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Spring 2014 Alumni Updates


Daniel Kelly received the Don E. Bailey Civility and Professionalism award from the San Francisco Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates.


G. Edward Rudloff, Jr. was recently elected president of the law firm of Foran Glennon Palandech Ponzi & Rudloff. Based in San Francisco, his practice focuses on first and third party insurance coverage disputes and the defense of insurance companies in bad faith litigation. He is also a fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel.


Andrew Swartz is a partner at Spiering, Swartz & Kennedy, in Monterey. He and his wife, Kiane, have two grown sons.


Timothy Dixon is an associate professor and coordinator of history and politics at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has been at the school since 2000. He has a master’s degree in history from the University of Alabama.


Carrie Dwyer was featured in the September 2013 Super Lawyers Business Edition


Honorable Eugene Hyman received the Angel Award from the Santa Clara County Child Abuse Council. Michael D. Torpey was named Managing Partner of global law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. He is on the Management Committee and works closely with the firm’s Chairman to implement firm strategy. He previously served for many years as leader of the firm’s Securities Litigation practice.


James Martin is president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The organization, founded in 1990, has 244 members. He is a partner at Reed Smith and a member of the firm’s appellate practice group. Patti White is vice chair of the California Committee of Bar Examiners. She is a semiretired shareholder with Littler Mendelson in San Jose.


Dennis M. Wals has written Nobody Walks, a book about seeking justice after the 2003 murder of his brother, Christopher.


Lisa Almasy Miller is president of the Clackamas County Bar Association in Oregon. She is a reference judge for the Fifth Judicial District of Oregon and i secretary of the Oregon State Bar’s Client Security Fund Committee.


Timothy McMahon was named as one of the top 100 trial lawyers in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association and one of the top 100 Irish-American attorneys in the U.S. by Irish Voice. He was named 2013 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association. He lives in Los Gatos with his wife, Lisa Twomey B.S. ’83, and their three children.


Andy Stroud is a partner at Hanson Bridgett in Sacramento. Over the course of his career, he has served as outside litigation counsel to California’s three most< recent governors. He was named Best of the Bar by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2013.


Peter Califano is president of the California Bankruptcy Forum. Governor Jerry Brown appointed Leslie Lopez as general counsel of the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.


Law Alumna Co-writes Energy Department Grant

Sita KuteiraSita Kuteira ’13 is doing exciting work at a solar energy start-up called Solar Census in Walnut Creek. The company was awarded a $735,000 federal grant that Kuteira co-wrote while she was in law school. The grant is for the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative Incubator Program.

The company is producing the first online commercial-grade rooftop shade analysis tool that will streamline the sales and design process. “Right now solar installers drive out to the house and go on the roof with a hand held tool to determine the shading. But with this software they will design the entire system from their computer,” said Kuteira.

Kuteira still works for Solar Census, where she focuses on general business development and manages the award. She also wrote a grant to the state for funding under the California Solar Initiative, and a decision is pending.

For more information on the federal grant see:


Karyn Smith is chief operating officer and general counsel for Peek Kids. Previously, she was deputy general counsel at Zynga, where she oversaw the corporate legal team and led the company’s $1 billion IPO in December 2011.


Robert J. Higgins B.A. ’80 received SCU’s Ignatian Award in April 2013 for his community activities in Pinetop-Lakeside, Ariz. He founded St. Anthony’s Catholic School in 1996 to help educate children living near the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Kirsten Komoroske is the executive director of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. She has served as general counsel and vice president of human resources for Tyco Electronics, interim vice president of human resources at Groupon, and as chair of the Board of Directors of the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA.


Sarah Bonini is a senior administrative assistant for SCU Campus Ministry. She previously worked as a project manager with the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara Law. Ricardo Echeverria was recognized by the National Law Journal for his verdict in Edwards v. Perez in its “Big Money Wins of 2013.”


Kelly O’Brien and R.J. Sebrasky welcomed their third baby boy, Rocco, born on May 17, 2013.


Alison Brunner is the chief executive officer of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, a provider of free legal services in Silicon Valley.


Dianne Sweeney is a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Palo Alto, and she also serves as president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association.


Thomas F. Fitzpatrick is a partner and co-chair of the intellectual property litigation practice group at Pepper Hamilton.


Josh Hicks is a shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in its Las Vegas office, where he focuses on government< relations and taxation.


Jacey Prupas has been appointed to the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners. An associate in the Reno office of Snell & Wilmer, she has been recognized for several years as a Nevada Super Lawyers Rising Star. Christine Williams is a partner at Perkins Coie in Anchorage, Alaska. She works in government contracts, litigation, and construction practices. Her subspecialty is the Small Business Administration’s Section 8(a) program. She also teaches at Alaska Pacific University.


Christine Donovan, a senior staff attorney for the Solano County Superior Court, has been appointed to the Judicial Council’s Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee. Kristina Lawson is mayor of the city of Walnut Creek. Paula Moreno received the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award. She is on the executive board of THINK Together, and is Council Chair for THINK Together Bay Area. Amanda Murray married Andrew Nowakowski on Sept. 21, 2013. She is a deputy attorney general at the California Attorney General’s Office in San Francisco.


Jason Schneiderman is a partner at Perkins Coie in Palo Alto. He works in the firm’s emerging companies and venture capital practice and also represents more than 35 active search funds. Pouya Shahbazian was profiled in the Hollywood Reporter. He is a manager and producer at New Leaf Literary and Media. His high profile sales include Patrick Lee’s Runner to Warner Bros.


Jon Swenson is a partner at Baker Botts in Houston, Texas. He practices in intellectual property. Karen Webb is a partner at Fenwick West, where she is a member of the trademark group.


Donald Choi was named a Rising Star in the 2013 Southern California Super Lawyers for employment litigation defense. He is associate corporate counsel at Aderans America Holdings and Bosley. Previously, he practiced with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. Dan Dow received the John Seitz Community Service Award in San Luis Obispo. The award is named after the late John Seitz ’51. Kevin Grange is a partner at Lowenstein Sandler in Palo Alto. He is a registered patent attorney in the firm’s tech group. Brandon Reeves is a partner at Ellis Law Group, a litigation firm in Sacramento. He serves as defense counsel on class actions involving legal malpractice and alleged violations by creditors and creditor attorneys of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act. Prior to joining the Ellis Law Group in 2008, he worked at a law firm in San Mateo.


Val and Hans Christian Ruschke are the proud parents of a son, Maximilian Michael, born on Nov. 4, 2013


Kevin Albanese B.S. ’96 was appointed to the Contractors State License Board by Gov. Jerry Brown. Kristin (Love) BSC ’03 and Chris Boscia welcomed their second child, Evelyn, on July 26, 2013.


Irina Raicu is Internet ethics program manager at SCU’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Matthew Wendt, and his wife, Marilyn, welcomed a son, Gavin Bannon, on Nov. 15, 2013.


Natalia Nahra works on refugee protection for the United Nations in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq.


Jessica Jackson was elected to the Mill Valley City Council. She represents death row inmates as a human rights attorney at the Habeas Corpus Resource Center. Stephanie Whiting practices law at Whiting and Rugile in San Jose.


Christina Fialho is on the Steering Committee of the Detention Watch Network and the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California.


Wes Helmholz is an attorney in the Los Angeles office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

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Spring 2014 Obituaries


Howard S. Dattan, Sept. 6, 2013. He served in the Army Air Corps in North Africa and Italy during World War II and studied at the University of Southern California. He practiced law in California for many years and was the first dean of the University of San Diego School of Law. Survivors include two sons.


Anthony J. Mercant, Dec. 7, 2013. He was born in Hollister to parents who were farm workers. During World War II, he served in the Navy. He entered law school after two years of junior college. He was an attorney at Mercant & O’Brien for more than 40 years. He was a founder and first president of the Almaden Country Club and served as president of the San Jose Civic Light Opera. Survivors include his wife, Margie, two children, and a sister.


Robert Viviano, July 3, 2013. He served in the Marine Corps after law school. He served on the Orange Unified School Board for fifteen years. Survivors include his wife, Helen, two children, and six grandchildren.


Daniel Skemp, Jan. 8, 2014. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he practiced law in San Jose until 1980, when his family returned to his hometown of La Crosse, Wis., where he practiced law for many years. He is survived by four children and six grandchildren.


Henry Talifer, Aug. 5, 2013. A graduate of Los Angeles High School and UCLA, he served in the U.S. Army. He earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from USC. He was an attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. He also taught college courses and received the Professor of the Year Award at California State University, Northridge. Survivors include his wife, Lucille, and two children.


Judge Thomas Cain B.A. ’70, Jan. 11, 2014. He was a judge for 24 years on the Santa Clara County Superior Court, presiding over high-profile probate cases in recent years. He was appointed to the bench in 1989 after working as a lawyer in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office. He also served as an instructor at Lincoln University School of Law. An avid cook, he won a recipe award from Sunset magazine. Survivors include his wife, Terri, two children, two sisters, and his mother, Mary Jane.


Daniel Hanley BSC ’67, MBA ’69, Sept. 14, 2013. He practiced law in the San Jose area for 39 years. He is survived by his wife, Judi, two sons, and seven siblings. Robert Maloney MSEE ’69, Nov. 19, 2013. A New York native, he graduated from the University of Texas and worked as an engineer in Mountain View until 1974. He had his own law practice. He is survived by his wife, Nina, two children, four grandchildren, and a sister.


Margaret Saal Blatner MBA ’79, January, 2013.


Eugene Akio Yuasa, March 7, 2013. He was an attorney in Honolulu. Survivors include his parents and three siblings.


Elsie Frost, May 19, 2013. She was a resident of Gaithersburg, Md.


Laura Guzman Magill, Dec. 27, 2013. She was a criminal defense attorney in Fresno, where she practiced with her husband, Charles. She earned a political science degree from Pepperdine University. She made many of her own clothes and loved fashion. Survivors include her husband, five children, her mother, and two sisters.


Walter Scott Binns, Sept. 27, 2013. He earned a degree in agribusiness from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and worked in produce sales. He had his own law office. Survivors include his wife, Betsy, a daughter, his parents, and five siblings.


Roxanne “Roxy” Roknian, Nov. 24, 2013. She was a vibrant and enthusiastic third-year student from Santa Monica who was active in many student organizations and causes. She planned to use her law degree to improve the lives of others.

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Santa Clara Law Alumni and friends gathered at various events this winter to celebrate the spirit of the community and to acknowledge the generosity and commitment of our alumni. Gatherings have presented terrific opportunities for alumni, students, and the Law School to connect, network, and enhance the many relationships that continue to make Santa Clara Law great.


Welcoming the Dean to Visalia were (l to r) host Richard Watters J.D. ’73, Dean Kloppenberg, and MCLE presenter David Sandino J.D. ’84.

Los Angeles

Host Committee members welcoming the Dean to Los Angeles were (l to r) John Schaeffer J.D. ’88, Naomi Young J.D. ’74, Dean Kloppenberg, and Trevin Hartwell, Asst. Dean for Alumni & Development.

San Francisco Reception

San Francisco welcomed Dean Kloppenberg with a reception at Keesal, Young & Logan. Host Committee included (l to r): Suzanne Boutin J.D. ’75, Greg Vaisberg J.D. ’05, Peter Boutin J.D. ’75, Dean Kloppenberg, Chris Bruni J.D. ’84, Dominic Campodonico J.D. ’96, Kristina Lawson J.D. ’02, The Honorable Phyllis Hamilton J.D. ’76, and Manny Fishman J.D. ’82.

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