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Alumni Newsmakers

The 1950s

Roy S. Mitchell, JD ’59, has joined JAMS, a private provider of mediation and arbitration services. Mitchell will work from the firm’s Washington, D.C., resolution center, where he will resolve construction disputes worldwide as a member of the global engineering and construction group. Previously, Mitchell served as chair of the Center for Management Development and Training Inc., president and CEO of the Construction Claims Group of Hill International Inc., and senior partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius. He also co-founded Lewis, Mitchell and Moore, where he served as senior partner for 20 years.

The 1960s

In his new memoir, Blue Villa and Other Vietnam Stories (iUniverse, 2009), Ernest Auerbach, BA ’58, JD ’61, recounts his experiences as one of the first judge associates assigned to Vietnam in 1966. His first book, Joining the Inner Circle: How to Make It as a Senior Executive (John Wiley & Sons) was published in 1990. Auerbach lives in Southbury, Conn.

John B. Holden Jr., JD ’68, was selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America 2009 for the field of energy law. A partner in the Dallas office of Jackson Walker, Holden has represented clients in natural resources for more than 34 years and is board certified in oil, gas, and mineral law.

Second Judicial District Court Judge Jerome Polaha, JD ’68, was elected as the 2009-10 president of the Nevada District Court Judges’ Association. The association strives to maintain and strengthen the district courts of Nevada by promoting education, exchange of information, and mutual response and aid among Nevada’s district judges.

Richard A. Levie, JD ’69, was elected vice president and president elect of JAMS, a private provider of mediation and arbitration services. Prior to joining JAMS, Levie sat on the D.C. Superior Court and was one of 20 state judges to serve on the mass tort litigation committee. He is a former adjunct professor at GW Law School and has been recognized as one of the “500 Leading Judges in America” by Lawdragon Magazine.

Warren L. Miller, JD ’69, chairman of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, was commencement speaker at Central Michigan University and received an honorary doctorate degree in public service on May 9, 2009. Miller was recognized for playing a pivotal role in the creation of numerous Holocaust memorials and related projects throughout Europe. His efforts have been recognized by five European governments that have bestowed high honors upon him.

The 1970s

Marc Fleischaker, JD ’70, joined the board of directors of National Health Law Program, a not-for-profit law firm that works to secure health rights for those in need. Fleischaker is chair of the Washington, D.C.,-based firm Arent Fox, where he maintains an active legal practice in trade association representation, environmental law, antitrust law, litigation, and civil rights law.

The American College of Legal Medicine awarded its 2009 Gold Medal to Marshall B. Kapp, JD ’74, at the organization’s annual meeting in February. The gold medal is the ACLM’s highest award for service, professionalism, dedication, and contribution. Kapp is the Garwin Distinguished Professor of Law and Medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Law and co-director of the school’s Center for Health Law and Policy.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist named James F. Murley, JD ’74, chair of the Florida Energy & Climate Commission for a term ending Nov. 30, 2011. Murley, the director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University and former secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs, says he looks forward to “finding creative solutions to Florida’s energy and climate issues.”

Strauss & Troy attorney Thomas C. Rink, LLM ’74, was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2009 in the field of tax law. Rink was also named by Law & Politics to the list of “Ohio Super Lawyers” for 2009.

Doris L. Hollingsworth-Gray, JD ’76, received the National Contract Management Association’s 2009 Outstanding Fellow Award at the World Congress 2009 in Long Beach, Calif. The Outstanding Fellow designation is the NCMA’s highest award, given to those few members who have made significant and outstanding contributions to the field. Hollingsworth-Gray is a senior contracts manager at Avnet Inc. and has actively participated in NCMA throughout her career.

Arnstein & Lehr welcomed Judith L. Grubner, JD ’76, as partner in the business organizations and transactions, intellectual property, and litigation practice groups in the Chicago office. She has extensive experience in trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, and sweepstakes, contests, and game promotions. Grubner is a speaker for the Chicago and Milwaukee bar associations, the Midwest Society of Professional Consultants, and Society of Professional Journalists.

John M. Nolan, LLM ’76, was elected to Winstead’s executive committee for 2009. He works in Dallas.

Richard J. Reibstein, JD ’76, joined Pepper Hamilton’s New York office as partner. Reibstein has more than 20 years of experience in private practice representing employers and senior management in all areas of employment and labor law, preceded by two years of government service with the National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Department of Labor.

Stephen G. Burns, JD ’78, was named the new general counsel of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. Burns began working for the commission as an attorney in 1978 and has been the NRC’s deputy general counsel since 1998. He has served at the NRC in various positions and was the recipient of the NRC Distinguished Service Award in 2001 and the Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award in 1998 and 2008.

Chief Operating Officer and Managing Shareholder of Dallas-based law firm Godwin Ronquillo, Marcos Ronquillo, JD ’79, was selected as one of the top minority business leaders in Dallas/Fort Worth by the Dallas Business Journal. Ronquillo was also honored as the Corporate Individual Inclusiveness Champion of the Year by Ernst & Young and earned the 2008 Legal Diversity Award presented by the Texas Diversity Council. He is a former president of the Dallas Mexican American Bar Association and chair of the Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The 1980s

GW Law School Professorial Lecturer in Law Ava J. Abramowitz, JD ’80, is the author of The Architect’s Essentials of Contract Negotiation 2nd edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Formerly the deputy general counsel of The American Institute of Architects and a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council, she is also a founding fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and serves on its board of governors.

Randall Danskin announced that Thomas W. McLane, LLM ’82, joined as a principal in the firm’s Spokane, Wash., office. McLane’s practice emphasizes employment and labor law, and he is a frequent lecturer on a wide range of employment law topics. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and listed in The Best Lawyers in America for labor and employment law. He was also named a “Super Lawyer” by Washington Law and Politics.

Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir in Pittsburgh named Laura Stone, BA ’79, JD ’82, as shareholder. A member of the business services and public sector services groups, Stone focuses her practice primarily on counseling individual, corporate, and nonprofit clients in the areas of business planning and structuring, financing and commercial transactions, and negotiation and drafting of contracts. She was previously senior counsel to the firm.

Aaron J. Gorovitz, JD ’83, was selected by The Best Lawyers in America 2009 in the area of real estate law. The publication chooses the attorneys and areas of practice based on recommendations from clients and other attorneys, and inclusion is based entirely on peer review. Gorovitz is an attorney at Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed in central Florida.

In his new book, Elijah’s Coin: A Lesson For Life (A&N Publishing, 2009), Steven D. O’Brien, JD ’83, writes an inspirational work of fiction that aims to help people avoid destructive paths. The main character Tom is a young man who has suffered a tragic loss and whose life is spiraling out of his control. Tom’s descent into a dangerous path is interrupted by the discovery of an unlikely mentor who begins to teach him a new philosophy of life and who sets him on a quest for self-discovery.

Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA Inc. in Cypress, Calif., promoted Perry Pappous, JD ’83, to executive vice president and general counsel. His responsibilities include managing the legal department, overseeing litigation, leading legal compliance, and directing advice and counsel on antitrust, distribution, commercial contracts, credit, employment, and other areas of the law. Pappous also serves as a director on the board of Mitsubishi Electric U.S. and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation.

Lehigh Valley, Pa., law firm Tallman, Hudders & Sorrentino named Sandra Jarva Weiss, BA ’80, JD ’83, as partner. Weiss, formerly of counsel to the firm, has been practicing health care law for more than 20 years and has extensive experience in all areas of health care regulation. She has designed numerous compliance programs and counsels hospitals and providers on compliance laws and requirements.

James P. Wilkins, JD ’83, was certified as a specialist in labor and employment law by the Ohio State Bar Association. Wilkins, a shareholder in the Akron, Ohio, based firm Kastner Westman & Wilkins, focuses his entire practice on the representation of private and public sector employers in labor and employment matters.

Super Lawyers Magazine named W. Curtis Elliott Jr., LLM ’84, a 2009 “Super Lawyer.” The annual Super Lawyers list identifies North Carolina’s outstanding attorneys based on professional achievement as selected by their peers. Elliott is managing partner at the Charlotte-based firm of Culp Elliott & Carpenter.

Jack Garson, JD ’85, has been selected for major appointments to the boards of three influential groups—the Metropolitan Washington Airports board of directors, the Maryland Comptroller’s Business Council, and the Montgomery County Economic Advisory Council. Garson, a business and commercial real estate attorney in Montgomery County, Md., for more than 20 years, is founding principal of Garson Claxon.

The Association of Corporate Counsel elected John Glicksman, JD ’85, as vice president of programs for the Western Pennsylvania chapter for 2009. Glicksman is vice president and secretary for the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, an investor in early stage life sciences companies. He has been a member of the ACC’s board of directors since 2006, and he lives in McMurray, Pa.

Stanley J. Thompson, JD ’85, was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America 2009. Thompson is a senior shareholder of the Davis Brown law firm, practicing litigation and appeals, insurance defense, antitrust law, construction law, and government relations.

Ian C. Ballon, JD ’86, released an updated second edition of his legal treatise, E-Commerce and Internet Law: Treatise With Forms, 2d (Thomson/West, 2009). Ballon is a shareholder in the intellectual property and technology litigation group of Greenberg Traurig, where he represents technology, media, and entertainment companies in complex Internet, copyright, and intellectual property litigation and counseling.

Hank Brown, LLM ’86, was recognized for his contributions to the Colorado community with a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award, which recognizes outstanding Coloradans. Brown is a former president of the University of Colorado, as well as a former U.S. senator, a former U.S. representative, and a former state senator. He has served Colorado for more than 30 years in government, education, business, and philanthropy.

Fox Rothschild announced that M. Joel Bolstein, BA ’82, JD ’87, was named in the “Leaders in Law” ranking in the 2009 Chambers USA Guide for his leadership in the environmental field.

Benjamin Israel, JD ’87, joined Duane Morris’s Washington, D.C., office in its energy, environment, and resources practice group. Formerly a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani, Israel has more than 20 years of experience with transactional and regulatory aspects of utility and non-utility electric power generation.

The 1990s

Scott Familant, JD ’90, joined Baker Botts as partner in the intellectual property department in the firm’s New York City office. Previously, Familant was a partner at Sidley Austin.

Venable law firm announced that Sheryl Robinson Wood, JD ’90, will join the firm’s Baltimore office as a partner in its SEC and white collar defense practice areas. Prior to joining Venable, Wood served in the Justice Department’s antitrust and civil rights divisions, where she acted as liaison between the DOJ and state attorneys general as well as with local law enforcement authorities.

Kent Thomas Jones, JD ’91, completed a half-marathon to benefit victims of neuroblastoma, a leading childhood form of cancer that arises in the adrenal gland or in tissue in the nervous system that is related to the adrenal gland. Jones serves as a partner and managing attorney of the Chattanooga, Tenn., office of Allen, Kopet & Associates and is a member-at-large of St. Peter’s Episcopal School Board. He served as a past president of the GW Law School International Law Society, member of the Moot Court Board, and finalist in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

Joseph Mendelson III, JD ’91, was named director of global warming policy for the National Wildlife Federation. His previous work includes initiating and litigating Massachusetts v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court’s first case addressing the issue of climate change. He lives in Arlington, Va.

The Best Lawyers in America 2009 listed H. Adam Cohen, JD ’92, in the specialties of eminent domain and condemnation law. Cohen is a shareholder of Birmingham, Mich., law firm Steinhardt Pesick & Cohen, where his practice areas include eminent domain and condemnation, tax appeals, and commercial litigation. He is the vice chair of the State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section, Eminent Domain Committee.

Heidi Davis Knapik, JD ’92, was selected to receive the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for 2009. The award recognizes Knapik for the effort, time, and professional expertise she has contributed in making legal representation available to those who are unable to afford it. She practices land use and development law in Gunster law firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office.

Professor and Chair of the Criminal Justice Department at California State Univerity, Long Beach, Henry F. Fradella, MFS ’93, JD ’93, was named the recipient of the 2008-09 Fellows Award from the Western Society of Criminology. Fradella has been a faculty member of California State University, Long Beach, since 2007.

Nixon Peabody announced that Samuel E. Feigin, JD ’94, joined the firm’s Washington, D.C., office as partner. Feigin is a Washington-area native who represents a wide variety of clients, focusing particularly in the high tech, digital media, and biotech sectors.

Lance S. Jacobs, JD ’94, was elected of counsel to Pepper Hamilton, where he is a member of the tax practice group. Jacobs focuses his practice on state and local tax matters as well as federal tax issues. He joined Pepper Hamilton in 2005.

Ketchum Digital named Jonathan H. Kopp, JD ’94, to the newly created position of global director, from which he will head the firm’s digital transition worldwide. Prior to joining Ketchum, Kopp was a partner at SS+K, an integrated communications agency, in addition to working on the 2008 Obama campaign. He serves on the advisory board to aids2031 (an UNAIDS international consortium) and on the Emory alumni board marketing committee.

Robert Renke, JD ’94, was hired as chief IP counsel for FlashPoint Technology Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. Renke directs litigation, licensing, and portfolio management activities for the company, which has been an innovator in digital imaging technologies since 1996. Renke lives in Cary, N.C.

President Barack Obama oversaw the installation of Eric H. Holder Jr. as the nation’s 82nd attorney general during a ceremony at Lisner Auditorium on March 27. Holder received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from GW in 1998, was a GW trustee from 1996 to 1997, and served as a member of the GW Homeland Security Policy Institute Steering Committee.

Jessica McConnell

Nixon Peabody announced that partner Philip Taub, JD ’94, will head the firm’s newly formed national and international mergers and acquisitions practice. Taub focuses his practice in the area of corporate transactional work, including mergers, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, start-ups, shareholder disputes, and venture capital financing.

Daniel W. Hamilton, JD ’95, co-edited Transformations in American Legal History: Essays in Honor of Professor Morton J. Horwitz (Harvard University Press, 2009). In the book, the students of Havard Law Professor Horwitz re-examine legal history from America’s Colonial era to the late 20th century.

Paul Clinton Harris Sr., JD ’95, was appointed to the legal policy advisory board of the Washington Legal Foundation. Harris is a senior manager in Ernst & Young’s fraud investigation and dispute services practice and is a leader of the firm’s corporate compliance advisory service group. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Harris served as senior counsel and director of enterprise compliance at Raytheon Co., deputy assistant attorney general of the civil division at the Department of Justice, and captain (military intelligence) in the U.S. Army.

Robert H. Morsilli, JD ’95, was named co-chair of the labor law committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Boston Bar Association. Morsilli is a partner at Jackson Lewis law firm.

Nixon Peabody announced that Jon P. Schaub, JD ’95, joined the firm as partner in its Silicon Valley office. Schaub focuses his practice on intellectual property. He previously worked at Thelen law firm.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation announced that Larry A. Soler, JD ’95, was appointed executive vice president for the newly created government relations and operations group. Soler joined JDRF in 1998 and has served the foundation as senior legislative counsel, director of government relations, and vice president.

The United States Jaycees named John Ferguson, JD ’96, general legal counsel for 2009. Ferguson lives in Elk Rapids, Mich., where he owns his own practice.

John W. Bauer, JD ’97, was named chief counsel, regulatory affairs with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Kansas City, Mo.

In his new book, A Call to Action: Re-Arming the Government in the War Against Defense Procurement Fraud (Vanderplus Publishing, 2008), Michael J. Davidson, LLM ’98, SJD ’07, reviews the historical development of procurement fraud at the Defense Department and the U.S. government’s efforts to combat fraud. The book also provides proposals to improve the government’s corruption control legal regime.

Anthony Van der Hauwaert, LLM ’98, has been named a European partner with the global law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. He has been a resident in the firm’s Brussels office and a member of the Brussels Bar since 1998. Van der Hauwaert focuses his practice on corporate and finance transactions with particular experience in structuring, negotiating, and documenting cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions.

Business North Carolina’s 2009 Legal Elite listing of best lawyers in their fields included Kimberly Bullock Gatling, JD ’99, for intellectual property. Gatling is an attorney for Smith Moore Leatherwood and works in the firm’s Greensboro, N.C., office.

Armstrong Teasdale announced the addition of David A. Jermann, JD ’99, to its partnership. Jermann focuses his practice in the areas of commercial disputes, business torts, non-compete litigation, and securities arbitrations. He works in the firm’s Kansas City, Mo., office.

The 2000s

Patrick “Kit” Bobko, JD ’00, took his seat as mayor of Hermosa Beach, Calif., in January. He has been a council member of Hermosa Beach since June 2006. Bobko continues his work as a partner in the litigation department and the appellate law practice group at Richards, Watson & Gershon in Los Angeles.

Donald E. English Jr., JD ’00, was promoted to principal of Miles & Stockbridge. English is a former U.S. Air Force officer. He specializes in workplace litigation, both on the individual level and between corporations and the government.

Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff named John S. Gambaccini, JD ’00, a partner. A member of the firm’s corporate and securities practice group and its private equity practice group, Gambaccini focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions as well as debt and equity financings. He is based in the firm’s Cleveland office and lives in Westlake, Ohio.

Michelle Kelban, JD ’00, was promoted to partner at Latham & Watkins. Kelban is a finance attorney practicing in all aspects of commercial real estate law with a particular concentration on real estate finance and capital markets. She works in the firm’s New York office.

In March, Kim Gibson, JD ’09, and her fiance, Tony Biagioli, tested their trivia know-how on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire—Wedding Week.” The happy couple walked away with $25,000 in winnings and were given a Vespa GTS 250 Scooter as an “early wedding gift.” Gibson and Biagioli were engaged in August 2008 and are planning a wedding for spring 2010 in Washington, D.C., during the Cherry Blossom Festival. They say they plan to forgo the limo or classic car and arrive at their wedding in style—on their new scooter.

Courtesy of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”

Colorado law firm Faegre & Benson elevated Jason Day, JD ’01, to partner. Day focuses his practice on securities regulation and public offerings. He counsels public companies on compliance and disclosure issues; reviews and drafts Securities and Exchange Commission filings; and advises on executive compensation, corporate governance, and corporate finance.

Ernesto Hernandez, JD ’01, was listed among the 50 leading Colombian intellectuals in the United States by PODER-DINERO, a leading Latin American business magazine. Hernandez is an associate professor of law at Chapman University School of Law. He lives in Newport Beach, Calif.

Eric G. King, JD ’01, was promoted to principal of Miles & Stockbridge. King is an experienced patent attorney who represents the firm’s clients in cases involving intellectual property.

Jackson & Campbell in Washington, D.C., announced that Julie S. Selesnick, JD ’01, was elevated to the position of non-equity director. Selesnick is a member of the firm’s insurance coverage group and represents insurance companies in coverage matters arising from toxic tort and environmental matters. She is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts.

Saikhanbileg Chimed, LLM ’02, was elected a member of the Parliament of Mongolia for a second term. As a member of Parliament, Chimed holds a position as head of the Democratic Party and serves as chairman of the Mongolia-United States of America Parliamentary Group.

Saniya O’Brien, JD ’02, was elevated from associate to counsel in the Washington, D.C., firm of WilmerHale as of January 2009.

Hilary Frierson Keeley, JD ’03, launched the Web site The site provides meal planning services to individuals with Type II diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol to help them manage their conditions. More information can be found on the Web site at Keeley lives in Potomac, Md.

Fish & Richardson named Thomas Rozylowicz, JD ’03, as principal to the firm’s Washington, D.C., office. As principal in the patent prosecution group, Rozylowicz will continue to focus his practice on patent prosecution in the area of electrical engineering.

Rebecca Hamburg, JD ’04, was named to the National Employment Lawyers Association Executive Board at the board’s June 2008 meeting. Hamburg focuses her practice on representing individual plaintiffs in employment rights litigation, including sexual harassment and discrimination cases under both state and federal law as well as wage and hour violations. She joined Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman in April 2008.

Duane Morris announced that Meghan DiPerna, JD ’05, will join the firm’s newly created construction practice at the New York office.

John N. Sharifi, LLM ’05, wrote a scholarly article in conjunction with another recent law school graduate, challenging the constitutionality of the death penalty procedure in federal court. The article will be published this fall in the Akron Law Review. Sharifi is an adjunct professor at Catholic Law School.

Eric Koester, JD ’06, published his new book, What Every Engineer Should Know About Starting a High-Tech Business Venture (Taylor and Francis Press, 2009). Koester is an associate in the Cooley Godward Kronish business department and a member of the emerging companies practice group. He joined the firm in 2008 and is resident in the Seattle office.

Nixon Peabody announced that Elizabeth Qually, JD ’06, joined the firm as an associate. Qually joins the global finance practice group in the firm’s New York office.

Thomas Bogar, LLM ’07, was assigned as associate deputy general counsel for international affairs with the general counsel, Office of Secretary of Defense. His article, “Unlawful Combatant or Innocent Civilian? A Call to Change the Current Means for Determining Status of Prisoners in the Global War on Terror,” appears in the April 2009 edition of the Florida Journal of International Law.

Emily S. Preslar, JD ’08, was admitted to the Delaware bar. Preslar is an associate in the business department of Richards, Layton & Finger in Wilmington, Del. Her practice focuses on a variety of transactional matters involving alternative entities, including Delaware limited liability companies and limited partnerships.

And What About You?

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