Law school honors outstanding graduates at Alumni Weekend

Three distinguished graduates of Seattle University School of Law received awards at the 2009 Alumni Weekend celebration.

Marlys Palumbo '82

For the first time, Dean Kellye Testy presented a Dean's Medal to a member of the alumni community: Marlys Palumbo '82, a respected attorney who is committed to advancing the law school. Palumbo, a member at VanNess Feldman, focuses her practice on matters arising under major federal and state environmental statutes and involves counseling clients on assessing, managing and mitigating environmental liabilities and compliance obligations. She represents clients before regulatory authorities in both formal and informal contexts and defends them in administrative and judicial enforcement actions.

She, with her husband, Ralph, co-chaired the planning committee for the law school's spectacular 35th anniversary gala at Benaroya Hall in 2008. An accomplished flutist, she is a member of the Board of the Seattle Symphony and led the fundraising efforts for Benaroya Hall.

Law Alumni Board President Linda Strout '79 conferred two awards:

Sharon Sakamoto '84

Sharon Sakamoto '84 received the Distinguished Law Graduate Award. A partner at Aoki Sakamoto Grant, she helped found the Asian Bar Association of Washington and was one of the attorneys who took Gordon Hirabayashi's fight over the Japanese American internment to the Supreme Court. Her community service includes serving on the boards of the Center for Human Services, the Chief Sealth Council, the King County Bar Association and the Law Alumni Board at the law school. She was an appointed commissioner on the City of Seattle Civil Service Commission for nine years and was an arbitrator on call for the New York Stock Exchange. She is on numerous bar committees on diversity, and professionalism in the profession.

Laird Pisto '79

Laird Pisto '79 received the Alumni Service Award. Pisto is associate general counsel for MultiCare Health System, a Washington non-profit healthcare delivery system with 5,000 employees. He has served as in-house counsel for health care entities since 1993. Previously, he was a principal in the law firm of Hollowell, Pisto, Kalenius & Rhodes, where he practiced civil litigation involving health care, employment law and general business matters in state and federal courts. He is has served on the Board of Directors of the Washington Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association and the Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys and has been a presenter at CLEs at the law school.

In addition to the moving alumni awards luncheon, the two-day celebration included an entertaining and insightful conversation between Dean Kellye Testy and the Honorable Richard A. Jones of the U.S. District Court during which Dean Testy shared stories from her childhood and law school, and what inspired her to pursue justice and excellence.

A Distinguished Speakers Program led by Professor Joe Knight on the current economic challenges facing the nation, brought local and national scholars together to talk about the crisis and range of solutions, including efforts by the Washington State Bar Association to galvanize its membership in a new pro bono clinic.

Champagne receptions gave alumni a chance to reconnect with each other and the law school. The School of Law also honored three retiring professors, Dave Boerner, Shelly Frankel and Susan McClellan, and thanked them for their years of service to students.

First floor café seating