On Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at the SMU Dedman School of Law orientation dinner, a group of 300+ incoming law students were privileged to hear words of wisdom from three highly successful graduates–all of whom, 32 years prior, were in the exact same position as the new law students.
Judge Jane Boyle, Ron Barger, and Phil Wise, all SMU Dedman Law graduates from the Class of 1981 (Barger and Wise also serve on both the law school’s Executive Board and Second Century Campaign Steering Committee), spoke to the 2010-11 entering class of law students. Each speaker reflected on their experiences during law school and gave advice to the new students.
Ron Barger, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Archon Group, started the discussion. “I’m honored to be here,” he said, “32 years ago we ventured into the same journey that you are about to begin.”
When asked by one of the new students how technology, and more specifically Blackberry communication as an example, had changed the way legal professionals communicate, Barger noted that while “people expect instantaneous responses and answers,” it was essential to be cautious in communications amidst the fast pace. “Don’t shoot from the hip,” he concluded.
Boyle, a Judge for the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, recalled that “the law school experience has its ups and downs” and that it can be a “gut-wrenching experience.” However, she stressed the importance of “two constants that haven’t changed,” a lawyer’s “reputation and the quality of his or her work.”
Phil Wise, Founder of Cienda Partners and a Civic Leader, noted that SMU Dedman School of Law is “one of the most competitive and unique law schools” in the country and that it “will prepare you to be a leader.”
Overall, the three panelists delivered valuable insight for new law students regarding the importance of critical thinking connected to problem solving and of being an excellent advocate that can find solutions for their clients.
“Your reputation starts today,” Boyle added.