Buies Creek, N.C.—The Honorable Neal Katyal, Solicitor General of the United States, addressed Campbell’s Norman Adrian School of Law at the commencement service held Friday, May 13, at the Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh.
Speaking to the last class to have spent time in Buies Creek where the law school was formerly located, Katyal cautioned the graduates not to relinquish their fundamental valuesas they enter the legal profession. Citing an illustration from the life of John Adams, who took the unpopular position of defending British soldiers in 1770 on a point of law, Katyal challenged the graduates to stand up for the rule of law no matter what.
“In his defense of the law in this matter, John Adams demonstrated the very principles the American colonists were fighting for,” Katyal said. “Lawyers have a unique task, to protect and defend the rule of law. We are a nation of
laws not men.”
As Solicitor General of the U.S., Katyal determines the legal position of the United States before the Supreme Court in cases in which the government is a party. Former U.S. Solicitor Generals have been William Howard Taft and Thurgood Marshall. Katyal was appointed to fill the position vacated by Elena Kagan who became a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in August 2010.
Prior to his appointment, Katyal served as National Security Adviser in the U.S. Justice Department, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, and was commissioned by President Clinton to write a report on the need for more legal pro bono work. He also served as Vice President Al Gore’s co-counsel in the Supreme Court election dispute of 2000 and represented the deans of most major private law schools in the landmark University of Michigan affirmative action case, Grutter v. Bollinger.
Katyal received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. His articles have appeared in virtually every major law review and newspaper in America. The law school conferred 133 Juris Doctor degrees at the service.
Photo Copy: U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal addresses graduates of Campbell’s Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at the commencement service held Friday. (Photo by Bennett Scarborough)