2009 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. Irl Baris, JD '48

    2009 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Irl Baris JD ’48
    Founding Partner, Baris Law Firm

    Irl B. Baris earned his AB in political science in 1947 and his JD in 1948, both from Washington University, where he was the youngest student in his class. He has practiced law in St. Louis since 1948, except during his army service when he was chief clerk in the Judge Advocate General’s Office. He is the sole owner of the Baris Law Firm.

    Mr. Baris served as a member of the City Council of University City from 1958 to 1962, participating in many community organizations. He has been active in civil rights and civil liberties movements, including many “unpopular causes and clients.”

    Mr. Baris successfully argued Spinelli v. United States (1969), a landmark decision for many years, involving probable cause affidavits for search warrants. He also was successful in the Supreme
    Court of the United States reversing an obscenity conviction in Hartstein v. Missouri (1971).

    Additionally, Mr. Baris prepared incorporation documents for the Dismas House for the “Hoodlum Priest” Charles Dismas Clark, S.J., which became a model nationally for halfway houses for convicts released from prison. He also served as its secretary for many years.

    Mr. Baris met the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. through his civil rights activities, Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa, and retired President Harry S Truman. He represented celebrities, such as actor Tom Laughlin (“Billy Jack”) and musician Stephen Stills (Crosby, Stills & Nash), and numerous individuals who were alleged to be organized crime figures in St. Louis and other communities. Mr. Baris has been included in Best Lawyers in America in every edition since its first publication
    25 years ago.

    He has served as an adjunct professor at Washington University Law for nearly three decades. Mr. Baris also gives lectures to professional and community organizations and students. His mentor, Victor Packman, and partner, Melvin L. Newmark, are also active Washington University Law alumni.

    Mr. Baris and his wife, Shirlene, have four children, Judy Grosz, Robert Baris, Mitch Baris (MBA ’89), and Jon Baris (JD ’96), and 10 grandchildren.

  • Mr. John Behnke, JD '83

    2009 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    John Behnke JD ’83
    Managing Director, Freeh Group International

    John David Behnke is managing director of Freeh Group International, a firm that conducts corporate monitorships and provides strategic management of complex and sensitive inquiries. He also 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. He started his law enforcement career as a Special Agent of the United States Secret Service, after graduating with his JD from Washington University Law.

    During his tenure at the FBI, Mr. Behnke was selected to serve as special assistant to then director of the FBI, Louis J. Freeh. Mr. Behnke planned, organized, and coordinated the FBI director’s official travel to 35 foreign countries, resulting in the establishment of more than 25 new FBI offices overseas. He also served as the principal manager and liaison for Director Freeh’s visits to FBI domestic field offices and the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

    Prior to his assignment as special assistant to the director, Mr. Behnke was lead agent for the Olympic Park Bombing investigation. As a result of his successful efforts in this investigation,
    the U.S. Attorney General honored him with the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award.

    Additionally, he was the lead agent in the investigation of the 1989 murder of Judge Robert Vance of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. After this case was successfully
    prosecuted, Mr. Behnke was awarded the Department of Justice’s Dedicated Service Award by President George H.W. Bush for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and self-sacrifice.
    He served in many significant capacities during his distinguished career at the FBI, including his tenure as a member of the FBI Atlanta SWAT team and as an FBI firearms instructor.

    Mr. Behnke is a cancer survivor, and has participated in fundraising and in mentoring lymphoma patients in his association with the Lymphoma Research Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. From 1991 to 2008, he served on the Board of Directors of Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer.

  • Mr. Nordahl Brue, JD '70

    2009 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Nordahl Brue JD ’70
    Chair, Franklin Foods

    Nord Brue has used his Washington University legal education in a variety of ways—private practitioner, judge advocate, house counsel, entrepreneur, inventor, real estate developer, educator, and author, and most recently, as director and advisor to business and nonprofit entities. After graduation, he served as Judge Advocate in the United States Air Force and then became the first in-house counsel to Green Mountain Power Corporation, an NYSE-listed electric public utility. In 1979 he started Sheehey and Brue, and practiced there as lawyer/entrepreneur for 25 years.

    Mr. Brue’s entrepreneurial instincts surfaced in 1983 with the founding of Bruegger’s Bagels, which he grew to a chain of 300 bagel-themed, fast-casual restaurants. He also started or invested in a medical software developer, three cheese companies, and a Hispanic food company. He has developed real estate in eight states and holds a United States patent for “yogurt cream cheese.” His 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.

    His civic involvement includes serving on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors and Governor’s Council of Environmental Advisors in Vermont, chairing the Board of Trustees at Grinnell College (now a Life Trustee), and serving both as director and vice-chair of Vermont Public Radio and as a trustee of the Shelburne Museum.

    Presently, Mr. Brue is chair of Franklin Foods and Via LLC (dairy manufacturing), chair of PKC Corporation (medical diagnostic and case management software), vice-chair of Green Mountain Power (integrated electric utility), and a board member of both Northern New Energy Corporation (holding company for gas and electric utilities) and Nueva Cocina Corporation (natural Hispanic food).

    Mr. Brue and Suzanne, his wife of 37 years, divide their time between Vermont and Florida. They have three adult children and a growing group of grandchildren.

  • Ms. Cassandra Flipper, JD '66

    2009 Distinguished Law Alumna
    Cassandra Flipper JD ’66
    Executive Director, Bread & Roses

    Cassandra Flipper has been executive director of Bread & Roses since 2000. The nonprofit agency brings hope and healing through live music to audiences in San Francisco Bay Area institutions. Bread & Roses produces 550–600 shows annually for hospitals, drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities, homeless shelters, and detention facilities for adults and youths. Prior
    to that, she served for three years as executive director of the California Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association in Oakland.

    Before “retiring” to the nonprofit sector, Ms. Flipper worked for 30 years as a lawyer in private practice with Cooley Godward Castro Huddleson & Tatum in San Francisco and Palo Alto, and
    with Arnelle & Hastie in San Francisco. She also was deputy general counsel for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco and general counsel for The Nature Company in Berkeley. Additionally, she
    served as a public advocate with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C.; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; and the Employment
    Law Center in San Francisco.

    Through the years, Ms. Flipper has served on numerous boards of nonprofit organizations and educational institutions, including CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Equal Rights Advocates, Marin Academy, and Pacific School of Religion. She served as an elder at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Marin City and as a trustee of the Marin Community Foundation during 1999–2008. She also served as an alumni trustee on Washington University’s Board of Trustees during 1969–1972.

    Ms. Flipper received the Robert Cantor Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology in 2003 and the Outstanding Business Citizen of the Year Award from the Corte Madera Chamber of Commerce in 2008.

    Ms. Flipper earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from Washington University. A resident of Marin County, California, since 1972, she has two adult children, Karen Hastie Mayfield and Carl William Hastie, and three grandchildren.

2009 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.

  • Ms. Laura Dooley, JD '86

    2009 Distinguished Young Law Alumna
    Ms. Laura Dooley, JD ’86
    Professor of Law and Swygert Research Fellow, Valparaiso University School of Law

    Laura Gaston Dooley is professor of law and the Michael and Dianne Swygert Research Fellow at Valparaiso University School of Law in Valparaiso, Indiana. A native of Arkansas, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Arkansas with degrees in music and English, and received her JD from Washington University in 1986. Following law school, Professor Dooley served as a law clerk to Judge John W. Oliver of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, and then clerked for Judge Pasco M. Bowman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She was a Bigelow Fellow and lecturer in law at University of Chicago Law School before joining the faculty at Valparaiso.

    Professor 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, Cornell Law Review, and University of Illinois Law Review. Her articles have also attracted the attention of national press outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and Investor’s Business Daily, as well as the blogosphere. 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.

    Professor Dooley also has been involved in the arts in her community. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Street Theatre and performs regularly with the Bach Institute at Valparaiso University and the Camerata Vocal Ensemble. She also regularly appears in theatrical productions at Valparaiso University and community theaters in the region. She has two daughters, Sarah, a sophomore at Barnard College in New York, and Julia, a fifth-grader.

  • Ms. Alicia McDonnell, JD '95

    2009 Distinguished Young Law Alumna
    Ms. Alicia McDonnell, JD ’95
    Attorney, Private Practice

    Alicia McDonnell is an attorney in private practice and a real estate investor/manager. She was born and raised in St. Louis, and is one of five children of Anne and John McDonnell. She graduated from University of Rochester in 1990 with a BA in political science and moved to Boston after college graduation. She worked in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts as an investigator in the White Collar Crime and Public Corruption Unit. Later, Ms. McDonnell served as a victim/witness advocate in the District Attorney’s Office.

    Ms. McDonnell graduated from Washington University Law in 1995. She returned to Boston and became an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County for four years and prosecuted a wide variety of cases, including firearms, narcotics, domestic violence, and child abuse. She tried more than 50 jury trials during this time, as well as argued twice before the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

    Ms. McDonnell was a city attorney for the Boston Police Department for four years, where she handled Internal Affairs investigations and prosecutions, arbitrations with police unions, and administrative law hearings before various state agencies. She also represented the department in various litigations before Massachusetts state and federal courts.

    She then returned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office as a supervising assistant district attorney, where she was assigned to a district court to supervise and train 10 to 12 assistant district attorneys, oversee all prosecutions of cases in that district court, and represent the district attorney’s office in all administrative matters, as well as maintain a limited caseload of high-priority and/or sensitive cases.

    Currently, Ms. McDonnell is investing in real estate in Boston, managing her own properties, and, when the right opportunity comes along, buying, renovating, and selling properties. She is a member of the law school’s National Council.