Davie Boies, Boies, Schiller & Flexner (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)
SAN FRANCISCO — After sweating through finals and before embarking on bar exam purgatory, law students have a moment of celebration ahead of them: graduation. This year, commencement speakers at some of California’s law schools include gay-marriage crusaders, a retired U.S. Supreme Court justice and a former government official who has stirred protest among Bay Area students.
David Boies and Ted Olson, the bipartisan legal team that overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage, will speak at UC-Berkeley School of Law’s graduation May 10. Olson, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a former U.S. solicitor general, is a 1965 graduate of Berkeley Law.
Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will be the star speaker in Southern California. Stevens will address graduates of UCLA School of Law. Goodwin Liu, associate justice for the California Supreme Court, will deliver remarks at UC-Irvine School of Law, and Luis J. Rodriguez, president of the California State Bar, will speak at the USC Gould School of Law.
University of California President Janet Napolitano will give the graduation address at UC-Hastings College of the Law May 10. Hastings’ selection of Napolitano, who critics blame for a record number of deportations during her tenure as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has been met with protest.
A group of students and alumni urged the university to rescind the offer and launched a “No to Napolitano” petition on Change.org. The petition currently has 663 supporters, according to the site, and backing from groups that include the UC-Hastings 3L Class Council, several minority bar organizations, and the school’s chapter of the American Constitutional Society.
Chancellor and Dean Frank Wu published a letter on the university’s website in late April, defending the decision and noting that, “While UC Hastings strives to create a welcoming community, we do not shy away from the controversy that is integral to the progress of the law.”
At Stanford Law School, the featured speaker is faculty member Norman Spaulding. Spaulding, who specializes in professional responsibility and law and humanities, was chosen, per Stanford tradition, by the graduating class. Rounding out commencement season: Graduates of Santa Clara University School of Law will hear from human rights lawyer Almudena Bernabeu of San Francisco’s Center for Justice and Accountability; UC-Davis School of Law has booked California State Assembly Speaker John Pérez; Golden Gate University School of Law is bringing in Congresswoman Jackie Speier; and the University of San Francisco School of Law has tapped John Roos, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan and a former CEO at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
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