Commencement 2013

Commencement 2013 speeches focus on camaraderie

Loyola Law School, Los Angeles hosted its Class of 2013 Commencement Ceremony at 12 p.m. Sunday, May 19, 2013 on the campus of Loyola Marymount University. During the ceremony, juris doctor (JD), 3-Year Joint JD/LLM, JD/MBA and Tax LLM degrees were conferred on candidates. The keynote speaker was alumnus Patrick Kelly ’69, Western Region managing partner at Wilson Elser and president of the California State Bar. The grand marshal was John J. Collins '61, former chair, Collins, Collins, Muir + Stewart LLP. The student speakers were Ariande Giannis (day) and Mark Gilfix (evening).

Kelly used his speech to celebrate the strong ties that bind Loyola graduates. He also emphasized the importance of establishing integrity in the practice of law.

“We are all unified in our commitment to help others find a better life. Indeed, our main calling as lawyers is to help others: clients, family, friends and our community,” Kelly said. “It is this spirit of helping that will be a guide you throughout your career. At Loyola you have been given the tools to be one of those who are helping to make our society better. Indeed Loyola will play a focal role in your career – not only because of the school’s wonderful reputation and the academic lessons it teaches. But equally as important: the practical lessons it has bestowed upon you in being a lawyer and in serving the community.”

The California State Bar president encouraged graduates to focus on reputation early in their careers. “As you leave commencement today, I suggest that you consider with great care what you want your brand to be and how you're going to achieve it. Once you start on the path you have selected, it is very difficult to change – particularly in the area of your professional reputation. You can spend a career building it and lose it very quickly by unprofessional conduct.”

Day student speaker Ariande Giannis, president of the Day Student Bar Association, thanked her classmates for their camaraderie. “We shared a lot these past few years, and today we share a bittersweet celebration,” she said. “I hope you are as proud as I am of being a member of a group of such extraordinary people.”

Evening student speaker Mark Gilfix celebrated the strong sense of support fostered among his classmates. “When I was lost and confused, many of you reached out to me to ask if I needed help,” he said. “I tried to do the same for you whenever I could. Through this mutual generosity, we made it through those tough times.”

About Pat Kelly ’69 

Kelly has a storied relationship with Loyola Law School. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Law School’s Advocacy Institute and was elected to the Law School’s Board of Overseers. He also served on the Law School’s Alumni Association Board of Governors and was the recipient of the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010. Most recently, he served as one of Loyola’s inaugural Guest Alumni Bloggers on its Summary Judgments faculty blog at He was profiled in the most recent edition of the Loyola Lawyer magazine.

A member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Kelly has served on a laundry list of boards and task forces aimed at helping attorneys and those they aim to serve. A past president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, he was chair of the committee that founded the organization’s magazine, the Los Angeles Lawyer. He served as a member of the board of trustees of the California State Bar and was on the founding editorial board of the California Lawyer. He also served on the board of directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, among many others.

Kelly is using his leadership role in the California State Bar to advance pro bono work and encourage more attorneys to resolve cases through negotiation instead of litigation. “A lot of cases end up taking clients’ money and making them mad at each other by walking the long litigation road when the better public service would have been to try and help the people come together at the outset.”