College of Law Announces Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito to Speak at 2014 Charter Graduation

News arrives on heels of Belmont Law’s accreditation success

samuelalitoBelmont University’s College of Law announced today that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito has been confirmed to speak at the school’s first graduation next year. The inaugural commencement is scheduled for 10 a.m., May 10, 2014 in the Curb Event Center, and the College currently anticipates approximately 120 graduates from the three-year program.

College of Law Dean Jeff Kinsler said, “It is an honor for any law school to have a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court as its commencement speaker, but it is an especially great honor for a law school to have a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court Justice as its first commencement speaker.”

Nashville Bar Association President Tom Sherrard, founding member of Sherrard and Roe, added, “As president of the Nashville Bar Association, I offer my congratulations to the College of Law at Belmont University upon its obtaining Justice Samuel Alito’s commitment to speak at its first commencement.  The involvement of a Supreme Court Justice in the life of a law school, and especially as a commencement speaker, is a mark of high distinction for the College of Law, and it confirms the success the College of Law has enjoyed in its first three years of existence.”

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr., was born in Trenton, New Jersey, April 1, 1950, and was educated at Princeton University and Yale Law School. He served as a law clerk for Leonard I. Garth of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from 1976–1977. He was assistant U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey from 1977–81, assistant to the solicitor general for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1981–85, deputy assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1985–87, and U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey from 1987–90. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1990. President George W. Bush nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat January 31, 2006.

Last week the College of Law announced that it had been granted provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA). Under ABA rules, provisionally accredited law schools are entitled to all rights of fully accredited law schools. In particular, graduates of provisionally accredited law schools are entitled to the same recognition accorded to graduates of fully accredited law schools. A law school must be provisionally accredited for at least two years before applying for full accreditation. To grant provisional accreditation, the ABA reviews numerous factors including curriculum, facilities, library, admissions and faculty.

This achievement by Belmont’s College of Law represents the first time in nearly 50 years that a Tennessee law school has received accreditation, and the milestone was reached in the earliest possible timeline allowed by accreditation guidelines.

Jaz Boon, a charter class member who will graduate in May 2014, noted, “ABA accreditation validates the hard work of the Belmont Law administration, faculty, staff and students in building a great program. Receiving ABA approval strengthens the momentum our law program has garnered and allows us to become an even greater asset to the state of Tennessee and beyond.”

On October 7, 2009, Belmont University announced its intention to open a College of Law and the charter class began course work in the fall of 2011. It is now the first law school in Nashville to be accredited by the ABA since 1925. The College of Law provides a natural extension of the university’s mission and vision, which emphasize challenging academics, a service-minded approach, real-world experience and community leadership.

The College of Law is housed in a new building, the Randall and Sadie Baskin Center, which opened in August 2012 and includes a state-of-the-art Law Library. The College of Law is integrated into Belmont’s main campus and offers specialties in areas that complement the university’s nationally-known undergraduate program offerings, including healthcare and entertainment/music business.