Paul L. Caron

Friday, May 18, 2007

David Schizer's Advice to Columbia's Graduates

Grad_2Tax Prof & Dean David Schizer offered a four-part plan for a happy life to the Class of 2007 at Columbia's graduation yesterday (via the WSJ's Law Blog):

Will you find happiness? I want to share some thoughts with you on this crucial subject. After all, you have so many paths open to you. How can you choose one that will make you happy?

  1. Do What You Love To Do. I hope it is obvious that this should be your goal when you evaluate career options. Figure out what you love to do, and make it your life’s work. Your professional life will consume most of your waking hours. Better to greet the day with anticipation, instead of with dread. If you love what you do, your enthusiasm will drive you to excel. ...
  2. Family and Friends.  Since time is your most precious resource, be sure to spend it the right way. When you come back for your 50th reunion, you are unlikely to wish you had billed 15% more hours in your earlier years. Your greatest impact will be on the people closest to you — your family, your friends, and your colleagues at work. Don’t take these special people for granted. They don’t last forever, and neither will you. ...
  3. Integrity.  An essential part of honoring those you love is setting the right example in the way you live. Ethical short-cuts do not lead to happiness. After all, nothing ends a party like a call from the U.S. Attorney. Even if you are never caught, you have to live with the fact that you didn’t really achieve what you claim to have achieved. Sometimes sticking to your principles is hard, and this is when your character is tested. ...
  4. Public Responsibilities.  Franklin and his generation understood something else that is too often forgotten in contemporary life: the debt we owe our community. An individual’s pursuit of happiness cannot succeed unless the community is also thriving. This is especially true in the legal profession.

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