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 WashULaw students and alumni.

We celebrated the 2020 – 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awardees virtually on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. CDT.

Make a gift in honor of a 2020 – 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awardee.

  • Jane Arnold, JD '93

    2020-21 Distinguished Alumna 
    Jane Arnold, ‘93
    Employer: Polsinelli

    Jane Arnold serves as St. Louis Office Managing Partner of national law firm Polsinelli, working to drive the firm’s commitment and presence in the St. Louis community. In addition to this role, she is chair of the Polsinelli’s national Women’s Initiative Committee, developing and implementing programs and policies to help women have long-term, fulfilling careers at Polsinelli. Jane is also chair of the national Health Care Alignment and Organization Practice Group, growing and enhancing the firm’s position as a national leader in the health care industry.

    Jane has been lauded for her efforts and commitment to advancing women in law. She was named to the St. Louis Business Journal’s “Most Influential Business Women” list in 2018 and honored by Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly as a recipient of its Women’s Justice Award in 2014. Jane was also selected for the St. Louis Business Journal’s prestigious “40 Under 40” honor in 2005. She has been annually named to The Best Lawyers in America, Health Care Law section, since 2012.

    Community involvement and public service are tremendously important to Jane. She is a member of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s Danforth Leadership Council, serves on the Regional Business Council of St. Louis and is a board member of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association. Previously she was a member of the Board of Directors of Circus Flora. She was also a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Louis College of Pharmacy for more than nine years, serving in progressively larger volunteer roles and ultimately assuming the role of board chair. Jane led the board and the institution through a period of significant transformation, allowing it to fulfill its mission to an even greater capacity.

    Jane’s commitment to service began at an early age. While attending Harvard as an undergraduate, she helped with former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt’s presidential bid and was subsequently instrumental in establishing the Gephardt Institute for Public Service at Washington University. She also worked with Dr. William H. Danforth, former Chancellor of Washington, on the legislative initiative to study the founding of a new plant and life science institute.

  • Rebecca L. Brown, JD '96

    2020-21 Distinguished Alumna 
    Rebecca Berkley Brown, JD ’96
    Employer: Washington University

    Rebecca L. Brown serves as vice-chancellor and chief of staff for Washington University Chancellor Andrew Martin, as well as secretary to the Board of Trustees. She returned to Washington University in 2019, where she served as associate vice chancellor and chief of staff, serving as a key leader on strategic priorities and substantive matters affecting the mission and goals of the university.

    Brown served as Chancellor Martin’s chief of staff at the University of Michigan, where he served as dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. She previously held many roles at Washington University, including associate dean at the School of Law. She also worked as an associate general counsel at Deutsche Bank and as an associate in the litigation department at Bryan Cave.

    Brown earned a law degree from Washington University School of Law and her undergraduate degree in Communications from Purdue University.

  • Larry Deskins, JD ‘77

    2020-21 Distinguished Alumnus
    Larry Deskins, JD ‘77
    Employer: Lewis Rice LLC

    Larry Deskins was a Member at Lewis Rice LLC, where he represented a variety of corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and individuals across a broad range of industries, including auto supply, food and beverage, gaming, manufacturing, and service. He also represented both buy and sell-side clients, specializing in: banking and financial matters, mergers and acquisitions, securities, closely held businesses, partnerships, joint ventures, business finance, restructuring, and workouts.

    Larry was a member of the Committee on Private Equity and Venture Capital of the American Bar Association, and is also AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He was selected for inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® 2005.

    An ardent supporter of many charities and civic causes, Larry served on: the board of directors for the Automobile Club of Missouri, the Tyrrell Williams Lecture Committee at Washington University’s School of Law, the board of directors at Girls Incorporated of St. Louis, and many more organizations.

    Larry passed away on March 22, 2020 after a long illness.

  • Yingxi Fu-Tomlinson, JD '89

    2020-21 Distinguished Alumna 
    Yingxi Fu-Tomlinson, JD ’89
    Employer: Arnold Porter

    Born and raised in Shanghai, Yingxi Fu-Tomlinson is among the first small group of attorneys to have received formal legal education and practiced in both the United States and China.

    Yingxi’s 30 years of experience in M&A and corporate law matters spans the US, China, and other Asian countries. She has advised multinational corporations, private equity funds, and Chinese companies on a wide range of strategic and financial in-bound and out-bound investment, acquisition, restructuring, and joint venture projects in various industries. She has also represented many prestigious technology companies and financial institutions in mergers and acquisitions, public offerings and private placements, as well as other general corporate and commercial matters in the US.

    Yingxi has been recognized as a leading practitioner in Chambers Global (2010-2018) and Chambers Asia (2009-2018). Clients have commented that she has “the unique ability to bridge the cultural and communication divide between the US and China,” citing her “distinguished profile in strategic investments, acquisition restructuring and joint venture projects.” She also has been featured in The American Lawyer and its sister publication, The Asian Lawyer. She has appeared on CNBC and has been interviewed frequently by other news media such as the New York Law Journal, China Daily, Business Weekly (a China Daily publication), and Global Entrepreneur.

  • Bethany Lee, JD '12

    2020-21 Distinguished Young Alumna
    Bethany Lee, JD ’12
    Employer: Google

    Bethany Lee is Corporate Counsel at Google LLC, where she serves as lead cloud counsel for the New York and New England regions. In this role, Bethany is responsible for negotiating complex cloud transactions involving Google’s wide array of cloud offerings, including Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, Google Maps, Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence and machine learning products and Google Cloud professional services. During her time at Google, Bethany has closed deals totaling an estimated $1.5 billion in cloud revenue with numerous strategic customers, including Verizon, McKesson Corporation, Etsy Inc.,, Kohl’s and Wayfair. Prior to joining Google, Bethany was Corporate Counsel at Oracle America, Inc., where she was responsible for closing Oracle’s largest cloud transaction with AT&T worth $1 billion. Bethany also worked as an associate in the mergers and acquisitions practices of White & Case LLP in New York City and Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC and clerked for Justice Randy J. Holland of the Delaware Supreme Court and Judge Charles E. Erdmann of the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

    Bethany is a member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the Asian American Bar Association of New York. She is also an active volunteer in the Street Law and #IamRemarkable community outreach programs. Street Law is a global, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with more than 40 years of experience developing classroom and community programs that educate middle and high school students about law and government. #IamRemarkable is a Google initiative empowering women and underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.

    Bethany earned her B.A. in History and English from Duke University in 2007 and her J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 2012. During her time at Washington University School of Law, Bethany received the Charles Wendell Carnahan Award for Legal Excellence in Conflict of Laws, the CALI Award for Excellence in Conflict of Laws, and the Washington University in St. Louis Scholar in Law Award. Bethany was also a member of the Washington University Global Studies Law Review and the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association.

  • Virginia J. Maynes, JD '13

    2020-21 Distinguished Young Alumna
    Virginia J. Maynes, JD ’13
    Employer: Catholic Community Service

    Virginia Maynes is currently an attorney at Catholic Community Services (“CCS”) in Salt Lake City, Utah.  At CCS, Virginia is responsible for a new program to provide representation to low-income adults and children in removal proceedings in front of the federal Immigration Court in Salt Lake City.  The program is designed to bring together the various nonprofit providers, law students, and private bar volunteers in the area to provide services to those at risk of removal from the United States.

    Previously, Virginia was the Managing Attorney of the Unaccompanied Minors team at the Immigration Counseling Service (“ICS”) in Portland, Oregon.  As such, Virginia worked with a team of dedicated individuals to provide representation and critical rights information to minors detained by the Office of Refugee Resettlement in facilities in the Portland area.  The minors represented by Virginia and her team either did not have a parent or legal guardian available to provide care and custody for them at the time of their apprehension or they were separated from their family members by the U.S. government.

    Before beginning her work with unaccompanied minors at ICS, Virginia was the Child Welfare Managing Attorney at the Immigrant Law Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  Beyond her formal work advocating for immigrants, Virginia also volunteered with the organization Advocates Abroad to assist refugees arriving in Athens, Greece from war-torn areas of the Middle East.  She is also active in providing service through her membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  • Bhavik Patel, LLM ’04

    2020-21 Distinguished Alumnus
    Bhavik Patel, LLM ’04
    Employer: Sandberg Phoenix

    Bhavik R. Patel joined Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard in 2004. He currently serves as the firm’s CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee. Bhavik oversees the strategy and direction of the firm, manages growth and expansion opportunities and coaches the firm leaders. Under his direction, the firm developed and implemented a strategic communications plan and rebranded to better reflect the firm’s values, culture and commitment to service. He has fostered and led the firm to grow to nearly 350 employees and approximately doubled the firm’s revenue in the last three years.

    In addition to his work as CEO, he is the Chair of the firm’s Wealth Planning Group and Special Needs Planning Group and focuses in the following areas: Wealth/Tax Planning and Administration, Business/Corporate Planning, Special Needs Planning, Probate and Trust Litigation, FINRA Litigation, Trademarks

    Bhavik’s work with the special needs community extends outside of the firm. He is the founder and chairman of Families at Ease, a local not-for-profit entity focused on delivering information about programs, services and resources available for special needs children and their families. He is also committed to civic and philanthropic causes. Bhavik serves as the Membership Co-Chair for Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), a global leadership community, as a Member of the Board of Directors for St. Louis ARC, Starkloff Disability Institute, Emeritus Board Member of the Foster and Adoptive Coalition, founded the Sandberg Phoenix Charitable Foundation and is this year’s Co-Chair for this Strategy Across the Board Gala.