In a recent First Monday Musings column on Above the Law, Dean Amar reflected on the function that law schools perform for our country, and shared an edited version of his keynote remarks from the swearing-in ceremony for newly minted Illinois lawyers. He wrote:
"In today’s world, I think that, collectively, lawyers may be the most influential officeholders. To be sure, we talk a lot about people who hold the office of President, or Governor, or legislator, or United States Supreme Court Justice, or state court justice or judge, but these folks are relatively small in number and many are transient in their officeholding duration. And, sorry to say, they — at least many of them on both sides of the aisle — are not doing a particularly good job of adhering to all the duties I just listed.
"If this county is going to get its act — and its people — together, to tackle the immense social, economic, and scientific challenges it confronts, it is going to need a large cadre of professionally minded leaders to show it the way, to set the tone, to offer an example. Doctors are great — they heal individuals. Engineers are wonderful — they help construct things. But if we want to heal not just individuals but society, and if we want to construct not just devices but institutions, the single most important profession over the next few decades may very well be the one you are entering today. We are depending on you, and have every confidence that we have picked the right people to hold this awesome office."
Full column on Above the Law