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W&L Law Alumnus Christopher Wolf, Pioneer in Internet Law, to Deliver Commencement Address

Christopher Wolf, of the Law Class of 1980 and recipient of the law school’s 2010 Outstanding Alumnus Award, will deliver this year’s commencement address during the 2014 graduation exercises at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 10 beginning at 11 a.m. The event is open to the public. A complete schedule of events is available at the commencement website. The topic of Wolf’s address is “Preserving Personal Connections.”

A partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Hogan Lovells, Wolf is director of the firm’s Global Privacy and Information Management practice group. He is founder and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, a think tank advancing responsible data practices that already has become a leading platform for discussion and development of best practices. He is also a founder of the Coalition for Privacy and Free Trade, which is seeking durable mechanisms for cross-border data flows that protect privacy.

“We could not have found a more thoughtful Commencement speaker than Chris Wolf,” says Dean Nora Demleitner. “His professional accomplishments and personal qualities, his commitment to making a difference, and his involvement in some of the most challenging issues of our day make him an outstanding role model and the perfect choice for a graduation speaker.”

MSNBC has called Wolf “a pioneer in Internet law” based on his early involvement in legal cases involving technology agreements, copyright, domain names, jurisdiction and, perhaps most of all, privacy. In 1998, a high-profile victory in a pro bono case against the government for its violation of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act brought Wolf to national attention as a privacy lawyer after his almost-two decades as a litigator in complex commercial and technology cases. Today, he is known to clients as a practical problem solver on issues arising from the collection, use, retention, sharing, and security of personal data.

Wolf was the editor and lead author of the first PLI treatise on privacy law and is a frequent author and speaker on privacy and data security issues. In 2012 and 2013, Wolf was a featured speaker at the Annual Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners in Uruguay and in Poland. He was the first privacy lawyer to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Privacy Subcommittee. He recently presented at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Workshop on “Big Data” in Berkeley, CA and at the Yale Law School “Big Data and the Law” conference, as well as at the Stanford/Future of Privacy Forum Big Data Conference. He was a presenter at the 2013 Federal Trade Commission Internet of Things Workshop. He is an upcoming speaker at the International Association of Privacy Professionals London Data Protection Intensive.

Wolf is a member of the American Law Institute and currently is participating in the ALI project on the Restatement of Privacy law. Washingtonian magazine dubbed Wolf a 2013 “Tech Titan.”

Wolf is National Civil Rights Chair of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and is co-author of the 2013 book on internet hate speech “Viral Hate: Containing its Spread on the Internet.” He co-chairs, with the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition Combatting Anti-Semitism Task Force on Internet Hate. Wolf is on the Board of Directors of WETA Public Broadcasting, Food & Friends, Young Concert Artists, and the George Washington University Hospital.

Wolf is a cum laude graduate of Bowdoin College and graduated magna cum laude, Order of the Coif from W&L Law. He also participated in the General Course at the London School of Economics. Following law school, he clerked for U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson, Jr. in Washington, D.C.

Wolf lives in Washington, DC and is married to James L. Beller, Jr, a playwright.

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