Twenty-nine distinguished Widener Law alumni stood before the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, June 18 and took the oath to become members of the Supreme Court Bar.
Associate Professor H. Geoffrey Moulton
read the names of the alumni and offered them as fit to become members of the court’s bar. Moulton clerked for the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist early in his career.
Law Dean Linda L. Ammons
and members of her staff, including representatives of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations
, accompanied the group. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor also happened to be in the courtroom gallery. The court announced decisions in four cases during the 30-minute proceeding.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made separate personal visits to the Widener contingent’s reception room following court.
“Congratulations to all of you,” Roberts said. “This certainly is a great day.”
He spoke briefly about the history of the Supreme Court Bar and mentioned a few notable figures depicted in portraits on the stately reception room walls. Ginsburg, whose visit to the group was a bit longer, talked of Belva Lockwood, the first woman permitted to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. She also took a few questions on everything from what it was like for her as a new justice to her own role as the second woman to take a seat on the nation’s highest court, after O’Connor.
“It’s something Justice O’Connor said very often, ‘At the end of the day a wise old man and a wise old woman come to the same conclusion,’ ” Ginsburg said. However, she was clear that perspective can be enhanced by diversity of gender. “I also think we bring to the table the experience of having grown up as women.”
The Widener group then traveled to a luncheon at The Madison Hotel in Washington, where alumnus Kenneth Lopez was the featured speaker. Lopez graduated from the Delaware campus in 1995 and is a member of the school’s National Advisory Council. He is president and chief executive officer of A2L Consulting
, a Washington-based firm that specializes in jury consulting, litigation graphics and trial technology.
Lopez spoke about having passion for your life’s work and seizing opportunities. He recalled the impact that the late Peter Hess, who taught Lopez as an adjunct law professor, had on his outlook.
“He was the first person to say to me, make your hobby your work and you’ll never work a day in your life,” Lopez said.
During his second year of law school Lopez began experimenting with computer animation. Eventually that led to a demo tape, then a business deal and then a business. Today that business has worked with every major law firm in the country and has been voted the best in Washington.
His experiences triggered a round of inspirational advice:
“Honor your talents by using them. It makes work so much easier,” he said.
“Honor your passion by following it. It’s never too late to chase your passion.”
“Honor people and institutions that enable your success along the way by giving back. I’m thankful for my degree from Widener. It’s a place I’m proud to be associated with.”
Dean Ammons said the day was memorable, not only for the alumni but for the history of Widener Law.
“I am ever proud of being your representative, the head of your institution, because it is a fine institution and we’ve only just begun,” she said. “The connection between a good law school and a great law school is its alumni base.”
The alumni sworn into the bar traveled to the nation’s capital from as far as the state of Arizona to take part in the event. They included:
Eric Mark Andersen
Patricia M. Antonelli
Cedric D. Bullock
Eric Franklin Bush
Brian Thomas Cagle
Kathleen Margaret Callaghan
Rebecca M. Cantor
Mia D. Casson
Mark E. Elvin
Kristi Ann Fredericks
Clarissa L. Freeman
Robert L. Hawkins
William Bruce Hemphill
David Alan Kaplan
Quintina M. Laudermilch
C. Patrick Renegar
Joseph P. Wargo
Mark W. Reagan
Paul Christian Seigrist
Phillip A. Simon
Lawrence E. Tan
Laura Beth Taylor
James Scott Taylor
Joel West Williams
Adelle R. Zavada