Guess Who’s Coming To Graduation?


Soon-To-Be Law Grads Prepare For Graduation

It’s that time of year again. Politicians and legal stars are starting to canvas the country to deliver inspiration and predictions to the class of 2014 (and collect speaking fees and honorary degrees along the way). As the next generation of lawyers nod off or check their weather apps, these speakers will issue the usual cautions against chasing money, imploring their audiences to make a difference and live life on their own terms (which, of course, you can only do after chasing money).
Alas, the world seems full of hope and high sentiments on graduation day, when paying student loans and begging for work can be tackled another day. This is the moment when your heart warms to even your most obnoxious classmate: The gunner who put the “dick” back into “valedictorian.” After the pomp and circumstance have passed – and you’ve slept off that ill-advised Black Sunday – you’re bound to remember one nugget from your commencement speech. Who knows, maybe it’ll be that story or turn of phrase that someday drives you to go solo (or leave the profession entirely).
So before law graduates march off stage (and onto the U.S. News rankings data), they must endure one more speech championing common sense. Here is a listing of the speakers who’ll be speaking at many of the top law school commencements:

  • William & Mary: Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  • UCLA: John Paul Stevens, Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice
  • North Carolina: Donald Verrilli, U.S. Solicitor General
  • Fordham: Denny Chin, Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • Columbia: Roberta Kaplan and Paul Weiss, Represented Edith Windsor in Supreme Court case on the Defense of Marriage Act
  • California-Berkeley: Ted Olson and David Bois: Counsel that helped overturn California’s Proposition Eight, which banned same-sex marriage
  • Harvard: Pree Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mindy Kaling, star of “The Mindy Project” (and a recurring character in “The Office”)
  • Northwestern: Carter Phillips, Chairman of Sidley Austin
  • George Washington: Bruce Sewell, General Counsel at Apple, Inc.
  • Michigan: Kathryn Ruemmler, White House Counsel
  • Penn: Lilly Ledbetter, Plaintiff in the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act
  • American: Judy Smith, Attorney and inspiration for the television series “Scandal”
  • Stetson: Adam Liptak, New York Times Supreme Court Correspondent
  • California-Davis: Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Texas: Steve Patterson, Athletics Director at the University of Texas
  • Virginia: Joseph P. Kennedy III, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Massachusetts
  • Duke: Gao Xiqing, Chief Investment Officer of the China Investment Corporation

Sources: National Law Journal, Above the Law

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