Tuesday, June 5, 2018

An open letter from a Florida judge to law school graduates

Florida Judge J. Layne Smith has published an open letter in the Tallahassee Democrat urging new law school graduates to be scrupulously honest, fair, treat everyone with respect, listen rather than talk, nurture a healthy skepticism and read everything you can get your hands on - among other traits. An excerpt:

Ask Judge Smith: Letter to a law school graduate


Dear Law School Graduate:


Congratulations - graduating from law school is a milestone! Take time to celebrate your achievement with family and friends. Tomorrow you can refocus on passing the bar exam, finding a job, and paying back student loans. 


Good fortune has already smiled on you. Your chosen profession will open doors for you in private practice, public service, business and government. With continued effort and focus you can earn a good living and be a difference maker.


However, only you can decide how to live and what you want to accomplish with your career. President Kennedy said, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Likewise, Luke the Evangelist wrote, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return.” Luke 12:48. So, think big, aim high and realize your potential.  


That being said, don’t get too full of yourself because you still have a lot to learn and there is no substitute for actual experience. Be patient, humble and pay your dues. The key to success is earning the confidence of others through sustained effort, professional growth and high achievement over an extended period of time.



People notice how you treat others, including the janitor, your paralegal, and opposing counsel. Show respect to everyone and be plain-spoken. Make it a habit to introduce yourself and network with a purpose.

. . . . 

Read Judge Smith's full letter here.



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