May 2024

Class of ’24 Joins 200-Year Legacy of Maryland Carey Law Grads

May 24, 2024    |  

As Brendan Hurson, JD ’05, looked out at the crowd of black-robed graduates filling the Hippodrome Theatre, he was transported back to his own hooding ceremony at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law nearly two decades earlier.

Maryland Carey Law Dean Renée McDonald Hutchins addresses graduates at the 2024 Hooding Ceremony.

Maryland Carey Law Dean Renée McDonald Hutchins addresses graduates at the 2024 Hooding Ceremony.

“This institution has been educating lawyers for 200 years. Two hundred years,” the U.S. District Court judge for the District of Maryland told the Class of 2024. “Think of how long that line of graduates would stretch if they were all still here today. And in a few moments, you get to join the tail end of that line.”

Founded in 1824 as the Maryland Law Institute, Maryland Carey Law was one of the first law schools in the nation.

Hurson, a 2005 graduate nominated by President Biden and confirmed in 2023, served as the keynote speaker as his alma mater celebrated its historic 200th anniversary. More than 270 degrees were conferred by University of Maryland, Baltimore President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS.

Professors Leigh Goodmark, JD; Diane Hoffmann, JD, MSGuha Krishnamurthi, JD; Will Moon, JD; Maneka Sinha, JD; and Maureen Sweeney, JD, took turns hooding the students, helping robe the newest alumni joining that long line of graduates.

In a speech that was both humorous and thought-provoking, Hurson acknowledged that many Americans feel “hopeless and lost.”

“Many feel like our democracy doesn’t work” he said.

He urged graduates to be hopeful and to remember why they chose to go to law school in the first place. “Something called you to law school. Something led you to firmly believe that you can make a difference in the world as a lawyer. And whether you know it or not, as long as you still hold that belief in your heart, our democracy can never die.” 

Day Program class president Rebecca Wells praised 2024 graduates while echoing Hurson’s sentiments. “I hope that as we sit in this beautiful theater, celebrating our individual and group accomplishments, that we also recognize the responsibility and privilege that comes with this degree,” she said.

“That after learning how to brief cases, to argue, to think and act like a lawyer, we still choose to think and act like good people,” she said to thunderous applause. “That we continue to recognize that everyday people are dealing with the reality that our laws are not always just, and our legal system is not always fair. And I hope that as we begin our legal careers, we keep the sense of responsibility to others that we had in law school.”

Maryland Carey Law Dean Renée McDonald Hutchins, JD, commended the graduates’ efforts preparing for classes, studying for exams, and representing clients in clinics. “You have done that all while balancing family and work and other obligations and so much more. Thank you for that hard work and diligence,” she said.

And while it was a day of celebration, Hutchins humorously offered encouragement to the bicentennial graduates as they prepare for the next challenge in their law careers — the bar exam.

“Sorry, guys, I had to mention it,” she said with a smile. “But I know that you have the wherewithal to do it. You have proven over the last three or four years that you are up to the task, and I have every confidence that every single one of you is going to accomplish exactly what you set out to do.”