Santa Clara Law hosts the Celebration of Achievement Evening annually to recognize alumni and members of the law school community with the following honors: the Alumni Special Achievement Award, the Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award, the Amicus Award and the Young Alumnus Rising Star Award.
The Celebration of Achievement honors lawyers who have made a difference for Santa Clara Law. The community comes together to acknowledge the significant contributions of alumni and friends from far and wide.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2019 HONOREES:
Alumni Special Achievement Award
Keith Wattley JD ’99 Founder and Executive Director of UnCommon Law, received his B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University and his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. He has been advocating for the rights of people in prison and parolees for nearly twenty years. Prior to launching UnCommon Law in 2006, Keith was a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit law firm in Berkeley. He has represented thousands of people in prison in impact litigation and individual matters involving mental health care, gang validation, religious freedom, prison infirmaries, medical care, excessive force, visitation, parole consideration and parole revocation. He has also trained hundreds of lawyers, law students and others in prisoner and parole advocacy.
Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award
Michael Gencarella JD ’97, Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson, provides counsel on all aspects of intellectual property (IP) protection with an emphasis on patent prosecution. With 10+ years of industry experience and 20+ years of legal experience, Mike tailors his advice based on the business needs and budget requirements of the client he is representing and has provided counseling for pre-IPO startups, as well as multinational corporations. Additionally, Mike has mentored numerous law students and has been a guest lecturer at Silicon Valley law schools.
Santa Clara Law Amicus Award
Michael Engh, S.J. President of Santa Clara University, has led the University in defining the University’s vision and setting the course for the future with the bold new plan, Santa Clara 2020. Prior to his appointment as president, Fr. Engh served as Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts and professor of history at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. A teacher and historian of the American West, Fr. Engh has published on the history of Los Angeles and the role of religion in the history of the American West. He was ordained a priest for the Society of Jesus in 1981. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University of Los Angeles, now Loyola Marymount University; an M.A. from Gonzaga University; a Master of Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; and a Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Young Alumni Rising Star Award
Rachel Fischbein JD ’12 is the founder of Law On The Runway, a law firm specializing in counseling fashion and beauty entrepreneurs. Rachel is on the Board of Directors for the Fashion Incubator San Francisco, a 501(c)3 non-profit that supports the Bay Area apparel industry. Additionally, she is an advisor for the Silicon Valley BeautyTech Accelerator, as well as Fashion Community Week in San Francisco. The Academy of Art’s Fashion Journalism program features a course written and formerly taught by Rachel titled “Social Media Law & Ethics”. Rachel is currently a content contributor to a new project called Fashion Law Studio, which shall be an online educational resource.