Drake Law alumni command “Forty under 40” honors Drake University Law School students are a diverse group with a multitude of interests, many of which are discovered during their years as a Bulldog. Those interests grow and evolve into passions even after graduation; recently, five Drake Law School alumni were recognized for turning those passions into action.
From immigrants’ rights, service to one’s country and supporting Drake, to juggling a family and professional endeavors and tirelessly volunteering one’s time, their passions are very different. But they are all affecting the Des Moines community.
The following alumni were recognized by the Des Moines Business Record as part of the 2012 class of “Forty under 40” honorees:
• J. Eric Boehlert, AS’96, LW’99
• Rebecca Brommel, AS’98, LW’01
• Nikki Miras Mordini, LW’01
• Kristina Stanger, LW’05
• Melissa Stover, LW’97
The list also included a current Drake Law student, Erin Schneider.
The group is made up of 40 local business leaders under the age of 40 who have demonstrated impressive career achievements and unparalleled community involvement. The honorees were recognized at an awards presentation on March 27 at the Sheraton West Des Moines.
“I am completely humbled,” says Schneider, who is an active volunteer with an interest in youth and education policy. “ I really love my community involvement, Censeo Solutions—the company I work for—and my Drake Law experience. It’s pretty amazing to be honored for doing what I love every day.”
While Schneider certainly has a lot under her belt, the Drake alumni on the list also serve as great examples of giving back to the community. Brommel is an attorney specializing in civil litigation at the BrownWinick law firm in Des Moines. Outside of work, her commitments are numerous: she is a member of the board of governors of Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute, Women for Wish Kids steering committee, Variety — the Children’s Charity, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Walk Now for Autism, and the Iowa Mission of Mercy.
“Being a lawyer, especially in private practice, is more than just about knowing and practicing the law,” Brommel says. “You need to know your community and the people in it to be successful.”
Her fellow honoree, Boehlert, is an attorney and shareholder at Ahlers & Cooney P.C., with a passion for golf and Drake. He helps to organize the Dean’s Cup Golf Challenge, an annual fundraiser for Iowa Legal Aid that pits Drake Law School against the University of Iowa College of Law. He also helps plan the Drake Classic, which has raised $250,000 to support student-athletes at the University.
“Being active on campus opened doors to life-long relationships both at Drake and within the greater Des Moines area,” says Boehlert. “Drake had such a positive impact shaping my life, it’s easy to give back.” The other honorees’ lists of involvements are also extensive. Mordini specializes in immigration law and has helped immigrants across the state. Stover, vice president of Banker’s Trust Co., leads a busy professional and personal life; she is actively involved at St. Francis of Assisi Church and School, where her children attend. Stanger put her education at Drake Law on hold after 9/11 when she was mobilized for deployment to Iraq with the National Guard, but completed her degree when she returned. Currently, she is the state commander of the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School and chair of the military affairs committee of the Iowa State Bar Association. In April she was featured in the cover story in The Des Moines Register.
The long list of activities shared among the honorees shows plenty of opportunities for future Drake Law graduates.
“Find an organization or cause — or two or three — that you care about and get involved,” Brommel says. “Find something that you really care about. Your involvement shouldn’t seem like a chore. You should feel excited to be a part of something great and worthwhile.”