Justice Theis Offers John Marshall Graduates Three Tenents for Professional Success

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Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis gave graduates of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago three tenents to follow during their legal careers: competency, civility and service.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis gave graduates of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago three tenents to follow during their legal careers: competency, civility and service.

Theis delivered her comments as the speaker at the 195th commencement ceremonies May 19, 2013, in which the law school awarded 295 J.D. degrees, 27 LL.M. degrees and seven M.S. degrees. Theis was awarded an honorary degree during the ceremony.

Theis told graduates the law is a scholarly profession that is not stagnant, so “graduating law school is not the end of your studies. You will need to continue to learn for the rest of your lives in the law.”

Civility is essential to one’s professional role: “Rudeness and personal attacks don’t win cases. Incivility is not just bad manners, it is bad lawyering. Civility is based on respect for the court, for your opponent, for your client, for yourself and for the rule of law.”

Remember, the role of an attorney is to provide optimum service to clients, the justice said. “It’s not about us, it’s about them. Always, always, the client’s interests come first.”

A lawyer’s work is much more than providing a product for a client. Theis likened lawyering to a helping profession, because “we take the lives of our clients in our hands, as surely as any doctor does,” she said.

“As you cite-check and proofread, it’s very tough to see what those tasks have to do with doing justice,” Theis said. “But I urge you to seek meaning in your work. If you do that you will find great joy in our wonderful profession.”

About The John Marshall Law School
The John Marshall Law School, founded in 1899, is an independent law school located in the heart of Chicago’s legal, financial and commercial districts. Through classes, clinics and special programs, students develop the strategic, analytical and transactional lawyering skills that are so valuable to employers. Its excellent curriculum, coupled with outstanding skills and experiential learning, help make John Marshall graduates practice-ready from day one. For practicing attorneys, John Marshall offers nine LLM degrees, more than any other law school in the Midwest. John Marshall is also a leader in providing distance education options in intellectual property, estate planning and employee benefits at the advanced graduate degree level. John Marshall offers six clinical experiences, including the nationally recognized Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic and the Fair Housing Legal Clinic. U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools 2014 edition ranks John Marshall’s Lawyering Skills Program second and its Intellectual Property Law program 12th in the nation.

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Marilyn Thomas
The John Marshall Law School
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