The University of California Hastings College of the Law 2017 Commencement Ceremony will take place Saturday, May 13, 2017 in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. We are pleased to announce that Judge Jed S. Rakoff will present the keynote speech.
“Judge Rakoff is widely known as a prominent legal thinker and scholar,” said David Faigman, UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean. “Throughout his illustrious service on the federal judiciary, his decisions have demonstrated an intellectual clarity and a principle of justice that we wish to impart on our graduating students. We are honored to welcome him as this year’s commencement speaker.”
Dubbed a “legal hero of our time” by Rolling Stone magazine and “Wall Street’s Watchdog” by Politico, Judge Rakoff graduated with honors in English literature from Swarthmore College (B.A. 1964), earned his M. Phil. from Balliol College at Oxford University (1966), and received a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School (1969). He has received honorary degrees from Saint Francis University and Swarthmore.
After serving as law clerk to the late Honorable Abraham Freedman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Rakoff spent two years in private practice at Debevoise & Plimpton before spending seven years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. For the last two of those years, he was Chief of the Business and Securities Fraud Prosecutions Unit. He then returned to private practice where he was a partner first with Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander & Ferdon, and then with Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. He headed both firms’ criminal defense and civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) practices.
On October 11, 1995, Rakoff was nominated by President Bill Clinton to fill the seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by David N. Edelstein. On December 31, 2010, he assumed senior status.
Judge Rakoff is a leading authority on the securities laws and the law of white collar crime, and has authored many articles on those topics, as well as leading treatises on the RICO Act and corporate sentencing. Speaking about the federal mail fraud statute, Rakoff wrote, “To federal prosecutors of white-collar crime, the mail fraud statute is our Stradivarius, our Colt .45, our Louisville Slugger, our Cuisinart — and our true love. We may flirt with other laws and call the conspiracy law ‘darling,’ but we always come home to the virtues of the mail fraud statute, with its simplicity, adaptability, and comfortable familiarity. It understands us and, like many a foolish spouse, we like to think we understand it.” Judge Rakoff is also co-editor, with Judge Leonard B. Sand and others, of Modern Federal Jury Instructions.
Rakoff is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. His contributions to that periodical cover a wide range of subjects, including, “The Constitution in a Time of Terror,” “Neuroscience and the Law,” “Class Actions vs. Individual Prosecutions,” and many, many more. Dean Faigman described Judge Rakoff as “the quintessential public intellectual. Someone who is able to write about sophisticated legal topics with grace and style – even poetically – without losing any of the complexity and nuance of the subjects on which he writes.”
Rakoff is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He has taught at the law school since 1988, teaching seminars on White Collar Crime, the Interplay of Civil and Criminal Law, and Science and the Courts. Judge Rakoff also served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore College and serves on the Governing Board of the MacArthur Foundation’s Law & Neuroscience Project.
Since July 2011, Rakoff has been assigned to sit by designation on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in both San Francisco and Seattle.
Fortune magazine named Judge Rakoff one of The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2014 for his bold stand against the Securities and Exchange Commission’s bid to let Citigroup settle charges of securities violations without admitting wrongdoing. “The case went to the heart of the financial crisis,” he said, “and the public deserved to know more.”
UC Hastings 2017 Commencement
The University of California Hastings College of the Law Class of 2017 Commencement ceremony will take place Saturday, May 13, 2017, in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street, San Francisco, California 94102. Ceremony starts at 3:00 pm. Graduates must arrive no later than 2:15 pm.
Admission to the UC Hastings commencement ceremony is by ticket only. A limited number of tickets are provided free of charge to each graduate participating in the ceremony.
The selected student speaker is Brooke Murphy.
The selected faculty speaker is Professor Hadar Aviram.
The official UC Hastings 2017 Commencement hashtag is #UCH17.
Alex A.G. Shapiro
Director, Communications & Public Affairs
UC Hastings College of the Law
Office: (415) 581-8842
Cell: (415) 813-9214