Law School Graduates Learn How To Reach Their Potential

The GW Hatchet

Victoria Sheridan

May 17, 2015

At the GW Law School commencement ceremony in the Smith Center on Sunday, graduates learned they could be anything from attorney general to a lawyer for a major corporation.

Keynote speaker Bobby Burchfield, a 1979 alumnus and partner at the D.C. law firm King and Spalding, listed former GW law students like U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Barbara Keenan and Senator Harry Reid as examples of what graduates could accomplish.

1. Lawyers are not lab mice

Burchfield, who has argued at the Supreme Court and served as general counsel on George H.W. Bush’s reelection campaign, shared a popular joke about lawyers being unethical and untrustworthy.

“People love to make fun of lawyers. Did you hear that research laboratories have replaced mice with lawyers? Yes they have,” he said. “The lab workers get too attached to the mice and there’s some things that mice just won’t do.”

Burchfield said that although there are many stereotypes about the profession, lawyers can also be national leaders who use their work to help others. He added that graduates needed to find their “moral compass.”

2. Bringing the ‘royal jelly’

Graduate speaker Helen Clemens reminisced about her law school orientation, where a guest lecturer told students that if they wanted to be successful, they would have to “bring the royal jelly.”