Dean Minow urges graduates to work together to change the world

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Credit: Martha Stewart

On May 26, 2016, on Holmes Field, Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow congratulated the graduates, telling them, “You have made the law yours and the world will be better for it.”

Enormous opportunities await them, Minow said, assuring the assembled J.Ds, LL.Ms, and S.J.Ds, “You are ready.”

Minow cited six HLS alumni who took risks and showed drive to “produce genuine solutions to hard problems.” They included Juliette Kayyem ’95, a civil rights attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, who has become a national leader in homeland security issues, managing federal and state cooperation during the BP oil spill, terrorist bombings, and weather disasters.

You have made the law yours and the world will be better for it.

Dean Martha Minow

She also praised U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch ’84, who is working to overhaul the American criminal justice system, “tackling systemic challenges with persistence, patience, diplomacy, and courage.”

Samual Pisar LL.M. ’55 S.J.D. ’59, who earned an doctorate in law at HLS in 1959, was a vital advisor to the governments of the United States, Poland and France, as well as a leading trade lawyer and author.

Ariel Ye, LL.M. ’99, has become a leading expert in dispute resolution, arbitration, and crisis management in the Asia Pacific region, and Minow noted, has recently been named one of the top 15 women lawyers in China.

Ray Halbritter ’90 has led his Oneida tribe in building successful businesses and settling centuries-long disputes with the state of New York. In addition, with skills honed the HLS Program on Negotiation, he has battled bigotry against Native Americans.

Lastly, she cited James Donovan LL.B. ’40, who served as a defense attorney for a Soviet spy captured by the United States. Recently portrayed by Tom Hanks in the movie Bridge of Spies, Donovan “defended the rule of law, despite political pressure, and had foresight to prepare for and later to negotiate the exchange of prisoners between the United States and the Soviets.”

Like these graduates who preceded them, this year’s class shows “smarts and drive,” Minow said. “There is no greater assemblage of gifted, hard-working, imaginative, and well prepared individuals anywhere in the world than the Harvard Law School Class of 2016.”

Minow asked the graduates to use their influence to better their communities and the world: “Listen generously to others, dig deep into your talents, take risks, remember who you are, work on genuine solutions to hard problems, and you will make a difference, over and over again. Individually, you are superb. Working together, with people both like and unlike yourselves, you will change the world.”