Class Notes

Alumni Class Notes, September 2017


Ben Geelan ’12 has been hired by the real estate broker Holliday Fenoglio as a director in its Phoenix, AZ office.




Steve McClure ’11 is running for the 50th District of Illinois State Senate seat. 






Stephanie L. Hoover ’10 joined Beasley & Gilkison LLP as an associate attorney.



Jeffery E. Wallace ’87 was recognized for his work in Real Estate Law by Woodward White’s The Best Lawyers in America.






Riele Sims ’15 recently accepted two Pro Bono positions. She was appointed co-chair of the Professional Development Committee of the Cook County Bar Association and asked to become a member of the Chicago Regional Alumni Council for Valparaiso University Law School.





Kathryn (Peterson) Reynolds, ’06L has been announced as general counsel by Nevada Governor Briana Sandoval.




Justin Vining, ’10L recently unveiled his massive 20 ft. x 40 ft. painting called “The Journey from the Outside in” at Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall.





Beau Liegeois, ’07L announced his candidacy for Wisconsin’s 8th congressional district.




Peter A. Hessler ’78 has been named Attorney of the Month by Attorney At Law magazine.






Judge William Alexa ’73 was honored in the House of Representatives by Congressman Pete Visclosky for his more than 30 years of public service.




Alfredo Estrada ’15 was named as one of the 20 Professionals Under 40 in Northwest Indiana







Andrew “Andy” Black ’85 has been named chief of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Public Safety.




George Patrick ’92 was honored at the Indiana State Bar Association awards luncheon for practicing law for 25 years. 





1st Lieutenant Louis F. Glinzak ’14 had an article published in the September edition of the Marine Corps Gazette (pg. 46)





Alumni Class Notes, August 2017

Peter Petros ’95 was newly appointed to the regional Board of Directors of The American Red Cross. 






Judge Stephen Davis ’73 was honored in a retirement ceremony from Delta County Circuit Court with a framed portrait signifying his 23-year career on the bench. 






Katrina Castillo’13 was awarded “Star of The Year” by the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division 2016-2017.




Kimberly Jeselskis ’00 is an attorney in the newly merged firm, Katz Korin Cunningham, P.C. Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman merged with Katz & Korin P.C.






Alumni Class Notes, July 2017


Troy Rafferty ’94 of Levin Papantonio law firm in Pensacola, FL wins $150M medical fraud suit.




Seth TeBeest, ’13L has joined the Peoria office of law firm Heyl Royster.He concentrates his practice on technology licensing, intellectual property commercialization, corporate transactions, and tort litigation.



Kristina Jacobucci ’04 became one of Indiana’s 71 certified Family Law specialists. Kristin was certified by the Family Law Certification Board, an independent certifying organization recognized by the Indiana Supreme Court.



Justin G. Jochums ’02 has announced his candidacy for Fulton County State’s Attorney in the 2018 General Election.

Karen Kao ’12 joins Lipson Neilson Law Firm in Las Vegas, NV.






Eric J. Skwiat, Law ’15, has joined Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP as an associate in Chicago, IL.





Aja Carr Favors was named Director of Regulatory Compliance for the Mission Investment Fund of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In this role, she ensures that the Mission Investment Fund\’s complies with federal and state regulations related to the issuance of exempt securities.





Bethany Sanchez ’01 was recently named to the Nevada Business Magazine’s 2017 Legal Elite list.





Alumni Class Notes, June 2017

Robert Shafis ’80 is now the Territorial Director of Planned Giving for the Central Territory of the Salvation Army, Hoffman Estates, IL.







Kathy Farinas ’97 was a part of a contingent of Indiana female trial lawyers who went to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 20th anniversary of the American Association for Justice Women Trial Lawyers Caucus lobby day.




Christopher Becker ’95 was named as a member of the Campus Sexual Assault Workgroup in Lansing, MI tasked with developing resources for assault survivors.


Alumni Class Notes, May 2017


Rocco deGrasse ’84 has recently moved to The Claro Group, a leading business disputes and litigation consulting firm. He is a Managing Director and co-leader of Claro’s Investigations service offering.





Doug LaLone ’91, ACG Detroit President and a partner with the Bloomfield Hills Law firm of Fishman Stewart PLLC, was a recipient of an ACG Global Meritorious Service Award for his leadership of ACG Detroit.





Courtney C. Smith ’15 joined Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP’s as an associate attorney in the firm’s Family Law group.




Galen Bradley ’95 wrote an article published in the Indiana Lawyer titled: “What to consider when preparing for mediation”





Alumni Class Notes, April 2017


Paul G. Krentz ’83 was recognized in Leading Lawyers Magazine in the 2017 Real Estate Edition.





Ann Marie Woolwine ’05 joined Krieg DeVault ‘s Commercial and Real Estate Lending Practice Group






Josh Brown ’06 has a successful, top-rated franchise podcast.





Andrew David ’95 opened David Legal in Logansport, Indiana. 







The Honorable Scott R. Geddes ’95, was sworn in as a Judge of the General District Court, Twenty-Third Judicial District in Virginia, on February 17, 2017.




Alumni Class Notes, March 2017

Michael E. ’00 and Shelice R. Tolbert ’00, the husband and wife legal team of Tolbert and Tolbert, LLC will be presented with the Katie Hall Educational Foundation’s 2017 Co-Merit of Distinction Award on Saturday, April 8th. 







F. Joe Jaskowiak ’79 was listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2017 in the category of Litigation-Insurance






Larry Evans ’62 was selected by Best Lawyers in America 2017 in the categories of Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Construction Law, Litigation-Labor and Employment Law, and Litigation-Real Estate Law





Ashley Kutz Kelley ’08 was recently named a Roper St. Francis Fellow and an American Bar Foundation Fellow.




C. Nicholas Cronauer ’11 along with his trial team obtained a five million three hundred thousand ($5,300,000) jury verdict against Metra Railroad for an injured railroad worker after a 5 1⁄2 week long jury trial.





Leroy Maxwell, Jr. ’11 was selected as a 2017 Top Attorney by Birmingham magazine.





Erica Maar ’16 has joined the Crown Point, Indiana office of Reminger Co., LPA. 







Clifford D. Johnson ’80 has been appointed interim U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana.




Valerie Johnson ’14 was named Corresponding Secretary of Marion County Bar Association in Indianapolis, IN. valerie-johnson







Mayra Rodriguez-Alvarez ’16 has recently been featured in the news for her contribution to the No More Secrets campaign to help eradicate child sex abuse in Indiana.



Michael M. Bell ’03 has been named a 2017 “Leader in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weeklymichael-bell






Alumni Class Notes, February 2017




Michael Tolbert ’00 was named a Super Lawyer for litigation.




Kirsten Kaiser Kus ’08 was named a Super Lawyer and a Rising Star. Super Lawyers have been identified by their peers to be among the top 5% of lawyers in their state. Rising Stars have been identified by their peers to be among the top 2.5% of lawyers age 40 or younger in their state, unless they have practiced for no more than 10 years.

Attorney Kirsten, of Bryce Downey & Lenkov LLC, 200 N. LaSalle St., was photographed September 11, 2014.





Cornell Boggs ’85 has been named General Counsel of Toys “R” Us. Toys“R”Us, Inc., the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, named Cornell Boggs (’85) as its Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Mr. Boggs joins Toys“R”Us from Dow Corning Corporation, a large multinational based in Midland, Michigan, where he served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. In that role, he oversaw teams in Asia, Europe and Latin America, in addition to the U.S. and was responsible for Legal, Government Affairs, Compliance and Ethics.

Cornell Boggs






The State Journal-Register acknowledges Valparaiso University Law School alumnus Alex Rabin ’03, who became chairman of the Board of Governors for Shriners Hospitals for Children-St. Louis. alex2






Alumni Class Notes, January 2017

ahuja-from-linkedin24kMMM Strengthens Highly-Ranked Hospitality Practice – Adds Partner Samantha Ahuja ’04.Read more details here.





Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn Adds Olivia Robinson ’16 as an Associate Attorney robinson_olivia-kddk-2016-195x260






Alumni Class Notes, November 2016



Nancy Pirkey ’93 was recently recognized during the Wisconsin School Attorneys Association (WSAA) membership meeting and named a recipient of the 2016 George Tipler Award. Read more here.




Alumni Class Notes, October 2016

judgevaidik-21Judge Nancy Vaidik (’80) was re-elected chief Judge of Indiana Court of Appeal





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 Friedman (’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 Adidas 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 Green (’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

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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

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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