Annual LEO Banquet

The Law School is committed to enrolling the strongest and most diverse class possible -- diverse in every way, with respect to life and work experiences, interests, skills, and backgrounds. And as you may know, we are one of the most racially and ethnically diverse law schools in the country. Each year our current students, faculty and alums from across the country gather for the Legal Educational Opportunities (LEO) Banquet as we celebrate our successes and reaffirm our commitment to maintaining one of the most interesting and dynamic learning environments in the country. This year's LEO Banquet will be hosted by the Middle Eastern Law Students Association.  

The LEO Program was established in 1967 to address issues of diversity within the student body. The support of the LEO Community as a whole has been instrumental in our continued ability to enroll diverse incoming classes. A testament to the efforts of current students, alums, faculty and staff is the fact that we maintain an average of over 20% students of color in the student body year after year. 

2017 Annual Legal Education Opportunities Banquet

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Reception at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.

Hosted by the Middle Eastern Law Students Association

Featuring Keynote Speaker

Lieutenant Commander (Ret.) Charles Swift
Director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building
330 N. Orchard St.
Madison, Wisconsin 53715

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Questions? Please contact Kimberly Raether at


LCDR (ret.) Charles SwiftCharles D. Swift
Charles (Charlie) Swift is the director of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, located in Dallas, Texas.

Swift holds a juris doctorate from Seattle University School of Law and master of laws from Temple University, both with honors. He has more than 20 years of litigation experience as a military and private attorney, and is the author of a treatise on military litigation. In addition to his work in the courtroom, Swift was visiting professor at Emory University Law School, where he directed the school’s Humanitarian Law Clinic and taught legal ethics courses. 

Swift gained national recognition during his service in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, when he represented Salim Hamdan. Hamdan, who had worked as Osama bin Laden’s driver, was detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Swift, with the aid of Neal Katyal and the law firm of Perkins Coie, filed a habeas corpus action on Hamdan’s behalf. The action culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Court determined that detainees were protected by the Geneva Conventions. Following the decision, Swift was forced to retire from the Navy after being passed over for promotion, but he continued to represent Hamdan as a civilian. In 2008, he helped lead Hamdan’s defense team in the first military commission trial in Guantanamo Bay, in which he secured Hamdan’s acquittal on the principle terrorism charges against him, resulting in his release from custody.

Swift’s dedication has been recognized with the Medal of Liberty presented by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 and with his selection as a runner-up for lawyer of the year by the National Law Journal in 2005. In 2006, he was named one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America for his work in human rights.

In his present position, Swift continues the fight to ensure that the constitutional rights guaranteed to all do not become a casualty of the War on Terror.

Overnight Accommodations

There are a limited number of rooms available at the Madison Concourse Hotel for the night of April 1, 2017, at a reduced rate of $115 per night. This special rate is only available until March 6. To make room reservations, contact the Madison Concourse Hotel at 1-800-356-8293 or online now using the group code UW Law School LEO Banquet.

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