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Legendary Silicon Valley lawyer Larry Sonsini counsels SCU graduates

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 22, 2004 –Larry Sonsini, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the leading law firm in the U.S. representing technology companies, investment banks and venture capital firms reminded Santa Clara University law graduates that integrity, judgment and character are key to the legal profession.

“Without integrity you lose all credibility and capability to fulfill your obligations to the profession and to your clients,” Sonsini said. “Integrity requires a commitment …to truth and fair dealing….your integrity reflects your ethics and never before has ethics been so essential to our world,” he said.

Speaking at the 2004 commencement ceremonies for the Santa Clara University School of Law at 10.30 a.m. today, Sonsini was awarded an honorary degree of doctor of laws.

Reminiscing about the day he graduated from law school 38 years ago, Sonsini reminded graduates of the myriad opportunities that lay ahead. “All of this opportunity also brings challenges,” he cautioned.  “As a lawyer, the product you are really selling is yourself… Reputation is a currency in this profession,” he said. “Your reputation is a product not only of your skills, but also the quality of your integrity. …You are entering a profession that faces, and will continue to face, greater scrutiny to balance client loyalties with public trust.”

At the ceremonies, 289 J.D. degrees and 23 LL.M degrees were awarded. In addition, 33 of the law graduates received certificates in public interest and social justice law, 46 received certificates in high tech law, six in international high tech law, and three in international and comparative law.

Today’s law commencement ceremonies also featured student awards.  Viva  Stowe received the outstanding law graduate award. The award carries a prize of $5,000 made possible through a gift from the Mabie Family Foundation. The Dean’s Special Achievement Award was received by Christina Rupke.

SCU Law School Dean Donald Polden thanked former law school deans, George Alexander and Gerald Uelmen, for their commitment and service to the SCU School of Law. Dean Alexander who headed the law school from 1970 to 1985 will retire this year.

The SCU School of Law is one of the 5 most racially and ethnically diverse in the U.S. in 2004, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Out of 200 nationally accredited law schools, only three were considered as having a more diverse student body. (The magazine’s diversity index is based on the total proportion of minority students, not including international students, and the mix of racial groups in 2003-04).

U.S. News and World Report also ranked SCU’s intellectual property and high technology law program was as one of the top 15 in the country. The magazine survey also found that 93 percent of SCU law school students were employed nine months after graduation-- an increase of three percent over 2003 employment figures. Applications to the SCU School of Law have more than doubled since 2001.

Ceremonies for the 153rd SCU undergraduate commencement will be held Saturday June 12. Fr. Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., a Jesuit priest who works with youth gangs in Los Angeles, will speak at the Saturday morning undergraduate commencement at Buck Shaw Stadium at SCU.

  Willem “Wim” Roelandts, a former Hewlett-Packard executive and president and CEO of Xilinx, will speak at the Santa Clara University graduate commencement ceremony on   Fri., June 11, 7.30 p.m. in the Leavey Center at SCU.

About the SCU School of Law

The SCU School of Law, founded in 1912, combines a tradition of excellence with a commitment to ethics, diversity, and social justice, and is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Many of its 968 students work in criminal and civil community law clinics, and may earn certificates in intellectual property law, international law, or public interest law. Law degrees may be combined with MBA or master’s in taxation degrees, and the law school offers lawyers master’s degrees in international law and intellectual property law.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at


<p>Larry W. Sonsini delivers the law school commencement address.</p>

Tags: law

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