Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon Jr. is giving the keynote speech for the Dec. 14 hooding ceremony at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, and he says he’s going to keep his remarks to 15 minutes or less. Shannon says that’s because he recalls his own 1963 graduation when he received a bachelor of laws degree at the University of Texas in Austin.
“I just started my 50th year practicing law, and I can remember that what I wanted [in 1963] was to get my hands on that diploma; I did not want to sit there and listen to someone yammer at me,” he says.
Shannon says his theme for Friday’s speech is that lawyers can never quit being students.
“The main thing I’m going to emphasize is, ‘Don’t think you’ve arrived; you’ve just gotten to the starting point.’ That’s definitely a lesson I’ve learned.” Shannon says. “I’m looking forward to it, and it will be fun, but I don’t expect anybody to remember what I said 15 years from now.”
Texas has nine American Bar Association-accredited law schools. Of those, Texas Wesleyan and two others will celebrate winter session hooding ceremonies this weekend.
On Dec. 15, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Elrod will address winter graduates at South Texas College of Law in Houston and Mary Alice McLarty, president of the American Association for Justice, will speak to graduates at Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock.
Baylor University School of Law in Waco is on a quarter system and celebrated fall graduations on Nov. 12 with guest speaker Baylor law professor Jeremy Counseller.
St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio held a hooding ceremony on Dec. 8. Guest speakers included St. Mary’s Law School Dean Charles Cantύ and Judge Israel Ramon Jr. of the 430th District Court in Hidalgo County in Edinburg. Ramon is also president of the law school’s alumni association.
The remaining four law schools — Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, the University of Houston Law Center and the University of Texas School of Law in Austin — do not have formal winter hooding ceremonies.
— Jeanne Graham