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Former ABA president to deliver Elon Law Commencement address

Virginia attorney Robert J. Grey Jr. will offer wisdom to graduates on May 20, 2017, in Elon Law’s final springtime Commencement as the school fully transitions to its new 2.5-year curriculum.

Robert J. Grey Jr.

A nationally acclaimed attorney who previously served as president of the American Bar Association will deliver Elon University School of Law’s Commencement address to the Class of 2017.

Robert J. Grey Jr., retired senior counsel from the Virginia office of Hunton & Williams and current president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, returns to campus nearly three years after addressing the same class at Elon Law’s annual Convocation program for new students.

Commencement takes place Saturday, May 20, at 5 p.m. on Elon University’s main campus.

Grey’s practice focused on regulatory, administrative and government-relations matters before state and local governments and their agencies. He was the first African American to be an officer of the American Bar Association when he served as chair of the association’s House of Delegates. Grey was then elected president of the ABA in 2004, only the second African American to do so in the history of the organization.

Grey serves today as president of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity where he works with general counsel from major companies and managing partners from leading law firms to help advance the nonprofit organization’s mission of increasing diversity within the legal profession.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Grey to the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors, the nation's largest provider of civil legal assistance to the poor. He continues in that role today. And for his work, Grey received the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity’s Spirit of Excellence Award.

Grey earned his law degree from Washington & Lee University School of Law in 1976, three years after graduating with his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.

“You are here at a very critical moment in the evolution of society,” Grey told students at Elon Law’s Convocation program in August 2014. “You are here to make sure that as we go forward as a people, as a nation, that we do so with the highest level of integrity, the highest level of honor and the highest level of commitment to the United States Constitution. How does that start out in the preamble, ‘We the people of the United States, to form a more perfect union, establish justice.’ Justice. That is you.

“That is what it means to this country, and to its founders, and to its culture and to its future, that justice be a foundation for its existence.”

This spring marks Elon Law’s final May graduation ceremony. Students in future classes will complete their degree requirements in 2.5 years with graduation ceremonies scheduled in December.

Elon Law Dean Luke Bierman said there is no better speaker to address the Class of 2017 than the very attorney who welcomed students into the study of law nearly three years ago. Grey’s admonitions continue to ring true and remain prescient, Bierman said.

“In times of disruption, whether cultural, economic, political, professional or technological, lawyers perform a vital role by seeking truth, affording justice, protecting liberty and creating stability,” he said. “Robert Grey’s remarks, reflecting a most distinguished career and contributions to the legal profession, will serve as a compass for our students who one day will be leaders in their own rights. By welcoming the Class of 2017 to Elon Law and, now, bidding them farewell as they join our profession, Robert brings their education, and our evolving academic program, full circle. For that, we are most thankful.”

About Elon Law:

Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the preeminent school for engaged and experiential education in law. It integrates traditional classroom instruction with highly experiential full-time residencies-in-practice in a logically sequenced program of transformational professional preparation. Elon Law’s groundbreaking approach is accomplished in 2.5 years, which provides distinctive value by lowering tuition and permitting graduates early entry into their professional careers.

For more information, visit law.elon.edu.


Eric Townsend,
3/2/2017 10:25 AM