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Video: Senator Cowan Addresses Graduates at Commencement 2013

2013 news archive


Law School Commencement Exercises (Friday, May 24)


Commencement Awards Ceremony (Thursday, May 23)

Newton, MA--Addressing the Boston College Law School class of 2013, United States Senator William “Mo” Cowan told the graduates that their law degree was the equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, complete with a skeleton key to any door—and no matter which door they chose to open, or which path they pursued, that he hoped they would do so with a commitment to “doing well and doing good.”

“The Jesuit tradition at the root of your BC Law education promotes an environment where students can become men and women of service and help the vulnerable and disadvantaged among us,” Cowan said. “The Jesuit commitment to social justice asks us to address problems that might not otherwise affect us. It challenges us to seek wisdom, consider our self-worth, and find ways that we can better the world around us. If that is not the definition and job description for a lawyer – a BC lawyer – then I do not know what is.

“As you survey the life and career paths before you, consider how meaningful application of your exquisite Swiss Army knife of a degree, especially application of your critical thinking, can lead to greater investment in your self-worth,” Cowan said. “When you do, your true career path will be as clear as a bell and you will know how best to utilize that versatile tool of remarkably infinite utility.”

Two hundred and fifty-three J.D. graduates received degrees at the Law School’s 81st Commencement exercises. Nineteen LL.M. students, the sixth LL.M. class in the history of Boston College Law School, also received degrees.

William "Mo" Cowan was appointed to the United States Senate by Governor Deval L. Patrick on February 1, 2013, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John F. Kerry.

Senator Cowan was born in Yadkinville, North Carolina on April 4, 1969. He graduated from Duke University in 1991 and Northeastern University School of Law in 1994.

Cowan went on to practice as a litigation associate with the Boston firm Peabody and Arnold until 1997, and from 1997 to 2009, he practiced civil litigation as an associate and later as a partner in the Boston office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. During his time there, he represented a diverse array of commercial clients in matters involving corporate governance, financial mismanagement and malfeasance and money laundering investigations, as well as clients at trial on cases involving environmental releases and remediation, patent disputes and consumer protection claims.

Senator Cowan served for six months in 2000 as a Special Assistant District Attorney in the Office of the Middlesex County District Attorney. He was lead prosecutor in several jury and bench trials in the Framingham District Court.

In 2009, Senator Cowan went on to serve as Governor Deval Patrick's Chief Legal Counsel, advising the governor on legal and policy issues, judicial selection, legislation and all legal issues concerning the governor and the Office of the Governor. In December 2010, Governor Patrick appointed him to serve as his chief of staff.

Cowan has been recognized as an "Outstanding Young Leader" by the Boston Jaycees (2000), a "Corporate Citizen of the Month" by the Boston Bar Journal (July 2001), a "Top 40 Business Leader Under 40" by the Boston Business Journal (2003) and as a "Massachusetts Super Lawyer" (2004 - 2010). He also is a certificate recipient from Harvard Business School for the course "Leading Professional Service Firms".

Senator Cowan is active in his community, serving as a director and officer of several not-for-profit organizations over the years. He serves on the Corporation for Northeastern University, as a trustee for the Discovering Justice Foundation, as a trustee for The Chestnut Hill School and as director and officer for Project STEP, Inc.

Senator Cowan is a member of the Senate Agriculture, Commerce, and Small Business Committees. He resides in Stoughton with his wife, Stacy, and their two young sons.



Boston College Law School opened in 1929 in a small downtown Boston office building with 54 students and two full-time faculty members.  Currently ranked 31st in the country by the annual US News & World Report survey, the law school’s highly qualified students are drawn from more than 230 colleges and universities across the United States, as well as in other countries. The law school’s 12,000 alumni practice in 50 states and many foreign countries, holding positions in major law firms, corporate in-house legal departments, the judiciary, government agencies, private industry, academic and public interest organizations, and serving as elected state legislators and members of the U.S. Congress.