2008 Distinguished Law Alumni Awards

The Distinguished Law Alumni Awards honor alumni who have obtained distinction in their professional or academic careers. Those honored share the same characteristics of leadership, progressive thinking, high standards, uncompromising integrity, commitment, courage, and confidence. Their careers serve as models for Washington University law students and alumni.

  • Mr. Michael M. Berger JD ’67

    2008 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Mr. Michael M. Berger JD ’67

    For most of his career Mr. Berger practiced land use and eminent domain law, mostly in the appellate courts, in the Los Angeles law firm Berger & Norton. He argued hundreds of appeals, including four cases at the United States Supreme Court.

    After receiving his JD degree from Washington University School of Law in 1967, the St. Louis native accepted a fellowship that took him to the University of Southern California for one semester and Yale Law School for the next. Ending up with an LLM in real property law, he clerked with Presiding Justice Gordon Files at the California Court of Appeal.

    A founding member and past president of the California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, he is listed in “Best Lawyers in America,” “Southern California Super Lawyers,” and was one of California’s Lawyers of the Year in 1998. He now co-chairs the Appellate Practice Group at the national law and consulting firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

    Mr. Berger has maintained a strong connection to legal education. An adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and the University of Miami Law School, he has also taught in continuing education programs of the American Bar Association, ALI-ABA, and other organizations, and law schools including Georgetown, UCLA, USC, and Washington University. In 1989, ALI-ABA presented him with its Harrison Tweed Award for career contributions to post-admission legal education.

    He lives in Santa Monica, California. He and his late wife, Marilyn Burwen Berger, have two sons.

  • Mr. Martin E. Galt III JD ’67, LLM ’73

    2008 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Mr. Martin E. Galt III JD ’67, LLM ’73

    Martin E. Galt III has seen his preparation for a career in law take him into a series of management positions in the financial services industry.

    After graduating from the School of Law in 1967, Mr. Galt served three years in the United States Army rising to the rank of Captain. During his tour of duty he served at Fort Clayton in the Panama Canal Zone, and later in the Judge Advocate General’s office, Army Material Command.

    Following his service he joined the St. Louis law firm Thompson, Walther, Shewmaker, and Gaebe. While there he returned to the School of Law part-time for an LLM in taxation. In 1980 Mr. Galt left to become the general counsel for the St. Louis Union Trust Company, the predecessor organization to Boatmen’s Trust Company, now a part of Bank of America. He then became head of the Personal Trust Division, president of the company, and ultimately its chairman and CEO. Mr. Galt continued to serve in senior management when Boatmen’s was acquired in 1996 by Nations Bank, which then merged with Bank of America.

    In 2000, he became president of the Investment Products Division of TIAA-CREF in New York. In 2005 he returned to St. Louis to become the chairman of the Commerce Trust Company, his present position. A graduate of Washington and Lee University, Mr. Galt has been active in a variety of civic and professional organizations. He and his wife, Marianne, have two children. Their son, Scott, JD ’04, is an associate at Armstrong Teasdale and their daughter, Farrell, is a media planning executive with MPG Arnold in Boston.

  • Mr. James L. Palenchar JD ’75

    2008 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Mr. James L. Palenchar JD ’75

    James Palenchar has practiced as a business lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions and securities regulation for over 30 years.

    After receiving his JD degree from the School of Law in 1975, Mr. Palenchar started his career at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. He relocated to that firm’s Washington, D.C., office in 1977, and then joined in the opening of its Denver office in 1981. As part of that office’s management team, Mr. Palenchar grew the office to more than 50 lawyers.

    In 1993, he joined with a handful of his partners at Kirkland to found Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott. In less than 15 years, Bartlit Beck has grown to 65 lawyers in its offices in Chicago and Denver, focusing exclusively on trial practice and business transactions. He is now a senior partner in Bartlit Beck which, while small by national firm standards, has established itself as an elite law firm, handling “bet-the-company” matters, pioneering alternative billing practices, and advancing the use of technology in the practice of law. Mr. Palenchar heads the firm’s transactional practice from Denver. Since formation of the firm, Bartlit Beck’s transactional lawyers have closed nearly $13 billion in merger and acquisition transactions and $7 billion in related financing transactions.

    Mr. Palenchar has served on the governing boards of the Central City Opera House Association and Colorado Academy, and is currently a member of the School of Law National Council.

    He is married to Liz Lynner, and has two children, Ethan, BS ’02, and Nora.

  • Mr. Philip B. Polster JD ’48

    2008 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Mr. Philip B. Polster JD ’48

    Ohio native Philip B. Polster is a member of a family closely associated with Washington University. Besides himself, his father, two uncles, an aunt, three cousins, two sons, and a daughter-in-law all received Washington University degrees.

    After graduating from Johns Hopkins, where he met his wife of 66 years, he worked as a chemist and became a shift foreman at the Aluminum Ore Company in East St. Louis. During World War II, he served in the Navy as skipper of an LCT in the Solomon Islands. After the war, he studied law at Washington University under the G.I. Bill. After passing the Missouri Bar, he joined Bruninga & Sutherland, a two-partner patent law firm.

    After Bruninga & Sutherland split, Mr. Polster’s son Philip joined him in practice to form the firm of Polster & Polster, whose clients included Emerson Electric Company. Lou Lucchesi joined the firm to form Polster, Polster, and Lucchesi, which later joined with the firm of Gravely, Lieder & Woodruff to form Polster, Lieder, Woodruff & Lucchesi. The firm now has about 20 lawyers, all specializing in intellectual property and all members of the patent bar.

    The family moved to University City in 1950. Mr. Polster has served on the University City school board, was chairman of the BAMSL patent section, was chairman of the St. Louis Hopkins Alumni Association, and has served as deacon, elder, and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the First Presbyterian Church of St. Louis.

    The Polsters have two sons and a daughter, all lawyers, eight grandchildren including three lawyers, and 12 great-grandchildren.

2008 Distinguished Young Law Alumni Awards

The Distinguished Young Law Alumni Awards honor alumni who graduated from the School of Law within the past 25 years. The recipients exemplify achievement and commitment to the ideals embodied in a School of Law education.

  • Mr. William H. Freivogel JD ’01

    2008 Distinguished Young Law Alumnus
    Mr. William H. Freivogel JD ’01

    William H. Freivogel is director of the School of Journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Previously he worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 34 years. A graduate of Kirkwood High School and Stanford University, he received his JD degree in 2001 from Washington University School of Law while working as the paper’s deputy editorial editor.

    Award-winning coverage of law and justice characterized Mr. Freivogel’s journalism career. While assistant Washington Bureau chief for the Post- Dispatch, he covered the U.S. Supreme Court. A series of editorials he wrote in 2001 about Attorney General John Ashcroft and civil liberties abuses was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A series about the Bill of Rights at 200 won the
    Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Medal and an ABA Silver Gavel.

    Another he wrote with his wife about Reagan administration civil rights policies won the Sidney Hillman award. He was the principal contributor of a series about the Constitution that won the Benjamin Franklin Award and the ABA’s Silver Gavel. A series on the Reagan administration’s attempt to kill the Legal Services Administration won the Emery A. Brownell Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association.

    While in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau, Mr. Freivogel shared a job with his wife, Margaret, who later was assistant managing editor at the paper. She now is editor of the Saint Louis Platform, a new online publication.

    The Freivogels have four grown children: Ben, a postdoctoral fellow in physics at the University of California at Berkeley, and Liz, Meg, and J, who are professional chamber musicians.

  • Ms. Connie McFarland-Butler AB ’91, JD ’96

    2008 Distinguished Young Law Alumna
    Ms. Connie McFarland-Butler AB ’91, JD ’96

    Connie McFarland-Butler is the first and only African-American female partner at the St. Louis law firm of Armstrong Teasdale LLP. She is a trial attorney who has managed through all facets of litigation, excluding appeals, hundreds of cases involving the defense of high stakes personal injury claims, complex torts, product liability, and medical malpractice claims. Ms. McFarland-Butler has never lost a jury trial when she has served as lead counsel.

    The Mississippi native received her AB from Washington University in 1991, followed by a JD in 1996. She currently serves as an adjunct professor and teaches trial advocacy at the School of Law. She is also an instructor for the National Academy for Trial Advocacy and a certified mediator.

    She has served as a Board Member for Shelter the Children, the honorary chairperson for the Monsanto YMCA Tuxedo & Tennis Gala, and on the 2001 Campaign Steering Committee for the Washington University School of Law. She is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, Defense Research Institute, National Association of Railroad Defense Counsel, Mound City Bar Association, The Missouri Bar Association, The Illinois State Bar Association, and Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

    Among many awards, she has received the John Emde Award for Trial Advocacy and Professionalism, the Milton F. Napier Award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy, and the American College of Trial Lawyers Medal for Excellence in Advocacy.

    Ms. McFarland-Butler is the wife of Waymon Butler III, mother of three children—Jordan, Jonathan, and Jasmine—and stepmother of twins Waymon Butler IV and Laurence Butler.

  • Mr. Irwin P. Raij JD ’95

    2008 Distinguished Young Law Alumnus
    Mr. Irwin P. Raij JD ’95

    Irwin P. Raij, a partner in Foley & Lardner’s Washington, D.C., office, has unique experience with the development of professional sports facilities, team operations, economic development, campaign finance, and government ethics. He currently is a key player in Major League Baseball’s efforts to facilitate construction of a new stadium for the Florida Marlins. He previously represented
    Major League Baseball in the relocation of the Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals, to Washington, D.C. He continues to provide counsel to the team.

    Before joining Foley, Mr. Raij served as assistant counsel to the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign. He had previously served in the White House Office of Counsel to the President and later in the White House Office of Counsel to the Vice President.

    After receiving his JD from Washington University School of Law, Mr. Raij began his career as an attorney advisor for the Department of Housing & Urban Development, and returned to the department to serve as special assistant in the office of the general counsel and as acting managing attorney for the FOIA Department.

    Mr. Raij, a graduate and national alumni leader of the University of Miami, is a member of Miami’s Cuban Hebrew Congregation. He received the 2001 “Spotlight of Achievers” award from the Latin Auxiliary of the Jewish Home. In 2003, Mr. Raij was named a finalist by the South Florida Business Journal as an “Up and Comer” in South Florida’s legal community.

    He was a recipient of the 2004 American Marshall Memorial Fellowship, sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Marshall Fellows study European institutions and explore economic, political, and social issues.