2016 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.
- Donald L. Schlapprizzi BA '57 JD '59
2016 Distinguished Law Alumnus
Donald L. Schlapprizzi, BA ’57, JD ’59
Founder and president, Schlapprizzi Attorneys at Law
Don Schlapprizzi is president of Schlapprizzi Attorneys at Law and one of the most highly regarded trial lawyers in Missouri. In 1981 he founded Schlapprizzi Attorneys at Law to ensure those hurt by another’s negligence or other wrongful act could obtain justice. He was the lead trial lawyer in the longest jury trial in Missouri history, arising out of one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. He has tried over 300 jury trials, taken more than 60 cases to the Missouri Supreme Court and the State and Federal Courts of Appeal, and, on five separate occasions, his cases have resulted in appellate opinions that have changed the law in Missouri. His firm has handled cases throughout the United States.
Schlapprizzi is honored with long-standing memberships in some of the country’s most prestigious legal organizations, including the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, and the American College of Trial Lawyers. The latter’s elite membership comprises less than one percent of the lawyer population as well as every member of the Supreme Courts of both the United States of America and Canada.
He has served on the American College of Trial Lawyers Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Committee and currently serves on the Jury Committee. For more than 16 years, he served on the Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Civil Jury Instructions. He is past president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and the Lawyers Association of St. Louis. He has been recognized as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” and has received the Award of Honor from the Lawyers Association of St. Louis and the Lon O. Hocker Outstanding Trial Lawyer’s Award from the Missouri Bar Foundation.
Schlapprizzi received his BA and JD from Washington University, and, as a past Bears football and baseball player, was inducted into Washington University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. Don and his wife of 36 years, Deby, reside in St. Louis. Don’s legacy at the university continues as three of his seven children have graduated from the law school.
- Sarah M. Stegemoeller JD '78
2016 Distinguished Law Alumna
Sarah M. Stegemoeller, JD ’78
Senior staff attorney, Public Counsel
Sarah Stegemoeller is a senior staff attorney at Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono public interest law firm. She has worked since 2005 in the firm’s Community Development Project, where she provides trainings, resource materials, and corporate and tax advice to nonprofits serving communities and individuals struggling with poverty. Representative projects have included aiding a neighborhood group to gain control of a historic community center for redevelopment as a job training facility; offering board and regulatory compliance assistance to federally qualified health centers; working with law firms to help economically challenged agencies on restructuring, workforce reduction, and loan modification issues; and creating a “legal checkup” program in partnership with corporate law departments to provide nonprofits with regulatory compliance and risk management reviews.
Stegemoeller came to Los Angeles from Chicago, via London. Before moving overseas, she served for five years as executive vice president of Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and was in charge of all the non-academic functions of the seminary. Prior to that, she was engaged for 15 years as a partner with Defrees and Fiske (now Howard & Howard), a Chicago law firm specializing in business and tax planning for closely held businesses.
Stegemoeller earned her undergraduate degree from Muhlenberg College, her JD from Washington University, and her LLM in taxation from DePaul University. She recently completed an eight-year term as a Commissioner, and most recently as chairperson, of the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women. She will soon be completing nine years on the Board of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, including several years as chair. She and her husband of 40 years, Mark, are the proud parents of three adult daughters: Rachel Davidson, Kristen Stegemoeller, and Leila Stegemoeller.
- Robert O. Viets JD '69
2016 DISTINGUISHED LAW ALUMNUS
Robert O. Viets, JD ’69
President of ROV Consultants, LLC and retired CEO of CILCORP Inc. and Central Illinois Light Company
As CEO of CILCORP Inc., a NYSE company, from 1988 through 1999, Robert Viets played a significant role in energy deregulation. The company’s major subsidiary provided electricity and natural gas to retail customers in central Illinois with prices regulated by a state commission. He led a national effort to accelerate deregulation of retail energy markets and was the first to demonstrate the benefits by opening residential and commercial customer test markets to competition in the company’s otherwise regulated service area. CILCORP’s financial returns to shareholders during his term as CEO ranked among the highest in the electricity and natural gas utility industry. He later provided consulting services to AES and to other energy and telecommunications providers.
Viets received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washburn University and, while attending law school at Washington University, began his business career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant. He joined Central Illinois Light Company (predecessor to CILCORP) in 1973 and advanced through financial and operating positions prior to becoming CEO. He has served as a member of the boards of directors of CILCORP, RLI Corp., Consumers Water Company, Philadelphia Suburban Water Company, Patriot Coal Corp., Peoria Savings & Loan Association, First of America Bank—Illinois, and Lincoln Office Supply Company.
Viets served terms as chair of the Bradley University Board of Trustees, Methodist Health Services Corporation, Advanced Medical Transport, Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois, Heart of Illinois United Way campaign, and Lutheran Hillside Village campaign. He was a member of the transition teams for two Illinois governors, the Illinois Coal Development Board, and the General Trustees of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.
Viets and his wife, Karen, reside in Naples, Florida, and have one son.
2016 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.
- Jovita M. Foster JD '00
2016 Distinguished Young Law Alumna
Jovita M. Foster, JD ’00
Partner, Armstrong Teasdale
Jovita M. Foster is a prominent litigator in the field of workplace law. She is a partner at Armstrong Teasdale and a member of the firm’s Employment and Labor practice group, defending employers in a wide range of disputes including those involving claims of discrimination, retaliation, violations of public policy, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination. A trusted advisor to senior management, she also helps employers develop policies and procedures aimed at preventing workplace problems. Foster’s clients include government agencies, municipalities, higher education systems, and businesses of all sizes.
In addition, Foster serves on Armstrong Teasdale’s Executive Committee and is chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee. She leads the firm’s support of various affinity groups such as the Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis, Lawyers for Equality, Mound City Bar Association, Missouri Asian American Bar Association, and Women Lawyers Association of Greater St. Louis.
In 2014, Foster received the Women’s Justice Rising Star Award from Missouri Lawyers Weekly, and was selected for “40 Under 40” by the St. Louis Business Journal. Further, she was named in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for her work in labor and employment law.
Outside the firm, Foster is a board member of the Urban League of St. Louis, where she serves as general counsel. She is a Junior Achievement volunteer and former board member.
Foster earned her BA from the University of Missouri and her JD from Washington University School of Law, where she received the Milton F. Napier Award and the American College of Trial Lawyers Medal, both for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.
- Sasha Polonsky Tulgan JD '06
2016 Distinguished Young Law Alumna
Sasha Polonsky Tulgan, JD ’06
Deputy to the University of Rochester President
After earning her JD from Washington University, Sasha Polonsky Tulgan served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. She then practiced commercial litigation in New York City, first at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and then at Cooley LLP, serving clients in bankruptcy proceedings, government investigations, labor and employment issues, and business litigation. She did extensive pro bono work in the fields of immigration and family law, representing several women from West African countries in their applications for gender-based asylum. For her advocacy in these cases, she received two Above & Beyond awards from the nonprofit organization Sanctuary for Families, which provides legal and counseling services to immigrant victims of domestic violence in the New York City area. Tulgan served on the pro bono advisory boards for Sanctuary for Families and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.
She helped launch the New York City-based business and regulatory clinic for Washington University School of Law and taught a companion course on the topic of legal and business ethics.
She currently serves as deputy to University of Rochester President Joel Seligman, former dean of Washington University School of Law. Her role involves strategic planning, speech writing, and special projects. She also teaches a class with President Seligman to undergraduate students on the subject of constitutional law in a historical context.
Tulgan received her undergraduate degree in international relations and East Asian Studies from Stanford University and studied abroad at the Stanford Center for Technology and Innovation in Kyoto. Before attending law school she worked in San Francisco as an analyst for a research and consulting firm serving technology clients.