The law school will award 161 JD degrees, 42 LLM degrees and four MS degrees at the 3 p.m. ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.
Adjunct faculty awards will be presented to retired Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sheila Murphy and Mark Vogel, a retired assistant United States attorney.
Valedictorian is Heather Daniel who graduates first in the class.
Fitzgerald served as the United States Attorney from September 2001 to June 2012, making him the longest-serving United States attorney ever in Chicago.
He managed a staff of more than 300 employees, including approximately 160 Assistant United States Attorneys, handling civil litigation and criminal investigations and prosecutions involving public corruption, narcotics trafficking, violent crimes, white-collar fraud and other federal crimes. The Northern District of Illinois covers 18 Illinois counties.
Fitzgerald led the U.S. Attorney’s Office through numerous high-profile investigations and prosecutions, including the convictions on corruption charges of Illinois Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich; convictions of City of Chicago administrators on bribery and obstruction of justice charges as part of the Hired Truck scandal; and the fraud conviction of media-mogul Conrad Black whose company once owned the Chicago Sun-Times.
While serving in Chicago, Fitzgerald was appointed a special counsel for an investigation in Washington, D.C., that led to a federal grand jury indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former advisor to then Vice President Dick Cheney, for obstructing the investigation of the leak of the covert identity of Central Intelligence Agency Officer Valerie Plame Wilson. Libby was found guilty on four counts.
Before his appointment to Chicago, Fitzgerald was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York City for 13 years serving as chief of the Organized Crime-Terrorism Unit, in addition to holding other supervisory positions. He was the lead counsel for the criminal trial of United States v. Usama Bin Laden, et al., in which multiple defendants were charged with and convicted of conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals overseas and the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Fitzgerald also participated in the trial of United States v. Omar Abdel Rahman, et al., the prosecution of a conspiracy to attack the U.S. that involved the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
After a 24-year career in government, Fitzgerald now is a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates in its Chicago office where he focuses on internal investigations, government enforcement matters and civil litigation. A native of New York City’s Brooklyn borough,. Fitzgerald received a BA degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from Amherst College in 1982 and a JD degree from Harvard Law School in 1985.