Graduates encouraged to make decisions that preserve the values of law


he School of Law Class of 2020 was urged to live their professional oath every day through their actions and service to their communities.

Louis Pepe, a partner in the law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, in Hartford, Connecticut, told the graduates that they are entering a noble profession with the power of making positive change in the world on August 25 at the school’s virtual Commencement ceremony.

School of Law Ceremony

Louis Pepe

Louis Pepe

Partner at McElroy,Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP

Pepe spoke of decisions — those the graduates had already made, and those they have yet to confront.

He reflected first, on their decision to choose to study at Quinnipiac, where the faculty are on the cutting edge of legal education, offering enriching and hands-on learning opportunities. 

He acknowledged that they undoubtedly experienced moments of doubt about their decision to study law.

"I can assure you with confidence that you made the right decision," he told the graduates, "because you are about to enter a great and honorable profession."

“We are a nation built under the rule of law. And that ideal — and its preservation and its implementation — is entrusted to our profession," he said. "As lawyers, we are charged with making the duty of the rule of law work — for everyone. And what higher calling can there be?"

He encouraged the graduates to uphold the precious values of the legal profession, no matter what area of law they choose to pursue. 

He posed several questions to guide them as they make throughout legal careers, asking them:

  • Will you decide to scrupulously maintain the highest ethics, character and integrity? Everything you do in your new life you do as an officer of the court. 
  • Will you decide to give generously of your time and talent to help the least fortunate among us? Pro bono work has always been, and must always be, a hallmark of our profession. 
  • Will you decide that because the law is ever changing, your legal education will never end? Thereby recognizing that maintaining your skills is essential to discharging your duties to your clients. 
  • Will you give back to the legal community? Whether you do by joining and working in the organized bar, or teaching, or mentoring your colleagues is not important, so long as you give more than you take. 
  • Will you decide when all is said and done to accept the fact that you have selected a truly demanding profession and decide that you can and will make the personal sacrifices necessary to do it right?
“If you decide those questions correctly (as I am confident you will) then our beloved profession will be in good hands — your hands,” he said.

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Jen Brown

Jennifer Gerarda Brown

Dean of the School of Law

School of Law Dean Jennifer Gerarda Brown urged the graduates to control their reactions to the tumultuous world around them.

“Events outside ourselves are often also outside our control, but we can control our own reactions to them,” she said, finding inspiration from Marcus Aurelius. “He says you have power over your mind and not over outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.”

She cited their work assisting those around them, and implored them to continue the important work.

“You have advocated for clients, friends and family and, most recently, for yourselves and your professional futures,” she told the graduates. “I have been incredibly impressed with your dedication and professional interactions.”

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Jeffrey Cooper, professor of the year, urged the graduates to recognize their accomplishments as the big deal that it is.

“Because even in moments of great triumph, we often fail to fully appreciate that achievement — to enjoy the significance of the event rather than immediately looking to the next step in our climb ever upwards,” he said.


Jeffrey A. Cooper

Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development

“Today, on the occasion of your Commencement, I say to you: This is a big deal. Before you resume your journey forward to all the great thing ahead, please take a moment to bask in your accomplishments.”

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