Celebration of Achievement 2023 BannerSanta Clara University School of Law held its first in-person Celebration of Achievement event since the pandemic on Saturday, August 26 at the Signia by Hilton in San Jose. Honoring lawyers who make a difference for Santa Clara Law, the community came together at this annual signature event to acknowledge the significant contributions of alumni and friends from far and wide.Celebration of Achievement 2023 Ballroom

Master of Ceremonies Karin Cogbill J.D. ’06, Santa Clara Law Dean Michael Kaufman, and Fr. Robert W. Scholla, S.J. welcomed those assembled. Molly McDonald ’95, Chief of Staff to University President Julie Sullivan, extended the University’s Welcome to all alumni and guests in attendance. 

  Paul G  John Ottoboni ’69 then took the stage to present the Santa Clara Law Amicus Award. First presented in 2009, the award is given to one who has demonstrated the highest level of leadership in the legal profession and has significantly advanced the mission and reputation of Santa Clara Law. The 2023 Santa Clara Law Amicus Award honoree was Paul F. Gentzkow. Gentzkow is president and chief operating officer of Robert Half International, one of the world’s largest accounting and staffing firms which has for several years been ranked first in its industry on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies.” Since 2006, Gentzkow has served as a Trustee of Santa Clara University, during which time he has been chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, chair of the Audit Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee. He recently served a 3-year term as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Gentzkow is a graduate of Minnesota State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance. 

Nicole ShanahanThe Honorable Karen W. Schulz J.D. ’10 presented the Young Alumni Rising Star Award. This award was launched in 2013 to recognize a Santa Clara Law graduate who has distinguished themselves after less than 10 years in practice and has a demonstrated impact in the community through their service and commitment to the law. The 2023 Young Alumni Rising Star Award honoree was Nicole Shanahan J.D. ’14. Shanahan is an attorney in California and a legal technologist who specializes in the utilization of structural databases, APIs, UI/UX, automation, and SaaS. During law school, she created ClearAccessIP, a tech company that uses artificial intelligence to manage patents. Following her graduation from Santa Clara Law in 2014, Nicole earned a fellowship at CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. Apart from the practical applications of legal technology, Nicole is formulating an economic theory entitled “Coasean Mapping” to predict the pace and nature of society’s adoption of legal artificial intelligence.

Ken Manaster Receiving AwardPhilip Gregory J.D./MBA ’80 was the evening’s presenter of the Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award. First awarded in 1966, the award is named for Edwin J. Owens, a longtime dean of the law school who later served as a superior court judge. This award is given to a distinguished member of the law school community who is devoted to the highest ideals of the profession and has made significant contributions to the University, the community, and the law. The 2023 Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award honoree was Kenneth A. Manaster. Manaster, Professor Emeritus of Law, who has taught Environmental Law, Torts, and Administrative Law for over five decades. In 1970, he became an assistant attorney general of Illinois, heading the Chicago office of the attorney general’s Environmental Control Division. From 1973 to 1990, Manaster was a member of the Hearing Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, serving as its chair for eleven years. He has also published numerous law review articles on environmental law and other subjects.

Rebecca Sue Jones Being Celebrated by Friends and FamilyTo present the final award of the night, The Honorable Eugene M. Hyman (Ret.) J.D. ’77 took the stage to announce the Alumni Special Achievement Award. This award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in their profession, community, and in service to humanity. The award is based on a variety of factors, including community service, career achievement, educational involvement, professional honors, professional leadership, and Santa Clara University involvement. The 2023 Alumni Special Achievement Award honoree was Rebecca Sue Jones ’83, J.D. ’87. Jones, Managing Partner of Gallagher, Reedy & Jones, who maintains a fundamental goal to provide ethical, cost-effective legal representation. Her motto is: “If you take care of the community, the community will take care of you.” She has given countless hours of service to Santa Clara Law; in addition to serving on the Santa Clara Law Alumni Board for nearly 20 years, she has also taught at the Law School for more than 30 years. Jones is a volunteer for the Santa Clara County Pro Bono Project, SALA, and volunteers as a Judge Pro Tem helping others settle their cases.

Congratulations to the honorees for their achievements, and to our valued alumni for their hard work and dedication to making the world around them a better place!

Celebration of Achievement 2023 photo album