Class Notes

alumni-david-hollenbeckalumni-steve-langerDavid L. Hollenbeck ’74, and Steven Langer ’80, were both recognized for their legal expertise by being named to the 20th Edition of The Best Lawyers  in America. Hollenbeck practices at Blachly, Tabor, Bozik, & Hartman, LLC, while Langer practices at Langer & Langer.

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John Bouman ’75, was featured as a Distinguished Alumnus on Friday, October 4. As President of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Bouman spoke about his work at the Center and how those passionate about public work can become involved. This event was hosted by the Office of Career Planning. 

alumni-thomas-kautzThomas Kautz ’76, has been recognized as one of the 2014 Best Lawyers in America. Kautz is an attorney at the firm of Gray Robinson in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Kautz practices exclusively in the area of intellectual property, including patent, trademark and copyright law, and related litigation, agreements, and client  counseling.

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alumni-Debra-DenslawDebra Denslaw ’89, has joined the Valparaiso School of Law as the new Faculty Services Librarian. Prior to returning to Valparaiso, Denslaw was a Reference and  Instruction Librarian at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, worked in human resources at the Chicago Public Library, and practiced law in  Detroit and Chicago. Denslaw graduated with her graduate degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her B.A. from Franklin College.

Daniel Buksa ’93, has been named the chairman of the American Legion Department of Indiana Oratorical & School Awards Committee. Buska will be responsible for chairing committee meetings, providing education and certification to district chairs and volunteers, and organizing the state competition. Buska is employed by the Academy of General Dentistry, where he serves as the association’s chief advocacy officer.

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Randy Wyllie ’93, continues to practice in Schererville, Indiana, with Wieser & Wyllie, LLP. Wyllie is marking his 20th year of practice this year. Wyllie’s son, Anthony Law-Wyllie, has recently started his education at Valparaiso Law as a 1L with the Class of 2016.

alumni-kevin-sprecher Kevin Sprecher ’95, has joined Strauss Troy, a leading law firm in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. Sprecher is a member of the Strauss Troy   Corporate & Business group, and is head of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice. Sprecher’s work emphasizes all aspects of intellectual property law, and he is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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The Honorable Kimberly D. Lewis ’99, who was elected November 6, 2012, and sworn in as a judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County on December 3, 2012, received the Cook County Bar Association Judicial Award this June. The Judicial Award is awarded to a new judge for achievements in the legal field and a commitment to the principle of equal justice under the law. Judge Lewis currently resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband, Lazaro.

Special Agent Jason McCaslin ’01 met with a group of students in the Office of Career Planning on Thursday, October 3, 2013 to share insight and details about his career with the United States Secret Service.  Mr. McCaslin has served the agency since his graduation in the Chicago field office and will be re-locating to the Dallas, Texas field office in late November.

alumni-dana-rifaiDana Rifai ’07, was recently recognized as the “Up and Coming” 2013 Influential Woman of the Year in Law at the 2013 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana event. Rifai initiated Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP’s immigration practice, and has been successful in assisting clients with their immigration petitions. Rifai also  focuses her practice of law on business transactions, estate planning, and probate matters.

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alumni-Sebastion-SmelkoJ. Sebastian Smelko ’07, was recently hired at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP’s Indianapolis office. Smelko will work with the Government Practice Group,  focusing his practice in areas of government contract procurement, government services and public finance, and legislative lobbying. Smelko previously worked as  General Counsel of the Ports of Indiana and as the Assistant General Counsel and Gaming Public Safety Policy Director with the Office of former Governor Mitch Daniels.

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alumni-Leslie-ChartersLeslie Charters ’09, was recently hired by Purdue University to serve as the school’s first director of student legal services. Charters’ new position allows her to    provide all Purdue University students with free legal services. Prior to her position at Purdue, Charters was a deputy prosecutor in Tippecanoe County.

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alumni-amanda-krenson Amanda L. Krenson ’09, has joined the law firm of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP. Krenson is a member of the Estate Planning Practice Group, where she focuses  on providing clients peace-of-mind through estate planning and advocating for those involved in adult guardianships. Krenson can be reached at

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alumni-brianna-schroederBrianna Schroeder ’09, has been elected the Secretary-Treasurer for the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) Agricultural Law Section.  Schroeder is serving her first term through September of 2014. The ISBA’s Agricultural Law Section provides leadership in identifying and addressing current issues affecting the agricultural community, monitors proposed and pending legislation, and disseminates information to public officials and members of the general public relating to agricultural law.

alumni-pierre-zadoPierre Zado ’09, has opened his own law practice after spending two years working as a junior attorney for Thomson Reuters in California. Zado’s practice in Mountain View, Caliornia, focuses on business law. Specifically, Zado helps startups and emerging companies incorporate, apply for trademarks, license their intellectual property, and negotiate and execute agreements with third parties.

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Gregg Shankman ’10, recently finished a year working as a Legal Officer for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, and is currently working as a Legal Officer for the United Nations ICTR/Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals in Arusha, Tanzania.

Christine Kelly ’13, recently attended a debate at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The debate was over procedural issues and the right of non-governmental organizations to speak at the Human Rights Council. A video of the debate can be found at this link:

During Homecoming 2013 alumni Eugene Schoon’80 and Jonathan Pasky ’05 received VUAA Board of Directors Awards. Congratulations!

In Memoriam

Legendary civil rights attorney Hilbert L. Bradley ’50, who was the first African-American graduate of the Valparaiso University School of Law in 1950, died Sunday in Naples, Fla. He was 93. Bradley, city attorney under former mayor Richard G. Hatcher, founded the Fair Share Organization in the 1960s to fight for equal employment opportunities for blacks.

Hilbert Bradley was also instrumental in getting blacks on the bench. In 1987, he founded the Indiana Coalition for Black Judicial Officials and led protests on the steps of the Indiana Supreme Court.

His efforts culminated with the 1990 election of Bernard Carter as Lake Superior Court judge. Carter is now Lake County prosecutor. Bradley also later became a Lake County judge.

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