February 12, 2018

Court of Appeals Judge Garcia ’89 to Deliver Albany Law School’s 167th Commencement Address

Albany Law School is proud to announce that the Honorable Michael J. Garcia ’89 will deliver the keynote address at the Law School’s 167th Commencement, to be held at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on May 18, 2018.

Judge Garcia’s career has been marked by numerous high-profile positions in both the private and public sectors, including U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and lead ethics investigator to FIFA, soccer’s international governing body. He currently serves as an Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court.

“Judge Michael Garcia is a person of tremendous conviction. Throughout his career he has demonstrated the best of the profession,” said Alicia Ouellette, Albany Law School President and Dean. “His path has been an inspiration to us all, and we’re thrilled to have him address our graduating students as they prepare to chart their own journeys.”

A member of the Albany Law Review, Judge Garcia finished first in his class each year of law school, graduating as valedictorian in 1989. He was honored as part of the Government Law Center’s 30th anniversary celebration in 2008, and has made several visits to campus in recent years, including in 2015 to memorialize his mentor, the late Professor David D. Siegel.

“It is an honor to be invited to address the Class of 2018,” Judge Garcia said. “I will always be grateful to Albany Law—the place where it all began for me.  I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of this talented class.”

Judge Garcia received his undergraduate degree with honors from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1983 and an M.A. degree from the College of William and Mary in 1984. After graduating from Albany Law School (summa cum laude) in 1989, he began his legal career as an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP. From 1990 to 1992, he served as Law Clerk to Hon. Judith S. Kaye, then Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

From 1992 to 2001, Judge Garcia served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, during which time he successfully prosecuted a series of major terrorism cases. In 2001, he became Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement in the Bureau of Industry and Security, and in December 2002 he became Acting Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the United States Department of Justice. From March 2003 to August 2005, he served as Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the United States Department of Homeland Security. Judge Garcia was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York from 2005 to 2008, when he joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Judge Garcia previously was Vice President of the Americas for INTERPOL, the international police organization, from 2003 to 2006. From 2012 to 2014, he was Chair of the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). His 350-page report on allegations of corruption in the bidding process for FIFA’s World Cup tournaments in 2018 and 2022 garnered headlines worldwide.

On January 20, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo ’82 nominated Judge Garcia to the Court of Appeals, and the New York State Senate confirmed his appointment on February 8, 2016.