School of Law to present Distinguished Alumni Awards

The School of Law will celebrate the outstanding achievements of six individuals at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards on Friday, April 17, in the Crowder Courtyard of Anheuser-Busch Hall.

Presenting the awards will be Kent Syverud, J.D., dean and the Ethan A.H. Shepley University Professor.

Four alumni will receive Distinguished Law Alumni Awards, and two will receive Distinguished Young Law Alumni Awards.

Distinguished Law Alumni

Irl Baris (A.B. ’47, J.D. ’48) is the founding partner of the Baris Law Firm and has participated in a number of civic and community organizations, including the city council of University City.

He successfully argued Spinelli v. United States (1969), a landmark case in the U.S. Supreme Court involving probable cause affidavits for search warrants. He also was successful in a reversal by the Supreme Court of an obscenity conviction, Hartstein v. Missouri (1971).

Baris has been active in civil rights and civil liberties movements and has represented celebrities and numerous individuals who were alleged to be organized crime figures in St. Louis and other communities. He has served as an adjunct professor at the law school for nearly 30 years.

John David Behnke (J.D. ’83) is managing director of Freeh Group International and serves as director of risk management at Diamante Properties, a 1,500-acre high-end golf resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

He has more than 22 years of law-enforcement experience, with 20 years at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

During his tenure with the FBI, Behnke was selected to serve as special assistant to then-director Louis J. Freeh. He has been honored with the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award and the Department of Justice’s Dedicated Service Award.

Behnke is a cancer survivor and has participated in fundraising and mentoring lymphoma patients in his association with the Lymphoma Research Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Nordahl Brue (J.D. ’70) is chairman of Franklin Foods and has used his WUSTL legal education in a variety of ways — private practitioner, judge advocate, in-house counsel, entrepreneur, inventor, real estate developer, educator, author and, most recently, as a director and adviser to business and nonprofit entities.

Brue founded Bruegger’s Bagels, which he grew to a chain of some 300 bagel-themed, fast-casual restaurants.

He also started or invested in a medical software developer, three cheese companies and an Hispanic food company. He has developed real estate in eight states and holds a U.S. patent for Yogurt Cream Cheese.

Scholarly pursuits include teaching securities law at the University of Vermont and U.S. franchising and leasing law at Oxford University and authoring books on shopping center leases and recruitment and retention in retailing.

Cassandra Flipper (J.D. ’66) is executive director of Bread & Roses, a nonprofit agency that brings hope and healing through live music to audiences isolated in San Francisco Bay Area institutions.

She also served for three years as the executive director of the California Court Appointed Special Advocate Association in Oakland.

Before “retiring” to the nonprofit sector, Flipper worked in private practice with top California law firms, as deputy general counsel for Levi Strauss & Co., as general counsel for The Nature Co. and as a public advocate with the U.S. Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Employment Law Center in San Francisco.

Distinguished Young Law Alumni

Laura Dooley (J.D. ’86) is a professor of law and the Michael and Dianne Swygert Research Fellow at Valparaiso University. She was a Bigelow Fellow and lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School before joining the faculty at Valparaiso.

Dooley’s scholarly work has focused on procedure, both civil and criminal, and her work has appeared in such journals as the New York University Law Review, the Cornell Law Review and the University of Illinois Law Review.

She is a member of the American Law Institute and serves on its members’ consultative group for the principles of the law of aggregate litigation. She was the 2007 recipient of the Jack Hiller Distinguished Faculty Award at Valparaiso.

Alicia McDonnell (J.D. ’95) is an attorney in private practice and member of the law school’s national council.

Currently, she is investing in real estate in Boston, managing her own properties, and buying, renovating and selling properties.

McDonnell has served as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County, Mass., a city attorney for the Boston Police Department and most recently as a supervising assistant district attorney for Suffolk County.

In this position, she was assigned to a district court to supervise and train 10-12 assistant district attorneys, oversee all prosecutions of cases in that district court, and represent the district attorney’s office in all administrative matters within this court, as well as maintain a limited caseload of high-priority and/or sensitive cases.