St. Mary’s University School of Law held commencement exercises for more than 250 graduates on Saturday, May 19.

A total of 253 graduates, including 246 juris doctor degree candidates and seven master of laws degree candidates, received law degrees during the ceremony held in the Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s.

The keynote speaker was Houston attorney Martin Beirne, a 1969 graduate and founding partner of Beirne, Maynard, & Parsons. Beirne has extensive trial experience in complex business litigation, intellectual property, oil and gas, products liability, automotive litigation, and antitrust. In 2003, Corporate Legal Times named Beirne as one of only three “Top Drawer Litigators” on its list of “go to” lawyers in the United States.

Additionally, the law school gave awards to three prominent graduates during the commencement ceremony.

Charles L. Smith, of counsel in the litigation section of San Antonio office of Jackson Walker, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Smith, who graduated magna cum laude in 1955, has more than 50 years of litigation experience, focusing primarily on tort litigation in state and federal courts. He is a fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and is an advocate in the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has served as president of the State Bar of Texas and the San Antonio Bar Association, and as chairman of the Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Commission for Lawyer Discipline. He currently serves on the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, and He has been involved in state, regional and national legal associations throughout his career.

Stuart Bowen Jr., a 1991 law school graduate and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction since 2004, received the 2007 St. Thomas More Award, presented annually to a judge, lawyer, law teacher or layperson who has made exceptional contributions to legal education, the legal profession or government.

David A. Ezra, U.S. District Judge for the District of Hawaii, who received his bachelor of business administration in 1969 and his J.D. degree in 1972 from St. Mary’s, received the 2007 Rosewood Gavel Award, presented annually to an outstanding judge or justice in recognition of his or her contribution to our system of constitutional democracy.

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