Patty Shwartz a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, gave a list of advice to Rutgers Law students who graduated at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Friday.
Enjoy the flickr photo gallery of commencement.
From “Be a can do person and problem solver” to “Be selfless and reach beyond yourself in the service of others,” Judge Shwartz urged the newly-minted graduates to keep a sense of humor while practicing the law and to guard their reputations.
“Be open to learning, to giving, to participating,” she said. “Never become apathetic. Be courageous, devoted and reach beyond yourselves.”
Judge Shwartz was the keynote speaker at the 107th graduation for Rutgers Law School in Newark where 200 law students graduated with the degree of “juris doctor.” Many of the professors on the dais and the students wore yellow ribbon arm bands to stand for democracy and a as gesture of concern to threats to the rule of law.
Judge Patty Shwartz told the students to fight apathy and indifference.
Professor George Thomas, who was selected by the graduates as the faculty speaker, addressed the students and acknowledged that “many are worried about the state of the republic.” He likened current times to the divided times of the Vietnam War and Nixon presidency and reminded the graduates that the country has endured those difficult times along with many others.
“Yet the republic endures,” he said, adding that the graduates must help it endure in a better way. He also reminded the students about the frailty of life, “Enjoy your career but don’t forget to enjoy your life.”
Professor George Thomas encouraged the students to be confident, even in difficult times.
James Arrabito, who was selected by his classmates as the student speaker, praised the culture at Rutgers Law School, which allowed students to become friends and help each other, “We found we didn’t have to always compete, we could work together toward common success.”
A managing editor of the Rutgers Law Review and a Moot Court Board member, Arrabito urged his fellow graduates to “find work that is worth doing.” That work could be drafting a will for an elderly person that protects that person’s children, or representing someone accused of a crime regardless of that person’s race, gender or sexual orientation.
Student speaker James Arrabito challenged the graduates to do meaningful work.
Co-dean Ronald Chen told the graduates that by having chosen a career in the law they now had a “special responsibility” to make a contribution to their communities. He told the students they are graduating at a time when people are recognizing the importance of lawyers in the fight for social justice.“Keep anchored in your essential humanity,” he told them. “What impressed me about this class is your passion.”
Dean Chen acknowledged that many students represented underserved clients through the law school’s clinical program and others served people in the greater Newark area. Students who completed 50 hours or more of pro bono service also were recognized at the ceremony.
“This class has a renewed commitment that the practice of law is an honorable, ethical and above all, a socially responsible one,” he told them. “A life in the law sometimes brings great power and great responsibility. Exercise that well and make us proud.”
Several awards were given out to the graduating students. Among the highlights were Deanna Christian winning all four prizes for the highest academic achievement of a student. In addition, Stephen J. Marietta and Robert J. Papazian were awarded the alumni senior prize from the faculty for the students who exhibited the greatest achievement during their entire law school program and showed the most promise as a future member of the legal profession.