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Graduates Told Law Profession Provides 'Boundless' Chances to Affect People's Lives; See Commencement Photos, Videos

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Miami Law students of the Class of 2013 on their way into Saturday's Commencement ceremony.

Miami Law students of the Class of 2013 on their way into Saturday's Commencement ceremony. (Photo: Nick Madigan/Miami Law) Full-Size Photo

Spring graduates of Miami Law's Class of 2103 were assured at Saturday's Commencement ceremony that the training they have received over the past three years has prepared them well "for a profession that is rapidly changing as it faces globalization, changing technology, and increased competition."

The "Advice to Graduates" speech by alumna Hilarie Bass, J.D. '81, President of Greenberg Traurig, also included the observation that the law degrees the students were about to receive "will be a respected calling card" anywhere in the community. "And almost anywhere you go in this country, you will find other University of Miami alums who are CEO's of public companies, GC's of the Fortune 500, and top partners in major law firms," all of them, she said, "having received the same training and education that you have."

One of the graduates, Tara E. Faenza, delivered the Student Address, a feat she accomplished without once looking at her prepared text. "I know that we will all miss this beautiful campus, the balmy weather, the sway of palm trees, student lounge, the safety zone of the bricks, our now empty classrooms, and delicious honeybaked ham lunches," she said, drawing laughter. "We will each face challenges as we leave here. Graduating from law school is just the beginning of what we each have to learn."

The runner-up in the contest to give the student address was Brian M. Stewart, whose speech would have begun with the fact – perhaps unknown to most of his fellow graduates – that before he came to law school, he was a pipefitter, a transition he described with vast understatement as "a big leap."

"It would be rather easy for me to tell a story about how I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, as I've strapped on a set of steel-toed boots too many times to count," he said in his text. "It would be rather easy for me to tell a tale of how my single-minded determination and focus gave me the ability to achieve success. And it would certainly be a novel idea, because it would be entirely fictitious. The truth is that I owe most of my achievements to the phenomenal people I have been surrounded by throughout this journey."