[Dedicated, with congratulations and best wishes, to all those graduating this Spring, particularly the Class of 2023 of the American University Washington College of Law.]

     Fifty years ago, the imperious Professor Kingsfield, introducing his Contracts class to the Socratic method, warned them that “in my classroom, there is always another question, another question to follow your answer.”

     But even beyond their final classroom responses, some graduates might retain on their personal and professional journeys a few of the following questions:

     ● A concern of such central importance to Montaigne (1533-1592) that he inscribed it on his emblem, which also bore the symbol of a balance: “What do I know?”

     ● Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen (1952-2020), a consultant and prolific author on “disruptive innovation,” devoted his book, How Will You Measure Your Life? (2012) to helping readers address:

     “How can I be sure that:

     “I will be successful and happy in my career?

     “My relationships with my spouse, my children, and my extended family and close friends become an enduring source of happiness?; [and,]

     “I live a life of integrity—and stay out of jail?” 

     (Christensen recommended, at least in professional situations, identifying and assessing one’s assumptions by asking “What has to prove true?” for a particular situation to be successful.)

     ● Zen master Jiyu Kennett (1924-1996) suggested “looking at everything one does from the point of view of asking yourself three questions:

      “One, am I doing this out of ignorance? . . . .

      “[Two], Am I going to be doing good?  . . . .

      “[Three,] Is is going to be good for me, or is it going to be good for others? In other words, am I going to be doing something that will cause others to do wrong?”

     ● For years, I have advised students that much of the law of business associations might be practically summarized, for those acting on behalf of others, as:

     (1) “Does the proposed course of action put ahead of my personal interests those of the person or people I act for?”:

      (2) “Given the circumstances, have I informed myself sufficiently and considered the information thoughtfully enough?”; and,

      (3) “Is the proposed course of action fair?”

      ● Management mastermind, consultant, and professor Peter Drucker (1909-2005), in Managing Oneself (2008), focused his readers’ attention on:

      What Are My Strengths?; 

      How Do I Perform [i.e., learn most efficiently]?;  

      What Are My Values?; 

      Where Do I Belong?; and,

      What Should I Contribute?  

     ● In Million Dollar Habits (1990), entrepreneur Robert Ringer (1938- ) recommended asking oneself:

       “(1) What Do I Enjoy?;

       “(2) What Am I Good At?;

       “(3) What Do I Want Out of Life?;

       “(4) What’s the Price?; and,

       “(5) Am I Willing to Pay the Price?”

     ● Hillel the Elder (c. 110 B.C.E.–c. 8 C.E.) famously asked,

      “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? 

      “But if I am only for myself, what am I? 

      “And if not now, when?”

     ● Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) observed, “When I was young, I admired clever people.  As I grew old, I came to admire kind people.”

     New, and older, alumni might periodically consider, about themselves and others, the Grateful Dead’s query:

     “Are you kind?”