Nearly 500 attorneys and 200 students from 51 law schools around the country attended the 2008 J. Reuben Clark Law Society Conference, held on Feb. 14-16 at the LDS Institute of Religion, in Armstrong Hall and at Gammage Auditorium.
Among the highlights at the event were remarks by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and panels featuring Chief Judge Mary Schroeder of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and law Professor Paul Bender. Young associates also packed a room to hear Randy Guynn, head of Davis, Polk, & Wardwell's Financial Institutions Group in New York City, share his seven tips for survival a law career.
"I can't tell you the number of `how to balance your lives' talks I've heard," said Guynn, who's married and has seven children. "There are no easy cookbooks."
Balance can be achieved, however, by figuring out your mission in life and doing it to the best of your ability, by attending to the most important people, such as family, first, then the most urgent matters, and letting the rest go, he said. By being organized and disciplined, it is possible to work eight-hour days, Guynn said.
"The problem is people waste enormous amounts of time at work, and it takes them 18 hours to bill six," he said.
Quoting Justice O'Connor, Guynn encouraged audience members to be ethical and to become "citizen lawyers" who are dedicated to public service. "Try to find ways to build your public reputation outside the law firm," he said. "You will find you can be more efficient as you do this, and it will make you a lot happier lawyer."
He also recommended that students perform clerkships for a year or two, if possible, after graduation, rather than going right to work at firms. "You will become a better lawyer, you'll know how courts work, and how judges think," Guynn said.
Because of the strength and vitality of the society's student chapter and the support of two local professional chapters, the conference, which in past years has been held at Harvard, Georgetown and Pepperdine universities, was awarded to ASU this year, said Les Smith, a conference committee member and Executive Director of Constituent Relations and Student Recruitment in ASU's Office of University Student Initiatives.
"Those who attended were blown away by the facilities, the speakers and the overall quality of the conference," said Smith, thanking 3Ls Casey Blais and Aaron Huber, who were on the planning committee. "Society board members were equally impressed and indicated that they plan to include ASU in the rotation for future conferences."
The J. Reuben Clark Law Society draws on the philosophy and personal example of the law school's namesake, J. Reuben Clark Jr., a Mormon lawyer who had a long and distinguished career, having worked for the U.S. Department of State, in private practice in Washington, D.C., in the U.S. Attorney General's Office during World War I, as Under Secretary of State for President Calvin Coolidge, as a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and as a long-time counselor to President Heber J. Grant of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.