Law School Graduation: Notable 2014 Commencement Speeches

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on May 23, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ah, graduation speeches. There's so much ado made about who will speak at law school graduation, but then, when it comes down to it, do people really listen?

Hopefully, yes. But in case you do not have the patience to sit through these inspiring speeches, we thought we'd give you a breakdown of some notable 2014 law school graduation commencement addresses, and see what future lawyers should take away.

Justice Antonin Scalia

After spending three years reading Supreme Court decisions, there can be no better speaker than a Supreme Court justice -- whether you agree with his jurisprudence or not. Students at William & Mary Law School had that honor when Justice Antonin Scalia spoke at their graduation ceremony.

While he often speaks about originalism, he left his comments mainly to the study of law, and why he "vigorously dissents" from the notion that law school should be shortened from three years to two years. He sees the law as a profession, not a trade, and made the case for keeping a law school education to three years. He ended by saying:

But for the moment, for you graduating students who have had what I consider not the luxury but the necessity of soaking in the law for three full years, and for the parents who have paid for that experience, welcome to the ranks of -- not tradesmen, but men and women learned in the law. Congratulations.

Ohio Gubernatorial Nominee, Ed FitzGerald

Ed FitzGerald, Ohio gubernatorial nominee spoke to the graduates of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University -- his law school alma mater. Taking a cue from the life of public service he is trying to embark on, he told law graduates to fight inequality and "act on behalf of those who have not shared fully in the benefits of our society," reports The Columbus Dispatch .

Andrew H. Card Jr., George W. Bush's Chief of Staff

Some students at Texas A&M University School of Law were not too happy about the school's choice of commencement speaker Andrew H. Card Jr., former chief of staff to President George W. Bush for five years. In fact, the morning of graduation, some students placed flyers with Card's photo and a caption stating that one of his main accomplishments was "selling the 2003 Invasion of Iraq to the public," reports the Star-Telegram.

While Card chose the unsettling topic of 9/11 for his commencement speech, students did politely applaud his efforts. Perhaps school officials should put a little more thought into who they invite to speak at graduation -- Card was too much even for Texas.

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