The 200 stu­dents who grad­uate today as North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law’s class of 2009 will hear vale­dic­tory words of advice from two inspi­ra­tional speakers.

Stephen Oleskey, inter­na­tion­ally known for his pro bono legal work, including his efforts on the habeas corpus suit chal­lenging the impris­on­ment of six Alge­rians at Guan­tá­namo Bay, will offer the keynote speech.

And law pro­fessor and former law school dean David Hall will give the fac­ulty address, touching on themes of saying goodbye, and of over­coming the chal­lenges of the eco­nomic downturn.

The cer­e­monies will be held at 1 p.m. in the Cabot Center.

Oleskey, senior partner at law firm Wilmer­Hale, has spent the past 40 years engaged in public-​​service legal work. The former Mass­a­chu­setts deputy attorney gen­eral and past chief of the state’s Public Pro­tec­tion Bureau, he is a member of Wilmer-Hale’s litigation/​controversy depart­ment and the com­plex com­mer­cial lit­i­ga­tion prac­tice group. He focuses his prac­tice on com­plex civil lit­i­ga­tion and appel­late mat­ters, with a par­tic­ular emphasis on issues related to real estate.

Law school dean Emily Spieler says Oleskey offers the per­fect mes­sage to aspiring attorneys.

We are thrilled Mr. Oleskey will speak to our grad­u­ates about his life­long com­mit­ment to pro bono work,” Spieler says. “I am per­son­ally impressed by his most recent achieve­ments in the Guan­tá­namo cases, and also by his con­stancy of pur­pose in seeking rep­re­sen­ta­tion for people who cannot afford expen­sive lawyers. He is a ter­rific example of the kind of lawyer we hope all our grad­u­ates will become.”

Since 2004, Oleskey has been co-​​lead counsel on Boume­diene v. Bush, a fed­eral habeas corpus suit chal­lenging the impris­on­ment of six Algerian men from Bosnia who were held at Guan­tá­namo Bay without charge or trial. On May 15, the lead peti­tioner in the case was released from Guan­tá­namo after spending nearly seven and a half years in detainment.

Oleskey is the past director and pres­i­dent of Greater Boston Legal Ser­vices, and past director and chairman of the board of the Boston Bar Association’s Vol­un­teer Lawyers Project. He received the Amer­ican Bar Association’s Pro Bono Pub­lico Award in 2007. He is also the winner of the Boston Bar Association’s Thur­good Mar­shall Award, for his exem­plary com­mit­ment to public ser­vice and out­standing advo­cacy on behalf of low-​​income cit­i­zens of Massachusetts.

Hall, who has spent 24 years at North­eastern, became the first African-​​American dean of the law school in 1993. Five years later, he was named provost of the uni­ver­sity, a posi­tion he held until 2003.

As he pre­pares to leave North­eastern to become pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of the Virgin Islands, this address will be poignant for him, he says.

One of the major things that the stu­dents and I have in common at this time is that we are both saying farewell to the insti­tu­tion,” Hall says. “Part of my mes­sage will focus on whether there really is a way to say goodbye, or whether the insti­tu­tion has become such a part of me, and of us, that there is no way to say goodbye.”

He adds, “There are con­nec­tions here I believe are unbreakable.”

Hall will also encourage grad­u­ates to face the trou­bled economy head-​​on. “When we’re in the midst of an eco­nomic storm, how do we respond to that?” he says. “I hope to impart some insights into how people in the past faced chal­lenging moments.”