Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2008-08-22

Former Watergate prosecutor James F. Neal will address students at Samford University's Cumberland School of Law Thursday, Aug. 28. The Nashville attorney will speak at 11 a.m. in the moot courtroom of Robinson law building as the first presenter in this year's Cordell Hull Speakers Forum series. The public is invited free of charge.

Neal, who has been involved in some of the nation's highest profile criminal cases, was lead trial counsel in the prosecution of high ranking officials in president Richard Nixon's administration during the Watergate cover-up trial in the 1970s. The scandal prompted Nixon's resignation in 1974.

As a special assistant to the U.S. attorney general in the early 1960s, Neal helped prosecute Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa for attempting to bribe jurors in a previous case.

A former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, Neal has been a member of the Nashville law firm of Neal and Harwell since its formation in 1971.

Noted defendants he has successfully represented include Dr. George Nichopoulos (Elvis Presley's physician), Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, Ford Motor Company in the Pinto criminal trial, and Exxon Corporation in charges resulting from the oil spill in Alaska. He also served as private counsel for vice president Albert Gore, Jr., in the late 1990s.

A former U.S. Marine, Neal is a graduate of the University of Wyoming, Vanderbilt University School of Law and Georgetown University School of Law (master's degree).

During his talk at Samford, he will discuss many of his courtroom accomplishments.

Brian L. Spellen, a third-year law student from Decatur, Ga., is chair of this year's Cordell Hull Speakers Forum.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.