Class Notes

Alumni Class Notes, September 2016


Dustin H. Allen (’08) was recently named president of the Indiana Creditors Bar Association.




fisherJennifer Fisher (’14) was recognized as a “Young Lawyer of the Year” by the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana (2016)






Judge Greta Freidman (’84) was awarded “Judge of the Year” by the Indiana Criminal Justice Association.




Leane Cerven ’83 and Dana Zivkovich ’06

Both Alumnae were awarded Influential Women in the Law of Northwest Indiana for 2016. Leane was awarded 2016 Overall Influential Woman of the Year.




Alumni Class Notes, August 2016



Aja M. Carr-Favors (’13) has been named Director of Trust Administration for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As a senior member of the ELCA foundation, Carr-Favors assists with the administration of a $600M endowment fund and leads decisions around the organization’s $70M charitable trust program.


Tamra Walz (’91) recently became the court administrator at the Nebraska Workers’Compensation Court.




Peter L. Krentz, (’56) was honored by the city of Plano, IL for serving 60 years in the area as an attorney.



*In Memoriam* Condolences to the family of alumnus Randolph W. King, Jr. ‘(69) who passed away in Prerov, Czech Republic on June 24, 2016. Mr. King was a member of the 1974 Moot Court team which competed in the New York semi-final competition with fellow VU Law students Gary Matthews (’75) and Mark Ilten (’75).



Deborah Thomas, (’77) a Wayne County Circuit Court judge since 1995 declared her candidacy for justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. The long-time judge decided to run in an effort to bring “greater balance to a court that has moved consistently to the right in recent years.”

Hon Walker


Cynthia Walker, (’82) the 50th District Court Chief Judge was presented with Professionalism Award from theOakland County Bar Association (OCBA), recognizing her compassion for and dedication to those she serves.



Daryl Witherspoon (‘95), recently named general counsel of the Defense Contract Audit Agency.




Jeffrey D. Muntz (03) was named one of the 10 best attorneys in Illinois for best client satisfaction.



De Vries

Martin De Vries (’89) was appointed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, to serve as Judge on the Dodge County Circuit Court.





Alumni Class Notes, July 2016

Wolf, Victoria R







Victoria R. Wolf (’07) and Wolf, Victoria R (’90) were elected to serve as officers and members of the Board of Governors of the St. Joseph County Bar Association for the fiscal year July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. Read the press release here..


Alumni Class Notes, June 2016 




Travis Stegemoller (’12) recently started as a trademark attorney with addidas in Indianapolis, IN.





Jeffrey D. Muntz (’03) was named one of the 10 best attorneys in Illinois for best client satisfaction.





Alumni Class Notes, April 2016





Charles J. Fleck (’67), a partner with Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, was named an Illinois Leading Lawyer







C.Jesse Gree (’99),  authored a featured article in the Michigan State Bar Journal. Also, his most recent book “Open House: Debunking the Myth of the ‘Happy Homeowner'” was released this past December.





Sarah (Xiaohua) Zhao (’92) has joined Faegre Baker Daniels as a partner in the firm’s corporate practice.





C. Lopez









Cecilia Lopez (14), Bradford Shively (14), and Victoria Wolf (07), were named 40 under 40 by the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce.







Paul Krentz (83) was named an Illinois Super Lawyer along with two other Partners at his firm, Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur P.C.





Alumni Class Notes March 28 2016 



Lynda A. Bennett (94)  Partner and Chair of the Insurance Recovery Practice, has been named one of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ. Lynda was honored along with the rest of this year’s winners at a ceremony in Somerset, New Jersey.






The state’s Judicial Nominating Committee, which screens potential Supreme Court justices, named Mark Lienhoop (’81) as one of 15 semifinalists chosen to interview for an upcoming open spot on the state’s highest court.





Starkey Sarah photo



Sarah Starkey ’07, partner at the law firm Cohen Garelick & Glazier, has been named a Super Lawyer Rising Star® in the practice area of Family Law. This is the fifth Super Lawyer Rising Star honor for Starkey.






Alumni Class Notes  February 2016

Elizabeth-Lucas-Barnes-large1 (1)



Elizabeth J. Barnes ’06 has been promoted to partner at the law firm of Church Church Hittle & Antrim as of January 1, 2016. Read more in a press release, here..





Alumni Class Notes January 2016







Shelice R. Tolbert ’00 was inducted at the Lake County Bar Association’s 31st President. See more photos from the induction ceremony, here.








Ashley Kutz Kelley ’08 has been promoted to Partner at Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP.









Alison B. Crane ’06 was recently elevated to Principal in the firm, Jackson Lewis’ Chicago office. Ms. Crane is one of 12 newly elevated Principals throughout Jackson Lewis’ 57 locations. Read more of her press release here..






B. Hall



Brandon C. Hall ’09 has been named “Rising Star” in 2016 by Chicago Magazine & Illinois Super Lawyers. 





J.H. Funk



J.H. Funk ’10 selected by The National Advocates as a “Top 40 Under 40” Wills, Trusts & Estates Lawyer in the State of Illinois









Rick Soria ’07  who serves as campus president for the Ivy Tech Community College Michigan City campus, has announced his resignation. Beginning March 1, he will serve as president for Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida.







Julie Lemke ’04, published an article entitled, “Practical Considerations in the Use of Colorado Beneficiary Deeds” in The Colorado Lawyer magazine.






Alumni Class Notes December 2015 





David Yoder ’74, who is set to retire at the end of the year as executive director of Legal Aid of East Tennessee, will receive the Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Service Attorney of the Year Award.








Melissa Miller Proctor ’96, a shareholder of the national law firm Polsinelli in the firm’s Phoenix office, has been selected to serve on the Working Board of the Metropolitan Phoenix Export Alliance (”MPEXA”).  Proctor has spent her career handling international trade, import and export legal matters for companies throughout the United States and abroad.



KielianGerald Kielian ’75L, selected to be new Will County Public Defender











Danielle Campbell ’14L, James Dillon ’13L, O. Adedeyin Gomih ’06 and Laura Wyrick ’13L were apart of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Leadership Development Academy’s Class of 2016.










Joel M




Joel R. McClellan ’13L has been designated a Virginia Legal Elite lawyer in the Young Lawyers (Under 40) category by Virginia Business magazine.







Kiley R. Burlas ’15L joined firm Rathje & Woodward, LLC in Wheaton, IL. Read the press release here.




Brianna Schroeder



Brianna Schroeder ’09 L opened her own firm Janzen Agricultural Law LLC.







Kim Ferraro ’07L with the Hoosier Environmental Council, won a $50 million dollar judgment against a company that plagued an Elkhart County neighborhood for nearly ten years.








Congratulations to Yamir Gonzalez-Velez, ’14L, who has been appointed Logansport city attorney. Yamir Gonzalez-Velez is an associate with Robert L. Justice and will be the first woman to serve as lead city attorney.






Valparaiso University Law School alumnus, Mark Roscoe,’83L, discusses his talent for creating fashion to help others. Roscoe is featured in WGN Chicago’s Very Own video.








Brett L. Warning ’88L, is Of Counsel with Emerson & Elder, P.C. in Chicago, practicing primarily in insurance coverage litigation and commercial litigation.





Alumni Class Notes November 2015




Stacy Prince ’00L,was recently named Vice President of Risk Management for Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, FL.





Greg Vega

Gregory A. Vega ’80L, was elected President of the National Association of Former United States Attorneys SAN DIEGO, CA






Charles R. “Chip” Brehmer ’92L, A Superior Court Judge for the State of California, County of Kern was elected by his peers as the next Presiding Judge for Kern County.



Valpo grads elected to Indiana State Bar Association board of governors

The following Valparaiso University grads were elected to the board of governors of the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) at its annual meeting in French Lick earlier this month:

JasitisMichael J. JasaitisCrown Point, was elected to the board of governors of the ISBA. He is a partner at the firm Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis.





tolbert-portraitMichael E. TolbertGary, was inducted as chair-elect of the House of Delegates of the ISBA. He is a partner at the firm Tolbert & Tolbert.




The following Valparaiso University School of Law grads were elected to the board of governors of the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) at its annual meeting in French Lick earlier this month:

  • FrymanBenjamin D. FrymanValparaiso, has been installed as chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the ISBA. As YLS chair, he will serve on the board of governors. He is a founding partner and the current CEO of the firm Schwerd Fryman & Torrenga.
  • Michael J. JasaitisCrown Point, was elected to the board of governors of the ISBA. He is a partner at the firm Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis.
  • Michael E. TolbertGary, was inducted as chair-elect of the House of Delegates of the ISBA. He is a partner at the firm Tolbert & Tolbert.







Gensel and Rowan



Porter County Prosecutor and alumnus, Brian Gensel ’84 was recognized Monday for his support of Deputy Prosecutor and alumnus Ryan Rowan’11, participation in the Indiana National Guard.








Pollock and Tolbert
Teresita Avila
Dino Pollock ’08, and Teresita Avila ’83 were honorees at the 2015 BLSA/LLSA 1L Welcome Dinner.









Alumni Class Notes Week- October 12-16, 2015

Trent-McCain-240x300 (1)




Trent A. McCain ’02 was named to Chicago Public Media’s Community Advisory Council to serve a two-year term starting next month.






Alumni Class Notes Week- October 5-9, 2015





Michael Tolbert ’00 was just elected by the House as chair elect of the House of Delegates of the Indiana State Bar Association.







Marie A. Failinger ’76 is serving as interim dean of Hamline University School of Law during 2015 as it plans a merger with William Mitchell College of Law.  She is a 2015 recipient of the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman award which is presented to a teacher who has inspired a student to create an organization. Her student Asma Saroya, who co-founded the Council on American Islamic Relations-Minnesota chapter, nominated her for this award.





Alumni Class Notes Week- September 21-25, 2015


ScottLarson (1)




Scott D. Larson ’98L was recently appointed a Circuit Judge in Adams County for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Read more in the Illinois Supreme Court Press Release.





Alumni Class Notes Week – September 14- 18, 2015

Cowlin pic


Honorable James S. Cowlin ’82L was appointed as appointed to Resident Circuit Judge of McHenry County beginning in the month of September. Read more in the Press Release. 









Mike Roth ’94L has been announced as the new President of Law Weathers in Grand Rapids, MI. View more on his firm profile here.





Howard & Howard

Howard & Howard



Michael Bell ’03L was recently named as on of the Michigan Super Lawyers and Michigan Rising Stars of 2015. Read more in the Press Release.










Stanley Stek ’78L was recently honored as a “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers 2016.






Alumni Class Notes Week- August 24-28, 2015

Wabash_Bill Hartley



William C. Hartley, Jr. ’96L, was recently appointed the  new chairman of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC) Board of Directors. He was elected to the post during the recent IPAC 2015 Summer Conference in Merrillville. Mr. Hartley has been the Wabash County Prosecutor for 12 years. Read the official press release here.





Alumni Class Notes Week – August 10-14, 2014


Dan Smolnik ’86L has been appointed by the Connecticut General Assembly to the  Commission on Connecticut’s Leadership in Corporation & Business Law. Dan also currently serves as Secretary Treasurer of the Tax Section of the Connecticut Bar Association and as Chairman of the Federal Business Tax Subcommittee.










Jeffrey W. Ahlers ’87L was listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016. First published in 1983, The Best Lawyers in America has become regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Read more here








Alumni Class Notes Week – July 27-31, 2015




Shelice Tolbert ’00 was featured at a guest commentary writer in the NWI Times regarding the United Way’s Day of Caring on August 21, 2015 in NWI. Check out the article here.




Current 3L, Maya Rodriguez-Alvarez was featured for her work with the Hammond High School Girls Soccer team. Read more here.



Perry Browder





Perry J. Browder ’88L was elected as the Second Vice President of Illinois Bar Foundation. Read the press release here.



Alumni Class Notes Week – June 8-12, 2015


Hugo Gamez ’10L recently won an appeal in the Central district Court of Appeals for an age discrimination case wherein the lower court granted Defendant a motion for summary judgment on all causes of action. Mr. Gamez also started his own firm in November 2014.






Leah McNeely ’11L,an attorney in the firm Quarles & Brady LLP’s Health Law Practice Group, set up and ran pro bono programs which received an award. Read more about the award and programs here.








Paul A. Rossi ’97L, David Andrick ’03L and Brett Galvan ’14L are attorneys at Paul Rossi LLC which was recently voted one of the Best in The Region by the NWI Times. Read the official press release here.




Alumni Class Notes Week – May 25-29, 2015





Todd Schafer ’10L was featured in Find more information here.






Kelly Travis ’96L, a former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Berrien County, Michigan, has joined Kotz Sangster Wysocki P.C. in the Niles, Michigan office. View Kelly Travis Press Release here.





Alumni Class Notes Week- May 18-22, 2015


Melissa Miller Proctor ’96L has joined the national law firm Polsinelli as a shareholder in its Phoenix office. Proctor has extensive experience negotiating and advising manufacturers, retailers (including online retailers), importers and exporters on complex international trade issues involving customs law, export controls, embargoes and economic sanctions, anti-boycott compliance, federal and state agency requirements impacting imports and exports, and trade issues involving non-U.S. jurisdictions.





Alumni Class Notes Week – May 11- 15, 2015




Karen Tallian ’90L will be seeking the 2016 Dem nomination for governor of Indiana.








Attorney Sherry A. Hartzler ’02 has been named a Magistrate in the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division, by Judge Charles Pratt succeeding Thomas P. Boyer. See more here.





Alumni Class Notes Week – May 4- 8, 2015

  • Hon. Edward J. Nemeth ’83L passed away on Saturday, May 2, 2015. During his 31 year legal career, Judge Nemeth served as the Porter County Juvenile Court Magistrate Judge from 2004 until his retirement in 2012. Our thoughts are with the Nemeth family during this difficult time.



Justin Vining  ’10L created a remarkable mural depicting the history of Urschel Laboratories at the company’s new global headquarters in Chesterton. See more here.




Katie Ellis




Katie Ellis ’14L is now an Associate Attorney at ZKT Law in Chicago, IL.



Alumni Class Notes- Wk April 20-24, 2015



An investiture was held on April 22 for Jeffrey J. Graham ’98L as United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of Indiana.



Alumni Class Notes – Wk April 13-17, 2015