Making a Difference

Remarks from the high scorer of the July 2016 Texas Bar Examination.

By Lynne Marie Powers

Lynne Marie Powers (center), the high scorer of the July 2016 Texas Bar Examination, with (from left) Texas Board of Law Examiners Executive Director Susan Henricks, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, and Board of Law Examiners member C. Alfred Mackenzie.

Thank you Chief Justice Hecht, justices, judges, friends, and family for being here today. Congratulations. This is it. This is the moment we have all been working toward. You can now relax. The wait is finally over. Unless you’re like me and taking another bar exam in February; in that case bar prep starts in three weeks.

I first wanted to recognize all of the people who made today possible. To all of our friends and family, those that are here today and those that couldn’t be. Thank you for all of your support for the past three years. Thank you for putting up with our stress and for being understanding when we missed holidays, birthdays, and other major life events. We couldn’t have done it without you.

I especially want to thank my parents. Thank you for always believing in me. When I left for Louisiana three years ago they gave me The Slacker’s Guide to Law School. Joke’s on you, Dad, I didn’t read it. I want to thank my sisters for always being my voice of reason. I want to thank my older brother for keeping me humble. When I found out I was giving this speech today, he told me he was still more impressed the Cubs just won the World Series for the first time in over 100 years. And to my little brother who can’t be here today because he’s serving his country: We thank you for your service.

Thank you to all of our professors and faculty for being instrumental in our success and for molding us into the attorneys we are about to be. I want to thank all of my professors at Loyola for their dedication to their students and to Dean Mary Algero for being here today.

And last, thank you to the Texas Board of Law Examiners. I’m confident I speak for everyone here when I say how much we truly enjoyed that bankruptcy essay. We did not lose any sleep thinking about it for the past three months.

I was nine years old when I took my first mock trial class and I was nine years old when I fell in love with the law. It probably didn’t help that Legally Blonde came out two years later. You see, I had two dreams as a child: to go to Texas A&M and to become a lawyer. But my perfect plan came to an abrupt halt when I didn’t get into the only college I applied to and at 17 I had to learn how to pick myself up, swallow my pride, not give up on myself, and to not forget my end goal. It was that same scenario when I could only afford to go to law school out of state, and it was the same scenario when despite graduating at the top of my class, I graduated law school without a job. But in the end, I graduated from Texas A&M, I returned to Texas after law school, and I now have my dream job. I tell you these things not to boast my own accolades but as a reminder never to doubt yourself or your capabilities.

For every no you are told, there will be a yes. For no matter what background you come from, what law school you went to, or what grades you made, today we are all on the same playing field. Today we are all lawyers. Today we can start to make a difference.

Which brings me to my final point, please remember this moment. This energy. This motivation. This passion. Please don’t lose sight of that. Don’t forget what a gift this is. You now have the ability to help those who can’t help themselves. I’ll never forget a story I was told my first year of law school of a homeless man who went to a legal aid clinic in search of help. This man had been living on the streets because he couldn’t get an ID to get into a shelter or get a job. Now he couldn’t get an ID because of warrants he had from a ticket he had in the ’80s. It took that lawyer one simple phone call to the DA to get that ticket resolved and the man into a shelter and back on his feet. Please don’t forget the difference you can make in someone else’s life.

Congratulations to all of you. Now let’s go change the world. TBJ

July 2016 Bar Exam Pass Rate Information

The table below shows the number of graduates from each accredited Texas law school who took the bar exam for the first time in July, the number that passed, and the percentage that passed.

Law School



Pass Rate









South Texas




St. Mary's




Texas A&M




Texas Southern




Texas Tech




U. of Houston




U. of Texas








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