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May 7, 2008

Attorney who challenged U.S. Patriot Act to speak at Oregon Law commencement

Elden Rosenthal, a Portland attorney who successfully challenged the Patriot Act in federal court, will speak at Oregon Law’s 2008 commencement on Saturday, May 17.

Rosenthal represented Brandon Mayfield, an immigration lawyer who was arrested by the FBI in 2004 as a material witness in the terrorist bombing of a Madrid train. Mayfield, a convert to Islam, was held for 19 days with limited access to legal counsel. The FBI initially refused to tell family members why he had been arrested or where he was being held. He was never charged in the case, and the FBI later apologized. Acting as Mayfield’s co-counsel, Rosenthal persuaded the federal court that parts of the Patriot Act were unconstitutional.

This year, 178 graduates are eligible to take part in Oregon Law’s commencement ceremony. Six of the graduates will receive the first LL.M (Master of Laws) degrees in environmental resources law awarded by the university.

Commencement will begin at 1 p.m. in the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Eugene Center. Parking is available nearby. A reception will follow at the Hilton Hotel & Conference Center, 66 E. 6th Ave. Complete details on commencement are available at http://www.law.uoregon.edu/students/commencement.php.

Rennard Strickland, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Oregon Law’s former dean, is the recipient of the 2008 Meritorious Service Award. The award is given each year to individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to legal education and the law.  Strickland, a legal historian of Osage and Cherokee heritage, pioneered the introduction of Indian law into university curricula. He has written and edited more than 35 books and has been involved in the resolution of a number of significant Indian law cases. He is the first person to have served both as president of the Association of American Law Schools and as chair of the Law School Admissions Council and is the only person ever to have received both the Society of American Law Teachers Award and the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award.

Members of the graduating class selected Associate Professor Tom Lininger, who also directs Oregon Law’s Public Interest Public Service program, to lead their procession. Professor Lininger has been a faculty member since 2003 and teaches classes on legal profession, evidence, dispute resolution and issues in criminal procedure.

Abra Talley Cooper is the Class of 2008 speaker. Lisa Johnson Ponder Roehrich is the speaker for the LL.M. class. Katherine M. Kunomoto, student bar association president, also will address the graduates. Class of 2008 representatives Emily Blair Aanested and Natasha Elena Ng will present the class gift.

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