‘A Couple Points on a Test’

Remarks from the high scorer of the Texas Bar Examination

By Stephen Burbank

High Scorer Group Picture
Stephen Burbank (center), the high scorer of the July 2018 Texas Bar Examination and a Baylor Law School graduate, with Texas Board of Law Examiners Executive Director Susan Henricks, Texas Supreme Court Justice Jeff Brown, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht, and Texas Board of Law Examiners Board Member Barbara Ellis. Photo by Eric Quitugua.

 

Editor’s note: The following remarks were delivered November 19 at the New Lawyer Induction Ceremony in Austin.

Hi y’all. My name is Stephen Burbank and I’m supposed to give the speech today. When I was asked to give a speech, I really had no idea what I was supposed to talk about. So, like a good lawyer, I procrastinated until right before the deadline.

When I finally did start writing it, I decided to look at previous high scorer speeches to get an idea of what to talk about. What I found was that there was an established precedent as to form in my predecessors’ speeches. Each of their speeches began with a joke, typically about how they were scared to give a speech in front of so many people. Next, they each thanked the people in their lives who helped them out along the way. And finally, they gave some “words of wisdom.”

In the interest of following their persuasive authority, my speech will do the same.

First, the joke. Instead of making a joke about how nervous I am to be up here, I am going to take a different route. In accordance with our shared profession, I thought a lawyer joke would be appropriate. What is the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer? A bad lawyer can let a case drag out for several years. A good lawyer can make it last even longer.

Now, the thanks. Y’all will have to bear with me because I have a few people to thank today.

I first want to thank my savior, Jesus Christ. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.

I next want to thank my amazing wife, Shelby. I would not be anywhere close to the man I am today without you. You have been so supportive, and I am truly grateful for everything you do for me. I owe today to you.

I also want to thank my parents, Glenn and Julie. Y’all have provided such support and encouragement to me throughout my life, and I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for that.

I next want to thank Wade and Bridget. Y’all are the best in-laws a guy could hope for and have been so encouraging to me in my career.

I want to thank Michael, Katy, Kimmy, and Hannah. You all are the best siblings a guy could ask for.

I would like to thank everyone else who came to support me today: my aunt Kim, my grandma “Baba,” my cousin Sean, my best friend—the legend—Drew, and my law school friends and basketball rivals, Dave and Bailey. It means so much you came.

I would like to thank my boss and friend, Judge Alan Albright, and my co-clerks Josh and Lewis for making the trip up to watch me stumble through my speech.

Finally, I would like to give a shout out to Kyle and Rachel, my good friends, classmates, and study partners at Baylor who tied for second place on the bar exam. Honestly y’all, it could have been any one of us up here.

And lastly, the words of wisdom. I really don’t have any words of wisdom. All that separates me from y’all is just a couple points on a test. Congratulations y’all, we made it and are lawyers now. Let’s go out and show everyone how awesome Texas lawyers can be. Thank you. TBJ

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