National legal analyst Rikki Klieman tells UMass Law Class of 2015 "making a living is not the same as making a life"

UMass Law Class of 2015 celebrated today at UMass Dartmouth's Main Auditorium

Today UMass Dartmouth held its Commencement Ceremony for UMass Law at the University's Main Auditorium. 58 students earned their Juris Doctor at today's ceremony. 

"I know you are ready to prepare for and pass the bar, ready to enter the legal profession, and most of all ready to pursue justice," UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said. "We all know that justice, unless pursued vigorously, can be elusive at times, even in the United States. As justice-centered lawyers, inculcated with a desire to serve society through the practice of law, you will have the opportunity to bring justice to where it is needed most. As graduates from the public law school of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts -- the land of Adams and Hancock and Kennedy - you have a special obligation to pursue justice." 

UMass Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek offered welcoming remarks during the ceremony. 

"We are gathered to celebrate the power of this class of graduates to change the course of their future clients' lives, to assert rights, and to right wrongs, to speak for and represent the powerful and the marginalized, to write and interpret laws in many ways large and small, public and private, to advance the rule of law in this country and throughout the world," said Dean Bilek. "You've inspired each other and all of us each day as you've walked through the door and into the classroom. You've challenged us and you've motivated us to recommit each day to our mission to provide you with access to legal education and the opportunity to prepare for the profession that has justice as its core value." 

National legal analyst Rikki Klieman received an honorary degree and offered the Commencement Address. Attorney Klieman is currently a CBS News Legal Analyst. She was an Anchor at the Courtroom Television Network from 1994-2010 and a Contributor for the CBS Early Show, the NBC Today Show as well as the E! Network. She has also appeared as a legal analyst on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC, CNN, CNBC and MSNBC. In addition, Ms. Klieman continues to inspire others with her autobiography, Fairy Tales Can Come True--How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny, which reached the L.A. Times Best Seller List. She was named one of the five most outstanding women trial lawyers in the country by TIME Magazine. She has been interviewed on countless radio and television programs about various aspects of criminal and civil law and procedure, including, among others, 60 Minutes, 20/20, The McLaughlin Group and a Nightline Special Report on rape hosted by the late Peter Jennings. 

Rikki Klieman remains Of Counsel to the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Klieman & Lyons, where she specialized in criminal trial and appellate practice as well as civil litigation. She received her J.D. from Boston University School of Law. Prior to her legal career, she was a theater major at Northwestern University who became a professional actress. Following law school, she served as a law clerk for the Honorable Walter Jay Skinner of the United States District Court of Massachusetts, and as a prosecutor with both the Middlesex and Norfolk County District Attorney's offices. 

"I am just like you," Attorney Klieman said. "I wanted to come here today to be with you. I grew up very poor. I was in a working class family. Everything I've gotten in life, every single one of them, was against all odds. You have, no matter what your station in life, the ability to change your life and perhaps far more important to change the lives of others. Whatever is going on in your life, personally or professionally, please give back. At the end of the journey, the question really is 'what did I do that really mattered?' If you do something for those less fortunate, it will make your life a whole lot richer. I have certainly learned that making a living is not the same as making a life." 

Brittany L. Raposa, JD '15 addressed her fellow graduates as the Student Commencement Speaker. Brittany is a local student from Somerset, Massachusetts. Brittany earned a BA in Literature and a BA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2012. At the law school, Brittany served as the Student Bar Association Secretary and as the Executive Notes Editor on the University of Massachusetts Law Review. She was also an instructional assistant and a Dean's Fellow tutor. Brittany has had three notes published while in law school, all of them focusing on health law and healthcare policy, areas in which she hopes to practice. For one of the notes she won the American Bar Association's Health Law Student Writing Competition. 

"The University of Massachusetts School of Law has produced a group of future lawyers that strives to help people. It produced future lawyers with kind hearts, humility, and civility, who ultimately seek justice," said Brittany. "The law is our nation arguing with its conscious. The law is keeping an immigrant family together. The law is providing a child with an adequate education. The law is in essence a battle to prove that society is not powerless to prevent injustice." 

To watch the Commencement in its entirety, visit www.umassd.edu/watchonline. UMass Dartmouth's 2014 Commencement is over three days with four ceremonies. This year's undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will take place May 15-18, 2015. The UMass Dartmouth Class of 2015 is made up of 1,923 (1427 undergraduates; 440 graduates) students. The Class of 2015 represents 235 Massachusetts communities, 28 states, and 30 countries. 

UMass Law, the only public law school in Massachusetts, was established in 2010 to provide a high quality, affordable legal education focused on creating justice-centered lawyers. UMass Law is especially committed to increasing the diversity of those who practice law in the Commonwealth and encouraging students to become professionally engaged in their community through clinics and internships while they study.


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