Dear CUA Law Students,
The month of May brings our academic year to a close. Final examinations were held from May 1 to 11. You, our students, buckled down and studied even harder than you have all year. The Library was busier than ever. The Faculty scurried to read exams, grade papers, and turn in final grades. Meanwhile, preparation has been underway for next year, with registration for the fall semester courses set to begin on May 30. The culminating event for our academic year – graduation of our third-year day and fourth-year evening students – was held on May 24 in the Basilica. This is a brief report on some of our many activities during the month:
1. New Practice-Area Concentrations. We recently announced important changes to our Law School curriculum. For our upper division students, the changes include the addition of new practice-area concentrations. These will supplement our existing certificate programs in Communications Law, Comparative and International Law, Law and Public Policy, and Securities Law. The new concentrations will include Civil Litigation, Criminal Litigation, Family Law and Estate Planning, Intellectual Property, and Labor and Employment Law. The changes will enable students who wish to specialize in selected substantive areas to acquire relevant expertise. We believe that these and other improvements to our curriculum will put our students in an even better position to respond to the demands of the modern marketplace for well-grounded, practice-ready lawyers. But our overall goal will remain the same: to offer a first-rate legal education while inspiring our students to pursue a lifetime of service to others.
2. Graduation. In the world of private practice, where I come from, we do not have graduations. We do not have anything like it. So it was a special privilege for me to participate in the Commencement exercises for the class of 2013 in my new role as Dean. I urged our graduates to always remember the words from the book of Micah that are etched in stone on the front of our Law School building: “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” It was a great day for our graduates, our Law School, and our University. All of us shared with our graduates, along with their families and friends, the tremendous sense of pride arising from the accomplishment of an important life goal. We hope to see and hear from our newest alumni frequently.
Our Commencement speaker was William T. (Bill) Robinson III, the immediate past president of the American Bar Association and one of the country’s most experienced, versatile, and recognized legal practitioners. Mr. Robinson is the member-in-charge of the Northern Kentucky offices of Frost Brown Todd LLC, a highly regarded law firm. He is an outstanding trial and appellate lawyer, with extensive experience in commercial litigation, class actions, product liability defense, environmental litigation, and medical malpractice defense. Mr. Robinson is the recipient of more than 30 civic and professional recognitions over the course of his career, and he has been named to the list of “Best Lawyers in America®” every year since 1997.
Mr. Robinson urged our graduates to be professionals of the highest standards. Volunteer service, he advised, not only is worthwhile for the social good it accomplishes, but also due to the professional career opportunities it affords. He challenged our graduates to ask: “How do I make a positive difference in the lives of those I have the privilege to serve?” Graduating student Colin Carmello spoke on behalf of the class of 2013. He reminisced about his class’ experiences at the Law School, both arduous and humorous, and then reminded his classmates of our profession’s obligation to pursue justice. University President John Garvey, himself a former law school dean, offered concluding remarks on the virtue of patience in our dealings with other people. He invited the graduates not to judge too quickly, to give people the benefit of the doubt, to keep faith in their own abilities, and to trust in God.
3. Summer Programs. Students interested in continuing their studies over the summer have three options. One is to take courses on campus through our summer session program beginning on May 20. For more adventurous alternatives, students can sign up for our International Human Rights Summer Program in Rome, Italy, from May 19 to June 8, or our International Business and Trade Summer Law Program in Cracow, Poland, from June 15 to July 17. In these international programs, students have the opportunity not only to earn academic credit for their courses in an international law context, but also to experience the cultural and historic treasures of their host cities.
4. Alumni Visits. I am continuing my visits with groups of alumni, both at their offices and at various off-campus locations. This past month, we held “meet the new Dean” receptions in Baltimore (hosted by Miles & Stockbridge), Rockville, and Tysons Corner. This has been a great opportunity for me to get to know alumni personally, to talk candidly about what’s happening at the Law School these days, and to explain how interested alumni might be able to help us with my priorities of enrollment, job placement, and fundraising.
5. Major Gift for Scholarships. I recently had the great pleasure of meeting Josephine Hillyard, a 1937 graduate of the Columbus School of Law. At age 99, Josephine is as sharp as a tack, and I enjoyed learning about her interesting experiences as a fellow native Washingtonian. After law school, she spent her legal career working for the Federal Government principally at what is now known as the Merit System Protection Board. In her free time, Josephine has enjoyed painting, attending performances at the Hartke Theatre, and traveling the world. Throughout the years, she has continued to feel a strong connection to CUA. Through a charitable gift annuity, Josephine has generously created a scholarship fund that will be named in her honor.
6. Faculty in Transition. Five distinguished members of our Faculty are in the midst of status changes. We are planning a reception in the fall to mark these transitions in status.
Congratulations to our class of 2013 graduates. Best wishes for success on the bar exam. To everyone else, best wishes for a great summer. We look forward to seeing you in August, when we begin the Fall semester.
Thank you for your interest and support. I welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel F. Attridge