ABA president urges UHLC Class of '16 to take leadership role in seeking justice for the underserved

Paulette Brown, president of the American Bar Association, delivers the commencement address at the University of Houston Law Center's convocation ceremony at Hofheinz Pavilion.

Paulette Brown, president of the American Bar Association, delivers the commencement address at the University of Houston Law Center's convocation ceremony at Hofheinz Pavilion.

May 17, 2016 – American Bar Association President Paulette Brown challenged the 326 graduates of the University of Houston Law Center on Saturday to use their legal skills to find answers and justice for those who do not have the necessary resources.  

The graduating class included 236 J.D. candidates and 90 graduates of the Law Center's LL.M. program.

"There is no other occupation in America that supplies a greater proportion of leaders, which you are now one," Brown said in her commencement address to the graduates in Hofheinz Pavilion. "Being a lawyer is a noble and important profession where you can make immediate differences in people's lives. Now more than ever, we need our lawyers to lead."

Brown said there has been no shortage of recent events to compel people to criticize the fairness of the U.S. justice system, but law graduates have the power to restore trust.

"Thanks to the University of Houston Law Center, you have the tools to make the world a better, more fair, and inclusive place," she said. "You have the power to rebuild confidence in our nation's justice system. With your law degree, you can make a difference in improving access to justice for all."

Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes spoke before Brown, and made reference to "the Power of a Legal Education," the signature theme of his deanship. Baynes told graduates their Law Center education will allow them to write precisely, analyze rigorously, to advocate persuasively, and to conform to the highest professional standards of law.

"The power of a legal education enables you as graduates to transform your own individual circumstances, and advance your social mobility," he said. "A legal education is like buying a house in a really good neighborhood – it's likely to always continue to appreciate in value."

Michael Bradley Taylor served as class speaker and praised his classmates for their patience and willingness to complete their law school educations.

Richard Whitely '99, president of the UH Law Alumni Association, welcomed graduates to the Law Center's network of alumni and urged them to be true to their legal education, be proud of their Law Center background, and to practice law with passion.

Following the ceremony, the newly-minted graduates, family and friends, along with faculty and staff celebrated with a reception on the Law Center plaza.

Click here to watch UH Law Center's 2016 Convocation video.

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