U.S. Attorney To Deliver 2013 Commencement Address To Southern University Law Center Graduates
LAFAYETTE, La.: United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley will be the keynote speaker for the 2013 Southern University Law Center (SULC) Commencement on Saturday, May 11, 2013, in the F.G. Clark Activity Center on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus. During the day’s event, U.S. Attorney Finely will speak to 173 graduates receiving their juris doctorate degrees.
“I am honored that Southern University Law Center chose me to speak to these students,” Finley said. “They are the future leaders who will serve our communities. It seems like only yesterday that I was where they are. They are now armed with a great legal education, and I am confident that they will be great lawyers who will affect meaningful change in whatever area of law that they choose to practice. I am excited for them, but will emphasize how crucial this time of transition is, and how important it is for them to remember service as they begin the next phase of their lives.
A 1991 Cum Laude graduate of SULC, Finley was recommended by Senator Mary Landrieu and appointed by President Barack Obama on Jan. 20, 2010, to serve as the top federal law enforcement officer in the Western District of Louisiana. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 28, 2010, and took the oath of office on June 2, 2010, as the first woman appointed to serve as U.S. Attorney in the State of Louisiana.
Finley is responsible for overseeing federal criminal prosecutions occurring in 42 of the 64 parishes in the State for crimes ranging from acts of terrorism to public corruption, complex white collar crimes, investment schemes, organized crimes and gang activities, civil rights, internet-related crimes, drug trafficking, firearms violations, violent crimes, child exploitation, environmental crimes, tax evasion, illegal immigration and alien smuggling, among other criminal activity. She is also charged with defending the United States in civil cases and collecting debts owed to the United States.
Prior to her appointment, she served as the Senior Litigation Counsel and the Acting Deputy Chief in the Lafayette office and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the criminal divisions of the Shreveport and Lafayette offices of the Western District. Finley has prosecuted cases involving white collar crimes, violent crimes, civil rights, environmental crimes, drug trafficking, public corruption and tax evasion. She also served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Western District in 1991-1992 and in the District of South Carolina in 1992-1995.
United States Attorney Finley previously served as a member of the Attorney General Advisory Committee (AGAC). The AGAC is responsible for advising the Attorney General on a broad array of Department of Justice policy issues. In addition to having served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, Finley continues to serve on a number of subcommittees and working groups under the AGAC.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1995, Finley was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, stationed at England Air Force Base in Louisiana and Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina. She currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves where she is a Judge Advocate assigned to the 8th Air Force Global Strike Command located at Barksdale Air Force Base. Prior to being at the 8th Air Force, she was assigned to the 2nd Bomb Wing Judge Advocate General’s Office at Barksdale Air Force Base. Her duties as a JAG officer have included serving as a hearing officer for criminal cases and administrative discharge boards, working in the areas of contract and labor law and military justice as well as providing legal assistance services for active duty, reservists and dependants of the military.
U.S. Attorney Finley has served as the Criminal Bar Examiner and an Assistant Bar Examiner for the Louisiana Bar. She is the recipient of various awards recognizing her leadership and public service. Finley has been honored as a “Top 20 under 40” recipient, one of Lafayette’s “Women Who Mean Business,” a “Person of Excellence” recipient from the National Association of University Women, a Torchbearer’s Award recipient, Grambling State University’s Beacon Award recipient for public service and a public service award recipient at Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Regional Conference.
Finley is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Grambling State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and was selected as one of the nation’s distinguished graduates of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. She is a Cum Laude graduate of SULC where she received her Juris Doctorate in 1991 and was the editor-in-chief of the Southern University Law Review. In 2011, she was inducted into the Southern University Law Center Hall of Fame.
Southern University Law Center (SULC) is located in Baton Rouge, La. The law school was established in 1947. Today SULC has more than 3,000 alumni and is noted as one of the most diverse law schools in the country. In addition to daytime classes, SULC offers a part-time evening program with classes meeting on Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information on Southern University Law Center visit www.sulc.edu.