Convocation Celebrates Northwestern Pritzker Law Class of 2023


Student Experience nlawproud Students

On Friday, May 12, 643 graduates from 35 places around the globe joined faculty, family, and friends for the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s 2023 convocation ceremony at the Chicago Theatre.

Presiding over the ceremony, Dean Hari Osofsky welcomed the graduates to the Northwestern Pritzker Law alumni community. “Today, we are honoring and celebrating an extraordinary achievement—our graduates’ successful completion of a rigorous legal education program,” she said. “This would be a major achievement at any time, and these graduates have done so while facing major challenges. Our JD graduates began law school at the peak of the pandemic on Zoom and many of our graduates from all of our programs have faced difficult personal circumstances. The Class of 2023 has shown resiliency, support for one another, and leadership that has made such a difference. We are so proud of you and it is with great pleasure that we celebrate and recognize our amazing graduates.”

Dean Hari Osofsky

Provost Kathleen Hagerty also addressed the crowd. “Today we gather in deep gratitude and joy to celebrate the completion of this remarkable journey,” she said. “As provost, I am keenly aware of the effort and determination that it took each of you to arrive at this moment, not just during your years at Northwestern, but over a lifetime of work. At [Northwestern Pritzker Law], you’ve chosen the very best place to learn about the critical aspects of practicing law, and I hope you carry them forward through a lifetime of service to society.”

Sherrese Smith (JD ’96), managing partner at Paul Hastings LLP in Washington, D.C., delivered the keynote address. Smith is renowned for her superior advisement on crisis issues and, as a result, is regularly sought after by corporate board members and the C-suite. She previously served as vice chair of Paul Hastings LLP’s Data Privacy and Cybersecurity practice and is known as one of the country’s preeminent data privacy and cybersecurity and media and technology attorneys.

“If you take anything away from today’s speech, I hope that it is this: As you sit here today, you don’t need to know where you are going to end up exactly where you need to be,” Smith said. “First, you got here because you are smart and talented and you will do what it takes to win. Second, you have the support of your peers. Look around. You have gone through the last few years with each other and you are forever bonded by this special experience. Third, look around at your family members who are here with you today. They have been here and will always be there for you and will support you in ways that have nothing to do with the law.”

Convocation speaker Sherrese Smith (JD ’96) hugging Dean Hari Osofsky

Before joining Paul Hastings, Smith served as Chief Counsel to Chairman Julius Genachowski at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). She was responsible for determining the agency’s business and policy agenda on a multitude of media and technology matters. She led the FCC’s cross‑agency efforts to refine and implement new rules on data privacy and cybersecurity for multinational companies navigating complex data and privacy rules in the U.S., EU, and Asia. Smith’s work also involved extensive interaction with external stakeholders, including wireless, media, cable, and telecommunications companies; industry groups and trade associations; federal and state agencies; and Congress. 

Smith serves on the Board of Directors of NortonLifeLock and Cable ONE. She is also a member of the Northwestern University’s Law School board, a member of the University of Maryland’s Journalism School board, and a member of America’s Public Television Stations executive board.

In addition to Smith, student speakers Bradford McGann (JD ’23), Daniel Caballero (LLM ’23), and Kevin James Ingram (MSL ’23) addressed their fellow graduates. Dean of Students Susie Spies Roth (BA ’01, JD ’06) concluded the ceremony.

On Wednesday, May 10, the Law School hosted the Class of 2023 Awards Ceremony and Last Lecture. During the ceremony, faculty and student awards were presented. Emily Kadens, Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Memorial Professor of Law, delivered the last lecture of the school year. Members of the Graduation Committee presented the following teaching awards to:

Outstanding Adjunct Professor

Michael Y. Scudder, Adjunct Professor of Law

Outstanding First-Year Course Professors

David A. Dana, Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law

Nadav Shoked, Professor of Law

Outstanding Professor of a Small Class

Wendy Muchman, Professor of Practice

Robert R. Wootton Award for Teaching Excellence in the LLM Tax Program

Ari Glogower, Professor of Law

MSL Outstanding Residential Professor

Lynn P. Cohn, Clinical Professor of Law, Co-Director, Center on Negotiation, Mediation, and Restorative Justice

MSL Outstanding Online Professor

Darren Green, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and Practice, Faculty, Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center

Robert Childres Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence

Emily Kadens, Edna B. and Ednyfed H. Williams Memorial Professor of Law

The student awards were presented to:

Courage Award

Sarah Elizabeth Wolf-Knight

Global Legal Profession Award

Zehui Yan

Leadership Award

Bradford McGann

Legal Profession Award

Sarah W. Chase

Leigh B. Bienen Prize

Jacqueline Marie O’Brien

Lowden-Wigmore Prizes

Sierra Anderson

Rachael Kristina Cox

Hannah Ruth Friedle

Grant Limbert Glazebrook

Patrick Hecker

Joshua Lustig

MSL Residential Student Award

Isaac Ross Meng

MSL Online Student Award

Patrick Ryan Daniel Adams

Service Award

Marian Virginia Woznica

Victor Rosenblum Awards

Waded Mobarak de la Cruz

Franco Jofre Ricignuolo

Wigmore Key

Sarah Turner

Northwestern Pritzker Law’s 2023 graduating class includes 260 candidates for JD degrees and 27 candidates for joint JD-MBA degrees, 141 candidates for LLM degrees, 45 candidates for the Master of Law Joint Program degrees, 39 candidates for LLM degrees in taxation, five candidates for LLM degrees in international human rights, and 124 candidates for MSCL degrees. Other degrees presented include two candidates for Master of Studies in Law.

Watch the full Convocation ceremony here.