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Graduation Speakers

College of Law Commencement 2020

The Honorable William L. Simpson

Bill SimpsonWilliam L. (Bill) Simpson was born to Al and Ann Simpson in 1957 in Laramie while both of his parents finished their degrees. Growing up in Cody, Bill developed a deep love and affection for everything Wyoming, including the University.

After graduating from Cody High School in 1975, Bill attended the DeerField Academy in Massachusetts for a year before returning to the University of Wyoming to get his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1980. He then attended the University of Wyoming College of Law, graduating in 1983.

Upon graduation, he returned to Cody to work with Charles Kepler and continued to do so until 2012. Bill also became a partner with Burg, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh and Jardine in 2000.

During his career he also served as a criminal defense lawyer with the Public Defender’s Office for over 25 years, a civil defense lawyer, a plaintiff’s lawyer and pursued a wide variety of other legal activities.

In 2017 Bill Simpson was appointed as the State District Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial District by Governor Matt Mead.

Professor Michael C. Duff

michael duffMichael C. Duff, a Professor at the College of Law since 2006, is a Vice Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Committee of the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and a fellow of both the American Bar Foundation and the Pound Civil Justice Institute. In 2017, Professor Duff was elected a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Professor Duff is widely considered one of the leading national experts on workers’ compensation systems and is quoted frequently by the national press. He has written extensively on various complex labor and employment matters, including preemption issues emerging from the interplay of Title I of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and state workers’ compensation systems.

Professor Duff teaches the College of Law’s courses in Torts I, Labor Law, Workers’ Compensation Law, and Employee Benefits Law.

An experienced legal practitioner, Professor Duff spent nearly a decade working as an attorney, adjudicative official, and investigator in various National Labor Relations Board offices immediately prior to joining the College of Law’s faculty. In his work life preceding the study of the law, Professor Duff was for eleven years a Teamsters shop steward and blue-collar ramp service worker in the airline industry, leaving that occupation in 1992 to study labor law at the Harvard Law School.

For more on Professor Duff visit his faculty page >>>

Emily Ruth Williams

Emily WilliamsA native of Laramie Wyo., Emily attended the University of Wyoming for her undergraduate degree, which she earned in Human Development and Family Sciences. Driven by a desire to help people, she enrolled in law school knowing that many of the struggles people face in their lives are legal.

Throughout her law school career, Emily worked in the Defender Aid Clinic and served her final year of law school as the Student Clinic Director. Emily spent substantial time in the courtroom, arguing multiple cases for the Clinic in the District Courts of Johnson County and Washakie County, and before the Wyoming Supreme Court, as well as appearances in other courtroom proceedings across Wyoming.

Following graduation, Emily will continue to serve the state at the Wyoming Public Defender's Office. 

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College of Law

1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3035

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-6416

Fax: 307-766-6417


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