An Address by Dean Adam Dodek
Hello and congratulations members of the Class of 2020!
As Dean of the Common Law Section of the Faculty of Law, I want to congratulate you and your families on your graduation from law school.
I want to begin by acknowledging how unusual and inadequate this virtual Convocation is for you. I know that you and your loved ones have been anticipating Convocation since the beginning of the year.
Many of you have been picturing it since the day you started law school. I would even venture to guess that for some of you, when you received your acceptance to law school in 2017, at that moment some of your parents’ could visualize you walking across the stage to collect your diploma
To all of you, I want to say that I understand that you feel robbed and cheated out of Convocation. That it is not fair . . .
But however important it is, Convocation is an event. Graduation is an accomplishment. And nothing can take away the enormity of your accomplishments: not even a pandemic.
A state of emergency may take away our ability to come together to celebrate your graduation, but nothing can take away the immensity of your accomplishments.
So most importantly, I congratulate you on all of your hard work that has led up to your graduation. The long hours over the past three years at Fauteux but also the many years before that.
And I know that you did know do this alone. I acknowledge and congratulate your families and your friends who supported you along the way. All of the people who told you that you could do it when you needed most to hear those words of encouragement.
You are graduating at a time of great uncertainty. I know that it might not seem like it now, but the world that will emerge after COVID-19 will provide many opportunities for you, including those that would not necessarily have existed before COVID-19.
Most of you came to law school because you wanted to become lawyers. You have now passed the greatest hurdle to obtaining that achievement: law school. For so long, the legal system and the legal profession was traditional, conservative and closed.
For decades, the legal establishment has told us and told the public what is “normal” and what is “acceptable”. It was not ready for new ideas let alone bold ones.
That is no more.
The Coronavirus has exposed these deep flaws within our legal system and within our profession. It is shattering myths and lancing legal culture that blocked innovation. The legal system and the legal establishment has no choice now but to change. Or it risks extinction.
And each of you have the opportunity to be part of those changes. And to initiate change yourself.
Your class will forever bound by the unique experience of graduating during a pandemic and public health emergency. No one will ever forget the Class of 2020.
The experience of living through COVID-19 together will always unite you and I suspect that it will be a source of strength for you as individuals and as members of the Class of 2020.
So to the members of the Class of 2020, I say to you, Congratulations! Good luck!
I look forward to celebrating your accomplishments in person when we are able.