“You don’t need a privileged background… you just need to love the law”
(Boston, Revised 7/12/11) New England Law | Boston: U.S. Senator Scott Brown delivered the keynote speech at New England Law | Boston’s annual Law Day Banquet on April 8, 2011. Brown addressed the gathering from Washington, where he was taking part in last-minute budget negotiations that averted a government shutdown, and his remarks were beamed to Boston via a live, closed-circuit link.
Senator Brown was elected in January 2010 to fill the term of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. He serves on the Senate Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs; the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Senator Brown was named “Bostonian of the Year” by the Boston Globe in January 2011.
Dean O’Brien extended deep and sincere thanks to Senator Brown for accepting the law school’s invitation and for being so accommodating in the midst of demanding times.
After noting Senator Brown’s admirable public success, the dean focused on the legislator’s inspirational personal story and the powerful lesson it imparts for law students. “For the students here tonight, who may have difficulty envisioning their own road to achievement,” said Dean O’Brien, “how much harder was it for someone like Senator Brown, who battled against such odds? If anyone needs evidence that one can overcome what may appear to be one’s destiny, Scott Brown’s story confirms that.”
Senator Brown’s remarks to the audience of 1,000 recounted the numerous hurdles that he faced growing up in a dysfunctional family, as detailed in his best-selling book, Against All Odds: My Life of Hardship, Fast Breaks, and Second Chances.
He segued from a candid overview of his difficult upbringing to heartfelt encouragement of the hundreds of students in attendance. “To make it all the way through law school and join this learned and respected profession, you don’t need a privileged background,” he said, speaking from experience. “You just need to love the law and work your tail off.”
Senator Brown offered a special tribute to evening division students. “I’ve always had special admiration for fellow attorneys who earned their degrees at night – working full time, grabbing dinner on the run, and studying after everyone else is asleep. They do what it takes, and schools like yours reward that kind of effort.
“Go into most any courthouse in this commonwealth, and you’re likely to find at least one judge or prosecutor who came to that job by way of New England Law. Some of the finest lawyers in Massachusetts got their training here, and it’s not by chance that so many go on to public service. They’re a reminder of what our profession can be at its very best, and that’s a credit to this great institution.”
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Senator Brown served in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is a 31-year member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard and currently holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.
Senator Brown began his career in public service as an assessor and then a selectman in the town of Wrentham. He went on to serve five years as a state representative before being elected three times to the Massachusetts Senate. As a state legislator, he advocated for children’s and victims’ rights and worked to promote environmental and good government initiatives.
Law Day was established in 1958 by proclamation of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Celebrated annually by the nation’s legal community and the general public, it promotes awareness of our country’s laws and justice system and the role they play in maintaining our nation’s freedoms.
Recent Law Day Banquets at New England Law have featured Supreme Court Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg; U.S. Representative Niki Tsongas; former chief UN weapons inspector, Dr. Hans Blix; and former federal Court of Appeals judge and solicitor general Kenneth Starr.