicago has developed some of the most brilliant
legal minds of the past, and the present, and the future. Lawyers who have achieved
great success in many ways, and who have shown
the law can have a profound impact on the world. You are part of
that community now, and you’ve earned
your place in it, and the one handed it to you. But you’ve also earned yourself
an exciting and complicated challenge. What are you going to
do with this degree? With the amazing
education you’ve been privileged to receive here. Your degree only means something
if you use it to do something. To help those around
you, to fight injustice, to heal our planet. So how do you do that? How do you build a career
at the intersection of what you love to do
and what the world needs? That’s what I’d like to
talk to you about today. The paths laid out
in front of you are numerous and
familiar and unfamiliar. You’ve been working toward
them ever since you set foot on this campus,
but whatever path you choose, whether
you work at a law firm, a nonprofit, in
government, academia or in some other
worthy place, I urge you to make sure that every step
you take outside these gates is an intentional one. This is the first of two things
I want to share with you today. Always move forward,
but always make sure you’re moving in
the right direction for the right reasons. Now the right direction
isn’t always apparent. If it was, no one would
ever make a misstep, take a wrong turn or feel
confused about where they were, but that’s all part
of the journey. Wherever you go,
make sure it’s not because it’s expected
of you, but because it holds meaning for you
and meaning beyond you. That it contributes to something
larger and makes our world a better place. I say this because
it’s hard to do. It’s hard to be intentional
about each step you take. It’s hard to advance through
your career deliberately. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. My own career has not
been a straight line. After clerking for then
Chief Judge Breyer, I worked at the
Department of Justice, and then had the totally
unexpected opportunity of a lifetime to clerk for
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. From her, I learned that I
could work harder so much harder than I ever thought possible. She showed me that commitment
is only a virtue, however, when it is balanced
with compassion. Compassion for the people you
work alongside and compassion for the people your
work will impact. She brought a deep
sense of responsibility and was always aware of
the profound consequences of her decision making and
what that decision making had on the world, and
she supported me as a young woman
in the law in a way that I can never fully repay. Every day I try to do
the same for others. To build teams, to
lend them support, to inspire them to
make a difference. The law, as you know, is
inherently adversarial. Lawyers thrive on competition,
but I’ll tell you this, you’re going to accomplish
so much more when you work as a team, when
you bring people together for a common purpose. Like many of you will
do, the first team I joined after the
clerkship was a law firm, and the work was thrilling. I felt I was growing
and learning. I had a chance to work on high
profile cases for high power clients, I had the chance to
help shape the firm’s culture, to push our teams to become more
diverse, more inclusive, more supportive. And after four years at the
firm doing work that I loved, supporting and being
supported by my colleagues, I was fortunate enough
to become a partner. And at that moment, I
thought, this is it. I’ve arrived. This is what I’ve worked for. This is where I was
meant to be, and it was. Until it wasn’t. Sometimes, what was once
the right direction, isn’t any longer. Because life isn’t static. We change and we
learn and we evolve. Reorienting yourself
is rarely easy, and it doesn’t happen
in a single moment. It’s a lifelong process. For me, realizing this
was uncomfortable. Because at my job at the firm
was no longer what I wanted, I wasn’t sure what was. Then I had an opportunity for
a very different kind of job. Honeywell, a multinational
industrial company, was looking for a new
head of litigation. It was not a cushy job. The company was in dire straits. The position was described as
quote “running into a burning building”, which by
the way, is usually the exact opposite of
what you want to be doing, so not surprisingly, my
colleagues at the law firm thought I was insane
to consider this. Having worked so hard to
make partner, why on earth would I leave and
leave for this? But something about
it just felt right. I wanted to do something,
new something difficult. To take a job
where I might fail. I wanted to see if I could do
my best work in that challenging environment to see whether
I could make a difference. It certainly wasn’t part
of my original plan, but suddenly, it seemed
like it ought to be. And this is the second thing I
want to share with you today. I began by asking you
to be intentional, but I’m also asking you
do the exact opposite. To open yourself
up to serendipity. To the surprising, even
crazy opportunities life presents you. I know that sounds
like a contradiction, but it really is
possible to do both. You’ve got to be intentional
about what matters to you most. Your goals, your values. For me, that meant feeling
like I was doing my best work. Contributing to something
larger than myself, creating something
that would last, and leaving the world a
better place than I found it. These were my prerequisites,
but over time, I became more open to how and
where I would achieve them. When I joined Honeywell,
the company’s record on the environment was so
bad that politicians returned its campaign contributions. Of all the things
of my career, one of the things I’m most proud
of are the profound changes we made to the company’s
culture and its legacy, and Honeywell is now
right widely recognized as an environmental leader. By taking a chance, I got
to play a role in that. Serendipity then led me to
another opportunity, really the opportunity of a
lifetime, and that’s the job I have now as General
Counsel and Senior Vise President of Apple. Apple for me, seems
like the place my path was leading all along. It’s the place where
the threads of my career have drawn together. Graduates, you’re
entering a world that is more complex
than it’s ever been. But I believe the problems
we all face are solvable, but they’re only solvable if
we commit to solving them. That’s hard work,
it’s necessary work, and there is no one more
qualified to tackle it than you. You have all the
tools at your disposal and the power of the
law on your side. Apple has shown the
world that a company can be a force for good. Apple has done that
in the products we create, the way we make them,
and the people whose lives they touch. We’re not afraid to
use the law for good. To call for tougher regulations,
to protect our customers’ data and privacy, to stand
up to governments when we believe fundamental
human rights are at stake, and to fight to
change the laws when we believe they are unjust. We’re using the law to create
a legacy we can be proud of. We’re showing the
world that true success means leaving the world
better than you found it. It means running on
entirely renewable energy, closing the loop on materials we
source, pioneering new research for the greatest health
challenges we face, and it means standing
up for groups that are facing discrimination. And always being open to
everyone in your workplace and using every tool we
have including the law to fight for good in our world. I would’ve never
had the opportunity to do this had I not strive
to balance serendipity and intentionality. If I hadn’t been willing to
drive forward with purpose, while also being really willing
to deviate from the path. So that’s the charge I’d
like to leave you with. Stay at agile and stay open. Life will offer you some
unexpected opportunities. Take them seriously. Consider whether they will
allow you to grow and allow you to give. Ask yourself always, is this
how I can best help the world? Even if you don’t know
the answer, keep asking. You have the power
to shape the future, the power to change the
world for the better. The law is one of the most
powerful forces in our society. Martial it for good. The world needs you
to make a difference, to protect the planet,
and the people on it. I can’t wait to see
what you will do and how you will use that power
to make the world a better place. Thank you for having
me and congratulations. [APPLAUSE] THOMAS MILES: It’s
now my pleasure to introduce our
faculty speaker. The University of
Chicago is known for its distinctive approach
to intellectual inquiry. From its very founding,
the Law School’s been an interdisciplinary place. We draw on the tools of
other disciplines, history, political science,
philosophy, economics to better understand law
and legal institutions. We’re also
intellectually ambitious. We focus on the most important
social questions, the biggest challenges facing society. And we don’t lose sight of the
fact that we’re a law school. The law matters. We strive to understand
the law better. And then lastly, teaching
is vitally important to us. Teaching that’s
participatory and engaging. That challenges our
students to also think about the biggest, hardest,
most complex questions. Today’s faculty
speaker embodies all of these distinctive features
of the University of Chicago. Professor David Weisbach is
the Walter J. Blum professor of law. Professor Weisbach received
his undergraduate degree in mathematics from the
University of Michigan, and then he received a
master’s in advanced study in mathematics from
Wolfson College, Cambridge, and then his JD
from Harvard Law School. He was a law clerk for Judge
Joel Flaum on the Seventh Circuit, he practiced
tax law in Washington, and served in the
office of tax policy in the US Treasury Department. At the law school, Professor
Weisbach’s scholarship focuses on issues
of federal taxation and issues of climate change. He explores the economic
and social implications of policy changes
on both topics. His approach to these
questions is interdisciplinary. As a former director of our
law and economics program, he regularly uses economics
to analyze tax law and policy. He has also co-authored
with philosophers to understand the ethics
of global climate change. And Professor Weisbach
back addresses the biggest challenges of our time. He’s part of an
interdisciplinary group looking at the impact of climate
change, and in his teaching, he’s co taught courses
on global inequality, and one course that’s
simply called Big Problems. Professor Weisbach regularly
teaches our corporate law tax sequence, and here his
commitment to the law to the law itself into
imparting understanding the law through great
teaching is evidence. Students in their
teaching evaluations had this to say about Professor
Weisbach’s corporate tax sequence. One wrote, Professor
Weisbach’s in-depth knowledge of the tax code, his
real world examples, and his sheer command of the
material is very impressive. Another wrote, Professor
Weisbach is a great teacher, and made a very complicated
subject manageable. And then there’s
this one, which I think I hesitated to read
because it will perhaps aggravate all of our
other faculty members. Several students wrote, this
is the best class by far I’ve taken in the law school. Please join me in welcoming
Professor David Weisbach. [APPLAUSE] DAVID WEISBACH: Thank
you, Dean Miles. You left off the
most important thing I did while I was
at law school, which is when I was a head
of law and economics program, a young PhD
and JD applied to be a fellow at the law school. His name was Tom Miles, and I
was the person who brought now Dean Miles to the
law schools and you failed to mention my most
important achievement. I’m ready to retire now. I’m honored to be here today. Thank you very much to
offer congratulations on behalf of the faculty of the
impressive Chicago Law School. Welcome to the profession. And welcome also to
the family and friends who are here today who’ve
helped make this day possible. Graduation speeches are
supposed to be nonpolitical, get inspirational, summarizing a
life lesson in seven minutes. I wrote one focusing
on the career choices you’ll face over the
next 30 or 40 years. It was nonpolitical and
intended to be inspirational. And I woke up this morning,
and I couldn’t do it. As important as
career choices are, it isn’t what’s most
important today. It’s not what I
want to talk about. Instead this morning,
I scribbled some notes about what I really want to
say, and it’s not nonpolitical, and not going to be
[? inoffensive ?] to everybody, and I apologize in advance. I can see Dean Miles shifting
nervously in his seat. [LAUGHTER] There’s no off switch
on the microphone. This is what I want to say. Class of 2019, the
world needs you. It needs great lawyers
like never before. I’m 55 years old, I’ve lived
through the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, the
Bork and Thomas confirmation hearings, Bush vs. Gore,
9/11, the Great Recession, I’ve never felt as
scared as I do now. Maybe it’s an illusion. The current limit moment
always feels worse in the past, because we know we made
it through the past, and yet the future is unknown. But I don’t think it is. Today feels different. I wake up every day a
little bit terrified. Like no time in my life, the
world needs people like you. I’ve never been more proud to
be a law professor than today because my job is to create
the young lawyers, you, that the world needs. Why? Why does the world needs you? You have your own list and
mine is surely incomplete, and you’ll surely disagree
with some of this. If you didn’t disagree, I
wouldn’t be doing it right. My biggest concern, what
keeps me up at night is democracy itself. I’ve never thought before
that the basic structure of our democracy is under
threat, but I do now. Here’s some examples. A core principle of
representative democracy is that people can
elect representatives of their own choosing. We’ve often failed
to live up to that with disenfranchised vast
swaths of our population, but it feels now like we’re at
risk of barely giving democracy lip service. Gerrymandering has
reached extreme levels, and some politicians
defend it by saying, openly and without shame,
that their goal was to disenfranchise people
of the opposing party. Taking away people’s votes
because of their beliefs is utterly contrary to
our basic principles. Elected officials
attack core institutions of our democracy such as
elections, the lengths of time that they will serve in office,
the power of their successors, and the basic functions
and competencies of important agencies. Foreign adversaries
are doing so as well. Democracy requires
faith in the process, and outcomes of elections
and the fair administration of justice requires a
functioning government that can perform its
duties, regardless of what duties you think it
should be performing. Democracy also requires a
robust press and a belief in a common set of facts. When people feel free
to deny that events that have unquestionably happened,
democracy is at risk. And in our particular
democratic structure, checks and balances between the
branches is a core principle. It is also at risk. I could go on, and these
risks and others are not just added if they multiply. Each one making
the others worse. I hope our institutions
are strong. They will need to be. There under tremendous pressure. Democracy is not a given. They won’t last
unless it’s defended, and lawyers are the
key to defending it. Class of 2019,
democracy needs you. The second thing that keeps you
up at night is climate change. I work in climate
change in my scholarship so think about it all the time. It’s hard to think
about climate change all the time without becoming
crazy, focusing on day in and day out on looming doom. It might not turn out so
bad, but at it’s worst, it’s an existential threat. It’s not so easy to stop
the threat because doing so requires transforming
our economy, requires the cooperation of
all the nations in the world, but I don’t understand why. I can’t understand why we
aren’t doing everything we can, even if it won’t be hard. The data are clear. There’s little time to act if
we are to avoid the worst harms, and the issue has become
depressingly political. An issue where you signal
your political tribe by denying the laws of physics. Not withstanding
the consequences to your kids and grandkids. Climate change is less lawyer
focused and democracy is. To stop climate change, we need
new technologies and better scientific understanding. Solving climate change involves
stuff, pipes, and wires, and batteries, and structures,
but also requires lawyers. We need laws, treaties,
international cooperation. IP protection for new
technologies, taxes, regulations, and incentives. All the domain of lawyers. Class of 2019, the
earth needs you. The final thing that
keeps you up at night is how we treat one another. Probably the domain of things
we call discrimination law, but also including policing,
education, migration, and overall stability towards
one another and the groups. I get a little teary here. I have a transgender
son, a gay son also. I’ve learned a huge
amount from him since he came out
a few years ago. I wake up happy every day
he lives in today’s world. He’s happily married, he lives
in a loving and supporting community. Something he could not have
done just a decade ago, but now, sometimes I
wake up in the middle of the night terrified in a
cold sweat worrying about him. What if he travels
to the wrong place and meets someone
who hates who he is? What if our laws change? Progress that I thought
we had made, no longer seems permanent. The same worries
extend the people of many different
characteristics. I have a cycling friend who
lived in Ferguson, Missouri long before the recent events. He describes being
stopped by the police as he was driving
the speed limit. Why, he was told, was he
driving the speed limit and thus he was hiding something? Many of you know these
issues far better than I do. Many of you live them every day. Lawyers are central
to these issues. Class of 2019, people need you. My list is incomplete, and my
list reflects my perspective on events. You may have a
different top three and may disagree with my views,
but regardless of the details, my message stands. The world needs you. It needs great lawyers
like it has never before. How can you meet these demands? Some of you may have a cause
that you want to devote your life to, but most
of you probably don’t. I did not when I graduated. Aren’t you allowed to just
be a lawyer, or whatever you want to be, and
pursue happiness and success like everyone else? You are. Yes, you are. Let me turn briefly back
to what I was originally going to talk about. I was going to feature three
graduates of the Class of 1989 because I graduated in
1989 from law school because 1989 is a nice,
round 30 years ago. There were Lori Lightfoot,
the first black woman mayor of Chicago, the first
openly gay mayor of Chicago, and the first outside mayor
of Chicago in 100 years. We are proud that
she is our graduate, she is an incredible role model. Sheila Nix. Nix worked on numerous
presidential campaigns as chief of staff to senators
John Kerry, and Senator Nelson. She worked in Springfield as
deputy Governor of Illinois, and she worked at senior levels
for non-profits including working with Bono on
poverty in Africa, and working on voting
rights in the US. And finally, Sharon Zezima,
a Bay Area tech lawyer, whose General Counsel took a
number of companies public, and found a group design
to help accomplished women connect with one another. I didn’t know any of these
remarkable women personally, but reading the
biographies, I did not get the sense that
they graduated law school with a cause. They all started in big law. Two are partners. But over the course of 30
years, since they graduated, they all found
ways to contribute. They became great
lawyers and took advantage of the
opportunities that were opened to them
because they were great. Each has used her skills to
make the world a better place. Class of 2019,
follow their paths. The world needs you. Congratulations on
your achievements. It’s time to commence. [APPLAUSE] THOMAS MILES: Thank
you, Professor Weisbach. It is now time to proceed to
the distribution of degrees and the hearing
of the graduates. Please hold your
applause until we finish each group of degrees. RICHARD BADGER: Dean
Miles, it is my honor to present these students
who have completed the program of
studies prescribed by the faculty of
the law school. They have been awarded the
degree of Master of Laws by the board of trustees. THOMAS MILES: I
congratulate these graduates on the successful completion
of a program of advanced study of the law school, culminating
in the degree of Master of Laws. RICHARD BADGER: Will the
graduates please come forward to receive your diploma, and
then your academic hood as I call your name. [READING NAMES] Congratulations to
the LM Class of 2019. [APPLAUSE] CHARLES TODD: Dean
Miles, it is my honor to present these students
who have fulfilled all of the
requirements prescribed by the faculty of the law
school to qualify them for the profession of law. They have been awarded the
degree of Doctor of Law by the board of trustees. THOMAS MILES: I
congratulate these graduates on the successful completion
of a program of study in the law school culminating
in the degree, Doctor of Law. CHARLES TODD: Will the
graduates Please come forward to receive your diploma
and then your academic hood as I call your name. [READING NAMES] Congratulations to
the JD Class of 2019. [APPLAUSE] THOMAS MILES: Now this concludes
our 21st annual diploma and hooding ceremony. And as a set of final
instructions, your final exam, please remain in your seats for
the recessional of our faculty and guests, followed
by the graduates, and we will process
out and then please join us at the law
school for a reception. And I have one request,
which is that please do not linger in front of the
chapel because another unit of the university will be
coming in for their ceremony. So join me once more
in congratulating the Class of 2019. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING]

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