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Alumni Notes

We want to hear about your promotions, awards, and achievements! Send your alumni notes to law-alumni@drake.edu.

  • Rob Royal, LW'81, continues serving as a primary and named author of the Arizona Corporate Practice Guide published for over 20 years. Rob is deemed the litigation editor of the publication. He recently celebrated his thirty year anniversary with Tiffany & Bosco P.A. in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Hon. Craig K. Higgins, LW'91, has been appointed Circuit Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri. Judge Higgins most recently served as Associate Circuit Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit, having been appointed in 2019. He previously spent more than 20 years serving in the Office of the City Counselor for the City of St. Louis, including more than seven years as Attorney Manager for the Municipal Prosecution Division.
  • Kallie Baker, LW'22, started a new position as Assistant Public Defender with Minnesota's 3rd Judicial District Public Defender's Office in Winona.
  • Adam Brewster, LW'21, started a new position as an Associate Attorney for Neighborhood Law Group focusing on criminal defense and juvenile law cases.
  • David May, LW'98, was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court. He was appointed as a district court judge in 2016 and has served on the Court of Appeals since 2019.
  • Nicole Blumenauer, LW'10, was recently appointed to Florida's Fifth Judicial Circuit's judicial nominating commission.
  • Peggy Michelotti, LW'15, was promoted to Executive Director at Legal Aid Society of Story County.
  • Alexis Rowe, LW'15, started a new position as Administrative Law Judge at Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
  • Laura Book, LW'15, started a new position as Workforce Policy Advisor at Office of the Governor of Iowa.
  • Eve Durand, LW'22, received the 2022 Drake Law School Iowa State Bar Association Award.
  • Shannon Archer, LW'09, was featured on Court TV to discuss the Wisconsin Supreme Court's ruling inthe Chyrstul Kizer trafficking case, which highlights the issue of the impact of repeat victimization has on trafficking victimes.
  • Beatriz Mate-Kodjo, LW'14, BN'15, was featured in Des Moines Business Record's FEARLESS Column, talking about a time she had to stand up for herself or others as well as provide advice on how to do so.
  • Mike Traxinger, LW'12, was promoted to Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Government Affairs at Agtegra Cooperative.
  • Christopher Proskey, LW'07, was a textbook contributor for Technical Writing For Engineers & Scientists, weighing in on the legal implications of note-taking, particularly for scientists and engineers.
  • Drew Gentsch, AS'94, LW'00, received an Excellence in Mentoring Award from the Iowa Mentoring Partnership. Drew has volunteered with Everybody Wins! Iowa since 2004 and served in multiple leadership roles.
  • Katelyn (Katie) Kurt, LW'21, was spotlighted for volunteer work with the Iowa Center for Children's Justice, using her personal experience as well as knowledge as a family law attorney.
  • Moriah Umfress, LW'19, has accepted a position as the Staff Attorney for APA clients at U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. She will continue her work with immigration cases.
  • Alida Bryant, LW'91, was appointed to the 17th Circuit Court of Kent County, Michigan as a Judge, filling an interim vacancy. She is also a member of the Kent County Mental Health Court and a board member with Dawn Damon's BraveHeart Ministries.
  • Bridgette Uhlemann, AS'08, LW'11, is the 2022 Board Chair for the Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, in partnership with LCS and the LCS Foundation. She is also VP/Corporate Counsel, Director of Legal and Compliance at LCS, and serves on the LCS Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Tracy Swalwell, LW'15, joined EMC Insurance Companies as Corporate Legal Counsel.
  • Ben Lynch, LW'16, was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission for a 3 year term. His responsibilities include hearing evidence of ethics complaints lodged against Iowa attorneys, determining whether a violation has occurred, and imposing punishment when appropriate. He was also recently named Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters.
  • Leslie Behaunek, LW'12, recently co-authored two articles for the June issue of the ISBA's Iowa Lawyer magazine and the June issue of the quarterly FMJA Bulletin on navigating social media discovery and how counsel can address the mass deletion of social media history.
  • Nick Hodne, LW'14, BN'15, GR'15, has been promoted to Director of Compliance at Principal Financial Group.
  • Madeline Gustafson, AS'16, LW'20, GR'20, has joined Bassford Remele law firm as an Attorney in various legal matters, including consumer law defense, employment, construction, real estate law, and professional liability.
  • Ramona Palmer-Eason, JO'93, LW'96, has joined Heartland Coca-Cola, LLC as General Counsel.
  • Marc Franson, BN'77, GR'77, LW'80of Chapman and Cutler in Chicago, recently published the update of “The Regulation of Marketplace Lending” guidebook.
  • Kristine Stone, LW'06was recognized by the International Municipal Lawyers Association as a member of the 2021 Class of Fellows. Kristine is a shareholder at Ahlers & Cooney, PC.
  • Brinet Rutherford, LW'19, has joined the New York State Unified Court System's Office of Court Administration as senior counsel for the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission. The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission educates and advises decision makers in the New York Court System on issues affecting both employees and litigants of color, and implements recommendations developed to address said issues.
  • Timothy Whipple, LW'07, has joined Ahlers & Cooney as special counsel in the Government Law Practice Area. He works with municipal utilities, including electric, water, sewer, gas, and telecommunications.
  • Torey Cuellar, LW'14, was named to the 2022 class of the Des Moines Business Record's 40 Under Forty. Torey is Assistant Marshall County attorney, Marshall County, Iowa.
  • Joe Casey, LW'18, has joined Harding Law Office in Des Moines as an associate attorney.
  • Katelyn (Katie) Kurt, LW'21, joined Whitfield & Eddy Law in Des Moines as an associate attorney in the family law practice group where she works with individuals and families in divorce and family law matters. She is also a member of the firm's litigation practice group.
  • M. Meghan Malloy, LW'14, was named to the 2022 class of the Des Moines Business Record's 40 Under Forty. She is general counsel and lobbyist at Heartland Strategies, LLC in Des Moines.
  • Rachael D. Neff, LW'18, has been named shareholder at Smith, Mills & Schrock Law in Cedar Rapids, IA. Rachael's practice is focused on worker's compensation, civil defense and family law.
  • Rachael Dettman Spiegel, LW'12, was promoted to partner at Faegre Drinker. She works with litigation teams representing food and feed manufacturers, distributors, and retailers in relation to recalls, foodborne illness outbreaks and commercial supply chain disputes in Minneapolis, MN.
  • Bryan Dearinger, LW'05, associate general counsel and adjunct law professor at the University of Oregon, was named to the executive committee of the Oregon Federal Bar Association (FBA), and now oversees the operation of the Oregon FBA's Free Federal Law Clinic as one of two volunteer Attorney Ambassadors. The Clinic serves persons without financial or legal resources, primarily assisting unrepresented (pro se) litigants with civil matters filed in federal court in Oregon. He also was selected as a Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative for the District of Oregon, working closely with federal judges and the federal bar to improve the administration of justice in the Circuit. He serves as Co-Chair of the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives.
  • Austin Kennedy, LW'05, has been appointed to the new role of president and chief operating officer of Wright Service Corp. He will lead corporate initiatives for growth and sustainability and will continue to oversee legal services, risk mitigation, human resources and executive administrative services.
  • Greer Drummond, LW'18, has joined Virginia College Savings Plan (Virginia529) as Associate Counsel. She works with the independent state agency that administers Virginia's Qualified Tuition programs and the ABLEnow disability savings program.
  • Joni Ploeger, LW'12, was elected to Shareholder for Dentons Davis Brown where she practices workers' compensation, employment law, and insurance defense litigation. 
  • Sean Raisch, LW'15, was elected to Shareholder for Dentons Davis Brown where his practices encompasses real estate, finance, construction, and business organizations and transactions.
  • Jonathon Schroeder, LW'14, has joined Fredrikson & Byron where he has a comprehensive real estate and business planning practice, advising clients on real estate transactions, construction law, landlord/tenant matter, homeowners' associations, business and non-profit formation, and zoning and development law.
  • Dillon Malone, LW'18, has been named Director of Iowa Title Guaranty. Dillon has served as ITG Claims Attorney since 2020, where he has worked not only with claims but also with underwriting and participant compliance.
  • Nick Spellman, LW'21, has joined Buchanan, Bibler, Gabor & Meis in Algona, Iowa, as an associate attorney.
  • Alexandria Celli Smith, LW'21, has joined Sandy Law Firm in Spirit Lake, Iowa, as an associate attorney. Alexandria's practice focuses on representing clients in a variety of civil and criminal matters.
  • Elizabeth Bonnett, LW'21, is an Associate Attorney with the Denver law firm Leventhal Puga Braley P.C.
  • Krystal Mikkilineni, LW'13, recently joined Dentons Davis Brown as a Shareholder in the restructuring, insolvency, and bankruptcy department and the mergers & acquisitions department.
  • Katie Yaske, LW'15, has joined the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia as an Assistant United States Attorney.
  • Dustin Coffman's, LW'22, article, "Pathways to Justice: Positive Rights, State Constitutions, and Untapped Potential", has been accepted for publication in a forthcoming volume of the Marquette Benefits & Social Welfare Law Review.
  • Chelsey Knapp, LW'20, has joined Brownwinick as an Associate Attorney. Her practice will focus on litigation. Chelsey previously served as a federal law clerk to the Honorable John A. Jarvey in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
  • Ramona Palmer-Eason, LW'96, has been named a 2022 Midwest Trailblazer by The American Lawyer. Ramona is a partner in Armstrong Teasdale's Kansas City Office.
  • Ben Lynch Law, owned by Ben Lynch, LW'16, was named the 2022 Best Law Firm by the Des Moines People's Awards.
  • Jancy Nielson's, LW'22, article, "The Slow Race: Achieving Equity Through Legislative and Agency Impact Statements", has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming 41st volume of the Minnesota Law School Journal of Law and Inequality.
  • Priyanth Manjooran, LW'13, has joined Alliant Energy as Corporate Counsel.
  • Hannah Welch, LW'21, has joined Brown Winick as an Associate Attorney.
  • Seth Brown, LW'22, has joined the Iowa Pharmacy Association as Director of Public Affairs.
  • Allison Ackerman, LW'21, has joined Nidey Erdahl Meier & Araguas, PLC as an Associate Attorney.
  • Alex Gilmore, LW'21, has joined FM Brown Law Firm as an Associate Attorney with focus on criminal defense as well as civil litigation matters.
  • Dillon Malone, LW'18, AS'15, has been named the director of Iowa Title Guaranty (ITG).
  • Stella Maris Strohman, LW'21, has joined Grefe & Sidney, PLC as an Associate Attorney in the firm's litigation division.
  • Charles Telk III, LW'21, GR'21, has joined Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen P.C. as an Associate Attorney.

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