Stephen H. Oleskey, an inter­na­tional leader in pro bono legal work, will deliver the com­mence­ment address during this year’s North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law com­mence­ment cer­e­mony. More than 200 stu­dents will receive their juris doctor degree during the cel­e­bra­tion, which will take place on Friday, May 22, at 1 p.m. in Northeastern’s Cabot Center.

Oleskey, senior partner at Wilmer­Hale law firm, has been co-​​lead counsel since 2004 in the case of Boume­diene v. Bush, a fed­eral habeas corpus suit chal­lenging the impris­on­ment of six men from Bosnia in held in Guan­tá­namo Bay without charge or trial. Oleskey also served as Mass­a­chu­setts deputy attorney gen­eral and chief of the Public Pro­tec­tion Bureau from 1987 to 1988.

A partner in WilmerHale’s Litigation/​Controversy Depart­ment and a member of the Com­plex Com­mer­cial Lit­i­ga­tion Prac­tice Group, Oleskey focuses his prac­tice on com­plex civil lit­i­ga­tion and appel­late mat­ters, with a par­tic­ular emphasis on real-​​estate-​​related litigation.

Oleskey’s 40-​​year com­mit­ment to pro bono legal work has earned him numerous honors. The Amer­ican Bar Asso­ci­a­tion awarded him the 2007 Pro Bono Pub­lico Award for his out­standing pro bono work, both in his indi­vidual prac­tice and as an advo­cate for pro bono ser­vices at Wilmer­Hale and throughout the legal com­mu­nity. He also has received the Boston Bar Association’s Thur­good Mar­shall Award for exem­plary com­mit­ment to public ser­vice and out­standing advo­cacy on behalf of low-​​income cit­i­zens of Mass­a­chu­setts, and the Greater Boston Legal Ser­vices’ Dow-​​Gardner-​​Landrum Award for out­standing com­mit­ment to legal ser­vices for the poor.

Oleskey is past director and pres­i­dent of the Greater Boston Legal Ser­vices, and past director and chairman of the board of the Boston Bar Association’s Vol­un­teer Lawyers Project. He was appointed to the board of the Mass­a­chu­setts Legal Assis­tance Cor­po­ra­tion in 1995 by the Mass­a­chu­setts Supreme Judi­cial Court, and was chair from 2003 to 2005. He served from 1998 to 2008 as chairman of the Mass­a­chu­setts Equal Jus­tice Coali­tion. He cur­rently chairs the board of direc­tors of Pact, an inter­na­tional sus­tain­able devel­op­ment NGO head­quar­tered in Wash­ington, DC, with pro­grams in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Oleskey also served on the national board and as gen­eral counsel to the NOW Legal Defense and Edu­ca­tion Fund (now Legal Momentum).

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