Student Senate President: Charles Wolf
Good afternoon, faculty, friends, and family—and most importantly, soon-to-be fellow graduates!
So, we made it. We have gotten through three years of surviving everything that the faculty could throw at us. Sure, it wasn’t always easy—we almost melted in JG thanks to the heating system, we ate our weight in bad pizza, and, most importantly, we resisted the urge to use the page break feature on SoftTest. But at the end of the day, we’ve gotten to this point, together.
Never again will we find ourselves one week before an exam suddenly realizing that there isn’t an outline on the G drive! Nor will we find ourselves in the exhilarating position of having Professor Strauss call our name at nine in the morning and ask us to recite the contents of a footnote—to a note case . . . found in the supplement—to the casebook. Nor shall we feel that primal fear that only comes after you are sweating out a response in class, and a wave of relief washes over you as you see that your friend is sending you some much needed help on Gchat, until, suddenly, the Wi-Fi signal fails, and you are left defenseless against the relentless onslaught of questions.
Now I don’t want the guests in the audience to think that law school is all a crazy, stress-filled nightmare. Exam period definitely is one, but the rest of the experience actually can be quite rewarding. And I think that we all are the better for it. I’d like to emphasize what I think is the most important benefit that we’re taking with us as we leave (other than a lot of Westlaw highlighters)—our relationships. Law school has taught us the importance of friendship—both to get through the past few years, but more importantly, going forward.
I look out at this group, and I don’t see future partners, judges, legislators, and so on. Sure, some of you will go those routes, but not everybody. Instead, I see a group of my friends and colleagues, people that I’ve been to hell and back with. At law school, we learned that we need to rely on each other, whether by lending a classmate notes when their “alarm clock broke,” by sharing an outline that we prepared last semester, or by taking the bullet for a fellow student when the professor calls someone with your same last name, and you are forced to answer because they remain completely silent. Yes, I’m looking at you, Guy Wolfe. You still owe me for that one.
Not only did we all live through law school together, but we did it during a very unique and unpredictable time. We are the class that started when the economy crashed all around us, and many of us are still dealing with the repercussions of that event. What is significant about this fact, however, is that no matter how bad things were, we never turned on each other. There was no Hobbesian state of nature in the halls of JG, no hiding books in the library, or other cutthroat tactics that movies always said described law school. Instead, I think we’ve all grown even closer in the midst of the uncertainties in the legal market, and we need to remember to continue to do so. While the picture is not completely rosy, it is getting better, and we all have to keep looking out for each other.
I know I wouldn’t have been able to get through law school maintaining my positive outlook on life without the help of all of you, so I’d just like to take a moment to express my personal gratitude to my family, my girlfriend, and to each of you for making my three years an unexpectedly fun experience. I hope that you’ll take my advice seriously when I suggest that we stay in touch, no matter where we are going off too—whether it is through impromptu bar review reunions or just grabbing a cup of coffee together, now that we no longer can rely on Student Services for our afternoon fix. You are a great bunch of people, and it has been an absolute honor to go through law school with you. Thank you very much, and congratulations!