Judge Christine Arguello's 2012 Commencement Remarks

May 15, 2012

Good afternoon and thank you very much, Dean Weiser, Professor Loewenstein, and other members of the law faculty for this recognition which means all the more to me because it has been conferred upon me by my peers, whom I respect very much.

To members of the graduating class of 2012.  It seems like just the other day that I was speaking to you at orientation on your first day of law school.  That was a very special day for me because my son, Ron, was following in my footsteps.  Since that day, I have crossed paths with many of you by judging, coaching, or advising you in  mock trial or moot court competitions, hiring you as interns in my chambers, and mentoring you formally or informally.  But now we have come full circle and instead of addressing you as students, I am addressing you as my soon to be colleagues!  Welcome to the profession of law and congratulations!

While you are being zealous, but professional, in your advocacy on behalf of your clients, please keep in mind that you have a special responsibility to help restore the rule of law as a living, breathing, working value in American society and to restore confidence in the judicial branch of our government.

As you advocate for your clients and as you counsel your clients - please draw upon your life experience, your deepest humanity and the understanding of human nature you have cultivated and will continue to cultivate in your lives outside the practice of law Infuse your work in the law with passion and humanity and decency.

I will close this speech the same way I close all my presentations, including the one I gave you at orientation three years ago, with a brief statement on the meaning of success.

I wish you every success in your new career and success will have different meanings for each of you. I remember when my view of success was limited to winning a jury trial or making partner in my law firm.  And those are not bad things to strive for. But as I’ve gotten older and gained wisdom, the meaning of success has changed, so if you will indulge me and allow me recite poetry to you, I would like to leave you with these last words of advice taken from my favorite poem entitled Success:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
 
This is to have succeeded.