Barbara M.G. Lynn, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, gave the SMU Dedman School of Law Commencement Address on May 16, 2009. Judge Lynn’s inspirational remarks included the administration of an oath to the graduates, and other lawyers present, to signify their obligations to their profession:
“I will not reject from any consideration personal to myself the cause of the impoverished, the cause of the defenseless, or the cause of the oppressed. I will endeavor always to advance the cause of justice and to defend and to keep inviolate the right of all persons whose trust is conferred upon me as an attorney at law. I will do justice, I will perform my work with integrity and I will protect the rule of law whenever and wherever it is in jeopardy.”
She concluded her remarks with her wish for the graduates that “you will realize the legacy of Atticus Finch, Sandra Day O’Connor, Margaret Brent, Clarence Darrow and Abraham Lincoln. Stand tall and be proud. You are lawyers,” she said.
Judge Lynn graduated from the University of Virginia in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Highest Distinction and went on to Southern Methodist University School of Law where she graduated summa cum laude in 1976. She then joined the law firm of Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal as its first female associate and became its first female partner in 1983. When appointed to the federal bench in 2000, she was the first woman to serve as a federal judge in Dallas-Fort Worth since the late Sarah T. Hughes, who retired from the active federal bench in 1975. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the SMU Dedman School of Law in 1999 and currently serves on the Law School’s Executive Board. In 1992, Judge Lynn was the first recipient of the Louise B. Raggio Award given by the Women Lawyer’s Association. She was presented the Sarah T. Hughes Award by the State Bar of Texas’s Women and the Law Section in 2006. She also served as 2008-2009 chair of the 4,000-member American Bar Association Judicial Division, having previously served as chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges and the ABA Section of Litigation.