La Verne Law honors Alumna Lisa Rogan ’01 for her Appointment to the San Bernardino County Superior Court Bench
On a relatively cool evening for late July, the atmosphere inside the University of La Verne College of Law proved warm and welcoming. Alumni, faculty, administrators, and current and potential students gathered at the Ontario campus to recognize a La Verne Law graduate for her new status as a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge.
Lisa Rogan, who earned her Juris Doctor from La Verne Law in 2001, was serving as a supervising deputy district attorney in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office when California Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the bench in May.
The celebration also afforded many in the audience a first chance to meet the law school’s new dean, Gilbert Holmes, who officially began his tenure at La Verne Law on June 17th.
This being his first community event as the dean, Holmes appreciated the large turnout and the opportunity to connect with all those attending. “Looking out on this sea of people in front of me is very, very heartwarming and very encouraging for me in terms of the future of the College of Law,” said Holmes.
“In May, Governor Jerry Brown made a very, very important and meaningful decision when he decided to appoint Lisa Rogan to be a judge in San Bernardino County,” said Holmes. “I also think this is an appropriate time to thank Governor Brown for giving us a great opportunity to have a great party.”
University President Devorah Lieberman praised Holmes, calling him “the right dean at the right time for the right law school.” She then lauded Rogan for her professional and personal achievements.
“For me, Judge Rogan represents the kind of law school that we are and that we want to be,” said Lieberman. “So many of our students come from communities where they want to get their law degree so they can go back into the greater community, and make that community stronger; to represent people who need the best representation – fair, consistent and ethical representation with integrity. That was Judge Rogan’s mission and vision, and that’s who she is, which is why we are so proud (of her).”
Michael Bidart, a highly respected attorney who is both a University Trustee and Chair of the law school’s Board of Visitors, recalled being reminded by Rogan how they first met when he spoke at her commencement ceremony in 2001.
“I thought to myself, ‘Gosh, where did 12 years go?’ And not just because of how quickly they went for my life, but because of all she has accomplished in those 12 years,” said Bidart. “If Lisa Rogan were an inanimate object, she would be a meteor; hot and fast through the sky!”
Suggesting that his remarks were probably better suited for a roast than a reception, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Law Professor Randy Rubin offered up memories of Rogan as a student.
“I can assure you that Lisa was no more comfortable citing cases in class than any other student we had. But it was soon apparent that Lisa had something a little bit special,” said Rubin, explaining that she read every assignment and supplement, briefed every case, and prepared her own outlines.
“Put another way, Lisa worked harder than anybody else in her class,” he added. “Nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY worked harder than Lisa.”
When her time came to respond to the accolades offered up during the evening, Rogan’s remarks focused on a single theme: How do I tell them?”
After struggling with a way to properly acknowledge all her friends, professors, colleagues, mentors, role models and inspirational clients, she credited her mother with having provided the final answer years prior.
“What she said was, in situations such as these, there are no words. Your message will not be framed by the words that you use, but by the experiences you have shared with these people. If you have taken the time to sit with them, to talk with them, to teach them, to listen to them and let them teach you, it will be those times that these people remember. They will know how grateful you are and what you have done and the blessings that you have brought,” said Rogan. “So I pray today that my mother was right – and she normally was – that you all will know how grateful I am to you for forming me, for giving to me, for teaching me.
“I could go on. I want to thank you and I hope that you know how much you mean to me. I have no words, but I say, thank you.”
Words did not fail her as she offered advice to the current and prospective students present.
“My words to you are very simple and straightforward. Work – and here’s the pause – harder,” said Rogan. “Work harder, because this school is so full of opportunity for those who work and continue to work. And when you have worked as much as you think you can work, work harder.
“My theory and my motto have been, and continue to be, that I never want to say ‘I wish I would have.’ For you new students, I encourage you to take that on and never have to say ‘I wish I would have.’ Because if you don’t have to say that, your future is bright, you will have much success, and you will have obtained the family that I have obtained here today; full of love and full of support.”