Alumni Awards, Recognitions and Appointments
Frank Wolf (L’65), Anthony DePanfilis (L’74), Marcus Johnson (B’97, L’97), Susan Smith Blakely (L’79), Osamudia James (L’04), Richard Verma (LL.M.’98).
Susan Smith Blakely (L’79) received the Ms. J.D. 2015 “Sharing Her Passion” Award in San Francisco in March. After 25 years in the private and public sectors at all levels of law practice, Blakely resigned her partnership in 2006 to devote herself to raising the retention rates for women lawyers. Through her company, Legal Perspectives, she speaks about overcoming the special challenges to women lawyers at law schools, law firms and law organizations throughout the country. She is the author of Best Friends at the Bar: What Women Need to Know about a Career in the Law and Best Friends at the Bar: The New Balance for Today’s Woman Lawyer. Her new book, Best Friends at the Bar: Top-Down Leadership of Women Lawyers, will be released later this year.
Samuel Buffone Jr. (L’11) was named “Rookie of the Year” by the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. This award recognizes “exceptional performance and notable contributions towards the Department’s mission by an employee with fewer than three years of service with the Division.” Buffone works in the fraud section of the commercial litigation branch.
Anthony J. DePanfilis (L’74) has been re-elected for his sixth term as judge of probate for the Norwalk/Wilton probate district. DePanfilis and his wife, Kelly, their four children and four grandchildren, live in Norwalk, Conn., where Tony also remains as senior partner at the law firm of DePanfilis & Vallerie.
William R. Durland (L’59) is the 2013 recipient of Bucknell University’s “Service to Humanity Award.” He also received the state of Colorado’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award in 1999. He recently retired as a civil rights attorney and professor of philosophy, government and history, but continues as a member of the faculty of Pillar Institute for Lifelong Learning in Colorado Springs and writes plays on political and religious subjects as an avocation.
John Facciola (L’69), who retired from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia where he served as a magistrate judge, received the Sedona Lifetime Service Award for 2014. “His own alma mater, Georgetown Law Center, describes him as one of the ‘rock star’ judges in the eDiscovery world, and we agree!” Sedona Conference Executive Director Craig Weinlein wrote when announcing the 2014 Volunteer Awards. “We are pleased to recognize his important contributions to our mission over his long tenure of service and support for the Sedona Conference.”
Crystal Freed (L’03) was named Florida’s Community Advocate of the Year by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Freed is an attorney and community activist who has dedicated her legal career to providing pro bono services to women who have been exploited in the commercial sex industry and to collaborating with elected officials, artists and nonprofits to end human trafficking in Florida. She co-chaired Northeast Florida’s first Human Trafficking Task Force in 2007 and quadrupled its membership, established Jacksonville’s first human trafficking awareness walk, and organized the Jacksonville Bar Association’s first human trafficking continuing legal education curriculum. This year, Freed directed ArtWorks for Freedom, a five-week citywide trafficking awareness campaign in Jacksonville.
Brian Greenspun (B’68, L’71) was appointed a member of the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad by President Barack Obama in November.
The San Francisco Superior Court Bench has elected Teri L. Jackson (L’80) to serve as the assistant presiding judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. Jackson, who’s been on the bench since September 2002, is the first African American woman to serve as assistant presiding judge in the city and county of San Francisco. She is currently the supervising judge for litigation involving asbestos and the California Environmental Quality Act. She served on the court’s appellate division from 2009 to 2012.
Osamudia James (L’04) is a co-recipient of the 2014 Derrick A. Bell Award, presented by the American Association of Law Schools minority groups section to a faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system, or social justice. James was recently granted tenure at the University of Miami School of Law, where she teaches and writes in the areas of tort, administrative law, education law, and race and the law. She lives in Miami, Fla., with her husband and two young children.
Marcus Johnson (B’97, L’97) was honored with Georgetown University’s Samuel A. Halsey Jr. Award, honoring African American alumni for their achievements and contributions to the community. Johnson is an independent Billboard-ranked musician and NAACP Image Award-nominated jazz keyboardist and pianist. He is also the owner of a music label, Three Keys Music, and the CEO and founder of Flo Brands and Flo Wine. Johnson independently produced and distributed his first jazz album, Lessons in Love, while at Georgetown.
David S. Mao (L’93), who has served as the law librarian of Congress since 2012 and also served as the deputy law librarian from 2010 to 2012, was appointed deputy librarian of Congress in January. He will also continue as acting law librarian until a replacement is named.
Adrienne Noti (L’00) was sworn in as a magistrate judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by Chief Judge Lee Satterfield on October 6.
Susan Pascocello (L’90) was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the White House Advisory Group on SES Reform, a presidential commission to review the federal government’s Senior Executive Service.
Bruce J. Prager (L’77) received the New York State Bar Association’s William T. Lifland Service Award, presented by the antitrust section. The award is presented to practitioners in recognition of their contributions and accomplishments in the field of antitrust. Prager received the award during the Bar Association’s annual meeting in New York City January 29. He has practiced antitrust and competition law, with a focus on mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, for nearly 40 years. Prager is a retired partner at Latham & Watkins, where he practiced for 17 years.
Judge Sandra I. Rothenberg (LL.M.’73), the first woman to serve as a Prettyman fellow at the Law Center, has received the Colorado Women’s Bar Association’s Mary Lathrop Award. The award is presented annually to an outstanding female attorney who has enriched the community through her legal and civic activities. It recognizes the tradition begun by Colorado lawyer Mary Lathrop, who blazed many trails for women in the profession. Lathrop graduated first in her class at the University of Denver School of Law before passing the Colorado bar in 1896, with a record score that would stand until 1941.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington inducted Rhea Schwartz (L’74) into the Greater Washington Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in November. Schwartz was inducted for her efforts in successfully lobbying the U.S. Figure Skating Association to create the first U.S. adult national competition in 1995. She also created and served as chair of the adult figure skating committee of the association for eight years. Schwartz was also appointed by the International Skating Union as the first chair of its newly created adult figure skating committee. She was chosen by International Figure Skating magazine as “one of the most influential people in figure skating.” Due to her efforts, thousands of adult skaters are now participating in regional, national and international competitions throughout the world.
Kara Farnandez Stoll (L’97) was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit by President Barack Obama in November. Stoll is a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett and Dunner. She has extensive experience in patent litigation, having represented clients at both the district and appellate levels, and has served as lead counsel on a number of cases before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Erica Suter (L’03) received the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s Best Lawyers Under 40 award in September. She was also named a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” for Washington, D.C., and Maryland in 2014 and 2015, as well as one of the National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 100 Lawyers” and a Maryland “Top 40 Under 40” defense lawyer.
James T. Vaughn (L’76), a judge on Delaware’s Superior Court, was nominated to the state Supreme Court by Gov. Jack Markell in September and confirmed in October.
Richard Verma (LL.M.’98) was nominated by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador to India in September and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December. Verma has served as a senior counselor at Steptoe & Johnson and the Albright Stonebridge Group and also as a senior national security fellow at the Center for American Progress. He was assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Department of State from 2009 to 2011 and senior national security adviser, counsel and foreign policy adviser to the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from 2002 to 2007.
Former Rep. Frank Wolf (L’65), who represented Virginia’s 10th District in Congress from 1981 until his retirement on January 3, was named the Jerry and Susie Wilson Chair in Religious Freedom at Baylor University.