Two of the J.D. candidates completed joint M.B.A. degrees and one a joint Doctorate in Justice Studies. One received a Law, Science and Technology Certificate and one an Indian Law Certificate. Three earned Pro Bono Distinction, contributing between 50 and 99 hours of pro bono work while in law school; one earned high pro bono distinction, contributing between 100 and 149 hours; and two graduated with the highest pro bono distinction, contributing 150 or more hours.
Rebecca White Berch, Vice Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, spoke at the convocation held Friday, Dec. 15, in the Great Hall, and urged the graduates to recognize the truth of sayings like "You make your own happiness," "Work hard," and "Keep the big picture in mind."
"Choose to be happy," Berch said. "Don't dwell on slights and rude comments. You have chosen a contentious profession."
Berch is a 1979 alumna of the College, holds a master's degree in English and has authored several books, including Introduction to Legal Method and Process, in its fourth edition and used throughout the nation. She was Director of the Legal Writing Program at the College of Law from 1986-1995. Prior to her appointment to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2002, she practiced law, served as Solicitor General, as Special Counsel to the Attorney General, as First Assistant Attorney General, and as a Court of Appeals Judge.
She told graduates that the law is a demanding life, and that lawyers who win large judgments don't do it by luck, but by research and preparation.
And she urged them to focus not on "writing just another brief, but the fact that you are seeking justice for your client."
Berch is a member of Valley Leadership and has served on the Board of the Homeless Legal Assistance Project.
"Have the passion to do the right thing," Berch said, urging graduates to include pro bono work with the poor in their professional lives.
Monica Dean enjoys graduation festivities.
Patricia White, Dean of the College of Law, told students their level of education was "an awesome accomplishment and an awesome responsibility."
"A law degree puts you in a unique position to help other people," White said.
"It has been a wild ride," said Wilson, citing marriages, births, divorces, even a broken neck, among his classmates.
Wilson thanked faculty, including Professor Jonathan Rose, "Uncle" Bob Bartels ("with his great stories and patience") and Professor Laurence Winer ("who has lived in Arizona for 23 years and still has a perfect Boston accent.")
"I remember after Professor Winer's torts class I didn't leave my house for weeks because I was afraid I'd get sued," Wilson said.
Wilson graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in International Relations and a Japanese language emphasis. He has been an independent business and finance consultant for Nathan Drage, P.C., and several regional merchant banking firms. He served as treasurer of the Student Bar Association, was a founding member of the M.B.A. Digital Society, worked for the ASU Technology Venture Clinic, and was a member of the W.P. Carey Masters Consulting Group.
"I'm sure my fellow graduates agree with my feeling, 'Stop the ride; it's time to get off,' " Wilson said. "It's a finished challenge and a new beginning."
The graduates are:
LL.M. in Biotechnology and Genomics
Kevin T. Kelly