UCLA School of Law celebrated the Class of 2021 in a graduation ceremony that streamed live on May 21. The event featured live remarks by keynote speaker U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) and UCLA Law Dean Jennifer Mnookin. Graduating students were also treated to messages from faculty members and special guests, including UCLA and NBA legend Bill Walton, as well as law school alumni Judge Paul Watford ’94 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand ’91 (D-New York).
More than 1,000 people tuned in to cheer on 341 juris doctor (J.D.) graduates, 44 master of laws (LL.M.) recipients, and one doctor of juridical science (S.J.D.) candidate. In addition, the school graduated its inaugural master of legal studies class, with eight people earning an M.L.S. degree. The 95-minute presentation can be viewed on UCLA Law’s YouTube channel and website.
Rep. Lieu, a lawyer himself, spoke directly to the responsibilities that the Class of 2021 must take on as lawyers and citizens. “I urge you as future attorneys to not reject the evidence of your eyes and ears,” he said. “I urge you to tell the truth not only when representing clients, but also to protect the truth when it comes to core issues, such as our democracy, our right to vote, and our constitution. The motto of UCLA is ‘Let there be light.’ I hope you will continue to shine the light to push away the dark forces trying to cover up the truth.”
UCLA Law singers LawCappella performed the national anthem, and J.D. graduate Ryann Basoco Garcia Lechuga presented the land acknowledgment. Other speakers included graduating class president Michael Cohen, Professor of the Year honoree Jennifer Chacón, M.L.S. graduate Miranda Wilcox, LL.M. graduate Hala Khalil, and J.D. graduate Jazmine Buckley.
“As you prepare for the next chapter of your careers,” Mnookin said, “I hope you will remember that you are part of a tradition of thousands of UCLA Law graduates who have encountered challenges, stared difficulty head-on, and gone out into the world, ready to make a difference.”