Chief Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. to Speak at Akron Law's Commencement May 13


The University of Akron School of Law will hold its 88th Commencement Ceremony at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 13 at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. The 2012 UA School of Law commencement speaker will be Chief Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr.

“Chief Judge Oliver is a scholar, a talented and fair jurist, and a leader in the field of judicial administration,” says Dean Martin H. Belsky. “A former professor, he has always been a supporter of innovation in legal education. We are honored that he is to be our commencement speaker.”

Chief Judge Oliver was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by President Clinton on May 9, 1994. He has served as Chief Judge of that court since June 1, 2010.

Chief Judge Oliver was born in Bessemer, Ala., the fourth often children of Reverend Solomon Oliver and Mrs. Willie Lee Oliver. He attended the segregated public schools of Bessemer, graduating from J.S. Abrams High School in 1965.

Chief Judge Oliver graduated from the College of Wooster with honors in 1969, majoring in philosophy and political science. He received a J.D. degree from New York University in 1972, and a Master’s degree in Political Science from Case Western Reserve University in 1974.

Chief Judge Oliver served as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the College of Wooster from 1972–75. From 1975–76, he served as a law clerk to the late Judge William H. Hastie of the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the first African American to serve as an Article III federal judge.

From 1976 to 1982, Chief Judge Oliver served with the U.S. Justice Department as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Cleveland. From July 1978 to March 1982, he was Chief of the Civil Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In March 1982, he became Chief of Appellate Litigation in that Office.

Chief Judge Oliver joined Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University as a faculty member in fall 1982. From May 1991 – May 1994, he served as Associate Dean of Faculty and Administration at the Law School.

Chief Judge Oliver has written articles and lectured on a wide range of topics at colleges and universities, at continuing legal education seminars and at judicial conferences. Chief Judge Oliver was especially gratified to deliver a keynote address entitled, “The Role of Judicial Review in a Democracy” in March 1995 at a conference of East African judges in Arusha, Tanzania. One of his most recent publications is a chapter entitled, “Summary Judgment” in a six-volume treatise entitled Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts.

Chief Judge Oliver has received various awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Wooster and the Distinguished Alumni Award from New York University Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association.

Chief Judge Oliver is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation and the Board of Trustees of the College of Wooster. He has served as Secretary to the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Council. He has also co-chaired the ABA Litigation Section’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee. He is a member of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church of Cleveland. He previously served as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States and currently serves on its Advisory Committee on Civil Rules.

About The University of Akron School of Law
The University of Akron School of Law promotes justice, the protection of individual liberty and the rule of law through commitment to excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. A regional school of national impact, the law school features renowned programs in intellectual property, professional responsibility and trial advocacy, and is home to one of four Constitutional Law Centers in the United States, established by the U.S. Congress in 1986.To learn more, visit