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Friday, Jan. 20, 2012 1:56 p.m.

“Bostonian of the Year” tapped as Law School commencement speaker

United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen Ortiz, a GW Law School alumna, will speak to law school graduates this year. Photo courtesy of the United States Attorney's Office

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Matt Kwiecinski.

GW Law School graduates will hear from the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts during their commencement ceremony, the school announced Friday.

Carmen Ortiz, who graduated from the law school in 1981, was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 as the first Hispanic and the first woman to hold the U.S. Attorney position in Massachusetts.

“Ms. Ortiz is a true inspiration and, by all accounts, an incredible speaker,” Dean Paul Schiff Berman said. “I am thrilled to have her on hand to celebrate the Class of 2012.”

Ortiz oversees the work of more than 200 attorneys and support staff in Boston, Worcester and Springfield, supervising the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters in which the federal government has an interest.

The Boston Globe named Ortiz “Bostonian of the Year” this month for the work she has done in the state over the past two decades.

Ortiz is also the chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Healthcare Fraud Working Group and is a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Civil Rights.

Inspired by her childhood New York’s Spanish Harlem, her top priorities include civil rights and violent crime reduction.

In 2010, Ortiz implemented the first civil rights initiative of Massachusetts, aimed at reinforcing the efforts of federal civil rights laws while increasing community outreach services to areas of poor civil rights handlings.

Terrorism, national security, healthcare fraud and white-collar crime are also part of Ortiz’s main areas of focus.

After graduating from GW Law in 1981, Ortiz held a number of legal occupations, including senior trial attorney, Program Associate and Training Coordinator at Harvard Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice, and Assistant US Attorney in the Economic Crimes Unit of the US Attorney’s Office of Massachusetts.

Law school alumnus John Snow, who served as the 73rd United States Secretary of the Treasury, spoke at last year’s celebration.

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