By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Professional Competence and Social Responsibility: Fulfilling the Vanderbilt Vision

September 24, 1982

Professional Competence and Social Responsibility: Fulfilling the Vanderbilt Vision
Type: Law review article, Speech
Source: Vand. L. Rev., Vanderbilt University School of Law, Nashville, TN
Citation: 36 Vand. L. Rev. 1 (1983)
Occasion: Dedication of the Alyne Queener Massey Law Library

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Professional Competence and Social Responsibility: Fulfilling the Vanderbilt Vision*

Sandra Day O'Connor**

It is a great pleasure to visit Vanderbilt Law School and to dedicate the Alyne Queener Massey Library. The University is for tunate to have friends like the Masseys who, by their generous gift, carry on a proud and honorable tradition. That tradition began in 1873 when Commodore Vanderbilt provided Bishop McTyeire with the gift that resulted in the establishment of this splendid university.

Sir Walter Scott once said that "a lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect. If I may "build" on Sir Walter's concept, I would add that before a lawyer is entitled to think of himself or herself as an "ar chitect," two additional attributes-professional competence, and social responsibility are needed. While a background of history and literature is provided by the liberal education that American law schools typically encourage prior to the formal study of the law, it is the law school that bears the heavy responsibility of providing training to prospective lawyers in the areas of professional compe tence and the ethical practice of law.

On this occasion of dedicating the Alyne Massey library, Van-

  • Copyright c by Sandra D. O'Connor. This speech was delivered at the dedication of the Alyne Queener Massey
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