Attorney encourages UA students to combat for range, justice

FAYETTEVILLE — Legal professional Tom Mars urged College of Arkansas, Fayetteville legislation school graduates to remain open up to unconventional career paths and try to remember that one lawyer definitely can make a big difference.

“When you see an possibility to be the attorney who can make a change, seize that chance,” explained Mars, previous executive vice president and main administrative officer of Walmart and recent operator of Mars Law Company, all through his graduation address Saturday.

Somewhat than adhering to the common route, look at making “your have route” and leaving a trail for others to follow, he mentioned.

Mars was selected by the graduating legislation school course as its commencement speaker for his motivation to justice and management, according to the university. He been given his Juris Medical doctor from UA-Fayetteville’s regulation college in 1985, graduating top of his class and serving as editor-in-chief for the Arkansas Legislation Critique.

Early in his profession, Mars sued a nightclub on behalf of a few Black adult males who were being crushed up by bouncers carrying Ku Klux Klan apparel — the owner of the club that evening was dressed like Adolf Hitler — and although he was “proud” of the eventual victory and jury award, serving to his consumers get justice was “even a lot more gratifying to me,” he explained. He is “wired” to fight on behalf of social justice, and “it feels fantastic to support people today.”

Attending a range meeting while he was Walmart’s common counsel proved to be a legitimate inspiration, and he subsequently devoted himself to fighting for variety in the lawful job, he said. While substantially upgrading the level of expertise in Walmart’s lawful office, he and his staff also made it the most-various legal division in the Fortune 500.

They also used Walmart’s significant exterior counsel budget to “leverage” corporations into getting much more numerous by shifting organization from corporations uninterested in diversity to firms that had manufactured significant methods towards range, he claimed. That “led to real improve nationwide.”

Firms have increasingly understood “diversity is not only the correct matter to do, but it really is very good for small business,” he stated. Nevertheless the enjoying discipline “in our profession is nevertheless not degree,” just one attorney “can make the entire world a much better spot.”

An completed trial lawyer, he is also a nationally acknowledged advocate in collegiate athletics and an seasoned disaster marketing consultant for providers, executives and public officers who was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Huckabee in 1998 to provide as director of the Arkansas Condition Law enforcement, serving a few a long time prior to returning to private follow, in accordance to the college. He’s been given a number of awards for professional excellence, together with the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award, the Minority Corporate Counsel Affiliation Range Award, the Countrywide Asian Pacific American Bar Association President’s Award, and the National Affiliation of Women Legal professionals President’s Award.

Mars is the only particular person on the planet to function instantly for Huckabee (he was his individual law firm) and Hillary Rodham Clinton — at Rose Regulation Company — he said to laughter, and he’s a former police officer who only went to legislation university in get to operate for the FBI. Though he ultimately was acknowledged into the FBI — his colorblindness delayed his application — he’d by now commenced clerking for U.S. Circuit Choose Monroe G. McKay, 10th U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals, in Salt Lake Town, so he remained on the lawful route.

In new many years, he’s been on the vanguard of momentous improvements in university athletics, representing myriad higher-profile pupil-athletes in matters involving the NCAA’s transfer procedures, and he’s also represented several head coaches and athletic directors in lawful and deal issues, he claimed.

He works by using Twitter to call out general public officials when he thinks they’re behaving improperly, and he is sued the state of Arkansas pro bono above “antidemocratic” laws since he has “a really hard time walking earlier injustice,” even even though those people battles aren’t “beneficial.”

His occupation demonstrates the rights and obligations of being an legal professional, and graduates really should get take note, explained Cynthia Nance, dean of the regulation school. Graduates “be a part of us in a noble career” where they will converse on behalf of other folks, defend and defend their legal rights, and preserve the rule of legislation “for all of us.”

This course is by now on the right keep track of, as they devoted virtually 1,800 hrs of pro bono assistance to the neighborhood, advocated for a lot more scholar products and services — from a food stuff pantry to a lactation home — and orchestrated the law school’s 1st “Friendsgiving,” she mentioned. Graduates are “on a route to building a much more just modern society and generating a change in the life of many others.”

They have demonstrated commendable resilience and grit, way too, persevering via the COVID-19 pandemic, Nance included. “We’re very proud of them.”

Starting off legislation college five months immediately after the onset of the world-wide pandemic meant this team had to prevail over a whole lot of adversity, but “we all held going,” claimed Josie Bates, a member of the graduating course who was selected for recognition on the American Affiliation for Regulation Educational institutions Inaugural Professional Bono Honor Roll, served as the Rose Regulation Agency Pro Bono Fellow, and labored for Walmart’s Digital Citizenship Leadership Workforce, numerous legislation corporations, and as a investigate and instructing assistant to a pair of law professors. “We have adapted, grown, and discovered with each other.”

Nevertheless it was “a struggle, I would not have wished to do this with everyone else,” mentioned Bates, who graduated from UA-Fayetteville in 2020 with undergraduate levels in English and Psychology. “It genuinely is the people all over us” — from classmates and professors to mates and loved ones — who “make regulation college achievable.”

“No make any difference where by our professions acquire us, I hope we hardly ever forget these who aided us,” claimed Bates, who served as president of OutLaw, president of the Women’s Law College student Affiliation, running editor of the Arkansas Regulation Overview, and chair of the Anti-Bias Anti-Racist Endeavor Force. Graduates should really also keep in mind to give again to those people who will be in law school in the long term, the exact way so numerous alumni did for them.

The legislation faculty has around 6,500 dwelling alumni, symbolizing all 50 states and more than two dozen counties, Nance reported. Bates was chosen by her classmates to discuss Saturday, and she has approved a situation with Kutak Rock, LLP, as an associate legal professional.

The rest of UA-Fayetteville’s graduates celebrated graduation final weekend.

Though the correct range of graduates will not be official right up until closing grades are in and confirmed by the registrar’s workplace, the complete range of college students “going for walks” in the course of graduation this semester is 4,374, with 1,009 in the Fulbright Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 595 graduate pupils (99 doctoral), 384 in the Higher education of Engineering, 300 in the Bumpers Higher education of Agricultural, Food stuff & Everyday living Sciences, 1,243 in the Higher education of Company, 117 in the Fay Jones School, 587 in the University of Education and Wellbeing Professions, and 117 in the regulation school, according to John Thomas, UA-Fayetteville director of media relations and core communication.