Integrity, Civility, Access To Justice Are Keys To A Successful Legal Career, De Muniz Says

by University Communications,

Saying it was a “privilege to share this day with all of you,” Willamette’s Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence Paul J. De Muniz told the Class of 2013 that to be successful, they should build their law careers on personal integrity, a commitment to civility and the preservation of access to justice and the rule of law.

“Contrary to the view of some in our society, the profession you are entering is the noblest of professions,” De Muniz JD'75 told the 129 graduates at the commencement and hooding ceremony. “You walk in the footsteps of John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. Conduct yourself in the practice of law so Willamette University College of Law’s reputation can draw strength from your reputation and your achievements.”

The College of Law awarded 123 JDs and four LLMs at the school’s 127th commencement and hooding ceremony. The hooding was done by Professor Jeffrey C. Dobbins, executive director of the Oregon Law Commission at Willamette University, and Professor David A. Friedman. Several members of the class were hooded by their parents who graduated from Willamette decades ago.

Three members of the Class of 2013 graduated summa cum laude, seven graduated magna cum laude and 14 students graduated cum laude.

Three professors who have retired received the distinction of emereti faculty. They are Kathy Graham, a former associate and acting dean who has taught at the law school for 36 years; Richard Hagedorn, the Van Winkle Melton Professor of Law, who has taught for 29 years; and Dean Richardson, who has taught at the law school for 39 years.

“These are three people who have made a significant difference in not just the lives of the students, but all the people who have come through this institution,” said Steve Wynne BA’74, JD’77, chairman of Willamette’s Board of Trustees.

Dean Peter Letsou also thanked Associate Dean Jeffrey Standen for his service to the law school. Standen, who has taught at Willamette for 23 years, is leaving to become dean of the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.

Willamette University President Steve Thorsett, who also addressed the graduates, thanked Letsou for his 11 years of service to the law school. Letsou, who has been dean since 2011 and associate dean before that, will become dean of the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis on June 1.

To view a photo gallery of the event, click here.