I have been asked to say a few words to mark your graduation. First, congratulations on attaining your honours degree!
Secondly, although I have no particular words of wit or wisdom to pass on to you, I do think it is important, whatever your career aspirations may be going forward, to keep in mind the enduring things you learned in the past four years and I’m not referring to the law! That changes and, of course, you have mastered the art of updating and expanding your legal knowledge. What I am talking about are the skills and characteristics you evidenced and developed throughout your studies. For example: how to remain objective when considering the subjective and conflicting views of others; showing resilience when the going gets tough; and your ability to reflect on the best approach to problem/solution scenarios when faced with various alternatives. Such attributes and many others will remain with you when current legal knowledge fades or falls in to desuetude.
It will come as no surprise to you that I have chosen to quote Lord Denning in closing. The undernoted passages come from his book The Discipline of Law (1979). The first provides advice re critical thinking and communication. The second sees his Lordship discuss the Doctrine of Precedent. His approach to this doctrine, you will recall, was considered unorthodox and the Court of Appeal reversed many of his early judgments. He was often accused of being a ‘free-thinker’! However, several of his dissenting judgments were subsequently adopted by the senior courts. The thrust of his argument is that ‘justice’ should not be hidebound by precedent if logic dictates adherence to the conventional approach would lead to an unjust outcome.
I will leave up to you to judge whether his words provide a modicum of wit and/or wisdom that you will find of any practical use anon in your chosen profession, legal or otherwise!
“To succeed [in the profession of law], you must seek to cultivate command of language. Words are the [lawyer’s] tools of trade...The reason words are so important is because words are the vehicle of thought. When you are working out a problem on your own – at your desk or walking home –you think in words, not symbols or numbers...If others find it difficult to understand you it will often be because you have not cleared your own mind on it. Obscurity in thought inexorably leads to obscurity in language.” 
“Let it not be thought...that I am against the doctrine of precedent. I am not. All that I am against is its too rigid application...I would treat it as you would a path through the woods. You must follow it certainly, so as to reach your end. But you must not let the path become too overgrown. You must cut out the dead wood and trim off the side branches, else you will find yourself lost in thickets and brambles. My plea is simply to keep the path [to justice] clear of obstructions which would impede it.” 
Please keep in touch and let us know where you are and what you are doing in the future.
carpe diem et manere bene et prosperabitur!
Best wishes to you all,
It’s official. You’re now fully-fledged members of Abertay’s Alumni Network, a diverse and impactful community who live and work throughout the world and are proud to say they studied at Abertay University. Learn about how to stay in touch with Abertay and your Alumni Network after graduation.Find out more
We're extremely proud of every single one of our graduates. Learn more about what some of your fellow Alumni have gone on to do within their careers.
Ian graduated from our BSc (Hons) Criminology programme in 2009, and is now an IoT Practice Lead at Blackberry within their Security Services division.
My advice to all of you is, whilst times are uncertain, it’s important to plan your journey. Don’t be worried about taking detours as these will help you throughout your career.
A graduate from our BSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology programme in 2014, Valentin has covered a lot of ground since leaving Abertay. He's worked on games, apps and websites, and recently developed and launched his own product Thankbox.
You are the ones who can and should bring about the new ways of thinking and new ways of doing.
Claire graduated in 1995 from our BSc (Hons) Environmental Technology programme, and is currently Head of SHE, Occupational Health and Wellbeing @ BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships.
Don’t forget that it’s life’s changes and challenges that shape us and make us. Every challenge can be an opportunity, if you let it.
Gavin graduated in 2002 from our BSc (Hons) Sport Coaching and Development programme, and is currently the Head of Academy Coaching at Aberdeen Football Club.
Whatever you want to do, believe in yourself, work hard, be committed, be patient at times, don’t rush things, don’t cut corners, and go and look for people who are in the career that maybe you want to go on to achieve.
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