March 24, 2005

Roger Cossack to deliver Lesar lecture

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- One of the nation's leading legal analysts will discuss the media's role in high-profile trials on Tuesday, April 5, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Roger Cossack, who has analyzed the nation's top legal stories over the past decade, is presenting the 2005 Hiram H. Lesar Distinguished Lecture at 5 p.m. in the law school auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Cossack, one of the nation's foremost legal news journalists, is a legal analyst for ESPN.


Media Advisory

Reporters and photographers are welcome to cover the lecture. For more information, contact Michael P. Ruiz, the law school's director of admissions, media and communications, at 618/453-8858.


Dean Peter C. Alexander anticipates Cossack will spend time discussing many high-profile trials, including the O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant cases.

"He's a national figure in broadcasting and in law, and he will be an exciting Lesar lecturer," Alexander said.

"One of the things we try to do with the Lesar Lecture is to bring in well-known speakers to talk about topics that we might not spend a lot of time on in the classroom," Alexander said. "Roger Cossack is certainly an example of someone who can speak with knowledge about a subject that we may just lightly cover in class – the role of the media and the role of the attorneys in a trial."

Cossack is a former CNN legal analyst and co-host of the award-winning show "Burden of Proof" with Greta Van Sustern. He is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law, and later served on the faculty as well as being assistant dean.

Before joining CNN, Cossack practiced law in the Los Angeles area, both as a prosecutor with the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office, and as a criminal defense attorney with a specialized practice in the federal courts.

While at CNN, Cossack covered the top legal stories from 1995 to 2002, including the Simpson trial, the child custody case of Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, President Clinton's impeachment proceedings and the 2000 presidential election. Cossack has written for legal publications including the John Marshall Law Review, California Lawyer and the New York State Bar Criminal Journal.

Cossack was also Of Counsel at Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn, PLLC. in Washington, D.C., and a contributing anchor with Court TV.

The Hiram H. Lesar Lecture Series, established in 1992, honors the founding dean of the SIUC law school.

Creating citizen-leaders with global perspectives is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.