Class of 2004 Ten-Year Reunion

The Class of 2004 celebrated its Ten-Year Reunion on September 20, 2014, at Mason's in downtown Minneapolis.  During the reunion, the class announced that it created and funded the Class of 2004 Law School Endowed Scholarship, "To Those Whom Much is Given, Much is Expected." In addition, classmate Heather McErloy shared her reflection on the Class of 2004, stating in part:

As part of a leadership training I participated in last year, we were asked to do this exercise where we wrote down our “work utopia,” what we would be doing, who we would be working with, what it would feel like every day. We were then asked to share this with a partner. I’m going to share a short paragraph of that “vision statement” with you.

“I would be living in Minnesota. I’d be close to the people I love: my husband Dan, my daughter Evelyn, my family, my friends, my law school community. I would be practicing law, mostly appellate work. The most important thing though, is where I want to work, but I don’t know if it exists. I want to work in a supportive, positive, affirming environment. A place where we can be vulnerable. A place where we succeed because we trust each other. A place where we depend and rely on our own strengths and the strengths of others to achieve great results. A place without competition, or big egos, or inequity. A place where we collaborate to solve problems, where we share with each other, build off of each other, to achieve justice. I want to work somewhere where I know that we’re all on the same side.”

Only after I read this aloud and shared it with the group did I realize that this place already existed. In large part, I had described my St. Thomas law school experience and the community I found here. I certainly recognize that law schools and law firms are vastly different creatures for many reasons, but I am left with a lingering hope that we have an advantage. We know what this feels like. Unlike so many other law school graduates, we know lawyers can be good to one another, can serve higher purposes, can be bigger (or sometimes smaller) than themselves.

So ten years out, I think this is what we meant by “living the mission.” It’s about trying to create this space in a profession where it’s unfamiliar. Although I’m not much on evangelizing, I tend to believe that giving the rest of our profession a little taste of our world can only do some good. I figure if we could all build a new law school, changing the rest of the profession shouldn’t be too daunting.

At the very least, I try to remember that we are lucky. At any moment of the day, I know I can lean on a former classmate and not be judged or criticized, that I will be challenged, that I will find answers. Each knows my name—and I  know theirs—and we know how to call each other home. 

Heather's full remarks are available to view on-line: Heather McElroy's Ten-Year Reunion Remarks.