Class Notes

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

Notes posted in alphabetical order by class.

Recent Class Notes

  • Sign at Alumni Park that says "Make your mark on the world"

    Class Notes 2019-2020

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

Notes by Alumni Class

  • Jacob Frost ’10 has been appointed Dane County Circuit Court judge by Governor Tony Evers. Frost is currently a partner at Boardman & Clark LLP in Madison, where he specializes in civil litigation and family law. He is a member of the firm’s ethics committee. Frost is also the treasurer of the Dane County Bar Association. He previously served as board president of Access to Independence, a nonprofit organization which provides resources, services, and advocacy for people with any type of disability.
  • Courtney Kissel ’10 was elected partner in Dykema Gossett PLLC’s Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, office. Kissel’s practice primarily focuses on state constitutional law, insurance law, Indian law, election law, and public utility law.
  • Kristen Lonergan ’10 has been named to the Wausau Daily Herald’s annual 20 Under 40 list. The list recognizes young professionals who are helping build a stronger community and economy in the Wausau, Wisconsin, area. Lonergan is an attorney with Crooks, Low & Connell SC.
  • Matthew M. Wuest ’10 and Matthew Peterson ’10 have been named shareholders of Godfrey & Kahn.
  • Louis Agnello ’11 has joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as an associate in its public law and policy practice in Washington, DC.
  • Andrew Briggs ’11 is an attorney at Trifecta General Counsel in Madison. He serves the legal needs of technology startups, with a particular focus on startups in the healthcare industry.
  • Rea Cisneros ’11 has been promoted to associate general counsel for the National Indian Gaming Commission.
  • Nicole Schrier ’11 has been promoted to partner at Neuberger, Griggs, Sweet & Smith LLP. Her practice concentrates primarily in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, real estate, and municipal law.
  • Nan Wang ’11 has relocated from Kobre & Kim LLP’s Hong Kong office to its new Shanghai office.
  • Kori Ashley ’12 has been appointed Milwaukee County Circuit Court judge by Governor Tony Evers, effective September 11. Ashley is currently an attorney with Legal Action Wisconsin, where she helps clients with conviction records gain employment. She successfully prevailed before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in a case requiring the State’s Crime Information Bureau to remove from background reports arrests that do not result in a charge or conviction.
  • Shalanda Baker (LLM ’12) has joined the faculty of Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to her new appointment, she served as the director of the Energy Justice Program at the Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
  • Christina Balistreri ’12 has joined Probst Law Offices as a family law attorney. She has practiced in the Milwaukee area since 2013, focusing on a wide range of family law matters, as well as criminal cases and municipal ordinance and traffic violations.
  • Andrew Brenton ’12 has joined Husch Blackwell as an associate in its Madison office. He is part of the hospice and palliative care team.
  • Kelsey Delander ’12 has been appointed CEO of Adoray Home Health and Hospice in Baldwin, Wisconsin. Prior to accepting the position, Delander served as quality and compliance officer at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
  • Kara Koonce ’12 served as one of the drafters of an amicus brief that was submitted to the United States Supreme Court in Maine Community Health Options v. United States.
  • Sara Stellpflug Rapkin ’12 was elected a shareholder in Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren’s tax practice, where she assists clients that range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies on matters such as mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, and compliance.
  • William Foley ’13 has joined Husch Blackwell as an associate in its Madison office. He is part of the health care team.
  • Jamie Konopacky ’13 has joined The Environmental Working Group as director of its Midwest office, based in Minneapolis. Konopacky will strengthen and expand the agency’s work in the region at the state and local levels.
  • Lane Ruhland ’13 has joined Husch Blackwell as senior counsel in its Madison office. Ruhland comes to the firm from Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. She previously served as special counsel and deputy chief of staff to Wisconsin’s attorney general, a post to which she was promoted after serving as director of government affairs in the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
  • Alexandra Smathers ’13 has been promoted to deputy district attorney of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.
  • Mark Weinstein ’13 was named as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in New Jersey by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
  • Lua Yuille (LLM ’13) won the 2017 Junior Faculty Teaching Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. Yuille is an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Law.
  • Kelliann Blazek ’14 has been named director of Wisconsin’s Office of Rural Prosperity. Prior to her appointment, Blazek served as staff counsel for Chellie Pingree, a US Representative from Maine. In that position, she helped develop federal legislation focused on climate-smart farming.
  • Kenny Ho ’14 has joined the litigation department at Rose Law Group, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Ho has expertise in all aspects of commercial litigation as well as health care, immigration, and employment law.
  • Megumi Saito ’14 has been hired to lead the new Queens office of the Worker Justice Project. The project is a Legal Aid Society initiative that fights employment discrimination faced by workers with arrest or conviction records. In 2014, Saito started as a trial attorney in the agency’s criminal defense practice in Queens.
  • David Edelblute ’15 has joined the Las Vegas office of Newmeyer & Dillion LLP. Edelblute represents clients in complex commercial litigation matters including contracts, business torts, labor and employment, and real estate.
  • Bailey (Ebben) Lagman ’15 has become a shareholder at Grams & Christoffersen SC in Madison. Lagman has served with the firm for seven years in roles of increasing responsibility, starting as a law clerk in her third year of law school, then as an associate attorney, and now as a shareholder. Lagman focuses her practice on trust and estate planning and administration, and she serves as the elder law specialist for the firm.
  • Danny Garcia ’15 has become the youngest attorney to be elected president of the Fond du Lac Bar Association. He also serves as chair of the LGBTQ caucus for the state Democratic Party. Garcia was named one of the Most Powerful Latinos for 2019 by On Milwaukee.
  • Luis Valdez-Jimenez ’15 was named Corporate Volunteer of the Year by the Hartford Business Journal for his community leadership and service on the nonprofit board of directors.
  • Erin Burns ’16 has joined Husch Blackwell as an associate in its Madison office. She is part of the hospice and palliative care team.
  • Curtis Hinca ’16 has joined the US Air Force as a first lieutenant and is an assistant staff judge advocate at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Hinca is the Chief of Adverse Actions in the base legal office’s Military Justice division.
  • Jordan Leslie ’16 joined the Wilmington, North Carolina, office of McAngus Goudelock & Courie PLLC, a regional insurance defense firm. She practices general litigation and coverage.
  • Zachary Zellner ’16 joined Hupy and Abraham SC in 2017 as a law clerk and was recently promoted to an associate attorney.
  • Joe Diedrich ’17 cowrote an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, a workplace discrimination case before the US Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, who argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and transgender status. Diedrich is an associate with Husch Blackwell in Madison.
  • Brent Eisberner ’17 became partner at Levine Lyon LLP.
  • Ezra Kramer ’17 joined Moye White LLP’s Foundry Legal as an associate. Based in Colorado, Kramer works extensively with early-stage companies in matters involving equity distribution among founders, early-stage financing and exempt offerings, entity selection and corporate structuring, founder and employee compensation, co-branding relationships, and complex regulatory compliance.
  • Jill Johnson ’17 has been awarded third place in the 2017 Chief Justice John B. Doolin Sovereignty Symposium Writing Competition for her work “The Norwegian Way: Balancing Indigenous and Sovereign Rights: Norwegian leadership toward rational coexistence with the Sami.”
  • Devlan Sheahan ’17 has joined Moss & Barnett in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He assists businesses and individuals in construction disputes and litigation. Prior to joining Moss & Barnett, he was a judicial law clerk for the Minnesota Court of Appeals for two years.
  • Will Kramer ’18 served as one of the drafters of an amicus brief that was submitted to the United States Supreme Court in Maine Community Health Options v. United States.
  • Matthew Stoiber ’18 has joined Godfrey & Kahn SC as an associate in its litigation practice group in Green Bay.
  • Maxted Lenz ’19 has joined Godfrey & Kahn SC as an associate in its litigation practice group in Madison.
  • John Behling ’00 was unanimously re-elected president of the UW System Board of Regents. Behling has served on the board since 2012. He is also vice president of the Eau Claire firm Weld Riley and chairs its government and administrative law practice.
  • Rhonda Frank-Loron ’00 recently became Wisconsin’s first pretrial program manager. She works with Wisconsin counties in the development and implementation of statewide pretrial services initiatives concerning legal and evidence-based practices, while maximizing public safety, court appearances, and pretrial release.
  • Michele Goodwin (LLM ’00) received the Sandra Day O’Connor Legacy Award from the Women’s Journey Foundation in March. Goodwin is a Chancellor’s Professor at the University of California, Irvine with appointments at the School of Law; Program in Public Health; Department of Criminology, Law, & Society; Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies; and Stem Cell Research Center. She is the founder and director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy at UC Irvine School of Law and its internationally acclaimed Reproductive Justice Initiatiave.
  • Meg Pekarske ’00 has joined Husch Blackwell as a partner in its Madison office. She is part of the hospice and palliative care team.
  • Jerry DeMaio ’01 was appointed an administrative law judge for the US Department of Labor, sitting in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Steve Dries ’01 was appointed to an eight-year term as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Prior to his swearing in, he served as clerk of courts for the Eastern District. As a magistrate judge, Dries will preside in some civil cases, handle retrial matters in criminal cases, review search and arrest warrants, mediate civil disputes, and conduct citizenship naturalization ceremonies.
  • Kira Loehr ’02 has been named partner at Perkins Coie. She is a member of the environment and natural resources practice group. Loehr represents generation, transmission, and distribution utilities, as well as consumers, before state and federal regulatory agencies and courts.
  • David Smith ’02 has joined the New York office of Pryor Cashman LLP to expand the firm’s corporate trust practice. Smith brings more than a decade of experience representing banks and other financial institutions, including two years inside the corporate trust department of The Bank of New York Mellon.
  • Pareena Srivanit (SJD ’02) was appointed dean of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Law last fall. She is the Bangkok-based university’s eleventh law dean, and the first woman to hold the post.
  • Christa Westerberg ’02 was named partner at Pines Bach LLP. Westerberg concentrates her practice in environmental and land use law as well as open government law. She has represented individuals, nonprofit groups, businesses, and municipalities, in their efforts to protect environmental resources and promote transparent, open government.
  • Holly Slota ’03 was named partner at Pines Bach LLP. She practices within the Pines Bach family law practice group. She concentrates her practice in divorce litigation, collaborative divorce, appellate practice, international child abduction cases, and estate planning. Slota also serves as a guardian ad litem in family law matters and volunteers at the Dane County Family Law Assistance Center.
  • Milton Bluehouse Jr. ’04 was appointed deputy chief of staff for the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President. Prior to his appointment, he served as a tribal liaison and state environmental justice coordinator for the New Mexico Environment Department, legislative advisor for the Navajo Nation Office of Legislative Services, interim director for the Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs, and political and government affairs associate for the Navajo Nation’s Washington Office.
  • Toni Caldwell ’05, tribal attorney for the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, located in Keshena, uses her legal skills in a wide variety of areas in tribal, state, and federal courts. But preserving Menominee culture and values is what drives her. Caldwell feels this is the one thing that can change the tide for her community. This resurgence in language and culture will combat some of the effects of the erosion of Menominee values, such as substance abuse and family abuse. Caldwell, who was recently featured in Wisconsin Lawyer, chose to become a part of this movement and take a sabbatical from law for two years to learn the Menominee language and culture.
  • Tom O’Day ’06 has joined Husch Blackwell as a partner in its Madison office. He advises and represents employers on labor and employment matters, with a particular focus on the healthcare and education sectors.
  • Andrew Jaynes ’07 has been promoted to assistant dean of admissions and financial aid at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Prior to accepting the position, he served as the school’s executive director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs.
  • Valerie Vidal ’07 recently became president and CEO of Meta House, an alcohol and drug treatment agency for women. Prior to joining the Milwaukee nonprofit, she served as a partner at Quarles & Brady in the Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Group and was a member of the firm’s Professional Liability and Financial Services Industry teams. She was also named to Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list for 2018.
  • Karl Hanson ’08 was appointed as Rock County judge by Governor Scott Walker. Prior to the appointment, he served as an assistant attorney general for the state Department of Justice.
  • Brenda Mayrack ’08 is Delaware’s new State Escheator—she will be Director of the Office of Unclaimed Property. Prior to joining the Department of Finance, she was the managing director of Specialty Audit Services, LLC, in Narberth, Pennsylvania, a company that provides abandoned and unclaimed property auditing services to state governments.
  • Eric Weiss ’08 has been promoted to partner at Perkins Coie LLP. His practice emphasizes antitrust, unfair-competition, and consumer-protection law.
  • Mario White ’08 was appointed to the Dane County Circuit Court bench by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. White most recently served as county court commissioner, where he handled family, criminal, and other proceedings. Between 2008 and 2018, White was an assistant state public defender, representing individuals accused of crimes in Dane County. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he teaches courses on trial advocacy and coaches mock trial.
  • Peggy Barlett ’09 has joined Husch Blackwell as senior counsel in its Madison office. Barlett focuses her practice on healthcare corporate law.
  • Kenyatta S. Beverly ’09 has been installed as president of the Black Women Lawyer’s Association for the Chicago area. Beverly began her legal career at Mayer Brown, later joining Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP. She went on to work as an administrative law judge on the Illinois Labor Relations Board, then as labor relations counsel for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. She is currently director of labor relations for Acero Charter Schools.
  • Erin Cook ’09 has been named a shareholder of Godfrey & Kahn.
  • Emily Greb ’09 was named partner at Perkins Coie. She is a member of the patent litigation practice. Her practice concentrates on life science technologies and includes significant experience in Hatch-Waxman litigation.
  • Dorothy Harrell ’90 received YWCA Rock County’s annual Racial Justice Award. She was selected by a panel of judges, based on her work to eliminate racism and her commitment to social change for all people.
  • Richard Radcliffe ’90 was appointed Monroe County Circuit Court judge by Governor Scott Walker.
  • Sally Mohr Lunde ’92 has joined the Waukesha-based Law Offices of David J. Carlson SC, where she will focus her practice on probate and trust administration, estate planning, and guardianship law. She is the recipient of the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Waukesha County Bar Association, and recipient of a commendation from the Wisconsin Supreme Court for services rendered in the areas of probate, guardianship, and model form creation.
  • Bryan Schneider ’92 was named the associate director for supervision, enforcement and fair lending for the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Gregory Monday ’93 is the author of a newly published book on succession planning for family-owned businesses. The Lawyer’s Guide to Family Business Succession Planning: A Step-by-Step Approach for Lawyers, Business Owners, and Advisors is now available through the American Bar Association. He is a shareholder at Reinhart Boerner Van Dueren and was named a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
  • David Strauss ’93 has joined Appriss as senior vice president and general counsel. Appriss is a global data and analytics solutions provider headquartered in Louisville.
  • John Treadwell ’93 was named a Vermont Superior Court judge by Vermont Governor Phil Scott. Prior to the appointment, Treadwell led the state attorney general’s criminal division.
  • Patricia A. Hintz ’94 was recently recognized as Best Lawyers 2020 Milwaukee Tax Law “Lawyer of the Year.” Hintz is a partner with Quarles & Brady LLP in its Milwaukee office and practices with the firm’s business law group. She has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2005.
  • Susan Huhta ’94 has joined the Washington, DC, office of Outten & Golden LLP. She will lead the firm’s individual practice group, where she will continue her practice of representing clients with respect to all aspects of workplace-related problems and disputes, including litigation.
  • Chris Taylor ’95 has been appointed to the Dane County Circuit Court bench, effective August 1. Before her appointment by Governor Tony Evers, she served five terms in the Wisconsin State Assembly. She also previously worked as the public policy director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and in private practice, where she focused on family law and civil litigation.
  • John Adkisson ’96 has been named the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Fish & Richardson P.C., a premier global intellectual property law firm with more than 400 attorneys and technology specialists in 14 offices across the U.S., Europe and China.
  • Daniel Friedberg ’96 has been made partner at Fenwick & West LLP.
  • Kevin Grossman ’96 was promoted to captain of the Seattle Police Department and placed in command of the South Precinct.
  • Melissa (Jackson) Holloway ’96 was named general counsel at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
  • Alethia Nancoo ’97 has been selected by Washington Business Journal as one of the 2020 Minority Business Leaders. The annual awards honor the entrepreneurial drive, creativity and success of 25 inspiring business leaders in the Greater Washington DC area.
  • Michelle Nettles ’97 is among the group of four Milwaukee-area business executives to be inducted this year into the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame. Nettles currently serves as Molson Coors’s chief people and diversity officer.
  • Brian Pfeil ’97 has been appointed chair of the litigation and construction team at Davis Kuelthau’s Milwaukee office.
  • Alethia Nancoo ’97 received a 2020 Minority Business Leader Award from the Washington Business Journal. The annual award honors the entrepreneurial drive, creativity, and success of twenty-five inspiring business leaders in the greater DC area. Nancoo is a partner at Squire Patton Boggs, where her practice focuses on public, private, and project debt finance.
  • Bryan Nowicki ’97 has joined Husch Blackwell as a partner in its Madison office, where he offers hospice clients comprehensive, nationwide representation on complex litigation, compliance, and business matters.
  • Laura Halferty ’98 was recently named chair of the Stinson Leonard Street LLP’s Tax, Trusts & Estates Division. She was also appointed a member of the firm’s board of directors. In addition to her new roles, Laura maintains a full-time practice representing families, individuals, and businesses with estate planning matters. She represents clients in federally taxable probate and trust administration matters, gift and estate tax filings and audits, business transition and succession planning, and disputed probate and trust matters.
  • Carrie Schneider ’98 has been appointed judge of Outagamie County Circuit Court by Governor Scott Walker. Prior to her appointment, Schneider served Outagamie County as district attorney for more than a decade, dedicating much of her career to protecting child victims and victims of domestic abuse.
  • Kimberly Sebranek ’98 was elected president and managing shareholder of Eustice, Laffey, Sebranek & Auby SC, based in Sun Prairie, Waunakee, and Madison, Wisconsin. As president of the firm, she will continue to practice law in bankruptcy, secured transactions, and agricultural and commercial litigation.
  • Vanessa Tanaka ’99 has joined the Chicago office of Blank Rome LLP as a partner in the finance, restructuring, and bankruptcy group.
  • John Wagner ’80 wrote Baby Boomer Army Brat, a coming-of-age memoir set within the military culture.
  • Catherine J. Furay ’81 was inducted as a Fellow in the 31st Class of the College on March 13, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
  • Roy Fine ’82 was named a shareholder with Murphy Desmond SC, where he oversees the firm’s Appleton office. Fine, who joined Murphy Desmond in 2016, has more than thirty-five years of assisting clients in the Fox Cities on business matters, estate planning, and real estate, including tax legal matters for businesses and families and business succession planning.
  • Charlie Geyh ’83 has been named an Indiana University Distinguished Professor. Geyh is the John F. Kimberling Professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He recently published Who is to Judge? The Perennial Debate Over Whether to Elect or Appoint America’s Judges (Oxford University Press 2019), under the auspices of a Carnegie Fellowship.
  • Ginger Zimmerman ’85 has been elected president of the Wisconsin-based Murphy Desmond SC. She will be responsible for firm management and business development, and will continue to practice law in business, real estate, bankruptcy, secured transactions, agricultural and commercial transactions, and commercial litigation.
  • Judith Gundersen ’87 was named the president and CEO of the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) headquartered in Madison. NCBE develops the licensing exams used by most US jurisdictions for admission to the bar. She had previously served as NCBE’s director of test operations.
  • Lisa Clay Foley ’87 won the 2019 Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund Distinguished Service Award. Foley recently retired from Disability Rights Wisconsin, after a 30-year career as a public interest lawyer.
  • Peter Strand ’87 has been named chair-elect of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Entertainment & Sports Industries. He is a named partner at national entertainment law firm Leavens, Strand & Glover LLC. He will serve as chair-elect for two years and will become chair of the forum in 2019.
  • Michelle Behnke ’88 began her term as tion. She was elected in August 2016 and served a year as treasurer-elect. She will now serve a three-year term as treasurer. She was also recently elected to the American Law Institute.
  • Orlando Cabrera ’89 joined Arnall Golden Gregory LLP as a partner on the real estate practice group’s affordable housing team.
  • David Criswell ’89 has joined Lane Powell’s creditors’ rights team as a shareholder in the firm’s Portland office.
  • William ‘Byll’ Hess ’70 won the Wisconsin State Bar’s Lifetime Innovator award for 2017.
  • James Brown ’72 was awarded the Senator William Proxmire Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers in April 2017.
  • Randolph Stone ’75 has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Council of Lawyers for a lifetime of achievements in pursuit of justice. Stone retired in 2019 after thirty-one years of service at the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic.
  • Robert Bender ’76 has been named the 2019 recipient of the Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Award from the Middlesex Bar Association in Massachusetts.
  • Kathleen Falk ’76 was appointed the Douglas Costle Chair in Environmental Law, a visiting professorship at Vermont Law School, for the fall 2017 semester. Falk previously served as regional director of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Dane County Executive, and Wisconsin’s assistant attorney general.
  • Seward Montgomery Cooper ’78 was appointed to a five-year term as one of seven judges of the World Bank Administrative Tribunal, which sits in Washington, DC. Judges are appointed by the board of directors of the World Bank Group, on recommendation of the president of the World Bank.
  • Roy Evans ’79 received the 2019 Zeidler Award for a life of public service. Established by the Milwaukee Common Council in 2006, the award honors an outstanding Milwaukee resident each year. Evans has a solo practice in Milwaukee that focuses on business development and contract law.
  • Michael P. May ’79 retired on June 1, 2020 after a 16-year run as City Attorney for the City of Madison. May’s lengthy service makes him the second-longest serving City Attorney in Madison’s history. May remains as a member of the Board of Visitors of the UW Law School, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Senior Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Wisconsin.
  • Jean Love ’68 received the 2020 Great Teacher Award from the Society of American Law Teachers. She is a professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law.