The Des Moines Register began the year by featuring 14 people in Central Iowa to watch in 2014. Among them, two Drake Law graduates: Larry James, LW’01, and Romonda Belcher, LW’95.
According to The Des Moines Register's website, these are central Iowans in business, arts, nonprofits, civic activism and nonelected government positions who are expected to make a difference in their fields of endeavor in 2014. Readers were invited to submit nominations. Selections were made by Des Moines Register editors and reporters.
James is currently an attorney for Faegre Baker Daniels Law Firm specializing in commercial real estate transactions. The reason he has been selected as someone to watch in 2014 is for his work with the Urban Land Institute, a Washington, D.C. based organization with local chapters. James has spearheaded the efforts to form the Urban Land Institute in Iowa.
“What I love about Iowa is it is progressive pragmatic, and Larry is exactly that,” said Jonathan Rosenbloom, associate professor of law. “He has always tried to help develop the city in a positive way. I think that has always driven him.”
Belcher serves as a Polk County juvenile court judge. She became Iowa’s first black female judge in 2010 after 15 years in the Polk County attorney’s office. As for her nomination as a person to watch in 2014, Belcher was recently selected for a “special statewide committee working to reduce the over-representation of minority youths in juvenile courts and detention facilities.”
In addition to her outstanding work toward fairness in Iowa’s courtrooms, Belcher has played a key role at Drake Law School mentoring and volunteering. Janica Munford, LW’11, and Sh’Myra Moore, LW’10, both talk about their experiences with Belcher as a mentor and the role she played during law school and after. According to the article, “Belcher works hard to reach out to the African-American women who attend Drake Law School. The mentoring ensures that the women have a professional relationship with somebody from a similar background and understanding.”
Click here to see other Drake Law alumni achievements.