Class Action: Alumni making news, Summer 2017

Raymond Uno (’67) interviewed on The Today Show
The interview is titled, “Revisiting a shameful chapter in US history: Japanese-American internment” and marks the 75th anniversary of an internment camp in Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Uno’s parents were placed in the camp during the second World War and his father passed away while there.



Judicate West Welcomes Judge Clay M. Smith (’77) in Southern California
Judicate West, one of California’s leading providers of private dispute resolution services, adds retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Clay M. Smith to its roster of exclusive neutrals. “Judge Smith has a sterling reputation based on his extensive work overseeing family matters in Orange County. Further, his track record in getting to resolutions and deep knowledge in this often emotionally charged legal sector will be assets to Judicate West and our clients throughout the southland,” said Rosemarie Chiusano, Executive Vice President of Business Development with Judicate West. “We are excited to welcome Judge Smith to our line-up of neutrals in Southern California.” Judge Smith served nearly two decades on the Superior Court, elevating to the bench in 1998 following his appointment to the North Orange County Municipal Court by Gov. Pete Wilson the year prior. During his tenure, he served as the Supervising Judge for the court’s Family Law Panel for 3 years, overseeing a panel of 19 judicial officers and thousands of pending cases, and was the presiding judge of the court’s Appellate Division. Immediately preceding his appointment, Judge Smith spent a combined 16 years as general counsel for Catellus Development Corporation and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation. He was also a trustee of the Orange County Public Law Library and a former faculty member for Fullerton College.

Andrea Alcabes (’81) featured in Utah Business Magazine

She calls herself a “recovering lawyer,” but to hundreds of families in and around the Salt Lake Valley, she’s more like a lifeline and trusted friend. Alcabes is executive director of the I.J. & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center in Salt Lake City, a gathering place for families, fitness buffs and those who wish to be more engaged in their community.

“By offering certain opportunities in educational, cultural and recreational pursuits, we are a place where people of all backgrounds and beliefs gather in peace and understanding. There’s great evidence of diversity here. Lots of members are transplants. I’m sure our location near the university is a key to that. But the message you get here is that no one really knows or cares what religion you are. And we’re almost always open—we only close five days a year.”

Douglas Whiting (’84) completes three-year assignment assisting Austrian-based Voestalpine Stahl GmbH steel conglomerate with first major investment in the United States
Mr. Whiting’s practice focuses primarily on large domestic and international project development, financing, construction, and operations in the power, steel, mining, petrochemical refining, and other heavy industries. During his 30+ years as an attorney, he has closed approximately $18 billion worth of transactions and supported projects in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. He readily acknowledges the high quality of his education from the University of Utah which has enabled him to support large-dollar project investments.

Alumnus Paul M. Simmons (’85) named “Lawyer of the Year” by Utah State Bar
Paul M. Simmons graduated from the U in 1985 and was honored with the award in Sun Valley, Idaho.  He is an attorney at Dewsnup King Olsen Worel Havas Mortensen. Before that, he clerked for the Honorable Bruce S. Jenkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah and was a partner at Suitter Axland Armstrong & Hanson.



Alum Raymond Takashi Swenson (’87) spoke at University of Washington School of Law’s 2017 Environmental Law Symposium on the role of environmental law in responding to major disasters
The event focused on the possible 9.0 megaquake in the Cascadia region of western Washington and the recent example of the megaquake in Japan. Swenson drew on his work at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and in Strategic Air Command nuclear accident planning, to explain to local government officers and environmental attorneys the ways in which environmental law requirements can be adapted to emergencies, when the usual processes for environmental impact analysis and permitting could delay actions that are vital to protect public safety. He argued for the importance of realistic “war games” by government agencies, that anticipate all the complex legal issues that can arise in disasters, so making necessary legal decisions does not delay protection of the public and the environment. He also made this presentation to the annual conference of the Washington State Bar Environmental and Land Use Law Section. Swenson is Senior Counsel for CH2M HILL on its $400 million annual contract for cleanup of nuclear weapon production facilities on the 586 square mile Hanford Nuclear Site in eastern Washington.

Cindy Barton (’89) Presented the Award of Distinction by the International Assoc. of Who’s Who
“Cindy Barton is a Guardian Ad Litem in the State of Utah’s Eighth District Court, appointed to represent children as they come into contact with the Juvenile Court system. Cindy Barton, being an excellent student, received her Juris Doctorate from S.J. Quinney Law School at the University of Utah in 1989 before entering the field of law. Upon graduating law school, Ms. Barton secured a position with the law firm of Bell & Young in Las Vegas, Nevada, where she worked as an Associate from 1990-1994. In 1993, Ms. Barton opened her own law practice, specializing in parental defense, estates and criminal defense. See full press release »  

Deanna L. Forbush’s ( ’91) firm Morris Polich & Purdy LLP merges with Clark Hill PLC
Deanna L. Forbush represents employers throughout the United States in all areas of employment, traditional labor relations, corporate immigration, general business litigation and related matters. Deanna is licensed to practice law in Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Alabama. Before joining the firm of Morris Polich & Purdy, LLP in March 2015, Deanna practiced with such notable firms as Fox Rothschild (she founded FR’s Las Vegas office), Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman, Markowitz and Richmond, and Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson, and served as Associate General Counsel for the Venetian Casino Resort and Frontier Casino and Gambling Hall.

Jensie Anderson (’93) and Rocky Mountain Innocence Center exonerate man convicted of 1994 murder
Professor Anderson received a B.F.A. from the University of Utah in 1985, and a J.D. from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in 1993. Before joining the College of Law in 1999, Professor Anderson worked as a litigation associate with Holme, Roberts & Owen (1993-1994), served as staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah (1994-1997), and specialized in the areas of social security law and indigent criminal defense with Cannon, Cleary & Match (1997-1999). Professor Anderson served as president of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center from January 2001 until 2011, and is currently RMIC’s Legal Director.  She litigates innocence and wrongful conviction claims throughout Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. She also serves as director of the Innocence Clinic and administrative supervisor of the Criminal Clinic (both prosecutor and defender) at the College of Law.  Professor Anderson teaches legal methods, innocence investigation and post-conviction process, criminal process, lawyering skills, and introduction to law.

The Arizona State Bar and Arizona Business Magazine awarded Daniel Christensen (’95) its 2016 annual Arizona In-House Counsel of the Year Award
Mr. Christensen currently serves as Intel Corporation’s Group Counsel for IT, Privacy & Security. He was also named by the Arizona State Bar as a “Top 50 Pro Bono Attorney” last year, having helped establish the Arizona legal department’s pro bono debt clinic that has assisted over 250 underserved individuals and families with debt-related and guardianship issues. Intel’s Legal Department also sent Mr. Christensen and five others to South Africa on a humanitarian service mission to assist the underprivileged in that country. Mr. Christensen currently serves on the pro bono committee of the Arizona Commission for Access to Justice commissioned by Chief Justice Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court to improve underprivileged access to legal services in Arizona.

Paul Burke (’97) presided over New Business portion of the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the United States Soccer Federation
At the invitation of U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, Paul C. Burke, Shareholder and General Counsel at Ray Quinney & Nebeker, presided over the New Business portion of the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the United States Soccer Federation on March 4th in Wailea, Hawaii. With Burke at the podium, the membership of U.S. Soccer approved what Mr. Gulati had described as “a complete revision of our bylaws,” culminating a two-year project. Burke currently serves as the Chairman of the Rules Committee for the U.S. Soccer Federation. The Rules Committee worked closely with the Federation’s Board of Directors as well as with outside counsel and independent consultants to develop the new set of bylaw for soccer’s national governing body. Changes were made to reform and improve the Federation’s governance so that U.S. Soccer will stand as a model for national soccer associations around the globe. Burke previously served a term as president of the Utah Youth Soccer Association and was inducted last year into Utah Youth Soccer’s Hall of Fame. Burke was also appointed last year to serve as the Chair of the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Appellate Rules of Procedure.

Utah Business Magazine Recognizes Elizabeth Evensen (’00) In Annual 30 Women To Watch
The awards are granted each year in recognition of women who have made outstanding contributions to their organizations and the community. The 30 Women to Watch distinction is based on a nomination process. A panel of previous Women to Watch honorees evaluates the nominations and selects the 30 honorees. The women in the program come from a variety of industries and job titles, but all are influential in shaping Utah. Evensen is a partner in Snell & Wilmer’s real estate group. Her practice is concentrated in real estate law, focusing on hotel, resort, retail, condominium, office and other commercial real estate development and disposition; office/retail leasing; zoning and land use; partnerships and joint ventures; construction; real estate workouts; real estate financing; and general commercial and corporate transactions. Evensen is one of a few attorneys in the country that regularly advises clients on the acquisition, development, construction and financing of public charter and private school facilities, which is a relatively new field in the real estate industry. Her experience includes representing real estate developers, ski resorts, landowners, real estate investment trusts, financial institutions and governmental agencies. In the community, Evensen is a board member and president elect for CREW Utah, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the advancing the success of women in commercial real estate. She also serves on the boards for Artspace and the Downtown Public Market.

Cristina Ortega (’02) joins the state of Utah Board of Regents
Cristina Ortega is currently a Deputy District Attorney at the Davis County Attorney’s Office, where she specializes in special victim cases that include sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence. She graduated from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in 2002. Ortega began her career as a prosecutor at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office in 2002 where she was prosecutor in both the adult and juvenile justice system. Ortega has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Weber State University. Her studies at Weber State University also included legal studies and Latin American studies. She is currently a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. She is also active in the legal community as a member of the Utah Journal of Criminal Law, Women Lawyers of Utah, and the Aldon J. Anderson Inn of Court. Ortega served on the University of Utah Board of Trustees from 2013-2017 and represented the Trustees on the KUER Advisory Board and the Audit Committee.

Diana L. Telfer (’05) to participate in ‘Handling Divorce Cases from Start to Finish’ CLE seminar
Diana Telfer focuses her practice on representing individuals and commercial clients in all aspects of family law matters, estate planning, and business and commercial law including entity formation, business planning, and general business and commercial transactions. Her experience in the legal and corporate sectors provides her a unique perspective to assist clients in determining the appropriate level of legal protections they and their businesses need. Telfer is on Twitter and regularly posts on various topics involving divorce, women, and small business issues.

Catherine Blakespear (’06) serving as Mayor of the City of Encinitas
Catherine S. Blakespear is serving as the Mayor of the City of the Encinitas in her hometown of Encinitas, California. She was elected to the City Council in 2014 and elected mayor in 2016. Catherine also practices law as an estate planning attorney in San Diego County. After law school at the S.J. Quinney School of Law she worked at Ray Quinney & Nebeker, before moving to Encinitas.


Galen Carlson (’07) receives Prosecutor Award of Excellence for Idaho task force on children
Alumna Galen Carlson, class of 2007, received the Prosecutor Award of Excellence from the Idaho Governor’s Task Force on Children in 2015. On June 26, 2017, Galen was appointed by Governor Butch Otter to sit on the Task Force. Galen has prosecuted for ten years and has been the supervising prosecutor of the Child Protection Unit of the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Boise, Idaho for nearly four of those years.

Rochelle Wilcox (’08) running for Congress in California’s District 4
Wilcox’s campaign website states, “Rochelle is running for Congress because she believes that our country is at a critical juncture and needs to shift back to a time when our laws and economic policies were designed to benefit people, not politicians or corporate interests. She is committed to working with the communities in this District to bring jobs and job training to the places where we need it the most, by building on the values we all share, because in America, if you are willing to work for it, you should be able to build a good life for yourself and your family.  District 4 deserves a representative who will fight for economic opportunities, affordable health care, quality education, and a chance for our working families to succeed.”

Attorney Emily Lewis (’10) awarded Star of the Quarter from Utah Young Lawyers Division
Emily Lewis focuses her practice on natural resources issues, primarily water law. She has worked with both individual rural water users and organized water entities to settle or litigate complex water disputes. Previous to joining Clyde Snow, Ms. Lewis represented the Utah State Engineer in comprehensive Water Rights General Adjudications across the state.

Josiah Griffin (’11) awarded best primer in Army LL.M. program and published in The Army Lawyer
Josiah Griffin received an award for the best primer submitted in partial completion of the Master of Laws requirement of the 65th Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course at the Judge Advocate General’s School, Charlottesville, Virginia. His article titled, “A Formal Guide to Commander’s Informal Funds: Background, Set-Up, and Best Practices,” was published in the May 2017 edition of The Army Lawyer.

Abby Dizon-Maughan (’12) elected to the Utah Minority Bar Association Board
Prior to founding ADM Legal Defense, Abby earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Utah, her Master’s in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and her Juris Doctor from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she graduated with honors. While in law school, Abby served in an executive capacity for several student organizations, including the OUTlaws, the College of Law’s LGBT-Ally group, and was a founding member of the Utah Student Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (USACDL).  Abby is active and committed to the legal defense community.  She is the Chairperson of the Professional Standards Review Board of the West Valley Police Department, the Chairperson of the Criminal Justice Committee of the NAACP, Salt Lake Branch, the President-Elect of the Utah Minority Bar Association, and Secretary of the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  In addition to those memberships, Abby is a member of the Women Lawyers of Utah, LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah, and the Salt Lake County Bar Association.

Michelle Kennedy (’13) selected as a 2017 Super Lawyers Mountain States Rising Star
Michelle Kennedy understands your legal needs because she is an artist and entrepreneur. Michelle has a diverse background in the arts, having studied dance, guitar, voice, screenwriting, filmmaking, painting, and acting in Houston and Los Angeles. She recorded her first album during law school, which MTV licensed and used on several reality show soundtracks. Michelle also served as a graduate fellow for the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, where her team developed business plans for smart phone technologies and medical devices. Prior to opening Kennedy Art Law P.C., Michelle was an associate attorney at a respected boutique family law firm where she worked on high-asset and international domestic relations cases. She previously worked in the Utah Attorney General’s Civil Litigation Division, where Michelle represented the State of Utah in cases involving torts, debt collections, employment law, and civil rights.

Lucid Software welcomes Katherine Judd (’17) as its VP of People Operations
“Lucid Software is creating powerful cloud-based tools that anyone can use. Driving a new way of working, Lucid’s lineup includes Lucidchart, the popular diagramming application used to create compelling and attractive visual communications, and Lucidpress, a recently launched publishing tool used to create print and digital content with ease. Lucid was founded in 2010 and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.”


We are pleased to announce that a high number of U of U Law alumni have been selected to appear in the latest issue of Best Lawyers in America. Given the high number of high quality U of U Law graduates in the publication we are unfortunately unable to publish each name. Congratulations to each and every one of you.

Thank you all so much for your recent Alumni Submissions. We are so excited to hear from you and love to see your stories. Please keep sending them!