This year's crop of speakers run the gamut from a Supreme Court justice and deputy attorney general
to an ESPN basketball caller and a podcast host.
The four-year absence of U.S. Supreme Court justices on the law school commencement circuit is over.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is slated to deliver New York Law School’s June 1 commencement address at Carnegie Hall—the first time since 2014 that a member of the high court has taken on graduation duties at a law school.
The recent Supreme Court graduation speaker drought is somewhat unusual. In the years prior, one or two law schools had justices lined up for commencement. (The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was the last to headline a law graduation, speaking at the College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law.)
Elsewhere in the country, law schools have secured some traditional commencement speakers from the legal profession, as well as a few wild cards.
Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, regains his title as the busiest speaker. He is delivering graduation remarks at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; Syracuse University College of Law; and St. John’s University School of Law. Bharara also pulled triple duty in 2015.
Harvard Law School has secured retiring Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, to be its class day speaker.
The University of California, Irvine School of Law has lined up Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll partner Kalpana Kotagal, co-author of the “inclusion rider” referenced by actress Frances McDormand in her Academy Award acceptance speech in February.
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