2012 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.

  • Lawrence Brody JD '67

    2012 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Lawrence Brody, JD ’67
    Partner, Bryan Cave LLP

    Lawrence Brody 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. He is an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law, teaching Estate Planning and Drafting, and a visiting adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School, teaching a course on Life Insurance.

    He is the author or co-author of numerous articles and books on the use of life insurance in estate and employee benefit planning, including two BNA Tax Management Portfolios, two books for the National Underwriter Company, and a number of volumes in the ABA Insurance Counselor Series. Brody is a member of both The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and The American College of Tax Counsel; is a frequent participant at ALI-ABA programs and Society of Financial Professionals programs and teleconferences; and has spoken at all major life insurance industry programs (including the MDRT, the Top of the Table, AALU, and the International Forum), many local estate planning council meetings, a number of state bar association conferences, and many national estate planning programs.

    Brody is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Philip E. Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, of the University of Miami School of Law, and a member of the editorial boards of BNA’s Estates, Gifts, and Trusts Journal, and the Society of Financial Service Professionals CLU Journal. He received the designation of Accredited Estate Planner by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, and was one of 10 individuals awarded its Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner designation in the initial class in 2004.

  • Alan Kohn AB '53, LLB '55

    2012 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Alan C. Kohn, AB ’53, LLB ’55
    Partner, Kohn, Shands, Elbert, Gianoulakis & Giljum LLP

    Alan C. Kohn is a St. Louis trial lawyer and a founding partner of the law firm of Kohn, Shands, Elbert, Gianoulakis & Giljum LLP. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is a member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 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 over 100 cases and argued over 80 appeals.

    Kohn was born in University City and attended public schools there. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1953 from Washington University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Eta Sigma. In 1955 he graduated from the law school, where he was editor-in-chief of the Washington University Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. After doing electronic intelligence and courts-martial work in Germany as a lieutenant in the United States Army Security Agency, he returned to the United States where he became the first graduate of Washington University School of Law to be a law clerk at the United States Supreme Court, serving as law clerk to Justice Charles E. Whittaker.

    Kohn’s public service has included his service as a member (1969–1979) and president (1974–1979) of the Missouri Board of Law Examiners; as chairman of the Missouri Housing Development Commission (1975–1979); and as treasurer of the University City Board of Education (1970–1971). He has taught Trial and Appellate Practice and Federal Jurisdiction as an adjunct professor at the law school. He has served as a faculty member for an Advanced Trial Advocacy Program presented by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA).

    Kohn was a member of the Washington University tennis team for four years, and was captain and first man on the team his senior year. He won gold medals in doubles and bronze medals in singles in the United States National Senior Olympics in 1987 and 1989.

  • Sandra Moore AB '76, JD '79

    2012 Distinguished Law Alumna
    Sandra M. Moore, AB ’76, JD ’79
    President, Urban Strategies

    Sandra M. Moore 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. She leads a team of more than 50 professionals working in communities across the United States where mixed-income housing communities have recently been completed or are in development.

    Moore formerly served as the CEO of the Missouri Family Investment Trust, a public-private partnership entity leading Missouri’s multi-system reform efforts. As CEO she was responsible for helping communities across the state develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to improve education, health, mental health, human resources, and economic development outcomes for vulnerable Missouri families.

    Prior to joining the Family Investment Trust, Moore was vice president of St. Louis 2004, Inc., an all-out, citizen-based effort to make the St. Louis region a recognized leader in the 21st century by accomplishing major projects. She is the former director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DOLIR), where she served as a member of Governor Mel Carnahan’s cabinet, and a former administrative judge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Moore received her JD from Washington University School of Law in 1979 and an AB in urban studies in 1976. She is a native St. Louisan, is married to Eric L. Moore, Sr., and has two adult children, Eric, Jr., and Erin.

    Moore is committed to strengthening the growth and development of citizens and the fiber of the community. To that end, she serves as a member of the board for Advantage Capital, Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF), Missouri Historical Society, St. Louis Black Leadership Roundtable, Urban League of Metro St. Louis, Visiting Nurse Association, Washington University School of Law National Council, and the YWCA-Metro St. Louis.

  • Sheldon H. Roodman JD '66

    2012 Distinguished Law Alumnus
    Sheldon H. Roodman, JD ’66
    Former executive director of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago

    For 30 years from 1977 to 2007, Sheldon Roodman was the 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, Illinois. During this period he played a dynamic 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. A sampling of legal projects he helped to create and sustain include LAF’s Legal Center for Immigrants, its Children’s Law Project, Home Ownership Preservation Project, and the Veteran’s Law Project.

    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 United States Supreme Court twice (Edelman v. Jordan and Quern v. Jordan) 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 United States Constitution.

    During his career, Roodman received recognition from a number of groups, including the Chicago Bar Foundation and Chicago Bar Association, which presented him with the United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Award. The Chicago Public Interest Law Initiative recognized him for Distinguished Public Service, and LAF presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Through the years Roodman has served on numerous boards and committees, including the boards of the Management Information Exchange, the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, and the Judicial Screening Committees for Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Ann McMorrow and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.

    Roodman earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his JD from Washington University in 1966. He was managing editor of the Washington University Law Quarterly. After law school, he received a one-year Bigelow Teaching Fellowship from the University of Chicago Law School. After the fellowship he practiced with a major Chicago law firm, Mayer Brown, and then in 1969 started his public interest career.

2012 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.

  • Debbie S. Champion JD '88

    2012 Distinguished Young Law Alumna
    Debbie S. Champion, JD ’88
    Partner, Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch, and Champion

    Debbie Champion is a founding partner in the firm of Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch, and Champion. Champion practices in Missouri and Southern Illinois, in the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She has tried cases in eastern and southwestern Missouri and in southern Illinois, and argued before the Missouri Supreme Court and the Eastern, Western, and Southern District Courts of Appeals. She is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court.

    Champion won the Lawyer’s Lawyer Award at the 2008 Women’s Justice Awards. She is a recipient of the William McAlpin Pro Bono, an Outstanding Volunteer Award from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and the Missouri Pro Bono Publico Award from the Missouri Bar Association. In addition, she 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. She was recently honored by the Women’s Law Caucus of Washington University for her commitment to the advancement of women in the law.

    She has been selected as one of Ten Outstanding Young St. Louisans by the St. Louis Junior Chamber of Commerce. Champion is on the board of Lift for Life Academy. She served on 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, Illinois.

    Champion co-authored the Missouri Practice Workers’ Compensation Subrogation Chapter. She often presents educational seminars to clients and to the legal community on a variety of topics, most recently including voir dire, depositions, dealing with the difficult client, premises liability, workers’ compensation subrogation, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, and Missouri and federal liens.

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

    She is a Fellow and charter member of the Litigation Counsel of America, and a member of the Council for Litigation Management. Currently, Champion serves on the 21st Judicial Circuit Judicial Commission as part of Missouri’s nonpartisan court plan. Champion is a member of the Supreme Court of Missouri Ad Hoc Committee to Study Expert Discovery and serves on the steering committee for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

  • Judy Okenfuss AB '84, BS '84, JD '91

    2012 Distinguished Young Law Alumn
    Judy S. Okenfuss, AB ’84, BS ’84, JD ’91
    Partner, Ice Miller LLP

    Judy Okenfuss, a partner with Ice Miller LLP, has been a litigator with the firm since 1991 and is chair of the 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. Over the past 20 years, she has defended product companies in traditional product liability actions, warranty matters, recalls, class actions, supplier and distributor issues, and multidistrict litigation, among others. Okenfuss also assists companies in risk management and crisis response, ultimately helping clients to eliminate, minimize, and transfer risk. As part of this work, she leads national and regional early case investigation and assessment efforts for clients.

    Okenfuss was named one of the Top 25 Women Lawyers in Indiana by Super Lawyers in 2012. She has also been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for Product Liability Law since 2009. In 2011 she was given the Inspiring Women Award by the WNBA Indiana Fever. In 1984 Okenfuss graduated from Washington University with a BS in chemical engineering and AB in Spanish. Upon graduation, she worked at Dow Corning, where she developed materials for use in the aerospace industry. Following Dow Corning, she served as an engineer at McDonnell Douglas Corporation, where she participated in the development of advanced fighter aircraft.

    She earned her JD in 1991 from Washington University School of Law, where she graduated Order of the Coif. Currently, she serves on the National Council for the law school. Over the years, she has worked closely with Washington University to restart the alumni chapter in Indianapolis. She has also been involved in a number of different organizations in Indianapolis, with her personal favorite being Peace Learning Center, an organization that teaches nonviolent dispute resolution techniques to inner-city children, where she was chair of the board. She is active with Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, which her children attend, and has had the pleasure of acting as a chaperone on band trips to Russia and China.