U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley is the keynote speaker for the 2013 Southern University Law Center Commencement Saturday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center on the Southern University Baton Rouge campus. Finely, the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney in Louisiana, will address 173 graduates receiving their juris doctorate degrees.
“I am honored that Southern University Law Center chose me to speak to these students,” Finley said in a press release. “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 Sen. Mary Landrieu and appointed by President Barack Obama in January 2010 to serve as the top federal law enforcement officer in the Western District of Louisiana. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in May 2010, and took the oath of office in June, becoming the first woman appointed to serve as U.S. Attorney in the state.
Finley oversees 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, drug trafficking, illegal immigration and alien smuggling. She is also charged with defending the country in civil cases and collecting debts owed to the United States.
Prior to her appointment, she served as 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.