Environmental Law Expert Jim Chen (LAW ’91) to deliver Law School Graduation Ceremony Address

James Chen

Environmental law expert Jim Chen, a 1991 graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, will be its 2021 graduation ceremony speaker. This year’s commencement will take place in-person from 1-2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, two weeks before the University’s convocation.

“Jim Chen has had an extraordinary and inspiring career,” said Co-Dean Jessica Berg.

Chen started at the Environmental Protection Agency, moved to Hogan & Hartson LLP and Crowell & Moring LLP and served as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Tesla Motors. He is now Vice President for Public Policy at Rivian Automotive—the manufacturer of the world’s first electric adventure vehicles (electric pick-up trucks that perform like sports cars). This past year, he also served as a member of the law school’s Dean’s Cabinet for Diversity and Inclusion.

“As the law school builds its new $10 million endowed Burke Center for Environmental Law, Jim’s expertise and impact in this area during his thirty years of law practice in the government, law firms, and industry make him an especially relevant commencement speaker,” added Co-Dean Michael Scharf.

The school featured Chen in its 2019 In Brief alumni magazine. In that article, he spoke about his desire to return to the law school to speak to students about his career journey. Now, he will have that opportunity.

“Here’s the great thing. Everything in law school—the training I received, the degree, the connections—that’s what opened the doors for me to have the career that I have,” Chen said.

The law school’s graduation ceremony starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 16. It will be held outside, rain or shine, at Freiberger Field, in front of the Tinkham Veale University Center. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the university cannot accommodate guests at this year’s event, but it will be streamed live at case.edu/livestream/s1.