Graduate Martin Tankleff is hooded by his mentor Stephen L....

Graduate Martin Tankleff is hooded by his mentor Stephen L. Braga at Touro Law Center's commencement exercises on Sunday, May 25, 2014. Tankleff, who was released from prison in 2007 after serving 17 years on charges of killing his parents, received his law degree. Tankleff's conviction was overturned by New York State appeals court. Credit: Steve Pfost

Number of graduates

217: 200 juris doctor degrees, 15 master of laws in U.S. legal studies degrees, 1 master of laws degree; and 1 dual degree: juris doctor and master of social work

Commencement speaker

Eric T. Schneiderman, New York State attorney general, speaking at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville, said the civil rights movement of the 1960s offers lessons for today's attorneys. He recalled the life of his hero, Charles Hamilton Houston, a black attorney in Washington who devised the strategy that eventually led the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the racial segregation policy of "separate but equal." Houston's career "teaches us to think for the long haul. Think about the future you want for your children and grandchildren," Schneiderman said. "Just because the U.S. Supreme Court says it's good law doesn't mean you have to agree with them. . . . Work for transformational change."

Class speaker

Deborah Lolai, who received a juris doctor's degree and certificate in criminal law, lauded the student body's diversity, saying it would make for better legal representation. "The moment you stop finding joy in what you are doing is the moment you stop helping your clients," she said. "Remember that the moments that hard work seemed too hard are the moments that got us this far, and these moments will take us even further."

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