Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell '78, of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., will address the Class of 2020 on Sunday, Aug. 1, at the on-campus celebration taking place that weekend.
“I am delighted for the privilege of addressing the Bryn Mawr College Class of 2020, which bore the brunt of the onset of the pandemic and had to leave campus abruptly in March 2020," said Howell. "Graduations are always a time of pride and celebration and, after over a year of delay and uncertainty, I expect this event will be especially heartfelt and joyous for the graduates and their families as well as for the College as a whole.”
Over her career, Howell has worked in private practice, the legal academy and in all three branches of the federal government. After serving as a law clerk to Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise in the District of New Jersey, she was a litigation associate at the law firm of Schulte, Roth & Zabel in New York City. From 1987 until 1993, Howell served as the deputy chief of the narcotics section and as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, where she was awarded the Attorney General’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance and commendations from the U.S. Attorney and Federal and local law enforcement agencies for her work on international narcotics, money laundering, and public corruption cases. From 1993 until 2003, Howell served on the staff and as general counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. From 2004 until January 2013, Howell served two terms as a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed commissioner on the U.S. Sentencing Commission. For part of the same time she served on the Commission, Howell also worked, from 2003 until 2009, as executive managing director and general counsel of a cybersecurity and digital forensics consulting and technical services firm, for which she headed the largest regional office in Washington, D.C.
Howell has been inducted into the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame and is the recipient of the 2004 First Amendment Award by the Society of Professional Journalists. Howell has taught legal ethics as an adjunct professor at American University’s Washington College of Law and is a member of the American Law Institute.
She currently serves as a member of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. and previously served, from October 2013 until March 2016, as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Information Technology.
Howell was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2010 and has served as the Chief Judge since March 2016. She received her B.A. with honors in philosophy in 1978 from Bryn Mawr and her J.D. in 1983 from Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.