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Student Spotlight

Law School Convocation

A tradition of leadership continues

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On Friday, May 14, the Law School held its annual Convocation in honor of the graduating Class of 2004, which comprised over 800 J.D., LL.M. and J.S.D. candidates. Dean Richard Revesz welcomed the Law School’s newest alumni and recognized the many students who were awarded scholarships or received fellowships, congratulating them on their academic successes.

Lester Pollack (’57), chairman of the Law School’s Board of Trustees, asked the class to help the Law School continue to lead in the field of legal education. He also gave the graduates a little practical career advice: offer fair judgments and always try to inspire others.

University President John Sexton praised the Law School faculty and warned the graduating class to steer clear of “sins of omission,” to show kindness and compassion, and to feel confident in “speaking truth to power.”

Steven BudlenderTwo students then spoke on behalf of their classmates. Steven Budlender delivered an address for his LL.M. classmates, and Brandon Lofton spoke for the J.D. graduates.

Budlender discussed the increasing globalization of law, encouraging his peers to seek out public-interest opportunities.

Brandon LoftonLofton described his childhood dream of being a lawyer, explaining how he wanted to be a source of positive social change and to emulate legal heroes such as Thurgood Marshall.

The convocation address was delivered by Burt Neuborne, the John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law and legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice, which aims to protect civil liberties. He is also known for his work on international holocaust litigation. Neuborne focused on the impact that Brown v. Board of Education had on him as a young boy growing up in Brooklyn. He reminded the graduates that public law is an expression of private values and that constitutional law is the engine of social change. Neuborne noted that Brown was only the first step in a series of civil rights advances in the United States and implored the class to make sure that the voice of Brown lives on.

The Class of 2004, led by a Class Gift Executive Committee including students Peter Lallas and David Berman, then presented the Law School with the first-ever class gift. More than 50 percent of the class donated $8,000 to the fund; the gift was accepted by an appreciative Dean Revesz.