Former Justice Department Official Deval Patrick Will Address Law School Grads

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

Deval Patrick, the former head of the United States Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and a partner in a major New England law firm, will address the Law School's graduates at their Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 25 on Newton Campus.

Patrick will receive the Law School's Founder's Medal at the ceremony, which will be attended by 262 graduates, their families and friends on the field across from Alumni House.

Patrick served as assistant attorney general for civil rights during most of President Clinton's first term. He led the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, disability and religion. He supervised litigation at all levels of the federal courts, and developed and consulted on policy with the president, members of Congress, the attorney general and other Cabinet officers.

Patrick was a leader in the administration's examination of Affirmative Action and played a prominent role in implementing President Clinton's directive that all agency programs comply with the new policy, announced last year.

He also successfully defended challenges to congressional districts under the Voting Rights Act and helped bring about ground-breaking educational and enforcement efforts under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Deval Patrick

Patrick's governmental experience also includes the area of fair lending. He played a key role in uncovering and combating discrimination in lending policies and is widely recognized for bringing about a major change in the way banks underwrite and price loans.

Last year, President Clinton appointed Patrick to the National Church Arson Task Force.

Patrick left the Justice Department in 1996 to become a partner in the Hartford, Conn.-based law firm of Day, Berry & Howard. He concentrates on counseling national and regional businesses in employment, disability and fair-lending matters, as well as complex trial and appellate litigation.

Prior to his government service, Patrick worked in private practice, where his clients included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Patrick is a 1978 graduate of Harvard College and earned his juris doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1982.

The Law School's Commencement Weekend will begin on Friday, May 23 with a Shabbat service at 6 p.m. in Barat House. A number of Commencement awards will be presented at a family reception the following day at Barat House, beginning at 4 p.m.

Sunday will begin with a baccalaureate Mass at 10:30 a.m. in the Newton Chapel, followed by a reception in the Stuart snack bar. Commencement Exercises will begin at 2 p.m. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held on the Main Campus in Conte Forum.

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