Law Alumni Board welcomes new leaders
The Law Alumni Board (LAB) serves as an advisory body to the dean and the Office of Alumni Relations, working to engage alumni in support of Seattle University School of Law’s mission of educating outstanding lawyers who are leaders for a just and humane world. Working with the alumni office, the LAB initiates and plans activities designed to strengthen relationships in building an inclusive law school community of alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends.
Last spring, the board welcomed 10 distinguished new members. This fall, LAB is actively soliciting nominations for seven additional board members to begin their service next spring. A nomination form and an expanded description of the responsibilities are located on the LAB webpage; please take a moment to review and submit your nomination.
Here’s a brief look at the alumni who have recently joined the Board:
John Bender ’85 – A member of Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC, John focuses his practice on resolving challenging securities, franchise, banking and other complex civil cases on behalf of businesses and individuals. He is also an arbitrator and judge pro tem for King County Superior Court. He is a founding Dean’s Club member and has served as a mentor to SU law students and Moot Court.
Kasia Benson ’07 – Kasia is an associate with Andrews Kurt LLP in Dallas and primarily practices in the area of corporate law and securities. She strongly believes that the LAB must be dedicated to the national development and recognition of this law school’s graduates. Kasia, who received a masters in finance along with her JD, served on the Dispute Resolution Board and was a law school representative on the university’s Graduate Student Council.
The Honorable Anita Crawford-Willis ’86 – Judge Crawford-Willis is no stranger to Sullivan Hall. She gives generously of her time to our students and attends, so it seems, nearly every law school function. Judge Crawford-Willis is the Assistant Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge of the Office of Administrative Hearings, and a pro tem judge for Seattle Municipal Court and King County District Court. In addition to serving on the university’s Board of Regents, Judge Crawford-Willis is active with the Black Law Students Association and was a volunteer for a spring Moot Court competition. She is the former president of the Seattle University Alumni Board of Governors, and has received numerous awards.
Willie Gregory II ’89 – Willie is a solo-practitioner based in Seattle, specializing in criminal defense. Like several other LAB members, he is also a pro tem judge, serving both the Snohomish County District Court and the Federal Way Municipal Court. Prior to going solo, Willie worked at the Associated Counsel for the Accused for nearly 15 years. He served four years in the U.S. Air Force from which he was honorably discharged. Willie was named Mentor of the Year by the King County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division in 2006.
Mark O’Halloran ’02 – Mark, an associate with Gosanko Law Offices on Mercer Island, is a past president of the Washington Young Lawyers Division who has demonstrated a commitment to initiatives that target young and new lawyers as well as diverse lawyers. In 2008-09, he served as chair for two programs of the Washington State Bar Association – Bridging the Gap Conference and Initiative for Diversity Governing Council. Mark enjoys working with community mock trial programs; two years ago he was the YMCA Youth and Government Mock Trial Team Coach. He is also active with the American Bar Association serving multiple terms on the Presidential Appointment Membership Board and then the Member Service Team.
Leslie Meserole ’02 – A partner with Miller Nash, Leslie has a successful practice focused on health care, general business and real estate. She served as managing editor of the Seattle University Law Review and received the Faculty Scholarship Trust Award in recognition of both her academic achievement and her service to the school and larger community. Leslie is a member of the Margaret E. Martindale Guild of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Joanna Plichta Boisen ’06 – Joanna was hired at Foster Pepper as its first Pro Bono Counsel. In this position, she maintains a litigation and transactional practice providing pro bono legal representation to persons in need and also directs and manages the firm’s wide-ranging pro bono cases and projects. Joanna is extremely active in the legal community, serving on multiple boards and committees including LAW Fund & the Campaign for Equal Justice. She has received a number of awards for her dedicated service to the community’s pro bono needs. Joanna was the executive editor for the Seattle Journal for Social Justice as it was launched.
Jennifer Shaw ’87 – Jennifer is the legislative director of the ACLU, a position she assumed in 2004 after volunteering as a pro bono attorney and serving on the legal committee for the organization. She has been active with the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association and the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, where she was the co-chair of the legislative committee for many years. Jennifer has mentored many students over the years and looks forward to participating more fully in the life of the law school.
Craig Sims ’97 - Craig has a civil practice with the plaintiff firm of Fury & Bailey. Prior to joining Fury & Bailey in 2008 he was a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the King County Prosecutor’s Office for a decade. Craig is a former president of the Loren Miller Bar Association and a trustee of the King County Bar Association. He serves on the advisory committee to the Black Law Student Association and is a mentor to students and other organizations on campus. He is also an adjunct professor, teaching Comprehensive Pretrial Advocacy. Among his many honors Craig received BLSA’s 2009 Vanguard Leadership Award.
Mary Wechsler ’79 – Mary is a partner at Wechsler Becker, LLP, and has more than 25 years experience serving families and individuals in all areas of family law. She also provides mediator and arbitrator services and litigation consultations. Mary is a former president of the King County Bar Association and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She serves on the national board of the American Judicature Society. Mary received the King County Bar Association’s 1999 Outstanding Attorney Award and the 1988 Outstanding Attorney Award from the WSBA Family Law Section. As an active member of the Judical Selection Coalition, she is involved with the law school’s Sept. 14 State Judicial Independence Conference featuring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
For more information on the Law Alumni Board, including its mission and the list of the full Board, please visit the website.
Recent Alumni Committee
The Recent Alumni Committee, chaired by Brian Considine ’07, is the primary resource for alumni services and programs for recent graduates, partnering with both the Office of Alumni Relations and the Law Alumni Board to further the mission and goals of Seattle University School of Law and its alumni. Additional alumni leadership is being provided through five major committees:
- Social Justice/Public Interest Awareness – Erin Shea ’07, chair
- Mentoring Programs –Mark Saku ’06, chair
- Networking - Hillary Madsen '08 and Chris Wong '08, co-chairs
- Program Development –Melissa Chin ’08, chair
- Leadership - Chair to be named
If you are interested in joining this group of committed alumni (recent alumni are defined as graduates in the last 15 years), please send an email with your interest to email@example.com