April 2019 Alumni Newsletter


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Alumni in the News






Spokane Firm SBMC teams up with eBay

Gonzaga Law is proud to announce the ‘Diversity in Technology and IP Law Scholarship and Internship — Powered by eBay and SBMC.’ Starting this spring, one incoming student will earn an internship with both eBay and SBMC Intellectual Property Law of Spokane, WA. Not to mention a one-time $10,000 stipend and a recurring scholarship.

This great partnership between SBMC and eBay will provide an invaluable experience for an incoming student. Pictured above are SBMC partners Mark Niemann ('07) and Patrick Walsh ('10) with Dean Rooksby after officially signing the agreement.

Learn more about the scholarship

Stephanie E. Joannides ('81) to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

ACS Athens (American Community Schools) will honor Gonzaga Law alumna the Hon. Stephanie E. Joannides ('81), Senior Superior Court Judge, Anchorage Alaska, with this year’s “Lifetime Achievement Award,” acknowledging her professional achievements, exemplary leadership with ethos, and service to humanity. She is a member of ACS Athens’ Class of 1971.

Stephanie E. Joannides served as a judge on the State District Court, the State Superior Court, and as a judge pro tem on the Alaska Court of Criminal Appeals from 1994 to 2011. Even though she has taken senior status, she presides over a busy docket of civil and criminal cases, takes part in a variety of court projects and committees, and sits pro tem on the Criminal Court of Appeals.

Learn more


Upcoming Events

Clarke Family Prize in Legal Ethics CLE

Thursday, April 25, 2019
5:00 - 7:15 P.M.

Join Gonzaga Law for the 2019 Clarke Family Prize in Legal Ethics. Please register by Tuesday, April 23. This CLE event is free for all Gonzaga Law alumni!
Opening remarks will be made by John R. Kroger, Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law and former Attorney General of Oregon.

Panelists will include:

Judge Veronica Alicea Galván
King County Superior Court

Professor Drew Simshaw
Georgetown Law University Law Center

Bea Koempel-Thomas ('05)

Lee & Hayes Law Firm


Human race 

Run the Race: The Human Race

The Human Race is a 5k/10k charity fun run/walk benefitting the American Cancer Society. This race was created by and continues in memory of Kristina Glover, a former Gonzaga law student who lost her battle with cancer. This year we are also honoring Heidi Keele, another law student who lost her life to cancer this past fall.

This year’s race will be held on Saturday April 6, 2019 at 9:30 am. The race’s start line will be at the outdoor patio behind the Gonzaga University School of Law.

An Unclassified Look at the FISA Courts

The Federalist Society presents: Holding the Balance Steady and True: An Unclassified Look at the FISA Courts on April 10 at 5:30 p.m. Judge Richard C. Tallman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will be at Gonzaga Law as the special guest lecturer in the Barbieri Courtroom.

The Fourth Amendment in the Age of Trump

John Kroger, Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School will be at Gonzaga Law to give a lecture on April 25 at noon. Kroger will be speaking about the evolving interpretation of the 4th Amendment, with a focus on immigration and searches in public and private spaces. This event will be sponsored by the Center for Civil and Human Rights. For questions, please contact Bryn Boorman.

Constitutional Crises: Real and Imagined

Join Gonzaga Law and the Foley Institute of Washington State University on April 26 at 12:00 P.M. in the Barbieri Courtroom.

American political rhetoric has been increasingly filled with cries of constitutional crisis, and such worries have only increased since the 2016 elections. What does constitutional crisis mean, and how would we know if we are in one?

This event will feature Keith E. Whittington, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. He is the author of numerous award-winning books, including most recently Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech.


Alumni Profile

Highlighting our amazing alumni allows us to share their stories. This month we are profiling Anna Kecskes, Associate Attorney at UDA Law Firm, P.C. in Helena, Montana.

Alumni Profile 

Anna Kecskes ('15)

Tell us a little about your journey to law school. What made you want to pursue a career in legal services?

After finishing my undergraduate degree, I took a full-time job working as a staff member at a children’s psychiatric hospital and worked there for over a year. It was a challenging job, but I learned so much about mental illness, and the challenges that my patients faced and would continue to struggle with their entire lives. I also learned very quickly that if I wanted to be more effective and to be taken seriously, I was going to have to go back to school. I had been toying with the idea of law school for a few years, and decided to pursue it in order to be a more effective advocate for people.

What do you enjoy most about your profession?

I love learning whole new areas of law or areas of study with a new case; every case is different and presents its own challenges. As someone who doesn’t like to be idle, I love that I am never bored in this profession.

What do you find challenging about working in the legal profession?

This list could go on for a while; the legal profession is not an easy one. I was surprised to find once I started practice that ethical conundrums occur more frequently than you would think. We take Professional Responsibilities in law school, and we all have to pass the MPRE to be licensed. I remember thinking that the Rules of Professional Conduct were very straightforward and that most of them would never really be an issue. In reality, I have found that ethical questions come up pretty frequently in practice, and unfortunately the Rules don’t always provide an on-point answer for the questions. I’ve found that having a solid mentor or resources to help you navigate difficult questions is a must.

What piece of advice would you give to a recent graduate just starting out?

Have confidence in yourself, but be willing to recognize that you’re still learning and always will be. Be willing to try new things, even things that you thought you’d hate. The profession of “law” is huge and reaches to some crazy areas, and you might just find yourself enjoying an area that you never thought you’d like.

Also, as you’re starting out, remember that you’re making your own reputation and shaping your own experience as an attorney. Once you graduate from law school and pass the bar, whether you got a B+ in Property or your class rank becomes pretty distant. Focus on your practice and the place that you make for yourself in your community.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience at Gonzaga Law?

Take advantage of those required internships and clinics; you’re “required” to do them, but be conscientious about what you chose to do. The experience is extremely valuable; hopefully you find something that you legitimately enjoy doing. If nothing else, if you spend a semester doing something that you don’t like, you at least know that you don’t want to practice that in the future.

Interested in being featured on the Gonzaga Law Alumni Newsletter? Email Annie Yeend, Marketing Communications Coordinator, to learn more.


Recent Photos

Douglas Lecture 

2019 William O. Douglas Lecture

"If you had a chance to write the Bill of Rights today, how would you write it?" Justice John Charles Thomas, our 2019 Jurist in Residence, asked this question to an audience of students, faculty, and community members at the annual William O. Douglas Lecture.

Julie award 

2019 Myra Bradwell Award

The Gonzaga Women’s Law Caucus recently honored Julie Schaffer with the 27th Annual Myra Bradwell Award. A former Assistant Director of the Center for Law in Public Service and Moderate Means Staff Attorney for Gonzaga Law, Julie now works as the Family and Community Engagement Coordinator with Spokane Public Schools. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!