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Address by Professor David B. Wilkins, Washington and Lee University School of Law Commencement Exercises, May 5, 2018


David B. Wilkins & Brant J. Hellwig


May 24, 2019

Professor David B. Wilkins of Harvard Law School undertook considerable research in crafting a commencement address that incorporated several prominent figures from the history W&L Law and the University. Professor Wilkins delivered the address to the Washington and Lee Law Class of 2018 at their commencement ceremony. Following the conclusion of the ceremony, Dean Brant Hellwig secured Professor Wilkins’ gracious permission to publish the address in the Washington and Lee Law Review, and provides a written introduction to Professor Wilkins’ speech here.

His speech highlighted not only the contributions of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, for whom the University is named, but also two of the Law School’s most prominent alumni: John W. Davis, former Solicitor General of the United States, President of the American Bar Association, and founder of the Davis Polk law firm; and Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr.


76 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1 (2019).