Commencement is a time to celebrate our graduates and wish them well as they transition to the legal profession. We also recognize the support provided by family and friends and we invite you to join us in the celebration. This site is designed to give you information necessary to take part in this year's commencement exercises.
J.D. candidates, LL.M. candidates, faculty, administrators and guests are cordially invited to this annual celebration for graduating students. The ceremony includes a commencement address, graduate student speakers and the conferral of Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctorate of Laws (S.J.D.) degrees.
Professor Barry C. Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal clinic affiliated with the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, will be the commencement speaker at the Law School’s 91st commencement exercises on Sunday, May 18, 2014.
Professor Scheck and his colleague, Peter Neufeld, founded the Innocence Project after realizing the profound potential for DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions. Their pioneering work using DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongly convicted led to a national movement that has changed the landscape of criminal procedure in America, as more than 300 individuals, many on death row, have been exonerated in the United States through post-conviction DNA testing.
In Connecticut as well as other states, these exonerations have led to new improvements in identification procedures, providing new safeguards against conviction of the innocent and new tools to identify the guilty. The Project also assists police, prosecutors and defense attorneys in trying to bring about reform in many areas of the criminal justice system, including eyewitness identification procedures, interrogation methods, crime laboratory administration and forensic science research.
Professor Scheck has done extensive trial and appellate litigation in significant civil rights and criminal defense cases. In addition to the work he has done through Cardozo’s Innocence Project, which has represented dozens of men who were exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing, Professor Scheck has represented such notable clients as Hedda Nussbaum, O.J. Simpson, Louise Woodward and Abner Louima. He has published extensively in these areas, including a book with Jim Dwyer and Peter Neufeld, entitled Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong And How To Make It Right.
Professor Scheck has been a member of the faculty at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law for thirty-five years, serving as the director of Clinical Education, co-director of the Trial Advocacy Programs and the Jacob Burns Center for the Study of Law and Ethics. Prior to joining Cardozo, he worked for three-years as a staff attorney at The Legal Aid Society in New York City.
Professor Scheck has served in prominent positions in many bar associations, including the presidency of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2004-2005). Since 1994 he has been a commissioner on New York State’s Forensic Science Review Board, a body that regulates all crime and forensic DNA laboratories in the state. From 1998 through 2000, he served on the National Institute of Justice’s Commission on the Future of DNA Evidence. In 2005, he was a member of the American Judicature Society’s National Commission on Forensic Science and Public Policy.
In 1971, Professor Scheck received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and in 1974 his law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley.