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Seton Hall Law Commencement – Read the Speeches, See the Photos!

Hon_Jeffrey_ChiesaSeton Hall Law School celebrated its 59th Annual Commencement with the graduation of 310 students on Friday, May 24 at the Prudential Center. The Honorable Jeffrey S. Chiesa — New Jersey State Attorney General, currently serving as U.S. Senator – presented Commencement remarks and was awarded an honorary degree. Read the the speeches presented on that special day —and enjoy the photos in Flickr!

Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, Homily delivered by Father Nicholas Gengaro, Chaplain, Seton Hall Law, May 23

Consider these two remarks:

'Things don’t advance very steadily, primarily because each day I discover something I hadn’t seen before…In the end I am trying to do the impossible!' (Claude Monet, in Michael Howard, Encyclopedia of Impressionism (Carlton, 1997) p.224.)

'I’m afraid what I’m doing is just dreadful, and yet I really am understating it…' (Claude Monet, quoted by Patrice Tuohy, Take Five for Faith, April 19, 2013.)

Votive_Mass_of_the_Holy_Spirit_2013_CommencementNo, these are not comments any of you wrote at the end of your first year in law school. They are the thoughts of late 19th century French painter, Claude Monet...A lawyer, not unlike the Impressionist painter Monet, is someone who approaches reality in a new way. Just as Monet struggled to understand and appreciate the effects of light on the eye of the beholder in the depiction of a scene, so you have struggled – and will continue to struggle – to see and appreciate how the structures of law shape and direct human activity.

Read the Homily here >>

Welcome Remarks presented by Patrick C. Dunican Jr. ’91, Chairman and Managing Director, Gibbons P.C:

Patrick_C_Dunican_Jr_91_2013_CommencementSeton Hall counts among our graduates numerous New Jersey judges, federal judges, business executives, CEOs, general counsel, successful lawyers at big firms, at medium firms and at small firms and of course the sitting Governor of the State of New Jersey.

Your Seton Hall degree is a ticket on a voyage where you decide where to journey, where to explore, where to help and where to conquer. No matter where you pick - it is sure to be exhilarating, exciting and downright fun.

Read the welcome speech here >>

Invocation by Father Nicholas Gengaro

Father_Nicholas_Gengaro_2013_CommencementLord, enable us always to understand and remember, that law and justice are not mere abstractions, but disclose your creative will which brings order out of chaos. In making and keeping laws we mirror your power and discover the love you have for us and all you have brought into existence. Through the profession of law, make us faithful stewards of Creation. All to your greater glory!

Read the Invocation here >>

Commencement remarks by the Honorable Jeffrey S. Chiesa, New Jersey State Attorney General and currently, acting U.S. Senator:

Honorable_Jeffrey_Chiesa_and_Dean_Patrick_E_HobbsNow, there are a bunch of stories that stick out in my mind of the great moments I’ve seen in practice, but there’s one deposition that stands out in my mind in particular as an illustration of the quickest way to eviscerate your adversary’s case…

This was an expert deposition being conducted in a medical malpractice case where the plaintiff had alleged obstetrical malpractice against one of our clients…

This doctor was slated to testify that our client had committed malpractice in his care and treatment of the plaintiff. It remains the shortest deposition of an expert witness I’ve ever seen.

Most expert depositions take hours. This one took far less time, minutes rather than hours for reasons which will become clear to you now. The deposition went about like this:

Good afternoon doctor, good afternoon counsel.
Q. Doctor you are a licensed physician in the State of New Jersey, is that correct?
A. Yes I am.
Q. Did you graduate from medical school?
A. Yes I did.
Q. Where did you attend medical school?
A. The University of Bologna.
Q. Where is that medical school located?
A. It’s located in Italy.
Q. Doctor, in what language were the medical school classes taught at the University of Bologna?
A. They were taught in Italian.
Q. Doctor, do you speak Italian?
A. No I don’t.

… Inevitably, during your careers, you will both be sitting in the seat where our firm was sitting, armed with critical information that will sink the other side’s case.

But, on other occasions, unfortunately, you will be sitting in the seat with the witness who’s collapsing right in front of you. And while this story is amusing, I use it to illustrate something I want to stress with you as you begin your careers.

At the end of that deposition, the partner at my firm did not lord over the other attorney, or the witness. He knew, quite frankly, that there but for the grace of God go I.

Read Senator Chiesa’s remarks here >>

Student remarks, presented by Caitlin Carroll ’13, whose speech was selected by her classmates:

Caitlin_Carroll'13_2013_Commencement2Nelson Mandela said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

We need to use this weapon to critically consider not only the substantive questions in our work as lawyers, but also the impact of our work.

A law degree carries great responsibility — regardless of the area of law you choose to practice. Make sure you practice with the same moral guideposts that Seton Hall Law has taught you.

Professors will remember you, and will want to help you succeed...Your friends from Seton Hall Law School will also always be here for you. We all shared this experience, we all struggled at some point during the past few years, but we all banded together to accomplish something monumental.

So, thank you friends, but realize they and you are not off the hook yet. Your Seton Hall friends will be your colleagues, your references, your adversaries in court, and your networking contacts. So while it may be fun to Gchat with them during class — not that anyone ever did that, Professors — but your friends are also vital to your future success.

Read Caitlin Carroll's remarks here >>

View the photos on Flickr here >>