Faculty of Law

“Graduation is a truly exciting time in life”

The dean of Washington University School of Law, Nancy Staudt, is the main speaker at this year’s graduation at The Faculty of Law.

Nancy Staudt
Nancy Staudt is the dean of the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and the Howard and Caroline Cayne Professor of Law. She will attend the graduation seremony at the Faculty of Law on June 16.
Washington University School of Law

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The graduation will be arranged June 16, and more than 200 graduates will attend the event. The dean of Washington University School of Law is excited to meet the Norwegian students.

“I am thrilled to get the chance to meet with the Norwegian students, and their families and friends. I have been so impressed with the University of Bergen Faculty of Law, and all the people that I have already met. As Norwegians, the students are very well-positioned to do great things for this world. I am excited to learn about their plans, their visions, and their future. Then I will watch their successes from afar!” Staudt says.

A potential to have an impact on society

Staudt received her B.A. from The Ohio State University, her J.D. from the University of Minnesota School of Law, and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She first fell in love with the law after working as a legal assistant on two cases with a law firm in Washington D.C.

“First I had the chance to work on a tax case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and I found the issues and the judicial decision-making process exciting. Second, I worked on a death penalty case involving a man accused of shooting people in a robbery. We lost both cases, and I was disappointed. But the experience taught that lawyers can work on some of the most important issues of the day, and they have the potential to impact society. I realized that studying law could be a great path to helping people, but also to working on relevant social and political issues” she says.

Ambitious students

Staudt has never regretted her decision to study law. In fact, every day she is even more confident that the legal profession is one of the most exciting and important professions there is. Law School she remembers as both a lonely and exciting experience.

“It was lonely because I found the work challenging and difficult, and spent so much time in the library by myself! But it was also exciting because I discovered two loves: writing and taxation. I worked on a law journal in law school and loved it, and became a tax lawyer upon graduation.”

Staudt believes the students are different now than when she was a student, at least in the United States.

“When I graduated in 1989, the students primarily worked alone on projects, papers, and job searches. Today, students see law school as a collaborative experience. They work in study groups, see the deans and the faculty as their partners, and work together to build their careers. I believe this is a great development for everyone. The students are ambitious and they care about promoting a better world.”

Dramatical changes

Due to increased globalization in the world, Staudt believes that lawyers must play a key role in building a respectful international community. She emphasizes that we all need to study and understand diverse cultures, laws, and systems.

“At the same time, I believe it is important to respect what makes each country and culture unique and special. This involves balancing our interests and working together” she says.

In addition to increased globalization, the dean also sees several other new challenges for lawyers today.

“In my view, the practice of law is changing dramatically and this poses a challenge for lawyers, law firms, courts, and many others. As in many other disciplines, technology and innovation are key and this means that lawyers must build a skillset that is applicable to their own areas of the law. This can be challenging for many, but exciting too.”

A unique skillset

Staudt is looking forward to speak for the graduates from Bergen next week, and she advise them to take a moment to enjoy the results of all their hard work.

“Graduation is a truly exciting time in life – it is like the final exclamation point to years of hard work. It is also a wonderful time to reflect on the profession’s past and future. Lawyers have a unique skillset and have the ability to make a major mark on society. For these reasons, I would also advise the graduates to consider their own vision for the future – and work for this vision over the course of their careers and through all the hurdles and challenges. If they are focused on their own vision, I have no doubt they will achieve something great.”