School of Law: Lectures from Legal Legends

William Suter: Former US Supreme Court Clerk & Former Army JAG Corps Commander

Lectures from Legal Legends


Each year, GGU Law hosts several distinguished lecture series, where legal legends visit campus to share their knowledge and insights with students and staff. Our three primary speaker series are the Chief Justice Ronald M. George Distinguished Lecture Series, the Veterans Law Conference, and the Jesse Carter Lecture Series. We also host several landmark conferences, including the annual Water Law Symposium and the annual Fulbright International Legal Symposium.


GGU Law hosted its Sixth Annual Chief Justice Ronald M. George Distinguished Lecture featuring the recently retired Clerk of the United States Supreme Court, William K. Suter. As Clerk, Suter oversaw all filing with the Supreme Court, while maintaining its records and ensuring all operations ran smoothly and on time. Mr. Suter is also a retired Major General who served as the Army's Judge Advocate General (JAG), the highest ranking attorney in the Army.

When Suter visited GGU Law, he attended the Veterans' Law Conference, featuring legal powerhouses John Keker & William Gunn. Suter then sat in on Professor Eric Christiansen's Constitutional Law class where he gave a talk about his experience with Constitutional Law followed by a Q&A session with the students. In the evening, Suter participated in a conversational style interview led by Marcia Coyle, Chief Correspondent to the National Law Journal. In this interview (shown below), Suter discusses why he chose law, his experiences with military law, and his interactions with those at the US Supreme Court. Suter was introduced by GGU Law's Dean Rachel Van Cleave, and by Justice Ming Chin, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.

Marcia Coyle interviews William K. Suter, former Clerk of the US Supreme Court, as part of the
2014 Ronald M. George Lecture Series hosted by GGU Law.


Our Second Annual Veterans Law Conference took place on October 23. The purpose of this conference was to examine the health, employment, and legal issues facing today's veterans, and what we can do to address these concerns.

The conference began with a keynote speech from William Gunn, recently retired General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs, and a retired Air Force Colonel, where he served with distinction in the JAG Corps. Mr. Gunn's lecture, which you can read about here, explained the history of veterans services and concluded that many veterans' needs still go unmet.

Following Mr. Gunn's guest lecture, a panel of experts sat to address the various needs of veterans and how they felt those needs ought to be resolved. The panel included Keith Boylan, Deputy Secretary of Veterans' Services at the California Department of Veterans' Affairs, and Army veteran with a combat tour in the Gulf War; Dr. Robert Owen, Professor of Medicine at UCSF with a focus in the medical effects of military occupational environmental exposures. Doctor Owen is also a Department of Veterans' Affairs Compensation and Pension Examiner; Keith Armstrong, Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF with a focus in treatment of persons who have experienced traumatic events. Mr. Armstrong is the co-author of "Courage After Fire," a self-help book for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their families; and, Mary Wright, Partner at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart PC, Ms. Wright will provide insight on the recruitment, counseling and employment of military veterans.

John Keker, legendary trial lawyer and founder of Keker & Van Nest, spoke after the panel concluded. In his profoundly compelling speech, which you can read about here, he relayed his experiences as a Marine in Vietnam, his experience attending law school after being injured in combat, and how lawyers should think about, and talk to, our nation's veterans.