WMU-Cooley Law School’s Tampa Bay campus held its spring commencement ceremony bestowing juris doctor degrees onto 37 individuals April 15 at the University of South Florida School of Music. Graduate Ricardeau Lucceus was selected by his classmates to present the valedictory remarks and Judge Barbara Twine Thomas of Hillsborough County’s 13th Judicial Circuit Juvenile Division provided the keynote.
Lucceus spoke to his classmates about the current political climate and how lawyers are addressing many of the issues.
“As you have recently witnessed, attorneys are saving the day in this current zeitgeist by addressing injustice and by helping to maintain balance and respect amongst the three branches of our state and national governments,” said Lucceus. “These attorneys had to be not just educated, but they had to understand the complexity and the challenges they face when dealing with the community as a whole. It takes a lot of focus and mental fortitude in order to do what they are currently doing; this is why investing in education, a solid education, is more than ever a necessity.”
During her remarks, Twine Thomas shared three life lessons for honorably and ethically meeting the challenges the next generation of lawyers face. The three lessons she spoke about included being competent by concentrating on the craft of being an attorney, pursuing purpose with passion, and being honest.
Addressing the students, Twine Thomas said, “Take on every assignment as if the world is watching, even if you know they are not. It will be up to you to care for and ensure justice for everyone, not just the well-heeled client who can pay you generously.”
Before joining the bench, Twine Thomas was an attorney in private practice and has served as past president for the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers, George Edgecomb Bar Association and the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation. Twine Thomas earned her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida and her J.D. from the University of Florida.