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Bush v. Gore lawyers send off UNH law school’s 2013 graduates

  • Graduates walk out of the University of New Hampshire School of Law building and towards their commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Graduates walk out of the University of New Hampshire School of Law building and towards their commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Graduates process through White Park during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Graduates process through White Park during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Alison Slater is handed red roses on her way off stage after receiving her Juris Doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Alison Slater is handed red roses on her way off stage after receiving her Juris Doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Jacob Sullivan is greeted with handshakes on his way off the stage after delivering a speech during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Jacob Sullivan is greeted with handshakes on his way off the stage after delivering a speech during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Diplomas wait to be handed out during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Diplomas wait to be handed out during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Graduates walk out of the University of New Hampshire School of Law building and towards their commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Graduates process through White Park during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Alison Slater is handed red roses on her way off stage after receiving her Juris Doctor degree during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Jacob Sullivan is greeted with handshakes on his way off the stage after delivering a speech during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Diplomas wait to be handed out during the University of New Hampshire School of Law commencement on May 18, 2013 at White Park in Concord.<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Graduates from University of New Hampshire School of Law won’t cure diseases or rid the world of poverty, said commencement speaker, famed lawyer David Boies. But what they will do can be just as extraordinary.

“You are probably not going to invent a cure for cancer,” Boies said. “That’s not your educational background. You’re probably not going to solve world hunger, although you can make contributions. What you can do is you can increase the cause of justice. You can make a difference in terms of whether people are represented or not represented, whether equal rights are protected or not protected, whether people are discriminated against or not discriminated against. And you can do that every day of your lives.”

Boies, along with his unlikely cohort and sometimes adversary in law, Theodore “Ted” Olson, each delivered a commencement speech to 146 graduates yesterday in Concord.

Though each has had an extensive and distinguished career, they are best known as opposing counsel in the landmark case Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 presidential election in favor of George W. Bush. The two men, who also are close friends, then joined forces to take on the issue of marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court this year, arguing in favor of same-sex marriage.

In the process of working together, both men made Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” list in 2010. They tried to push a little of that influence yesterday by urging the graduates to champion social justice.

“Perhaps most importantly,” Boies said. “You’ll have the opportunity to serve justice. Because the law business is about the business of justice. It’s about delivering justice to people. And you’ll have the opportunity to do that. . . . Every day that you practice law will be an opportunity for you to make a difference in justice.”

Boies also offered advice on how to achieve success and what success means in the legal profession. He said talent and skills are certainly important, as well as working hard. “But probably most important of all is how good you are at gaining trust and exercising judgment,” he said. “Because when you look around at the people who are successful in this business, it’s not the person who’s the smartest, it’s not even the person who works the hardest, it’s not the person who has the best education, it’s the person who is most trusted and whose judgment is most trusted.”

As for what success looks like, in part, Boies said, it means the money made and respect earned by colleagues and the community. But there’s more to success than that, he added.

“I suggest to you that much of the accomplishment that you will feel when you retire from the practice of law, is the extent to which you have been successful furthering the cause of justice,” he said.

Olson reminded graduates that the law is a noble profession, where integrity and fighting bravely for a cause and a client are still valued. However, even in an adversarial system, Olson pointed out, it’s important to leave rancor outside of the courtroom and at times to be open minded to the person on the other side of an issue.

Graduates were appreciative of the advice.

“I learned that integrity and character is something that’s very important in the practice of law,” said Patrice Casian, 24, of Hampton Falls, about Boies and Olson’s speeches. “And that’s something that will carry with us for the rest of our lives. Particularly in New Hampshire, with a small New Hampshire Bar, your reputation is carried with you everywhere you go, and it’s something that’s very important.”

Joseph Young, 26, of Dayton, Ohio, said he will be taking the social justice message to heart since he plans to pursue a career that includes a lot of pro bono work.

“One thing that I am going to take with me is keeping in mind that not everyone has access to justice,” he said. “So everyone who drives a cab every day, everyone who drives a bike to work every day and all the people who don’t have the ways and means to pay for legal education or a lawyer or to get access to the courts are going to be the people I am thinking of as I practice.”

In addition to Boies and Olson, a few others received honorary degrees, including former governor John Lynch; retired federal judge Arthur Gajarsa, who is now the law school’s first distinguished jurist-in-residence; and former U.S. senator Warren Rudman of New Hampshire, who died in November. In addition to the honorary degree, the school recently established the new Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy.

“Today is Warren Rudman’s 83rd birthday,” said Rudman’s widow, Margaret, who accepted the degree on his behalf. “Thank you for remembering him and honoring him today, and including him in your celebration. If he were here today, he would tell you to reach for your challenges and strive to make the world a better place.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled David Boies's last name.

Olson’s wife died in a 9/11 plane rocketing into the World trade center...tragic how the press simply ignores that part of his Bio

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