May 27, 2008 at 10:39 am | Posted in law school, little bug | 2 Comments

Graduation day was almost perfect — a blue sky, warm (but not hot).  A beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived in the morning from my Princeton girls, reminding me that this was indeed a special day.  The ceremony was quite lovely, as well.  Attorney General Michael Mukasey did draw some protests — from the protesters at the school gates dressed in orange jump suits with paper bags over their heads, to the professors who handed out pamphlets expressing their opposition and held white carnations, to my friend Ellen who almost walked out! — as well he should have, since his speech was almost devoid of any “graduation” qualities and was instead entirely a defense of torture.  (As he started speaking, a friend sitting two seats down leaned over to whisper to me, “He’s going there!”)  At the very end he threw out something like, “At sometime in your legal career you might be asked to make a decision that seems unpopular, but remember there is a difference between what is political and what is actually legal.”  I want to add that he also said something like, “I hope you’ll have the courage to do the right thing,” but my writer’s brain might be making that part up.

The highlight, of course, was getting my diploma.  Tim walked the Little Bug up to me from the stands and I carried her across the stage.  I had tears in my eyes and yet a huge smile on my face because who would have thought?  Not only that I’d go to law school at 30 (well, I’d argue that some would have thought that might happen), but that I’d also acquire a husband and daughter in the process. 

Friday would have been my grandmother’s 90th birthday (or maybe her 94th or 92nd — she was sort of cagey with her age!)  She was so proud that her two daughters were lawyers, much as I have always been proud of my aunt and my mother, explicity and subtly following in their footsteps.  Law school gave me my life back.  I loved the rigors of the first year, I made incredible, life-long friends, and I rediscovered my sense of self — which led directly to everything else:  finding Tim, having my daughter, pursuing a great job.  As I walked across stage, holding my tired, fidgeting baby, hearing my degree announced, it all became very, very real.  And I was elated.

After the graduation ceremony (which concluded with the second-highest dean of the school remarking that the judge who had presided over the Salem witch trials stood in front of his congregation years later and apologized.  “You can always go back and admit you are wrong,” Dean Clay admonished [a not-so-subtle dig at Mukasey, obviously]. “Congratulations, graduates.” Hmmm.)  there was a champagne reception up the hill, and then the Rodgers-Beaumont-Murphys retired Chez Murphy for a little after-party with the Little Bug. 


Little Bug meets the Dean (this one’s for you, Monique)

More posts to come on the law school experience, but I did want to mark the happiness — its utter thoroughness coming as somewhat of a surprise — of this day for me.

The after party!


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  1. Kathryn-
    This made me cry!!! I think in part because I recognize the venue (astro turf, curved roof, aaah, bc) and also because e walked across the stage with you! Congratulations. This is truly something to be proud of.

  2. Not everyone in the country takes the multistate. It is not used in Washington. And by that I mean the actual state, not the District of Columbia.

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