U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone Will Address Kline School of Law Graduates at Commencement

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone will address the graduates of the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law at commencement on Wednesday, May 15 at 2 p.m. The law school will celebrate 171 graduates during its 11th commencement ceremony, held at the Kimmel Center in Verizon Hall (300 S. Broad Street). The event will celebrate 135 graduates who will receive a JD, 32 who will receive a Master of Legal Studies and four who will receive an LLM in American Legal Practice.

A former journalist and NBC-10 producer, Beetlestone made history in January when she issued a nationwide injunction that prevented the Trump administration from barring women’s access to the free birth control, guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who filed the lawsuit, called the ruling “a victory for the health and economic independence of women.”  

Beetlestone was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her family moved to England when she was a teenager and she graduated with an honors degree in philosophy from the University of Liverpool in 1984. In Beetlestone’s first career, she worked as a journalist for the BBC before joining CNN in Atlanta. She eventually moved to Philadelphia, to become a producer for NBC-10.

After six years as a journalist, she enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she served on the law review and, upon graduation, clerked for the late U.S. District Judge Robert Gawthrop III. After completing her clerkship in 1994, she joined the law firm of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, eventually becoming a partner.

In 2002, she was named general counsel for the School District of Philadelphia. Three years later, she returned to private practice at Hangley, Aronchick, Segal, Pudlin and Schiller. In 2014, President Obama nominated her to the federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and she was confirmed in a unanimous voice vote.

Beetlestone, for her legal acumen and dedication to individual rights, will receive the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in addition to giving the Thomas R. Kline School of Law commencement address.