Fundamentals of the First Amendment and Law School Policies on Free Speech

Leslie Kendrick
August 17, 2023

Professor Leslie Kendrick ’06 discusses First Amendment policies, and the law and norms of free speech in the law school education process. She spoke as part of the Class of 2026 orientation.


LESLIE KENDRICK: Welcome to law school. How's it going so far?


LESLIE KENDRICK: Good. I'm glad to hear it. That's wonderful. Well, we're so glad to have you. I can't even express how glad we are to have you. My name is Leslie Kendrick. As Dean Gilbert mentioned, I study First Amendment and freedom of speech among other things. Among those other things is torts, so I'll be seeing two sections of you for first-year torts next week. I'm looking forward to that.

But today, I'm here to talk to you about the First Amendment. And I come to you in my capacity as a faculty member, a researcher, a scholar, and a teacher. That's why I'm privileged to speak with you today and to talk about freedom of expression and how that topic might relate to your life for the next few years.

Now, I want to note at the outset-- freedom of speech encompasses a lot of things and can mean a lot of things. My view is that freedom of speech is a human right. Everyone in the world deserves it. Not everyone in the world has it. Not every nation affords it to its people. Some of you might have come from places that don't allow people freedom of speech or might have family members there or might have lived there.

There's a lot that we could be talking about when it comes to freedom of speech. But today, we're going to focus on one narrow band within that very, very wide spectrum. And that's about freedom of speech within the law school education process, what you're about to embark on here. And in doing that, I'm going to give you a little introduction.

And then I'm going to make four points. Two of them are about the rules and the norms and the values that the law school possesses on this topic, and two are about and us as a community and what we bring to the table on this topic. And it's going to go law norms, law norms. Those are words that you're going to spend a lot of time with these days.

But when I say law in this context, I'm talking about obligations. I'm talking about rules, laws that are created by legal channels and, within this context, rules at a university. Norms are other types of pressures that people might feel or, on a more positive side, values that they might voluntarily endorse.

And freedom of speech-- when we're talking about as a doctrinal matter, we're talking about the law. We're talking about the rules. When we're talking as a community, we're talking about both law and norms. So we're going to cover both of those.

For an introduction, though, I want to-- I want to share a document with you. So as part of my work here at the university, I was chair of a committee a few years ago that penned a statement on free expression and free inquiry. This was a committee that encompassed many different constituencies of the university and was diverse in every way you could possibly imagine. We came to a unanimous statement on the importance of free expression and free inquiry at the university.

You may be aware of statements like this. There's a very common statement called the Chicago Statement or the Chicago principles that originated at the University of Chicago. This is a kind of statement that's of that same general genre, but it's not the Chicago statement. It's our statement.

And this is probably the first and last time that you'll-- that you'll be subjected to the whole thing in its entirety. But this is orientation, so that's the kind of thing we do here. And I'm going to do it.


All right, I've bolded some things that I think, in particular, I want you to focus on. But we're going to walk through this together. This is the statement.

"The University of Virginia unequivocally affirms its commitment to free expression, free inquiry. All views, beliefs, and perspectives deserve to be articulated and heard free from interference. This commitment underpins every part of the university's mission. Free and open inquiry is the basis for the scientific method and all other modes of investigation that produce, expand, and refine knowledge. It's at the heart of the principles of academic freedom that protect faculty from interference with their research and their views.

Likewise, the educational endeavor for students requires freedom to speak, write, inquire, listen, challenge, and learn, including through exposure to a range of ideas and cultivation of the tools of critical thinking and engagement. These tools are vital not only to students personal intellectual development, but also to their futures as citizen leaders equipped to assess contending arguments and to contribute to societal progress. For all of these reasons, expression of ideas should be given the widest possible latitude.

We endorse principles of free expression and free inquiry not because every idea is equally good. To the contrary, universities test and assess ideas every day through myriad processes of research and inquiry. These processes identify errors and generate breakthroughs of immense value for local, national, and global communities.

Indeed, the university has endeavored to acknowledge its own complex legacy while promoting the free exchange of ideas that creates future advances and progress. Academic commitment to free inquiry reflects the view that every idea must be heard so that it may be subjected to the rigorous scrutiny necessary to advance knowledge. This process requires deep critical engagement, as well as humility in the recognition that many commonly accepted views have proved mistaken, while many ostracized views have eliminated the path toward truth.

The University of Virginia has a unique connection to principles of free expression and free inquiry. James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights, including what's now the First Amendment as a member of Congress representing the district that would become home to the university. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson's Virginia and Kentucky resolutions were among the earliest extended interpretations of the First Amendment, which, as the Supreme Court observed years later, carried the day in the court of history and first crystallized a national awareness of the central meaning of the First Amendment.

Jefferson's vision for the university included the aspiration that here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead nor to tolerate any error, so long as reason is left free to combat it. At the same time, the university has not always fulfilled its aspirations, exploiting enslaved laborers and excluding Black Americans, women, and groups and viewpoints disfavored by the majority. Principles of academic freedom have not always withstood the pressures and fashions of the day, which remains an ongoing challenge.

But freedom of speech is among the most powerful tools by which wrongs are righted and institutions are improved or abolished. Principles of free inquiry extend to robust discussion and critical examination of the past. Equally importantly, they live in the present and extend to the future in a shared commitment to free expression for all speakers and views.

The university's commitment to free expression and free inquiry arises not only from its role as an academic institution, but also from its status as a public university. State institutions are bound by the Constitution, including the First Amendment. As Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote for the Supreme Court, 'To permit the continued building of our politics and culture and to assure self-fulfillment for each individual, our people are guaranteed the right to express any thought free from government censorship.'

Actions by the university implicate not only academic values, but also this legal principle and the ideals behind it. Under American law, principles of free expression have important limits. The university may regulate the time, place, and manner of expression for reasons unrelated to its content, including maintaining the normal operations of the university.

Free expression also does not protect speech that violates the law, including legally defined categories of incitement, defamation, threats, privacy violation, and intellectual property infringement. In addition, various types of prohibited conduct can be partially or entirely composed of speech, including stalking, harassment, and unlawful discrimination. These exceptions are defined by law and represent narrow and necessary limits to an otherwise expansive commitment.

Free and open inquiry inevitably involves conflicting views and strong disagreements. Indeed, some ideas may be offensive, noxious, and even harmful. We act as responsible members of a shared community when we engage as empathetic speakers and generous listeners. We further our common project of academic inquiry with mutual respect and intellectual openness.

Even as the university affirms values of mutual respect, however, both the First Amendment and principles of free inquiry forbid these values from becoming a basis for closing off discussion. The university must not stifle protected expression, permit others to obstruct or shut down such expression, or regulate the tone or content of responses that stop short of interfering with other speech or violating the law.

Rather than seek to control speech or countenance its silencing, the university must promote values of mutual respect while emphasizing that their vitality rests with the self-governance of speakers and listeners. The university's commitment to free expression and free inquiry represents a living ideal reflected in policy and embodied in the actions of community members every day. We rearticulate and reaffirm it here as a foundation for the university's third century and beyond."

Now, that's a lot, but it packs in a lot. That is a statement of principle that applies not just to the law school, but to the entire university. However, you all are lawyers, or you're getting ready to be. You've come here to become a lawyer, so we're going to unpack some of these concepts a little bit. And we're going to start with the law.

We're going to start with the First Amendment, and the part we're going to focus on is "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press." Let's unpack this a little bit. It says, "Congress shall make no law." Does that mean just Congress? No, it means all three branches of government. And since the incorporate separation of the First Amendment against the states in the 1920s, it means state government as well, so federal government, all three branches, also state governments, all state government actors.

"Congress shall make no law." Obviously, that includes statutes, formal enactments. But it also includes actions, policies, decisions of individual state actors, that is, those who are part of that government, that government structure that we just discussed, even where they are making decisions that their supervisors would not approve. So we're talking not just about law, but about decisions by state actors.

Now, it says, "Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech." Does this mean all speech is protected all the time? No. There are limitations, as the statement mentioned, and those limitations are defined by law. They are not defined by what we think. Any one of us thinks, should be unprotected speech.

Now, the reasons that we have this freedom-- that's a deeply explored topic. And I welcome all of you. I'd love to see you in First Amendment class. Or my colleague, professor Fred Schauer, who's a world expert on First Amendment and is teaching the class this year-- he would love to see you.

And a lot of what we talk about are the justifications for freedom of speech. Some of them are touched on in the statement. Obviously, unpacking them more would require much more time, but they include these. One is democracy. We live in a democracy. And for democratic outputs to be legitimate, democratic inputs cannot be censored.

If you have a decision that a society is made on the basis of incomplete information or systematically censored information, that outcome is not going to be legitimate because the people who are making the decision, the people who are voting and whatnot were not fully informed.

Also autonomy-- Justice Thurgood Marshall's quote mentioned autonomy. The idea here is that part of the reason that we have a democracy is that we are all citizens worthy of equal dignity and respect. We all have our own life projects that we are trying to develop within the context of our society, and our ability to hear others and to frame our own ideas and to frame our own thoughts helps us in that development. You could note that that's perhaps particularly important in the context of a university, where the whole point is that you're coming to learn and develop your own skills and your own aspirations.

Finally, the search for truth is often mentioned. This, too, has real purchase within the university. The idea is that we-- not necessarily that we always find the truth, but that we're likely to do better in getting toward truth with open dialogue than with systematic repression.

Whatever the underpinnings, and there are others that are offered as well, this law binds the government. The First Amendment, as we saw, "Congress shall make no law--" this is an obligation on the government, not just Congress, the whole government does not bind private speakers. This is something that comes up a lot in public discourse about First Amendment. People will say their First Amendment rights were abridged by a nongovernment actor, like an employer.

Unless your employer is the government, the First Amendment is not what's in play there. There might be larger freedom of speech principles that are in play, but not the First Amendment. But for our purposes, this university is bound by the First Amendment. This is a public university and, therefore, is a state actor for purposes of that "Congress shall make no law."

The First Amendment binds state universities like this one. So if you think about the people who make up a public university, we have faculty, staff, and students. Two of those three categories are state actors for purposes of the First Amendment. You guys aren't-- enjoy that--


--unless you become part of the student government. And I should note that. There are certain delegated functions that groups like the Honor Committee, the University Judiciary Committee, other types of student government bodies certain of their functions. Not all of them have the force of state action within the context of the university.

So if you are part of one of those groups, you're going to want to get informed within your group about when you're acting as essentially a public official and when you aren't. But generally speaking, as students, you are not bound by the First Amendment. But those around you are. The faculty and staff are.

What does that mean? It means that university policy and the actions of university employees have to be viewpoint or content-neutral, and I'm collapsing a lot of doctrine here in the sake of time. But basically, our decisions should not be based on the message of what speech is saying, unless it's one of those very, very narrow exceptional categories that we talked about that's not protected, generally speaking, neutral with respect to the viewpoint or content of the speech and reasonable. Our actions have to be reasonable.

This has been put in lots of different ways by lots of different Justices, but here's Justice Marshall writing for a majority of the Supreme Court in 1972. "Above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content."

Along with that, a famous statement from Justice Brandeis in 1927-- wasn't writing for the court at the time. This became the adopted viewpoint later of the court. "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Only an emergency can justify repression."

Now, again, we should note the limitations to that, the terms and conditions. And we can go back to the statement for a quick statement of these-- unprotected category of speech, incitement, defamation, threats, violations of privacy, IP infringement. There can be forms of conduct that are partly or entirely composed of speech-- stalking, harassment, unlawful discrimination, conspiracy, criminal solicitation. There are various examples, but these are defined by the law. They are not defined by individual preferences.

So that's the legal framework in which we're operating here. But as the statement mentions, principles of free expression also have special purchase within a university independently of the work that the law is doing. In fact, most private universities have rules very similar to the ones that I just outlined, even though they aren't bound by the First Amendment, because their mission is to educate and advance knowledge.

You may have been to universities that had principles similar to this, even if they weren't public universities. The idea is we expect-- we protect all expression of ideas not because all ideas are created equal, but because they are not. And the idea is that within a university context of all places, we determine whether an idea is good or not by suppressing it, but by articulating it and analyzing it and scrutinizing it.

It's only through free inquiry within a university context-- the notion is that ideas-- the idea is that they have to be articulated in order to be tested, rejected, complicated, or refined. And we see that, in a number of different contexts, that clearly informs the teaching mission. You are here to learn.

Part of that is asking questions. Part of that is putting forth propositions that you may or may not believe but that you want to discuss as a matter of the education that you're receiving. It happens not just in the classroom, but also at events with speakers outside the classroom, in conversations between students outside the classroom, and in scholarship and research that your professors are undertaking and that you can help with as research assistants and co-authors.

And that's just what-- when we're talking about universities. All of this has even greater purpose when we're talking about law schools. You are here to become members of the bar, officers of the court. You are joining a profession that depends upon the adversarial process, the discussion and debate of ideas of propositions, of evidence, of interpretations of law inside the courtroom and outside of it.

So not only do we have academic freedom and free inquiry principles. We also have professional obligations as lawyers not to run from or silence ideas, but to confront them, dissect them, argue against them, or make your own arguments better in response to them. We have tons of clinics and other practical places where you can get that education and that experience, but all of your classes are preparing you for that ultimate goal on your part.

You're going to find yourself in the courtroom here. You're going to practice and prepare for doing that later in the future or advising your clients to stay out of that by anticipating all the particular possible arguments that could be made that might pull them into court later.

By the way, this is a picture of our International Tax Moot Court Team winning the worldwide International Moot Court Tax Championship a few years ago in Europe, the first American team to do so. And I think that was the beginning of a three peat. They've won several times. So you are getting an education that's going to put you at the top of the global profession.

So that's the law of the First Amendment and the norms or principles and values that apply within a university, and particularly within a law school. So let's talk now about what this means for us as members of the community, and here, too, I'm going to talk about law and the larger sense of rules. I'm also going to talk about norms in terms of what values and principles we can shape as a community.

So first to talk about law or rules, the obligations that the University has as a state actor and the principles that it endorses as an academic institution lead it to have various policies that articulate obligations that are in line with what we've just been talking about. So this is a free speech website,, that has a collection of university policies that relate to this, also includes the free speech statement.

The law school has a similar page about free speech-related policies. These are symmetrical, these-- the policies, the practices. But there's a law school-related resource as well. And that policy page lives within a larger website devoted to the free exchange of ideas that you can find on the law school website, includes not just policies, but also links to various other parts of the law school that foster, promote, support free exchange of ideas within our broad, diverse community.

In addition to those larger policies, what you see them manifesting as-- I'm going to go through some of the areas where you would see rules or laws apply. So one is faculty at the law school and the academic institutions generally enjoy academic freedom to formulate their classes, to formulate the educational process and the pedagogical process that they are inviting students on, to determine how to cover topics, what topics to cover. They enjoy a great deal of freedom in that, and that is protected by a doctrine of academic freedom that is, at once, values-based and law-based.

The same is true for US students. You as participants in classroom discussion and outside of class enjoy a great degree of freedom to discuss ideas with each other with your professors, to put forth propositions, whether tentatively or with surety, to listen to the responses that they receive, to reply and to engage in that dialogue.

Outside of the classroom, we have an incredible number of events that occur at the law school that exhibit the same principles. Student organizations and parts of the law school invite many, many different speakers who have expertise in the law and in some aspect of legal practice to bring them before students to engage in dialogue and discussion.

Now, events are one aspect of this, where I want to highlight some of the policies that exist, that are there to be consistent with both our legal obligations under the First Amendment and our principles and values as an academic institution. So the university's articulation of an important event-related policy is "no person may disrupt an invited or permitted speaker or hinder the ability of other attendees to see or hear a speaker. Similarly, law school policy protest dissent or other counter speech may not interfere with the speaker's ability to speak, a listeners ability to see or hear, or the ability of an event to proceed as scheduled."

Now, I mentioned and the statement mentioned time, place, manner regulations. These are regulations on the-- or policies or decisions on the part of a state institution that are not about the content of a message, but about other content or other aspects of it that are not related to the content, content-neutral aspects of the speech. And they're called time, place, manner regulations because those are the types of qualities or aspects of speech that they often regulate.

So you could think about a noise ordinance that keeps noise in your community below a certain decibel level, and maybe at night that decibel level is even lower. That's going to affect how everybody can convey their message. If you've rented a sound truck from midnight to 4:00 AM, you're going to be disappointed in how much you can utilize the capabilities of that sound truck.

And the fact that you are spreading a message, even the deepest, most important political message in your mind is not going to stop you from getting cited by the police when you break out your sound truck. They are not targeting your message. They are targeting the volume, the time, and the place of your message. So when we're talking about both events and classes and all sorts of speaking activities, time, place, manner regulations can apply.

And generally speaking, they mean that, whether we're talking about a scheduled event or we're talking about counter speech or we're talking about unrelated speech, it can't disrupt normal law school operations or university operations if you're at the wider university. They can't jeopardize the physical safety of any person or the integrity of property belonging to the university or any other person or entity. These are content-neutral bases on which activities can be regulated, even activities that involve speech or are speech based.

And when it comes both to the prohibitions on disrupting events and in getting engaged in some form of speaking activity that disrupts normal operations or threatens physical safety or property, there are possible consequences. Individuals who violate such policies can be asked to leave the premises and may be subject to penalties. Here at the law school, that includes law school disciplinary action, university disciplinary action, arrest or criminal charges. And the university policy says the same thing, not about law school policies in particular, but about university arrest or criminal charges.

So you just heard about professional obligations from Dean Davies, Dean Dugas, and Dean Gilbert. This is a university policy, like many other university policies, that apply to you while you're a member of the law school, a member of the university. And those have consequences for all university members. For you, as someone who's applying to be a member of the bar, they have another level of consequences in so far as bar authorities may be interested in issues in which you violated university policy.

Now, some more ramifications about this-- this is kind of extrapolating away from specific areas like the classroom or events. Woo. Getting excited.


So just generally speaking, what's the big picture here? The big picture is that, as state actors and as participants, employees of an institution of legal education, members of the law school, staff and faculty, will not interfere with speech that does not cover or cross one of those lines that we've talked about, those very narrow categories that I mentioned.

If you are asking for law school personnel to interfere with something that another student has said, for example, in a Reddit chain or in a class-wide group chat, which I'd love to talk about why that seems like a good idea to folks--


But if you get offended by something that someone else says, you should not expect that anyone at the law school is going to remove that post, certainly not from a third-party platform that we don't control, or interfere with it in any way that would be message-based, unless it crosses one of those lines that we've discussed.

Now, we're also trying to be professionals here. And if you're concerned-- and we're trying to keep each other safe. So if you're concerned that someone is suffering from a mental health issue or is exhibiting behavior that might jeopardize their career as a lawyer, certainly try to seek help for that person, including by coming to law school personnel.

We are not here to leave you alone to be out there in the world, spouting whatever you want without any kind of conversation. It might be that person needs to talk to somebody about what's going on with them, or it might be that they don't entirely realize how what they're saying is coming across to other people. And either peers or colleagues or student affairs folks could speak with them about that.

Do not expect that what's going to happen is that someone's going to get punished for protected speech. That is not what public institutions do. That's not what universities do. It's not what law schools do, and it's definitely not what public law schools do.

The same is true of events. Do not expect that, because an event is offensive to you, that law school personnel are authorized on that basis to prevent it from happening or that you yourself are authorized to disrupt it for that reason. Those are precisely the types of actions that our obligations both under the law and as an academic institution and as a legal institution that's devoted to upholding the law forbid.

So that's the law or rules part of what this means, the ramifications for our values and our legal obligations within our community. But there's also an enormous part to talk about here, and there's also an opportunity. It is true that these principles can bring challenges, but they do also bring opportunities. And this is an invitation that I extend to you to frame freedom of expression as part of the main thing that you're here to do, which is to learn.

So I'm going to share with you some of my favorite facts about the law school. We have 71 student organizations, which bring in a wide array of speakers and within themselves, within their internal discourse are discussing a huge variety of topics that are of importance to our world, importance to our profession, importance to you as future lawyers.

We have 10 academic journals, where students like are working with faculty members from around the country to produce legal scholarship, research, academic inquiry into some of those very same issues. And we have the number-one quality of life of any law school in the country. And we managed to do all of that, and we do that by trusting each other and coming to each other in good faith.

There are a lot of issues in our world that are very divisive and a lot that's of major importance going on in our society. You all have different views about many of those things. We do not have magic dust that we sprinkle on everyone that causes the world out there to go away when you come here. In fact, what we are doing here is preparing you to take on a certain role out there in the world.

What we do have, though, is an opportunity among roughly a thousand students and additional employees to try to create a community that models what we want to see in the world, including modeling sincere and authentic discussion of important issues and treating people like a neighbor rather than treating them like an enemy, even when you disagree with them on a particular issue in a very deep way.

We have lots and lots of organizations both at the law school and at the university as a whole that are devoted to talking across difference, and that takes a lot of different forms. That can be debates for those of you who want to engage in a more adversarial process. That can be forms of talking that are more about coming to compromise, where you start in different positions and try to reach an agreeable outcome. And by the way, that's a set of legal tools and skills that's very important, mediation, negotiation. Some of you are going to be doing that for a living.

But there are also forms of talking across difference that are not about winning and are not about-- certainly not about compromising. They are simply about understanding someone or respecting them as a person even when you know that you will never agree with them about a particular issue and that, within the context of larger society, your conflict will not be resolved through discussion.

All of these are important forms of engagement, and there are many, many opportunities to engage in all of them. Legal practice can involve all of those different forms of engagement, depending on where you decide to take your legal career.

But I think more importantly, or at least equally importantly, are the conversations that are not structured by the institution but are created by you. You are rarely going to encounter an idea in a vacuum here. Instead, you're going to hear ideas articulated by people. They're going to be articulated by other human beings and, most often, your classmates, sometimes also faculty and staff.

And whether it's your instructors or your colleagues, these are human beings just like you. And they deserve equal dignity and respect as such, even when their ideas deserve criticism. I ask you to take their humanity seriously, as well as their ideas. Listen charitably to other people.

Seek clarity and understanding. Oftentimes, I have seen, where two people are talking past each other because they impute to their conversational partner, a view that isn't actually theirs. Make sure you take the time to understand what someone's saying. Give them enough of the benefit of the doubt to do that.

And recognize that their attachment to that idea, even if you have it clearly-- it might be hypothetical. It might be provisional or transitional somewhere along their own learning trajectory. The fact that they want to hear a speaker that you don't want to hear doesn't mean they believe everything that speaker believes. It means that that's-- they have part of a provisional attitude toward that person at that time.

And if they truly, deeply believe it, listen and engage in conversation, not conversation that treats them like the enemy, but conversation that gives the idea, the scrutiny that it warrants because all of this is part of what we're doing here. And you're involved in it, and your fellow students are involved in it. And that's learning.

And another part of this is to take a broader view-- another part of the invitation to take a broader view of what free inquiry is because it certainly these types of serious conversations. It's debating people you disagree with, but it's also finding communities of like-minded people and working through ideas with them, refining views with them. And also, sometimes even some of the deepest disagreements that you will find are with people who think almost the same thing that you do. Sometimes those small differences can mean a lot, especially in the context of a student organization or some type of group decision-making that you're engaged in.

Talk with people. Find people who agree with you. Work through ideas with them. Get involved with things that have nothing to do with freedom of speech. Sharing a common goal with different people, whether it's volunteering for public service or playing softball, truly-- all of this builds community. It exposes you to new perspectives, sometimes without you even realizing it.

It helps you appreciate the good in others, and it builds trust and respect. Even something as simple as spending time with your section mates or your roommates will build trust, which helps it-- helps make it easier to have real conversations. And the more real conversations we can have, the better off we will be.

You are here to have a good time while you're learning. The people you are here with are going to be your friends. And regardless of whether you're friends are not, you're professional colleagues for the rest of your life. Give them the benefit of the doubt the way that you would like them to give you the benefit of the doubt. Act in good faith.

It can be very difficult to balance exactly the-- where the line is between speaking your mind and that being an important exercise of your freedom of speech and biting your tongue and saving a thought to another time or another context because it's time to listen to somebody else or engaging in a certain type of conversation in a certain way versus holding off on it and shaping it and structuring it, giving a little bit more thought to how it works.

It is very hard to balance being authentic and opened with your own ideas and being respectful and caring of others. I do not claim that it is easy, but I do claim that it's part of our responsibility as human beings and certainly part of our responsibility as members of a small community of people engaged in this same endeavor who will have lifelong relationships with each other and rely on each other in ways that you can't possibly expect or anticipate right now.

So for this-- this brief time, you have the power to define what kind of community you want to live in. We have a lot of conflicts out there. They don't disappear when we step into the building. We can't make this easy, but we can make it good.

It's going to be hard. But if you treat other people the way you want to be treated, your time here will be good. Your time here will be happy, and it will be the beginning of wonderful careers for all of you and lifelong relationships. I hope it will be the beginning of a time that is better for our profession and better for our society by virtue of having you in it with the skills you already have and the skills that you're going to hone in the three years that you're here.

So welcome to law school. You have enormous power to shape the kind of community you want to live in for the next few years. Choose wisely. Go hard on ideas. Go easy on people. And every day, get up, and go out there and learn. Thank you very much for your attention. I appreciate it.