Dean Matthew Diller’s speech to the Fordham Law Class of 2021 was published in The New York Law Journal.
You are graduating from law school at a truly unique time in history.The coronavirus outbreak has transformed the way we live … the way we interact … and, of course, how we teach and how we learn.I am particularly struck by our community’s resilience … the resolve of our faculty to find creative ways of teaching … and also your resourcefulness in coping with this upheaval. In addition, I am particularly proud and touched by the way so many of you have turned your attention toward those who need our help more than ever before.…Ultimately, to be truly effective in addressing these fundamental issues of justice in our society, this notion of connection will continue to be critically important.As lawyers, listening to your clients and developing a deep understanding of their experiences and the situations they face requires reaching beyond yourself and what you know.Throughout your Fordham Law education, you have been developing and honing these skills. After all, our motto is “In the Service of Others” … and you can only serve others through empathy, listening, and understanding. The better you can grasp what others are experiencing, the more effective you will be as an advocate and in crafting solutions. In the end, your ability to connect and listen will make your case stronger and your solutions more compelling. And that’s how you will make change in our society.