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May 16, 2011
U.S. Solicitor General Delivers Commencement Address at Campbell Law School

RALEIGH, N.C. – On Friday, May 13, Neal Katyal, Acting Solicitor General of the United States, addressed students from the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law as they made the move from students to practicing lawyers. The Campbell Law School commencement took place in Meymandi Concert Hall in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts at 10:00 a.m.

As Acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal oversees litigation strategy under the Obama Administration. He is most noted for his work with the 2006 Supreme Court case Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld by serving as lead counsel for the Guantanamo Bay detainees.
In a poignant introduction, his former adversary, Judge Stuart Couch introduced the Solicitor General at the commencement. Couch served as liaison to the Department of Justice and Solicitor General in the same case as Katyal in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.
Earlier in Couch’s career, he refused to prosecute Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a detainee linked to the 9/11 terror attacks once he determined that statements obtained from Slahi were the product of torture.  Couch had a personal connection to the proceedings, as he was friends with a co-pilot on the second airplane to hit the World Trade Center.  Despite his personal misgivings, Couch knew he could not prosecute the detainee based on the evidence provided.
Judge Couch, Campbell Law class of 1996, was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to serve as an Immigration Judge in the Charlotte Immigration Court.
In his remarks, Katyal told the graduates three things to remember as they go into the workforce. The first is to “be yourself,” no matter what the situation. Next “like your job” because most often the “greatest opportunities come from the greatest challenges” and you have to like what you’re doing in order to meet those challenges head on. Finally, be sure to surround yourself with “family and friends.” Katyal pointed out the friends the graduates had made during their time in law school and the family that had supported them along the way. He assured them that it is friends and family who will mean the most to them no matter what successes they have in their career.
“Solicitor General Neal Katyal is an extremely influential figure in the legal profession and it was an honor for Campbell Law School to hear him address our graduates as they begin their careers,” said Melissa Essary, Campbell Law School Dean.
About Campbell Law School: Since its founding in 1976, the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. The School has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 3,200 alumni, including 2,200 who reside and work in North Carolina. For 23 years, Campbell Law’s record of success on the North Carolina Bar Exam has been unsurpassed by any other North Carolina law school. In September 2009, Campbell Law relocated to a state-of-the-art building in downtown Raleigh. For more information, visit 

Media Contact: Julie Lechner, 919.865.5978,

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