Class of 2010
GORDON BONNYMAN, executive director of the Tennessee Justice Center in Nashville, delivered the 2010 University of Pittsburgh School of Law commencement address, encouraging graduates to embrace their professional roles while acknowledging the sometimes paradoxical nature of the law. Bonnyman addressed the 230 graduates, their family and friends at the May 14 ceremony at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium and Museum.
In his remarks, Bonnyman quoted German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, urging his audience to cultivate “the view from below” in representing disadvantaged clients. Bonnyman has spent his entire career representing low-income clients, the elderly, prisoners, persons with disabilities, and the uninsured, beginning his career as a Legal Aid lawyer. His work has been recognized through awards from many organizations, most notably when the law firm of Skadden, Arps and the University of Alabama School of Law awarded him the 2009 Morris Dees Justice Award, named in honor of the legendary civil rights attorney. In 1996, when Congress restricted federally funded legal services organizations from bringing class action lawsuits, Bonnyman helped found the Tennessee Justice Center to pursue impact litigation on behalf of the dispossessed. He is an accomplished legislative advocate and policy analyst, particularly in the areas of nursing home reform and health policy.
Following Bonnyman’s remarks, more than 143 awards and prizes were presented to graduates for outstanding achievements and contributions. Professors Jim Flannery and Harry Flechtner won the 2010 Excellence-in-Teaching Award from the Student Bar Association’s graduating class. Professors Larry Frolik, Arthur Hellman, and Barry McCarthy were also each recognized for 35 years of service to the School of Law.
Two hundred and nine Pitt Law graduates received Juris Doctor degrees, nine received Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degrees, and 12 received Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees.