Law school presents Distinguished Alumni Awards, Dean’s Medal

Washington University in St. Louis School of Law celebrated the outstanding achievements of seven individuals at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner April 20 in the Crowder Courtyard of Anheuser-Busch Hall.

Kent Syverud, JD, dean and the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor, presented the awards. Four alumni received Distinguished Law Alumni Awards, and two received Distinguished Young Law Alumni Awards.

Thomas R. Green, JD, received the Dean’s Medal. The Dean’s Medal is the highest honor the dean can bestow.

Selected entirely by the dean, the award is designed to acknowledge a person who has made extraordinary contributions to the law school, including the contributions of inspiring others and enhancing the school’s progress.

Dean’s Medal

Green (JD ’58) founded and is a director and majority shareholder of Royal Bancshares, a $450-million bank holding company with five locations in St. Louis.

After law school, Green became an assistant county counselor for St. Louis County. At the same time, he maintained his own small general practice, which he later expanded to specialize in real estate law. He also started investing in real estate development projects during the 1960s and 1970s. His success prompted the opening of a full-time real estate development office.

A former assistant attorney general of Missouri, Green remains active in politics. He is a member of the Academy of Missouri Squires and serves on the board of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

An active participant in the Jewish Federation of St. Louis for more than 30 years, Green served as its president from 1986-88. He served as chairman of the committee to build the Holocaust Museum of St. Louis and was the museum’s first chairman.

Green also served on many national Jewish organizations. Among his many honors, he was awarded the Israel Peace Medal in 1989.

Green is a longtime supporter of the law school serving on the “Building for a New Century Campaign” and is chairing the Kresge Challenge Campaign that helped secure the funds to build Anheuser-Busch Hall.

He has served on the law school’s National Council and its Eliot Society Membership Committee.

In 2002, Green and his wife, Karole, established the Thomas and Karole Green Professorship in the law school.

Distinguished Law Alumni

Lawrence Brody (JD ’67) is a partner of Bryan Cave LLP, an international law firm. Residing in the St. Louis office, he is a member of its Private Client Service Group and its Technology, Entrepreneurial & Commercial Practice Client Service Group.

Brody is an adjunct professor at the law school and a visiting adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School.

He is the author or co-author of numerous articles and books on the use of life insurance in estate and employee benefit planning. Brody is a member of both The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and The American College of Tax Counsel.

He received the designation of Accredited Estate Planner by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC).

Brody was one of 10 individuals awarded NAEPC’s Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner designation in the initial class in 2004.

Alan C. Kohn (AB ’53, LLB ’55) is a St. Louis trial lawyer and a founding partner of the law firm of Kohn, Shands, Elbert, Gianoulakis & Giljum LLP.

In 1955, he graduated from the law school, where he was editor-in-chief of the Washington University Law Review.

After working in Germany as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Security Agency, he returned to the U.S., where he became the first WUSTL law school graduate to be a law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court, serving as law clerk to Justice Charles E. Whittaker.

Kohn has an extensive public service record and has served as an adjunct professor at the law school.

He was named by Best Lawyers in America as the 2011 St. Louis Trial Lawyer of the Year for Bet-the-Company Litigation. He has tried more than 100 cases and argued more than 80 appeals.

Outside of the office, Kohn relived his success as a four-year member of WUSTL’s tennis team winning gold medals in doubles and bronze medals in singles in the U.S. National Senior Olympics in 1987 and ’89.

Sandra M. Moore (AB ’76, JD ’79) is president of Urban Strategies, a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1978 that works with developers to rebuild distressed urban core communities into vibrant, safe residential neighborhoods with new housing, good schools, strong institutions and a range of human service supports and amenities.

Moore formerly served as the CEO of the Missouri Family Investment Trust, a public–private partnership entity leading Missouri’s multi-system reform efforts. She also was vice president of St. Louis 2004, Inc., a citizen-based effort to make the St. Louis region a recognized leader in the 21st century by accomplishing major projects.

Moore is former director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and a former administrative judge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Moore is committed to strengthening the growth and development of citizens and the fiber of the community as evidenced through her significant service to community organizations and institutions.

She serves on the law school’s National Council.

Sheldon Roodman (JD ’66) is the former executive director of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF), the principal provider of free legal services in civil cases to the poor and other vulnerable groups in Cook County, Ill.

For 30 years, he played a leadership role in expanding legal services for these disadvantaged groups in the Chicago area and in establishing LAF’s reputation as one of the best legal services programs in the United States.

During the 1970s, Roodman was an active litigator and lead counsel in a number of class actions on behalf of low-income individuals seeking unemployment benefits, food stamps, welfare and/or Medicaid benefits.

His most important case reached the Supreme Court twice and dealt with the rights of a class of aged, blind and disabled welfare applicants. The Supreme Court decisions clarified the scope and application of the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Distinguished Young Law Alumni

Debbie Champion (JD ’88) is a founding partner in the firm of Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch and Champion.

The recipient of numerous awards for her pro bono work, Champion won an award from the Missouri Lawyers Weekly for two of the top 10 largest verdicts in 2010 and the most defense verdicts in 2011. The Women’s Law Caucus of Washington University recently honored her for her commitment to the advancement of women in the law.

In the community, Champion has served on the board of the Lift for Life Academy; the board of directors and the advisory board of the Junior Chamber of Commerce; and the board of directors of Shelter the Children. She was a founding member of Join Hands ESL, a charitable organization for underprivileged children of East St. Louis, Ill.

Champion is founder and president of Tools for Schools, a not-for-profit corporation that distributes school supplies to needy schools and children.

Judy Okenfuss (BS ’84, AB ’84, JD ’91) is a partner with Ice Miller LLP and is chair of its product liability, mass tort and class action practice area.

She focuses her practice on the defense of product manufacturers, distributors and retailers in a wide range of industries.

Super Lawyers named her one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Indiana in 2012. In 2011, she was given the Inspiring Women Award by the WNBA’s Indiana Fever.

Okenfuss serves on the law school’s National Council. She also has worked closely with the university to restart the alumni chapter in Indianapolis.

She is involved with a number of different organizations in Indianapolis, her personal favorite being the Peace Learning Center, an organization that teaches nonviolent dispute resolution techniques to inner-city children. She served as chair of the center’s board.