I attended the University of Denver, College of Law from 1994 to 1997. Law school was one of the most challenging yet educational times in my life. My professors were committed (no, not institutionalized) to helping students develop the skills necessary to be outstanding lawyers.
I remember Professor (Sheila K.) Hyatt's response to a classmate who alleged a lawyer could just lie and not deal with the ramifications of the rules. I had never seen Professor Hyatt so passionate about anything. (She was always understanding and instructive with students, but this student pushed a button and out came the soapbox.) She explained exactly why it was wrong for lawyers to lie and the consequences on the attorney, the profession, and the legal system. We students just sat there with our mouths hanging open. But, it is true: lying in our profession has destroyed the trust people had in lawyers to the point where a common joke today is to misplace the word lawyers with liars.
I remember the first day in Environmental Law class. Professor (George W. Rock) Pring asked me for the definition of the environment. I pondering exactly what comprised the environment for a few seconds. Then it came to me and I proudly stated that the environment was the environment. When everyone started laughing, I realized what I had actually said. Rock just laughed with everyone else. (Seriously, it is hard to define the word!)
My best moments came when I was a junior partner with Lawyering Process. My responsibilities included teaching first-year students the basics of research and helping them with their writing. But I also loved counseling them on how to deal with difficult assignments, annoying classmates, and, yes, unreasonable professors.
What I cherish most from law school are my friendships, many created during late nights when we worked to transfer our notes into study outlines for finals. I remember Michele looking at me with fire in her eyes and yelling at me to stop trying to *@!%+ analyze everything&good times. (She is still one of my closest friends.)
I remember Michael Melanson running my campaign for Student Bar Association president. People came up to me after I lost the run-off election and told me they wished they had voted for me. (To tell you the truth, I am glad they didn't&that would have been too much work during my last year: I was a journal editor, took two clinics, and an internship.)
I remember Professor (Edward H., Jr.) Ziegler asking Rick his name and after being told, Professor Ziegler said, Okay, Steve . . ., (He always had a problem with names.)
I remember Professor (Mark) Vogel being the only professor willing to answer a question without responding, It depends ...
I remember Dean (Robert B.) Yegge, writing to congratulate me on passing the bar and getting my first job it meant the world to me.
I remember walking into the library years after graduating, seeing the familiar smiles of Martha (Keister), Patty (Wellinger), and Sheila (Green), and feeling as if I had just come home.
Law school was the fire that forged who I am today. I may not have turned out to be a masterpiece, but the finished piece is definitely reliable and strong.
- Robert V. (Otter) Aghazarian, JD 1997