It has been an eventful year. We have now held six Jackson Howard Leadership Lunches where we match prominent alumni with students for a white tablecloth lunch to discuss their future careers. These lunches have been highly successful and I’m pleased to be able to introduce more of our alumni to students than ever before.
Last fall’s reunions for the classes in years ending in 2 and 7 were terrific. In fact, several reunion sceptics that attended were so impressed they felt that we should hold the reunions more often. This year we will hold reunions for the class years ending in 3 and 8 (and 2010!).
Many of our alumni have been recognized for their outstanding careers. We highlight a new alum every month on our web page and we send out the news as soon as it reaches us. I would love to hear more of your stories and get more news out about you and all you have accomplished and are accomplishing, in your careers, in your lives and in the public sector.
On that note, it’s amazing to me how much volunteer work we all do. Our alumni are serving on boards, city planning and zoning committees, homeowner’s association groups, walking dogs at the Humane Society and so much more. It is a huge benefit to the community for lawyers to be involved in public service. Please let me know what you are engaged in and how you feel it helps you to participate in that activity. We are an amazing group of people and I want to get the word out as much as possible.
Technology continues to be a force in the legal world and one with which we should be adept at navigating and utilizing. There are many aspects of using technology that present questions. That has always been true. That does not mean, however, that we should ignore the benefits as they arise and adapt the tools to make us better lawyers and allow us to enhance our delivery of legal services.
Jeff Pfeifer, in Law Technology Today, January 28, 2018, stated that: “Current discussions of AI in the legal context . . . generate  fear . . . of being replaced by machines. While machines may indeed one day perform some of the tedious, repetitive tasks that preparing thoroughly for legal matters can entail, we are a long way – if ever – from replacing the extraordinary levels of nuanced judgement and expertise demonstrated daily by experienced legal counsel.”
It is the “nuanced judgement and expertise” that we learn how to achieve in law school. One 1980 alumnus, Gary Kennedy, stated the following in the Acknowledgments section of his new book, “Twelve Years of Turbulence” which was just published:
Thank you to the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law for providing a first-rate legal education and the essential tools needed to navigate complex legal issues as general counsel of a major corporation. For this, I am deeply indebted.
Gary is an example of the quality of lawyer our law school produces. He is one of us. It is YOU I want to celebrate and highlight. We are doing great things at the law school and are pleased that our alumni are doing great things for the legal profession and in their communities.
We’d love to highlight more of you and we’d love you to get involved. I hope to see you at your reunions and hear from you with any ideas, suggestions and comments. This is your school and we want to be available to you.