In his novel A Patent on Murder (Booklocker.com, 2006), Charles M. Kaplan, JD ’59, tells the story of an inventor who seeks revenge after a terrorist shoots his Marine son in the back. The inventor creates a ray gun to murder the killers, but his effort to patent the product soon makes him and his attorney assassination targets. “Patent attorneys will read words they have used advising their clients coming out of the mouth of the patent attorney hero of this book,” Kaplan says.
Allen Mednick, JD ’66, was appointed principal deputy district prosecutor for the South Coast Air Quality Management District, the principal air pollution control agency in California’s South Coast Air Basin. The area includes urban parts of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, and all of Orange County.
Barwell Whaley Patterson and Helms welcomed Ernest Lipscomb, LLM ’68, as counsel in the intellectual property division. Lipscomb has more than 15 years of experience as lead intellectual counsel to corporations such as Westvaco Corp., Revlon Inc., and Rorer Group Inc. A former examiner in the U.S. Patent Office, Lipscomb previously was a partner with Alston and Bird in Charlotte, N.C.
John McGonagle, LLM ’71, was honored with a Meritorious Award from the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals. The accolade is the highest honor bestowed by the society and recognizes a single individual who has made significant contributions to the CI profession. McGonagle, a managing partner of The Helicon Group, is a competitive practitioner with 22 years of experience. He has written eight books about the field, focusing on ethics, the value of the intelligence process, the importance of measurement, and the need for security.
Energy and environmental industry veteran Richard A. Kanoff, JD ’72, joined the Boston office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo as of counsel in the energy and clean technology practice. Previously he served as in-house counsel to Calpine Corp. Kanoff has a 25-year background in both private and public sector aspects of the energy and environmental fields.
In the new resource book Proving and Defending Damage Claims: A Fifty-State Guide (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen Publishers, 2007), Jackson & Campbell attorney Nicholas S. McConnell, JD ’72, wrote a chapter about medical malpractice damages. McConnell has served as lead defense counsel in hundreds of cases involving claims for medical and hospital malpractice, products and premises liability, and contract and commercial matters. He is the chair of the Washington, D.C., firm’s health law and general litigation practice groups.
Howard G. Slavit, JD ’73, was re-elected to a three-year term as chairman of International Law Firms, an international association of independent law firms comprising some 70 firms from 25 countries. Slavit is co-office managing partner of Saul Ewing’s Washington, D.C., office.
Quarles & Brady attorney Janine M. Landow-Esser, JD ’76, was named a 2007 “Illinois Super Lawyer,” an honor awarded by Law & Politics to only 5 percent of Illinois attorneys. Landow-Esser is head of the Chicago office’s environmental group and concentrates her practice in both environmental and OSHA law.
The Pacific University Board of Trustees named Irene Price, JD ’78, as a trustee. Price is a retired attorney in Washington, D.C., who now volunteers her time for Lawyers For Children America and represents children in abuse and neglect proceedings as a volunteer guardian ad litem.
Tejon Ranch Co. named Teri Bjorn, JD ’79, as its new vice president and general counsel. Bjorn has more than 27 years of legal experience, specializing in transactional real estate and land use law. As general counsel, Bjorn will serve as Tejon Ranch Co.’s chief legal representative, handling all legal matters from real estate transactions to corporate governance issues related to Tejon Ranch’s status as a publicly traded company.
The Washington, D.C., office of Cozen O’Connor named Ralph V. DeMartino, JD ’79, co-head of the firm’s securities offerings and regulation practice area. DeMartino has a substantial corporate finance practice and extensive experience in the regulation and legal problems of public reporting companies, broker-dealers, limited partnerships, investment companies, and investment advisers. In addition, he has handled control contests and the representation of audit committees, as well as NASDAQ and stock exchange listing and delisting matters.
Michael J. Jordan, JD ’79, a partner with the Cleveland law firm of Walter & Haverfield, was honored by the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland and Northern Ohio at its 2007 annual meeting and awards dinner. Jordan was presented with the organization’s “Presidential Citation Award” in recognition of his outstanding legal service to the medical community in Greater Cleveland. With more than 25 years of experience, Jordan focuses his practice in the areas of complex commercial litigation, health care industry services, and general litigation services. He lives in Rocky River, Ohio.
Environmental and natural resource lawyer Jerome C. Muys Jr., JD ’79, LLM ’86, recently joined Sullivan & Worcester as a partner in the firm’s Washington office. Muys, who will serve as practice area director for the new environmental and natural resources group, will help meet the rapidly growing need for cost-effective solutions to environmental issues. He has represented clients in enforcement proceedings and Superfund cost recovery actions in more than 30 states.
Debbie M. Orshefsky, JD ’79, a shareholder with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig, was appointed as chairperson for the Urban Land Institute’s Southeast Florida/Caribbean District Council. Orshefsky, the District Council’s immediate past assistant chair, will continue setting a strategic direction for the organization through her new role as chairperson, which lasts until July 2008. She is a principal shareholder in the Fort Lauderdale office of Greenberg Traurig and is chair of the firm’s national land development practice group. Her practice is exclusively in the areas of land development and environmental law.
Susan Neuberger Weller, JD ’81, was among the 5 percent of lawyers in the nation’s capital selected as a 2007 Washington, D.C., Super Lawyer by Law & Politics. Weller practices in the intellectual property section of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. She manages the firm’s trademark practice and focuses on all aspects of intellectual property and related corporate business transactions.
American University Vice President and General Counsel Mary E. Kennard, LLM ’82, was named the 26th president of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association, the region’s professional association for in-house counsel. Kennard previously served as president-elect and treasurer of WMACCA. She plans to build upon WMACCA’s continuing education program, networking opportunities, advocacy, and outreach to law students.
Pepper Hamilton’s New York City office welcomed Kenneth J. King, JD ’82, as a partner in the firm’s health effects litigation practice group. King has more than 20 years of experience defending business clients in complex litigation in the areas of product liability and commercial and intellectual property litigation. He was previously a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler in New York.
In May, Raúl R. Herrera, BA ’81, JD ’84, joined the Washington, D.C., office of Arnold & Porter as a partner.
Andrews Kurth partner Kathleen J. Wu, JD ’85, received the “Women of Spirit” award from the American Jewish Congress Southwest Region. The award recognizes women who have been diligent and spirited in their pursuit of social justice. Wu writes a regular column on issues facing women in the legal profession for Texas Lawyer newspaper, and she frequently speaks about the benefits of diversity in the workplace. Wu is a real estate and finance lawyer.
Duane Morris welcomed Jay Gordon Cohen, JD ’86, as partner in the firm and a member of the corporate practice group. Cohen focuses his practice in the areas of venture capital and private equity investments, domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, start-up company financing, and representation of public and private companies.
Berry, Appleman & Leiden promoted Liane Hicks Cooney, JD ’87, to partner in its McLean, Va., office. In addition to managing the office, Cooney concentrates on matters involving nonimmigrant and immigrant business visas and advises companies on complex immigration practice and policy issues. She has more than 15 years of experience exclusively practicing U.S. immigration law. She is a member of the Texas and Virginia State Bars and the American Immigration Law Association.
Carl A. Rizzo, BA ’84, JD ’87, was named partner at Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, one of the largest law firms in northern New Jersey. Rizzo’s practice includes concentration in commercial litigation and chancery practice relating to contractual disputes, surety, construction and construction liens, real estate transactions, commercial tenancy, employment covenants, and partnership/shareholder discord. Rizzo lives in Wyckoff, N.J.
Webloyalty.com, a provider of technology-based, online marketing services, appointed Sloane Levy, JD ’89, as senior vice president, general counsel, and member of the company’s leadership team. Levy will be responsible for Webloyalty’s in-house legal and compliance department. Prior to this position, Levy was vice president and general counsel for Harte-Hank Inc., a large direct marketing company.
Home Depot named James C. Snyder Jr, JD ’89, interim head of the legal department. Snyder, the company’s vice president for litigation and risk management, joined Home Depot in July 2001. A business litigator, Snyder also focuses on risk management.
In February Ralph Gildehaus, JD ’90, resigned his partnership with the law firm of Porter Wright Morris and Arthur in Columbus, Ohio, to accept an appointment to the staff of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Gildehaus serves as the director of The Ohio Benefit Bank, a Web-enabled, counselor-assisted program that allows low-and moderate-income Ohioans to prepare and electronically file their federal and state income tax returns and claim tax credits.
The national law firm of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge welcomed Gary J. Lieberman, JD ’90, to the firm’s Boston-Federal Street office as counsel in the litigation management department. Lieberman’s litigation experience focuses on federal and state employment and labor laws, which includes discrimination, retaliation, discipline, wrongful discharge, contract disputes, and collective bargaining matters.
Mark S. Spring, JD ’91, was named firm managing partner for Carlton DiSante & Freudenberger, a 35-attorney boutique labor and employment law firm with five California offices. Spring has been representing employers in labor and employment law matters in Sacramento, Calif., since 1991. He is also a boys’ varsity high school basketball coach and lives in El Dorado Hills, Calif., with his wife and three children.
Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart in West Palm Beach, Fla., promoted Heidi Davis Knapik, JD ’92, to firm shareholder. Knapik, a real estate attorney in the Fort Lauderdale office, concentrates her practice in land use and development, and environmental law.
Salvatore J. Zambri, JD ’92, has become president of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., making it his fifth year as an Executive Committee member. Zambri is a founding partner of Regan Zambri & Long, a firm that specializes in medical malpractice, serious automobile accidents, product liability, workers’ compensation, and other personal injury cases. He lives in Bethesda, Md., with his wife and four children.
Abigail Chiesa, JD ’93, joined the law firm of Alschuler, Simantz & Hem in Aurora, Ill. Chiesa concentrates in the areas of wills and trusts, estate planning and administration, commercial residential real estate, and business law. The former U.S. Army JAG Corps attorney now lives in Naperville, Ill.
Mansour, Gavin, Gerlack & Manos welcomed John W. Monroe, JD ’93, to the firm’s real estate law practice group.
Andrew Marc Warshauer, JD ’94, was promoted to partner in Weiner Lesniak’s New York office. He is a member of the firm’s Toxic Tort Group and specializes in asbestos litigation. He lives in Plainview, N.Y., with his wife, Michele, and son, Gavin.
Government and public affairs firm Stewart Partners welcomed Darius Withers, JD ’94, as general counsel and managing director. With a background in communications law and experience at the Federal Communications Commission, Withers represents clients in Congress and before regulatory agencies, including the FCC and the Department of Homeland Security. He also provides counsel to Stewart Partners on lobbying and election law issues. He serves as a member of the Law Alumni Board of Directors.
The Amblyopia Foundation of America elected Bradley P. Hartman, BBA ’90, JD ’95, to its board of directors. The AFA, a nonprofit health organization, works to establish a nationwide vision screening program for school children. Hartman is chairman of Stinson Morrison Hecker’s business division in the firm’s Phoenix office and focuses his practice on intellectual property law, business transactions, and commercial litigation.
Steven Khadavi, JD ’96, a partner in Dorsey & Whitney’s New York office, was named co-head of the firm’s capital markets practice group. Khadavi represents underwriters and issuers in public and private debt and equity offerings, debt tender offers, consent solicitations, exchanged offers, and public and private acquisitions.
Seasoned Capitol Hill and federal branch counsel Eric Rosen, JD ’96, joined Heather Podesta + Partners in Washington, D.C. Rosen previously served as counsel to Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, where he worked on intellectual property legislation, homeland security matters, and other legislative issues.
Katherine E. White, LLM ’96, was named associate dean of the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Va. White, who serves as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army reserves, previously was a judicial law clerk to Hon. Randall R. Rader, JD ’78, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. From 2000 to 2002, she was appointed by the secretary of commerce to serve on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Public Advisory Committee. Most recently the registered patent attorney was a professor at Wayne State University Law School.
H. Eric Hilton, JD ’97, general counsel and corporate secretary for Atlanta-based construction and real estate development firm H.J. Russell & Company, has been named vice president. Hilton is responsible for handling, directing, and overseeing legal matters for the company and its affiliates. He will retain his responsibilities as general counsel and corporate secretary.
President George W. Bush appointed Christopher G. Oprison, JD ’97, as associate counsel to the president. Oprison previously served as a senior litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. He was also a Marine Corps prosecutor.
Andrew “Drew” Skroback, LLM ’97, joined the New York office of Stroock & Stroock & Levan as special counsel, continuing his environmental law business counseling and complex litigation practice.
Leslie Gross-Davis, JD ’98, joined the Senate Democratic Policy Committee as counsel. She previously served as counsel to U.S. Rep. Artur Davis of Alabama.
Dykema law firm in Washing-ton, D.C., named Aneal V. Krishnamurthy, JD ’98, MA ’98, of counsel to its corporate finance practice group. Krishnamurthy’s practice concentrates on securities and corporate law matters, focusing on drafting and reviewing exemptive applications, no-action letters, and registration statements for mutual funds, variable annuity, and variable life insurance products. He lives in Alexandria, Va.
The Washington, D.C., office of Jorden Burt promoted Shaunda Patterson-Strachan, JD ’98, to partner. Patterson-Strachan focuses her practice on representing insurance and financial services companies in class action and other high-impact litigation, ERISA litigation, and general commercial litigation, at both the trial and appellate court levels, throughout the United States. She is chair of the Life Insurance Law Committee, a committee within the American Bar Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.
Powell Goldstein promoted Ryan T. Pumpian, JD ’98, to partner. Pumpian is a member of the firm’s technology and intellectual property litigation group. His practice involves the resolution of disputes over trademarks, trade dress, copyrights, trade secrets, patents, domain names, and claims of unfair competition and restrictive covenants. Pumpian is a member of both the entertainment and sports law section and the technology section of the State Bar of Georgia.
Frank P. Sebree III, JD ’98, was elected a partner in the Kansas City office of Stinson Morrison Hecker. Sebree is a member of the firm’s general business division and represents both local and national clients in a variety of business and transactional matters.
Melissa Woods, JD ’98, left the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. to become chief of the gender and sexual orientation section of the New York attorney general’s office in the Civil Rights Bureau.
Andrew Kopsidas, JD ’99, was named principal at the Washington, D.C., office of Fish & Richardson. He will continue to focus his practice on intellectual property litigation, counseling, and licensing.
Harter Secrest & Emery welcomed Jeffrey A. Wadsworth, JD ’99, to its Rochester, N.Y., firm as an associate in its litigation group. Wadsworth concentrates his practice in the areas of general, appellate/Supreme Court, and antitrust litigation. Previously he worked for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C.
Greene Broillet & Wheeler attorney Michael J. Avenatti, JD ’00, was named to the Daily Journal Corporation’s “2007 Top 20 Under 40” list, an honor for the top up-and-coming lawyers in California. Avenatti is a plaintiff trial lawyer whose practice focuses on business litigation, legal and accounting malpractice, and catastrophic personal injury. He is one of 20 lawyers selected for the honor out of hundreds of peer nominations. Avenatti lives in Manhattan Beach, Calif..
Film and television producer Nathan Hale Williams, JD ’00, is the executive producer of the film Dirty Laundry, a “dramedy” that explores identity and coming out in the black family. It was scheduled for release nationwide in spring 2007. Williams, who also is an entertainment lawyer and event promoter, is the founder and chief executive officer of iN-Hale Entertainment, and has made it a priority to present positive images of black gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender identity in his projects, he says.
Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn welcomed Robert G. Walkowiak, JD ’01, as an associate in its labor and employment department.
Associate Heidi A. Lyon, JD ’02, of the law firm Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, was elected to the IRS Great Lakes Area Tax-Exempt and Governmental Entities Council. Lyon practices in the areas of employee benefits and tax law.
Colombian national Diego Rodriguez-Pinzón, SJD ’02, was designated by the State of Ecuador to sit as ad hoc judge in the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. The court is the highest human rights tribunal of the Americas and one of the three existing international human rights courts in the world. The court has decided 85 cases since it was established in 1980.
Michael Splete, JD ’02, joined Duane Morris in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.
President George W. Bush named Thomas P. Bossert, JD ’03, as special assistant to the president for homeland security and senior director for preparedness policy. Bossert previously served as director of infrastructure protection policy on the Homeland Security Council.
Gibson & Behman welcomed Brandon H. Moss, BS ’00, JD ’03, as an associate attorney in its Burlington, Mass., firm. Moss practices municipal law, civil litigation, and insurance law. He lives in Quincy, Mass., with his wife, Sarah, BA ’01. Sarah is the chief of staff for Rep. Anthony J. Verga and the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs in the Massachusetts Statehouse.
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) promoted Matthew Sandgren, LLM ’03, to the position of counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. A former legislative assistant, Sandgren will now advise the senator on immigration, intellectual property, and pharmaceutical-related legislation. Sandgren is a native of Provo, Utah, and is married to Kamae Bradburn Sandgren.
Corinne A. Falencki, JD ’04, joined the Washington, D.C., office of Bryan Cave. She previously served as a legal intern at the Federal Election Commission.
Faegre & Benson law firm welcomed Cathleen F. Baraloto, JD ’06, to its Minneapolis office. Baraloto practices in the intellectual property area, concentrating in trademark matters.
Attention Stockton Guard Members
The Jacob Burns Law Library is beginning its Oral History Project this summer by interviewing members of the Stockton Guard (classes graduated 50 years ago or longer) as well as professors emeritus. Recollections of classes, professors, the Law School, and other “period” memories of the GW Law School experience are sought. These eyewitness accounts of Law School history will constitute an invaluable and unique record of an important segment of GW’s history. The videotaped interviews will be preserved and mounted on the Law School Web site. All Stockton Guard classes and emeriti will receive a letter outlining the project in the near future.
For information, please contact Jennie Meade, rare books librarian, at 202-994-6857 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Good Catch
Wading in her kayak on the Tred Avon River of Maryland’s Eastern Shore at dawn is Anastasia “Stasia” Kelly’s favorite summer pastime. “I am a big osprey fan,” says the executive vice president, general counsel, and senior regulatory and compliance officer for American International Group Inc. “You can watch them teach the babies to fly and fish,” she adds.
During her career, Anastasia Kelly, JD ’81, executive vice president, general counsel, and senior regulatory and compliance officer for American International Group Inc., has worked for Martin Marietta, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Fannie Mae, and Sears, Roebuck & Co.
In a storied career of wading through legal challenges, Kelly has often taught herself to fish. Immediately after graduating from Trinity University in Washington, D.C., Kelly started working at the Airline Pilots Association as an employee benefits analyst. As the organization’s first woman hired into a professional capacity in 1971, she discovered that the executives were unsure of how to utilize her skills.
When Congress began considering pension legislation that was to become the ERISA law, she created a niche for herself in protecting a nondiscrimination provision from which pilots were exempt. Kelly spent the next two years attending legislative sessions to ensure that the exemption remained part of the final bill.
As in many of her efforts to come, she was successful. “I was one of the only people in the world who actually knew the legislative intent and changes that companies were going to have to make in 1975,” she recalls.
After being recruited by Martin Marietta in 1975 when the company moved its headquarters from New York to Maryland, she was quickly making presentations to the company’s board of directors at 25 years old. “In those years, lawyers didn’t do pension work because there was no law on the subject,” she says.
When the company offered to pay her law school tuition, she applied to GW and made the decision to attend a day before the period for acceptance ended. After four years of attending in the evening, the law review member earned her degree magna cum laude with Order of the Coif honors in 1981. “I loved law school. I loved GW,” she notes.
Perhaps the best part of her experience was the introduction her study group partner made to an FBI agent, whom she married during her third year. Three weeks before Kelly assumed her role as an associate at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, Tom Kelly was named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas office and they moved. She joined the law firm of Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal as a litigation and transactional associate. The day she passed the Texas Bar, she argued her first summary judgment motion. Teaching herself to fish again, she says that “it was baptism by fire.”
When Tom Kelly was named deputy administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1985, the couple moved back to Washington, D.C., and Stasia Kelly began working as a fourth-year associate in Wilmer Cutler’s financial regulatory practice. Four years later, after five months of bed rest and the birth of her twin sons, Mike and Brian, in May, she was promoted to partner.
Recruited by Fannie Mae in 1995, she served as the company’s senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary until 1999. “Being able to go in-house was a turning point in my life,” she says. Kelly admits that she always fought having a specialty “probably because I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she adds with a sense of humor. “They call it ‘general’ for a reason; it was a very good background coming into a company knowing about different areas of practice.”
In addition to her legal acumen, managing people, assembling teams, and setting employees onto a career path are some of her trademarks. “I like finding what people are best at doing, getting them on that road and seeing them blossom,” she notes.
In 1999, she was recruited by Sears, Roebuck & Co. as executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary, where she stayed until February 2003. At Sears, she was responsible for developing and supervising the legal department, as well as the public relations, communications, and community relations departments. “I helped rebuild a team troubled by a bankruptcy scandal in 1997 and 1998,” she says. “It was a fabulous experience.”
For another two and a half years, she was part of the turnaround team at MCI Worldcom during the height of its legal difficulties. In addition to serving as the general counsel, she oversaw the government relations and state, federal, and international regulatory groups. After Verizon purchased the company, she took nine months off.
But when AIG offered her the position she currently holds in September 2006, she could not refuse. “To me it was the culmination of my past experiences coming together in a way that produced an opportunity to add true value.” After 10 months, she is energized by the activity. “It is so incredibly intense that I feel that I am drinking from a fire hose,” she says.
Kelly, also chair of the board of directors of Equal Justice Works in Washington and a director of public company Owens-Illinois, describes her career as “unbelievably lucky, rich and fulfilling, and fortunate.” Kelly notes that “I have been wonderfully mentored and have great colleagues.” Her rare perspective makes it no surprise that her favorite pastime is watching an endangered species nurture its young.
—Ari Kaplan, JD ’97
A Force in the Windy City
Mark Twain once said that Chicago was a city of infinite possibilities—one that is constantly changing and is never the same place you last visited. For many, attempting to govern such a mercurial place is an exercise in futility.
But city leader Manuel “Manny” Flores, JD ’00, is drawn to the frenetic energy of the nation’s “Second City” and has committed himself to bolstering Chicago’s vibrant communities.
Flores, who has been Chicago’s 1st Ward alderman since 2003, says a successful city is created by enacting legislation that evolves with its populace.
“We have to be creative,” says Flores, who is now running for Congress in Illinois’ 4th Congressional District. “You lead by building consensus, appealing to the common good, and moving away from
Flores’ approach to public service has earned him praise. The Chicago Journal endorsed Flores for his re-election as alderman in February. In June, the Illinois Crime Commission named him the Democratic Leader of the Year.
Flores credits his time at GW Law, particularly in pretrial advocacy classes and as a student in the Immigration Law Clinic, for his skill in helping to govern the city. Flores says such work requires presenting alternate perspectives and “looking at issues as challenges that can be resolved through logical reasoning, plans of action, and execution.”
Flores says his decision to attend GW Law was one of the best he has made.
“Washington, D.C., was where I wanted to go,” he says. “GW Law was a great place for me to begin my legal education.”
He is remembered as a promising student. “Manny combined intellectual power with practical sense,” says GW Law Professor Alberto Benitez. “He is dedicated to public service, he cares about people, and he’s honest.”
Flores, a former prosecutor in the Cook County State’s Attorney Office, says his journey from GW Law student to dedicated public official began when he recognized his desire to have a direct impact on America’s communities.
“I feel passionate about public service,” he says. “If you have something to offer, if you have certain convictions about how things should be done, you have a moral obligation to serve at the highest possible level.”
As alderman of the 1st Ward, Flores has worked to assist displaced workers in manufacturing and the hospitality industries and has introduced legislation in the areas of consumer protection, health care, and government operation and management. The youngest member of the Chicago City Council, he serves on seven council committees.
Flores’ ability to represent 1st Ward residents comes from his efforts to understand their needs, wants, struggles, and successes.
“If you can’t envision yourself in their shoes, I don’t see how you can be an effective representative,” he says. “When you’re elected to make decisions on behalf of many, you need to be able to understand how your decisions affect them.”
In addition to his official duties, Flores also serves on the board of directors of the Community Health Clinic, a nonprofit group that provides free health care for the poor and uninsured.
“It’s a matter of trying to help those who need help the most,” he says. “In my community, you have people working two or three jobs to make ends meet without insurance. I can’t allow those who need it to go without.”
For Flores, being able to navigate complex legal documents and issues for his constituents is a key component of his ability to help others.
“You must have qualified individuals who understand how to create and pass legislation,” he says. “I could not be in this position without the training I received from attending GW Law.”
Despite his many efforts for the city of Chicago, he stresses that his family—which includes wife Georgina and 1-year-old son Teddy—remains his top commitment.
“Balancing our personal lives is very important,” he says. “It is extremely stressful. What drives me is that I’m a father.”
His young son, Teddy, has further helped Flores connect to community members.
“We all want our children to have a better world, a better place,” Flores says.
As his Congressional campaign continues, Flores says he will be sure not to lose sight of the messages he has espoused since day one: those embracing vision, bold leadership, and empathy.
Giving the World Something to Munch On
In the mood for a good potato chip, pretzel, or cheese curl? Then enter the mouthwatering world of Michael Rice, JD ’68. As president and chief executive officer of Utz Quality Foods Inc. in Hanover, Pa., he heads up one of the leading independent, privately-owned manufacturers of potato chips and pretzels in the United States.
Michael Rice, JD ’68, president and chief executive officer of Utz Quality Foods Inc., surveys a fresh batch of potato chips at the company’s main manufacturing plant in Hanover, Pa.
The famous East Coast snack company, founded by Rice’s grandparents, has risen to national prominence under his leadership. Utz’s colorful history goes back to 1921, when Rice’s grandfather, William Utz, quit his shoe factory job and scraped together $300 to buy a hand-operated potato chip cooker. “They set it up in the kitchen of their small house in Hanover, where my grandmother, Salie Utz, cooked potato chips and my grandfather went door to door selling them at corner stores, country fairs, and farmer’s markets,” says Rice, who was helping out in the family business by age 12.
“I worked summers unloading potato trucks, waxing trucks, and doing any other odd jobs that were needed,” he reflects. By the time he was in high school, he had developed an interest in eventually heading Utz, but first law school beckoned. “Ever since I was a boy, I had great admiration for Thomas Jefferson and wanted to fulfill my long-time dream of attending law school,” he explains. “I chose GW because of its location in the center of government. It was a great learning experience—very rewarding and stimulating—and I would have stayed on to earn a master’s or doctorate of law, but my grandfather passed away in late ’68 and my father asked me to come back to Hanover to help him run the business.”
Law school was a busy time personally for Rice, who married his high school sweetheart, Jane, as a first-year student, and welcomed his daughter and son to the world over the subsequent two years. He still keeps in touch with a sizable group of law school friends. “In those days, classes were divided alphabetically, so I knew everyone from R to Z,” he reflects. “A group of six or seven of us have gotten together regularly through the years to share special occasions and stay in touch with each other.”
Rice says his GW Law degree has helped him tremendously. “My legal background has been a real asset to me in the business world,” he says. “My knowledge of the law has helped me with everything from revising and writing potato contracts to dealing with diverse business matters. Most importantly, it’s taught me how to analyze all facets of business decisions and to employ an analytical approach to problem solving.”
The company has grown steadily under Rice’s leadership. “When I joined the family business in 1968, we sold $3 million worth of products annually and, this year, sales will be $330 million,” he says. While Utz’s main sales focus over the years has been the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine, the company has steadily expanded its reach nationwide through retailers like Sam’s Club, Costco, and Wal-Mart. “We serve the East Coast through a direct store route delivery system,” Rice explains. While all Utz products are currently manufactured in Hanover, plans are in the works to open a factory in New England—a major growth area—in the next five to seven years. The company also plans to expand its route system southward and westward.
Today, Utz employs 2,200 people and manufactures more than a million pounds of potato chips and nearly a million pounds of pretzels each week. “We are the largest privately-owned potato chip manufacturer in the country and the second largest overall, after Frito-Lay,” he says. “One of the enjoyable things about being in this industry is that there is a real art to it. Making a unique, high-quality product and competing successfully against industry giants is very satisfying.”
While adhering to his grandparents’ long-time standards for freshness, superior quality and service, and customer satisfaction, Rice has ensured that the company keeps pace with the times. As American consumers demanded more health conscious food in recent years, Utz introduced its Snacking Smart line of products—featuring baked and reduced fat chips, salt-free, cholesterol-free, natural, and multigrain products. “Over 99 percent of our products have no trans fat,” he states.
As CEO, Rice stays actively involved in every facet of the company—from commodity purchases to strategic planning and hiring key executives. “By developing in-house and recruiting some of the best people in the snack food industry and striving to use the best ingredients and make the best products, we’ve been able to move into the number two slot nationwide, while many independent competitors have gone out of business,” he states. “It’s been extremely gratifying.”
—Jamie L. Freedman
Champions for Change
With a campus in the heart of the nation’s capital, GW Law has always attracted students interested in politics. It should come as no surprise then that 26 alumni are using their degrees to make an impact on a local, state-wide, or global scale. Here is the impressive list of GW Law School alumni who are in public office:
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., JD ’73, (R-Dist. 2) of Tennessee
U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, JD ’52, (D) of Hawaii
U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, JD ’73, (R-Dist. 3) of Minnesota
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, JD ’64, (D) of Nevada
U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, JD ’85, (D-Dist. 19) of Florida
Rep. Willie Bailey, JD ’72, (D-Dist. 49) of Mississippi
Rep. Edward Blackmon Jr., JD ’73, (D-Dist. 57) of Mississippi
Rep. Joseph A. Foster, JD ’84, (D-Dist. 13) of New Hampshire
Sen. Hillman Terome Frazier, JD ’74, (D-Dist. 27) of Mississippi
Sen. Rob Garagiola, JD ’01, (D-Dist. 15) of Maryland
Rep. Julie Hamos, JD ’75, (D-Dist. 18) of Illinois
Rep. Michael P. Lawlor, JD ’83, (D-Dist. 99) of Connecticut
Rep. Harvey B. Otterman Jr., BA ’49, LLB ’50, (R-Dist. 1) of Vermont
Rep. Al Park, JD ’95, (D-Dist. 26) of New Mexico
Sen. Jeffrey E. Piccola, JD ’73, (R-Dist. 15) of Pennsylvania
Rep. Skip Priest, JD ’76, (R-Dist. 30) of Washington
Rep. Darren Soto, JD ’04, (D-Dist. 49) of Florida
Sen. Jennifer Veiga, JD ’87, (D-Dist. 31) of Colorado
Ross “Rocky” Anderson, JD ’78, Mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah
Patrick “Kit” Bobko, JD ’00, City Council, Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Manuel “Manny” Flores, JD ’00, Alderman, Chicago
Bernard S. Gordon, JD ’73, Mayor, Village of Pleasantville, N.Y.
Herbert Lazerow, LLM ’64, Chairperson, University of San Diego Senate, San Diego
Isiah “Ike” Leggett, LLM ’76, County Executive, Montgomery County, Md.
R. Scott Slifka, BA ’96, JD ’99, Mayor, Town of West Hartford, Conn.
Karen Avagliano Treber, JD ’86, Board of Education, Allegany County, Md.
Bill Martin, JD ’73, April 6, 2007, Greensboro, N.C.
And What About You?
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