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Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of New York, to Receive Honorary Degree at 118th Commencement


Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of New York and the first woman to serve as New York State Attorney General, will address graduates at Brooklyn Law School’s 118th commencement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 17, 2019.

Throughout her career, Underwood has been a guardian of equal justice for all. She has served in a number of critical legal positions and has argued 20 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She has fought against racially discriminatory jury selection, argued that federal law protects employees and students of federally funded educational institutions from sex discrimination, and defended the constitutionality of reasonable buffer zones around women’s health clinics to protect a woman’s right to choose.

Underwood was first appointed as New York’s Solicitor General in 2007 and was reappointed to the position by Attorney General Letitia James in January. As New York’s 66th Attorney General last year, she reached a record-setting $174.2 million settlement with Charter Communications over allegations that it knowingly defrauded its customers; obtained a court ruling ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to comply with the Clean Air Act’s requirement to address pollution from upwind states; and dissolved the Donald J. Trump Foundation amid allegations it was used for personal and political benefit. She also filed a lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corporation, alleging that the company misled investors regarding the risk that climate change regulations posed to its business.

Underwood served as the Acting Solicitor General and Principal Deputy Solicitor General of the United States from 1998 to 2001—the first female Solicitor General in American history. During her illustrious career, she also has served as Chief Assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, held executive positions in the Queens and Brooklyn District Attorneys’ Offices, and was a trial attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Underwood has been Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Executive Committee and Council on Criminal Justice. She was a tenured Professor of Law at Yale Law School, a visiting Professor at New York University School of Law, and an adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School. She received the Professionalism Award from The American Inns of Court in 2012, honoring her many years of mentorship.

After finishing first in her class at Georgetown University Law Center, Underwood served as law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court and Chief Judge David L. Bazelon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

At commencement, Underwood will receive an honorary degree, the highest degree conferred by Brooklyn Law School.

WHAT: Brooklyn Law School’s 118th Commencement
WHO: Barbara D. Underwood, Solicitor General of New York, commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient
WHEN: Friday, May 17, 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY

For more information, visit: us/commencement