2011 Commencement Speech: Amy Fowler

Live. Love. Laugh. And Law School. While I’m sure this is not the motto for most law schools or even the motto for most classes here at our fine institution, I would consider this the motto for our class.

We are graduating at one of the worst times for lawyers. Most of us don’t have secure jobs once we walk out of these doors. In fact, I imagine most of us are wondering why we did this in the first place. But I’m not here to talk about the future and the magic it holds for us, because (1) I can’t predict the future and (2) none of us can.

I’m here to talk about what we have gained.

I think we can all agree that we have gained some incredible friendships. You can see that as you walk through the lobby, the Gibby, the library or the Joe lLounge. We each have our own group of friends that will be with us for the rest of our lives. But there’s more. We’ve not only gained the unending friendships of those four or five people closest to us, we’ve gained an entire class of friends. Again, I don’t think many law schools nor many graduating classes can say that.

Interestingly, these friends are people who, in the real world, we would probably never meet, never talk to, never confide in and certainly never consider friends. Paths that would more than likely never cross in the real world for whatever reason, not only cross here, but intertwine and entangle.

When classmates were married or had babies, we each give our congratulations and continue asking, “how’s the family?” When people are going through tough times, apartments catching fire, floods, illnesses, deaths, breakups, we each smile, give a pat on the back, a hug or just try to make them laugh. And these are not just friendly courtesies, these actions are honest and heartfelt.

I’m not just saying this to appease our lawyerly egos and to avoid talking about some grandiose future we are all too unsure of, but because recently I have been the beneficiary of this amazing kindness. I have been able to truly reflect on my relationship with the people in this class. As I walked through a very difficult transition in my life, I was able to be comforted by coming to school every day. Now, how many law school students, can say that. Coming to law school and being around this class of people, this faculty filled me with strength, comfort, and genuine kindness. My transition was made easier by the familiar friendly and concerned faces of you.

So this isn’t just a speech to uplift us on this joyous day, it is also my opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to each of you for asking how my day was going, for giving me a high five, telling me a joke, giving me a hug or just smiling. Thank you for doing that for me, for the people around you and for letting me do the same for you. Thank you for making law school more than competition and contracts, for more than grades and who’s who. Thank you for making it fun, comforting, and at times my refuge. Thank you for making it a place where people not only understand what you are going through, but are willing to walk with you during it.

I was reminded the other day of the word Reyes used to describe our class the first week of school. Remarkable. Who would have thought that a law school class, this law school class, could learn and grow together as we have: to forget our differences, look past our judgments, and be sincere with one another.

So what have we gained? We’ve gained remarkable friends, remarkable colleagues, and remarkable role models.  And, whether we have jobs after this or not, the legal community has gained absolutely the most remarkable set of lawyers.

Live. Love. Laugh. And Law.

Congratulations Folks.