McGeorge School of Law

Alumni Updates

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October 2018

  • Nirav Desai, '04, was named Deputy Attorney General at California Department of Justice.
  • Danielle Gibbons, '01, was appointed to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. She was sworn-in after originally set to begin her judgeship in January 2019 following victory in the June election. She is a former court commissioner and partner at Gibbons, Gibbons & Gibbons.
  • Joshua Golka, '04, was named Executive Director at the California Public Employment Relations Board.
  • Douglas Haubert, '99, was elected to his third term as Long Beach City Prosecutor.
  • Pamela Keeler, '97, was named compliance senior league counsel and senior vice president at First National Bank Alaska in Anchorage.
  • Jeanne Loftis, '91, was selected as the 2018 recipient of the Fred H. Sievert Award. This award is presented by the Defense Research Institute (DRI) to an individual who has made a significant contribution towards achieving the goals and objectives of an organized defense bar.
  • Jamie Pesce, '04, was appointed to the El Dorado Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown. She has served as a deputy district attorney in that county since 2005.
  • Justice Arthur Scotland, '74, (Ret.) was selected to receive the prestigious 2018 American Inns of Court A. Sherman Christensen Award. This award is bestowed upon a member of an American Inn of Court who, at the local, state, or national level has provided distinguished, exceptional and significant leadership to the American Inns of Court movement.
  • John Soldati, '98, was named to the San Joaquin Superior Court. He was sworn-in after being elected to the bench in June for a term previously set to begin in January 2019.
  • Dr. Hong Tang, '05, who has been serving as an Additional Representative (UN ECOSOC Consultative Status) to the United Nations / the United Nations Office in Vienna for the New York City Bar Association since 2010 / 2015, has been named an Additional Representative to the UN for the American Bar Association (ABA) as a whole. Dr. Tang will continue representing both the local and national bar associations to the UN.

September 2018

  • Lori Casteneda,'96, has joined the Heffler Claims Group, a Philadelphia-based national leader in class action settlement administration, as a principal in the firm.
  • Alyssa Cervantes, '13, has joined Facebook as Data Protection Counsel at its international headquarters in Ireland.
  • Ernesto Falcon, '15, participated in a Net Neutrality Panel before South Korean Parliament.
  • Dale Ginter, '81, was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Litigation-Bankruptcy. Further, Dale was named the Best Lawyers® 2019 Litigation-Bankruptcy "Lawyer of the Year" in Sacramento.
  • Elizabeth Kiessling, '10, was promoted to Lieutenant Commander by the Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Navy on September 4, 2018. LCDR Kiessling commissioned in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps in 2010, and is currently serving as the Officer-in-Charge of the Region Legal Service Office in Bahrain.
  • Steven Merksamer, '75, named Chair of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) Board.
  • Christopher Phillips,'08, was appointed chief counsel of the state Cannabis Control Appeals Panel. He previously served as a CalPERS senior staff attorney.
  • Amir Tabarrok, '05, has joined Rimon PC as a partner in its Silicon Valley office. A registered patent attorney, he was previously a partner at Duane Morris LLP.

August 2018

  • Annie Amaral, '05, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Deep Athwal, '04, joined Cogent Legal Sacramento as Co-Executive Director of their new national wide mock trial program.
  • W. Thomas Babbitt, '92, joins Leech Tishman as a Partner in the firm's Intellectual Property Practice Group.
  • Meghan Baker, '05, was recognized as Best of the Bar 2018 by the Sacramento Business Journal and named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • David Cameron, '11, was named in Super Lawyers 2018 as a Northern California Rising Star.
  • Kristin Capritto, '14, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Jackeline Castro, '16, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Anthony Eaton, '05, has joined Daponde Simpson Rowe where he will represent health plans and other businesses in disputes with providers and governmental agencies.
  • Cassandra Ferrannini, '99, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Kimberly (Kakavas) Garner, '08, was recognized as Best of the Bar 2018 by the Sacramento Business Journal. She was also named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • David Ginter, '81, was recognized as Best of the Bar 2018 by the Sacramento Business Journal and named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • L. Stephen Gizzi, '02, was elected to Superior Court Judge at Solano County Superior Court and received a 10 year faculty award from the National Judicial College.
  • Tarik Hashmi, LL.M. '94, has authored The Quintessential Online Reputation Management Book for Lawyers. He is a Miami-based marketing consultant for worldwide businesses.
  • Colin Hendricks, '12, joined the California Department of Consumer Affairs as a Legislative Analysis.
  • Steven Hymas, '08, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Nicole Low, '17, joined Flesher Schaff & Schroeder, Inc. as an Associate Attorney.
  • Robert McCormick, '96, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Peter McGoff, '95, has been named the first chief legal officer at Rubrik, a cloud date management company in Palo Alto. He served as corporate secretary and top legal counsel at Box, leading that firm through a successful IPO.
  • Katie Nystrom, '11, was recognized as Best of the Bar 2018 by the Sacramento Business Journal.
  • Katheryn Patterson, '09, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Elliot Pershes, '12, has been named corporate counsel at Mango Capital Inc., a New Jersey-based real estate holding company with more than 900 properties across the country.
  • Elliot Persehs, '12, was named Corporate General Counsel by Mango Capital, Inc.
  • Sarkis Piloyan, '15, joined the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration as a Tax Counsel in the Appeals Bureau conducting appeal conferences and preparing written decisions and supplemental decisions after hearing legal arguments and contentions by the parties.
  • Rudra Sharma Phual, '09, completed a PH.D. in Federal Dispute Settlement Mechanism: A Model for Nepal.
  • Madison Simmons, '13, joined Matheny Sears Linkert & Jaime in Sacramento as a litigation associate.
  • Jessica Robison, '02, has joined Trainor Fairbrook in its litigation department where her practice will focus on construction defect claims.
  • Claire Tauriainen, '01, has been appointed general counsel at the California Housing Finance Agency, where she has been an assistant general counsel and single-family housing team leader since 2007.
  • Anthony Vignolo, '99, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Stan Van Vleck, '91, was recognized as Best of the Bar 2018 by the Sacramento Business Journal, named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine and named 2018 Northern California Super Lawyer.
  • Andrew Walker, '04, joined Cogent Legal Sacramento as Co-Executive Director of their new national wide mock trial program.
  • Matthew Weber, '03, was named 2018 Top Lawyer by Sacramento Magazine.

July 2018

  • Vince Jacobs, '71, accepted into the Board of Directors of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Sacramento.
  • Summer Stephan, '86, won the San Diego District Attorney race.
  • Patricia Curtin, '87, named as a 2018 Northern California Super Lawyer.
  • Dr. Hong Tang, '05, has been re-appointed to continue serving on ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Committee and ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fundraising Committee, both of which are American Bar Association presidential committee appointments.
  • Jeff Dodd, '13, announced his candidacy for the Napa Valley College Board of Trustees.
  • Vignesh Ganapathy, '14, joined Postmates as Senior Government Relations Manager.
  • Vallerye Anderson, '15, opened up Garcia & Anderson, LLP, and firm that specializes in immigration legal services including but not limited to family-based immigration, naturalization, defensive and affirmative asylum, U-Visas, VAWA and removal defense.

June 2018

  • Robert Cochran, '75, was elected to the Superior Court of California.
  • Steven Hymas, ’08, named a 2018 Top Lawyer of Sacramento by Sacramento Magazine.
  • Carrie Stephens, '90, won judgeship race to the Stanislaus County Superior Court.
  • Eric Heryford, '92, was appointed to the Trinity County Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown.
  • Thomas Richard, '92, has been named Managing Partner of RTGR Law LLP, a litigation firm with 6 statewide offices. Tom became a partner in 2011 and has served as a Commissioner and Board member at the State Bar of California.
  • John Soldati, '98, won judgeship race to the San Joaquin County Superior Court.
  • Steve Gizzi, '02, won judgeship race to Solano County Superior Court.
  • Ric Asfar, '06, named as a Florida Super Lawyer for the 7th year in a row.
  • R. Shane Quigley, '14, joined the Parker Law Group.
  • Paul Smith, '15, joined Ogletree Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC.

April 2018

  • Lee Salter, '74, has been appointed to the California Complete Count Census Committee. The Redding attorney served as president and CEO of the McConnell Foundation from 1989 to 2016.
  • Rob Wall, '82, was appointed city attorney for West Jordan, Utah, by the municipality's city council. He previously served as the lead counsel for the city of Sandy.
  • Cynda R. Unger, '83, retired as a judge of the Solano County Superior Court after 17 years on the bench. When she joined the court, she was only the second woman to serve in that capacity for one of California's original counties.
  • Catherine Davey, '95, recently co-sponsored, along with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, the 6th Low Down on Law. Low Down on Law, created by Davey in 2015, focuses on providing information regarding the legal process for families of those who have special needs. Davey was also appointed to a special committee charged by the President of the Florida Bar, Michael Higer, with developing recommendations for improvements to Florida's mental-health treatment system.
  • Sam Maselli, '02, joined Palmer Kazanjian Wohl Hodson as an associate focusing on business litigation and employment law.
  • Eunice Majam-Simpson, '04, has been elevated to shareholder at Daponde Simpson Rowe PC where she represents health plans.
  • Lawrence Iglesias, '14, has joined the Ellis Law Group LLP in Sacramento.
  • Maral Farsi, M.S. '17, was appointed deputy director of legislative and inter-governmental affairs at the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. She has been regional director of governmental affairs at CVS Health since 2014.
  • Aman Grewal, '17, joined Palmer Kazanjian Wohl Hodson as an associate in its employment law department.

May 2018

  • Terry Traverso, '91, with co-counsel Nick Rowley, recently obtained a Washington state record jury verdict of $131,000,375 on behalf of a quadriplegic woman. The lawsuit alleged over-service of alcohol to a drunk driver who caused the woman's injuries.
  • Miranda Lekander, '00, was appointed deputy commissioner of legal at the California Department of Business Oversight, where she has served as assistant chief counsel since 2016 and was senior counsel from 2007 to 2016.
  • Anastasia Salmon, '14, joined Drobny Law Offices, Inc. as an associate attorney. Salmon was named one of the Top Probate Attorneys in 2018 by Sacramento Magazine.

April 2018

  • Jenn Protas, '07, was named one of the Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40 by the LGBT Bar. The List recognizes practicing lawyers, law professors, corporate counsel, members of the judiciary, politicians, etc. under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their field and have demonstrated a profound commitment to LGBT equality.

March 2018

  • Paul Beeman, '73, has retired as a judge of the Solano County Superior Court after nearly 18 years on the bench.
  • Steven Block, '78, has opened the Sacramento office of Demler, Armstrong & Rowland, a Long Beach-based defense litigation firm. He most recently served as a civil prosecutor for the Bureau of MediCal Fraud and Elder Abuse.
  • Toby Adams, '12, Executive Director of "Intersex & Genderqueer Recognition Project" (IGRP), was honored with the 2018 Legal Service Award at the BALIF Gala.
  • Tim Swickard, '00, joined the Sacramento office of Greenberg Traurig LLP as a shareholder. He is a former director and chief counsel of the CAL/EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control.
  • Alexandra Asterlin, '02, has been promoted to senior counsel at Palmer Kazanjian Wohl Hodson.
  • Rysheda M. McClendon, '09, was appointed County Attorney of Stafford County, Virginia, effective.

February 2018

  • Dorene D'Adamo, '86, was reappointed to the State Water Resources Control Board. A member of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, she served on the California Air Resources Board from 1999 to 2013.
  • Krishna Abrams, '92, was featured in an ID cable network episode of "Who Killed Jane Doe?" A Solano County assistant district attorney, she was the successful prosecutor in the 2012 trial of a cold-case murder.
  • Matthew Wilson, '92, was named the director of the new Pre-Law Advising program at Cal State University, Stanislaus.
  • Jody Burgess, '02, was appointed to the Shasta County Superior Court bench by Governor Jerry Brown. He is a partner at Burgess & Burgess in Redding.
  • Venus Johnson, '05, joined the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office as an assistant DA. She previously served as the director of public safety for the mayor of Oakland.
  • Michelle Albright, '07, joined Forester Purcell Stowell PC in Sacramento after Parker Turner Albright was dissolved.
  • Jennifer Williams, '08, was been promoted to counsel at Downey Brand.
  • Nikole Cunningham, '11, with partners started Whitney, Thompson & Jeffcoach LLP.

January 2018

  • John Vander Feer, '89, was named presiding judge of the San Bernardino County Superior Court. He has been on the bench for 19 years.
  • Todd Trotter, '02, was reappointed to the California Veterans Board where he has served since 2015. He is the national executive director for employee relations at Kaiser Permanente.
  • Magdalena Gad-Nowak, LL.M '08, wrote an article, "Poland's Draft GDPR Implementation Law -- Where Are We At?" for The National Law Review database. She is a senior associate at Squire Patton Boggs LLP in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Aaron Furguson, '10, was elevated to shareholder at Somach Simmons & Dunn where he specializes in water law representation.

December 2017

  • Egan Walker, '91, was elevated to the criminal/civil division of Nevada's Second Judicial Court by Governor Brian Sandoval. He has served in the court's family division since 2011. (Dember 2017)
  • Valerie Chrissakis, '96, was appointed to the Kings County Superior Court by Governor Jerry Brown. She has served as a staff attorney for the court since 2006.
  • Michelle Rubalcava, '03, joined Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross as senior counsel. She previously served as legislative advocate for Los Angeles County.
  • Erin Hiley, '04, was appointed vice president and senior legal counsel at American Specialty Health in San Diego. She brings more than 13 years of experience in healthcare law.
  • Jared Kapheim, '16, joined Griswold, Lasalle, Cobb Dowd & Gin in Hanford as an associate.
  • Anton Babich, '17, joined Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora as an associate in its personal injury group.

November 2017

  • William Benz, '79, won reelection to the Bucks County Magisterial District Court where he oversees small claims, traffic cases and minor criminal matters for Northampton and Upper Southampton townships in Pennsylvania.
  • Sarah Kanbar, '16, joined the Elis Law Group where she will defend consumer class actions and legal malpractice claims.

October 2017

  • Sam Gordon, '15, was inducted into the Scotts Valley High Falcon Hall of Fame. He is a partner with The Gordon Law Group in San Jose where his practice includes a focus on criminal defense.
  • Elizabeth Grussenmeyer Stone, '04, joined Daponde Szabo Rowe PC as a healthcare plans law counsel in Sacramento.

September 2017

  • Michael Keane, '00, was named to Nevada's Permanent Guardian Commission by the state Supreme Court. He is a partner at Woodburn and Wedge in Reno.

August 2017

  • Lloyd Connelly, '77, was elected the new executive officer of the Sacramento Superior Court by a unanimous vote of the court's judges. He is a retired Superior Court judge.
  • James McNairy, '03, joined Boutin Jones as a new shareholder where his practice focuses on intellectual property rights.
  • Fielding Greaves, '14, joined the Advanced Medical Technology Association as director of the national organization's state government regional affairs department.

July 2017

  • Brandon Takahashi, '06, joined Hinshaw & Culberson as a partner in its Los Angeles office. He represents restaurants and other businesses in employment matters.
  • Kim Garner, '09, joined Duggan Law Corp. in an of-counsel capacity where she will focus on estate planning and probate litigation.
  • Kate Mitchell, '11, was named the director of Washington D.C.'s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety.
  • Aaron Claxton, '16, joined Wilke Fleury in Sacramento in its health care and corporate law group.
  • John Quincy Brown Jr., '58, died at the age of 90 on February 3, 2018, in Sacramento. He was a co-founder of one of the area's oldest law firms, Hardy, Erich, Brown & Wilson, and a former president of two major public education boards.
  • Howell Jackson, '68, died of cancer at the age of 83 on January 27, 2018, in Sacramento. He worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs for more than 30 years, serving as regional chief counsel before his retirement.
  • Will Mattly, '69, died at the age of 85 on July 23, 2018, in Oroville. He served three terms as the Butte County District Attorney before accepting a position as an assistant U.S. attorney in Nevada, then closed out his legal career there as interim D.A. in both Lander and Churchill counties.
  • Robert Young, '70, died at the age of 77 on September 15, 2018, in Auburn. After overcoming a felony conviction that almost prevented him from becoming a lawyer, he went on to a successful legal career as a public defender, Placer County Justice Court judge, and criminal defense attorney.
  • Robert Hanna, '71, died of brain cancer at the age of 81 on February 24, 2018, in Gold River. He was an administrative law judge for the California Department of Social Services.
  • G. Chris Larson, '71, died at the age of 74 on January 23, 2018, in Applegate. He practiced law for more than 40 years in Auburn.
  • Bertram White, '71, died at the age of 84 on May 26, 2018, in Fair Oaks. His 30-year legal
  • career included working for two county DA's, a public defender's office, and two state agencies. Gene Gomes, '72, died of complications from a respiratory ailment at the age of 72 on March 5, 2018, in Fresno. A distinguished jurist, he served first as a Fresno Superior Court judge then as a justice of the California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District.
  • Duke Wheeler, '73, died at the age of 72 on March 16, 2018, in Sacramento. He practiced law off-and-on for years, but was best known as a super salesman for the Kirby Vacuum Company.
  • George Wolcott, '73, died at the age of 81 in Richland, Washington. He ran a general law practice for four decades in Richland, which is part of Washington's tri-cities area (Kennewick/Pasco/Richland) in the southeast part of the state.
  • Jon Benson, '74, died at the age of 73 on October 25, 2017, in Reno. He was a longtime family law practitioner in Washoe County.
  • Daniel Nauman, '79, died at the age of 66 on July 15, 2018, in Carmichael. He practiced business law with an emphasis on real estate and taxation for almost four decades.
  • Omar Farrington James, '75, died at the age of 72 on April 9, 2018, in Santa Cruz. He practiced law for more than four decades, the last two of them as a partner in the Aptos firm of Johnson & James.
  • Roland Martin, '78, died at the age of 69 on April 27, 2018, in Reno. He spent nearly four decades practicing tax and corporate law, becoming partner at his firm prior to establishing his own practice.
  • Richard Hawkins, LL.M. '84, died at the age of 69 on September 9, 2018, in Stanford. A Nevada City native, he was a certified specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law who practiced for decades in Grass Valley.
  • Robbie Wheeler,'84, died at the age of 62 on April 9, 2018, in Columbia, Missouri. He served as Chariton County Prosecuting Attorney from 2003 to 2006 and owned the Law Office of Robert W. Wheeler in Keytesville.
  • Lawrence Mendel, '85, died at the age of 63 on May 18, 2018, in Davis. An attorney in Alaska and California, he also served as an administrative law judge and tax counsel for the State Board of Equalization.
  • Louis Marshall, '87, died unexpectedly at the age of 60 on May 16, 2018, in Waunakee, Wisconsin. A retired Air Force officer, he worked in the Philippines for more than 20 years.
  • Reed Hopper, '87, died at the age of 66 on December 25, 2017, in Oak Harbor, Washington. A senior attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, he argued and won two major cases before the Supreme Court of the United States that limited federal authority under the Clean Water Act.
  • Leigh Stepp, '88, died of complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 62 on September 23, 2017, in Sacramento. A construction law specialist, she was a founding partner of Anwyl & Stepp in Gold River.
  • Ken Whittall-Scherfee, '88, died in a plane crash at the age of 60 on July 18, 2018, in Truckee. He was a business litigation attorney in Carmichael and Truckee who specialized in bankruptcy law.
  • William Sneed, '91, died of complications from a stroke at the age of 67 on July 26, 2017, in Sacramento. He operated a general law practice for two decades.
  • Matthew Ninke, '06, died at the age of 54 on April 23, 2018, in Jackson. He operated a general law practice with an emphasis on family law in the foothills area.
  • Taylor Hanning, '12, died in a traffic accident at the age of 32 on July 28, 2018, in Madera. The Laton resident started two successful well repair companies, Swage Kings and Well Informed.
  • Andrew Lewallyn, '16, died at the age of 32 on April 5, 2018, in Sacramento. He was clerking for a prominent capital area law firm in preparation for the bar exam.