Home Law School News Supreme Court Celebration recognizes Drake Law School family

Supreme Court Celebration recognizes Drake Law School family

photo of Robert J. Grey Jr.
Robert J. Grey Jr. addresses a crowd of 400 at the Supreme Court Banquet.

The 71st Annual Supreme Court Celebration’s activities honored not only students for their accomplishments, but also alumni, faculty, the legal community and Iowa Supreme Court justices who work together to enhance the educational experiences of Drake law students.

“The Supreme Court Celebration is so remarkable, so gratifying and so significant to our sense of purpose and promise,” said Dean David Walker. “The celebration reflects a tradition that goes back to the beginning of Drake Law School in the 19th Century.”

The celebration featured former American Bar Association President Robert J. Grey Jr. as the keynote speaker for the Supreme Court Banquet.

“His talk was very well-received,” Walker said. “He talked about the rule of law and the process of law in America and emphasized the importance of independence in the law profession and the judiciary.”

Grey is a partner at Hunton and Williams law firm in Richmond, Va., where he focuses on administrative matters before state and federal agencies. He also is affiliated with McCammon Mediation Group Ltd., which allows him to continue practicing mediation and dispute resolution on a state and national level.

He served as president of the American Bar Association from 2004-05, where he worked to review and update ABA programs, increase diversity in the legal profession, advance ABA’s international rule of law efforts and safeguard the profession’s independence. He also served as chair of the ABA House of Delegates, becoming the first African American to be an officer of the association.

During his visit to Des Moines, Grey and Associate Dean Russ Lovell met with leaders of the Des Moines branch of the NAACP at the Neal and Bea Smith Law Center/Drake Legal Clinic.

photo of David Walker and Alan Fredregill
Dean David Walker presents Alan Fredregill with the Alumni of the Year Award.

Alumni of the Year honored

Dean David Walker introduced the Law School’s Alumni of the Year Award winner, Alan Fredregill, LW’75.

“Alan has demonstrated exceptional professional achievement, consistent and distinguished service to the Law School and the profession, and public service, characteristics that define a profession, and the qualities we look for in our best leaders,” Walker said.

“Among his undeniable qualities, in addition to his judgment and leadership, are unfailing loyalty and true resilience,” Walker added.

Fredregill has been a partner of Heiman, Redmond, Fredregill, Patterson, Plaza, Dyykstra and Prahl law firm in Sioux City, Iowa, for more than 30 years. He is a member of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Iowa State Bar Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers, the Iowa Defense Counsel Association and the American Bar Association.

He has been a longtime President’s Circle member and supporter of the Law School, serving on the Board of Counselors and its Executive Committee. He also was president of both the Iowa Defense Counsel Association and the Iowa State Bar Association.

photo of Marsha Ternus and Jacob Lofgren
Marsha Ternus presents the Rodney L. Hudson Appellate Advocacy Award to Jacob Lofgren.

Student awards

Student Bar Association President Sean Bagniewski welcomed a crowd of more than 400 people and introduced the Iowa Supreme Court justices.

“On behalf of the students we were happy to be able to give a gift to Dean Walker recognizing his two terms as dean,” Bagniewski said. “I’ve been hearing a lot from our students about how impressed they are with the way we recognize not only our students but our alumni, and the dedication of our alumni. Students are happy to know that alumni have an ongoing relationship with Drake and the Law School family even after they leave
Law School.”

Supreme Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court Marsha Ternus, LW’77, took the stage to announce the winner of the best oralist award in the Supreme Court Competition. The recipient of the Rodney L. Hudson Appellate Advocacy Award is Jacob Lofgren.

Justice Ternus discussed the history and structure of the competition, which is a tradition for the Supreme Court Celebration.

Each year, outstanding advocates in the law school compete in the competition for the honor of presenting final arguments to the Iowa
Supreme Court. The competition is based upon a real case, using an actual record that was pending before the Iowa Supreme Court, thus giving competitors a realistic experience.

This year’s case involved a personal injury claim related to lead poisoning against the landlord and property manager of a residence containing lead paint.

In addition to Lofgren, Ternus recognized the three other Supreme Court Competition finalists: Ashley Dose, Anna Ryon and Kevin Teets.

Supreme Court justices judge writing competition

The celebration also honored students involved in a school-wide Iowa Supreme Court Writing Competition, which is sponsored by George LaMarca, LW’70, of the LaMarca and Landry law firm.

Students wrote essays on topics picked by Drake faculty members Mel Weresh, Lisa Penland and Luke Meier. The faculty members select the top five essays that are judged by the Supreme Court justices.

Nathan Swanson won the first place Iowa Supreme Court Writing Award. The second place award went to Adam Gregg. Three finalists who received honorable mention are: Mackenzie Breitenstein, Kyle Hanson and Brant Leonard.

Other student award recipients are:

  • Sean Bagniewski, Timothy N. Carlucci Award
  • Victoria Morgan Nwasike, Timothy N. Carlucci Award
  • Cyrus Sinclair, Timothy N. Carlucci Award
  • Dustin Miller, The Ferguson Prize Silver
  • Fritz Ebinger, The Ferguson Prize Gold
  • Sean Bagniewski, Martin Tollefson Award
  • Andrew Wilcox, Martin Tollefson Award
  • Nathan Swanson, William and Ellen Cooney Hoye Award
  • Jacob Lofgren, The Jeffrey and Elizabeth Goodman Outstanding Advocate
  • Amber Hakes, International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award
  • Kathryn Kostelny, International Academy of Trial Lawyers Award
  • Annie Fox, Robert J. Kromminga Award

News Photo
SBA President Sean Bagniewski presents the Leland Forrest Outstanding Professor of the Year Award.

Faculty recognized

Matt Doré, the Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished professor of law, was recognized with The Leland Forrest Outstanding Professor of the Year Award. He was selected by third-year law students to receive the honor.

Drake’s Student Bar Association presented awards to key faculty and staff members for the first time as part of the Supreme Court Celebration.

Also recognized were:

  • Jerry Foxhoven, assistant professor and director of the Joan and Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights
  • Russ Lovell, associate dean and professor of law
  • Susan Dittmer, budget and office manager
  • Sue Lerdal, reference librarian and associate professor of librarianship
  • Bill Hennan, assistant dean

The Supreme Court Celebration also included dinners for the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Drake Law Review and Drake Moot Court. In addition, the Iowa Supreme Court held oral arguments in two cases in the courtroom of Drake’s Neal and Bea Smith Law Center.