Commencement Speech Addresses Social Consequences of a Legal Education

It may be a couple of years old, but Leighton Davis’s speech at her Law School Graduation is still relevant. Her humorous reflection on her law school experience will resonate with law graduates of the past, present, and future.

She is able to articulate themes that have pervaded discussions of law school and law students in a clear, well spoken, dryly funny manner. At the start of law school, we all heard that we will “learn to think like lawyers.” But in reality, it is more than that. Law school can develop people into professionals, but it also changes your perspective on life. It changes the way you interact with the world around you. But it doesn’t change who you are.

The transition from college student to attorney is a three to four year process. The process holds an unflattering mirror in front of the students. The stress of the experience can magnify even the slightest flaw. Ms. Davis describes the person she became during law school. She recounts stories of her inability to relate to non-law students on a social level. It is a familiar story. And it is not necessarily a bad one. We have law school to learn how to think like lawyers. Studying law is the life we live for those three years. The true test of our character is whether we can go back to being well adjusted human beings once we hang up that awesome purple hat. Or, maybe after the bar exam.

(photo: 3D Illustration of a Graduate Giving a Graduation Speech from Shutterstock)

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