Class Notes, Spring 2021 Issue

Recent updates about UW Law School Alumni, where they are in their career and what recent news they have to share.


Thomas M. French ’61 received the Vermont Bar Association 2020 Pro Bono Award for his post-retirement work in assisting military veterans to obtain monthly compensation benefits for service-connected disabilities caused by diseases or injuries that occurred while the veterans were serving on active duty. In the past four years, French has brought fifteen actions and succeeded in fourteen, resulting in more than $1 mil­lion awarded to his clients. He also won increased disability awards and benefits for nine clients. Previously, he worked as a US Air Force judge advocate both in the United States and Germany, as well as working as a lawyer in private practice in Brattleboro, Vermont.


Bruce Meredith ’73 and Mark Paige ’07 recently published “Reversing Rodri­guez: A Siren Call to a Dangerous Shoal” in the Houston Law Review. The article examines recent cases attempting to find a constitutional right to education.

Patricia Brady ’76 authored A History of the University of Wisconsin System, recently published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Brady retired as general counsel of the University of Wisconsin System in 2010.


Raymond Taffora ’86, UW–Madison’s vice chancellor for legal affairs, plans to retire this summer. Taffora, a former gen­eral counsel to then-Governor Tommy Thompson and former deputy attorney general at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, received both his undergraduate and law degrees at UW–Madison. He was appointed by Chancellor Blank in September 2013. Among the areas that Taffora worked on during his tenure were the establishment of the Office of Compliance; integration of the Univer­sity of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, School of Medicine and Public Health, and UW Hospital; creation of new faculty tenure policies in light of the removal of statutory tenure; creation of a new Title IX program; and public records and First Amendment issues.


Terence Thomas ’93 was named to the Board of Trustees of The Helm at the John A. and Marlene L. Boll Life Center in January 2021. Thomas is co-founder of Thomas Group Consulting, Inc., a community engagement, receivership services, and business services company headquartered in Detroit. Actively in­volved in the community, he is a member of the Grosse Pointe City Council and serves on the boards of St. John Hospital Foundation, Loyola High School, Cove­nant House of Michigan, and the Board of Advisors for the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.

Jennifer Carleton ’96, an attorney at Howard & Howard, is sharing her experience in gaming law as an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Boyd School of Law. Carleton is teaching an online course titled “Special Topics: Indian Gaming Law.” Carleton has spent her entire legal career in gaming, first as in-house counsel for an Indian tribe and now as an adviser to premier gaming companies around the globe. Prior to joining Howard & Howard, she was senior staff attorney for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

Christian A. Jenkins ’95 was elected to a six-year term as a trial court judge on the Hamilton County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas. Jenkins is managing partner of Minnillo & Jenkins Co., LPA based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Patricia Baker ’96 was appointed as a circuit court judge in Portage County, making her the first woman judge in coun­ty history. Baker is a family-law mediator and has served as guardian ad litem.

Lee Jones ’97 was selected to manage the employment law and government ethics section for the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

Alethia Nancoo ’97 was recently nominated and confirmed to the Glob­al Executive Board for Squire Patton Boggs. Based in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, Nancoo’s practice focuses on public, private, and project debt finance, with particular emphasis on capital markets, infrastructure construction, airport, toll road, and surface transporta­tion, mixed-use multifamily housing, and water and sewer utility sectors. She ad­vises various public and private issuers, nonprofit corporations, and investment banking institutions on a wide range of transactions in the US and the Caribbean. Nancoo also serves as co-chair of the firm’s Global Inclusion & Diversity Com­mittee and is the first African-American woman to serve on the firm’s board.

Timothy Stewart ’97 was elected as DeWitt’s new firm president and man­aging partner. He is also currently the managing partner of its Brookfield office. Stewart, who joined DeWitt in 2005, is an employee benefits and ESOP attorney.

Nia Trammell ’98 was appointed as a Dane County circuit court judge, becoming the first Black woman to serve as a judge outside of Milwaukee Coun­ty. Trammell has previously served as the deputy secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, a senior administrative law judge for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and an attor­ney in private practice.

Darius Davenport ’02 was appointed to serve on the board of directors with the Norfolk Innovation Corri­dor and elected as the Norfolk division chair with the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. A partner at Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, he chairs the firm’s cyber­security and data privacy and government and public sector practice groups. He also serves as the infra­structure and connectivity committee co-chair for the Hampton Roads Alliance 757 Recovery & Resilience Action Framework and on the advisory board for the Old Dominion School of Cybersecurity.


David Smith ’02 was promoted to part­ner at Pryor Cashman in New York. Smith is a member of the corporate group and corporate trust practices and a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. He has extensive experience with public and private debt financing, project finance, and structured finance. His clients have included various trustees and collateral agents in multi-billion-dollar transac­tions on domestic and international fronts in numerous industries, including financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, oil service conglomerates, branded consumer products, and more.

Jason Myatt ’03 was named partner at Gibson Dunn. Myatt’s practice focuses on complex commercial and financial litigation and recognition and enforce­ment of international arbitration awards and judgments.

Michele Perreault ’03 was named the managing partner for DeWitt’s Madison office. Perreault chairs the firm’s family law group and has an appellate practice representing clients in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. She has represented thousands of clients in cases ranging from very personal issues related to children and families to cases with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. In addition to her family law litigation experience, she is also an experienced mediator, helping parties resolve cases without the need for court intervention.

Kelda Roys ’04
was recently elected to the Wisconsin State Senate to represent District 26, covering most of the City of Madison, as well as Shorewood Hills and the Town of Madison. This district was represented for nearly six decades by another UW Law graduate, Senator Fred Risser, who retired. Roys is an entrepreneur and owns OpenHomes, an innovative real estate brokerage, and is a commissioner on Madison’s Community Development Authority. She previously served two terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Emily (Gold) LaGratta ’08
recently published a book of interviews with twenty senior prosecutors from around the country about their early decision-making practices. The book is one of the first products published under the justice reform consulting firm she launched last year and is available for free download at

Kathryn Conyers ’09 opened Viola Heritage Breads with co-owner Carla Briggs. The New Orleans bakery cele­brates Black entrepreneurship and culinary heritage. Featured on the King Arthur website as well as other media outlets, the bakery is getting attention for its small-batch sandwich loaves featuring ingredients like oats, whole wheat, rose­mary, and sweet potato.


Ashley Senary Dahlberg ’10 was appointed to the San Antonio Bar Foun­dation’s Fellows Program class of 2021. Selection is by nomination only and restricted to members of the San Antonio Bar Association (SABA). Fellows must demonstrate professional achievement, an exemplary reputation, and commit­ment to the legal community. Senary Dahlberg is a senior associate at Norton Rose Fulbright in San Antonio. Her practice focuses on financial services and securities litigation.

Richelle Martin ’11 is the managing director of the Winnow Fund, a venture capital fund that invests in Wisconsin-based start­ups. The fund recently reached its goal of raising $6 million and plans to invest in existing startup companies and entrepreneurs at colleges and universities in Wisconsin.

Elliot Vilders ’14 was appointed as shareholder at Howard & Howard. Vilders focuses on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, domestic real estate transactions, and general corporate matters. He advises clients through all stages of the business cycle, from formation through growth and the sale of the business.

Sherri Ann Charleston ’12 was named the chief diversity and inclusion officer at Harvard, where she will serve as a senior central administrator. Charleston will prioritize and champion diversity and inclusion, working in collaboration with administration and faculty leadership across the university. A historian trained in US history with a focus on race, wom­en, gender, citizenship, and the law, and an attorney with a specialization in con­stitutional and employment law, Charles­ton most recently served as the assistant vice provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief affirmative action officer at the University of Wisconsin.

Brandie Morgenroth ’12 has been promoted to a shareholder at Nilan John­son Lewis. She practices in the product li­ability, mass tort, and business litigation practice areas.

Richard Orton ’12 has been elected as a member of Gass Weber Mullins LLC in Milwaukee. His practice focuses on prod­ucts liability, general liability, profession­al liability, and commercial, construction, and insurance litigation and appeals.

Drew Wisniewski ’12 has been elected as partner at Latham & Watkins LLP in Washington, DC. He is a member of the firm’s litigation and trial depart­ment whose practice focuses on white collar defense, internal and government investigations, and related litigation. He helps clients navigate a range of criminal investigation and civil litigation matters involving alleged financial crimes, crim­inal and civil fraud, deceptive business practices, and other complex regulatory and cross-border issues.

Jacob Harris ’14 has joined Husch Blackwell as an associate in its Madison office. He is part of the commercial litiga­tion team.

Michael Stein ’15 has been named coun­sel for the US House of Representatives Committee on Small Business. Prior to working for Congress, Michael was with the Organic Farming Research Founda­tion.

Megan Renslow ’17 joined Moss & Barnett’s litigation department. Renslow assists businesses and individuals with commercial disputes. Prior to joining Moss & Barnett, Megan served as a judi­cial law clerk at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.


Robert M. Ling III ’20 joined Shook, Hardy & Bacon as an associate in the firm’s Seattle office, where he practices intellectual property litigation. Ling brings his experience as a software developer for Microsoft to Shook. He will work with technology clients in intellec­tual property, dealing with computer and software-related intellectual property law matters.