July 2019 Alumni Newsletter


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Special Announcements

Show Your Support: July Bar Exam Takers

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

7 Seas Brewing
21011 Jefferson Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98402

Come join members of the Gonzaga Law leadership team in support of our July bar exam takers. The first round of drinks and appetizers are on us! We look forward to the chance to meet and celebrate with our Tacoma alumni. 

Please RSVP by Monday, July 29, 2019.

Professor Sandra Simpson Publishes New Book

Simpson book 

Congratulations to Professor Sandra Simpson for the recent publication of her new book, πΉπ‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘š π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π΄π‘ π‘ π‘œπ‘π‘–π‘Žπ‘‘π‘’ π·π‘’π‘Žπ‘›’𝑠 π·π‘’π‘ π‘˜: 𝐴𝑛 πΈπ‘ π‘ π‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘–π‘Žπ‘™ π»π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘π‘œπ‘œπ‘˜. Having served as an associate dean from 2013-2017, Professor Simpson provides resources and shares her insights and advice on how to thrive and excel in this position.

West Academic Publishing also showcased Professor Simpson's book at the American Bar Association's 2019 Associate Deans Conference, "Developing the Skill Sets of the Associate Dean" in Chicago.

Click here to learn more about how to download the free handbook and additional resources.

Alumni Mentors: Local & Distance Needed


Gonzaga Law’s Mentoring Program pairs participating 2L/3L students with an attorney mentor, either locally or across the country, who is actively engaged in the profession.

Interested in becoming a mentor? You'll be making a real difference in the lives of our students by helping them navigate their professional pursuits.

Contact Abraham Ritter, Assistant Director of the Center for Professional Development, for more information and to sign up.


Alumni in the News

Hunter Abell ('05): Diversity Representative

The Board of Governors of the Washington State Bar Association recently elected Hunter Abell to serve as the new at-large diversity representative. Abell's three-year term will begin in October.

Stefanie Ellis ('07): Superior Court Commissioner


Story from The Columbian

Clark County Superior Court has appointed Stefanie Ellis as their new court commissioner, filling the position vacated by Jennifer Snides ('96). Snides was appointed as a superior court judge in April.

Ellis previously served as assistant city attorney for Vancouver, where she prosecuted criminal misdemeanor and domestic violence cases. She was judge pro tem for Clark County District Court and most recently has been owner and partner for Priest and Ellis, PLLC. Her practice focuses on family law, including divorce, child custody, modifications and child support.

“I am humbled and honored to have been selected, especially given the extremely strong candidate pool. I am excited to serve my profession and community in this role,” Ellis told The Columbian.

Read the full story in The Columbain

Judge Mary E. Fairhurst ('84): Professionalism Award Recipient

Congratulations to Washington State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary E. Fairhurst for being awarded this year's Ninth Circuit Professionalism Award by the American Inn of Court. The American Inns of Court is an association of legal professionals who share a passion for professional excellence. They work to develop mentorship relationships and advance the highest levels of integrity and ethics in the legal community.

Eli Marchbanks ('14): Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program


Navigating the legal system can be a nearly insurmountable task for people who are unable to hire a lawyer. Gonzaga Law alumnus Eli Marchbanks volunteers with the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program (CCVLP) to help people in these kinds of situations. Marchbanks is among 98 attorneys who volunteer their time to help clients who can't afford to hire a lawyer for debt-related court matters. He spends three hours each month helping people at the clinic in the program's office.

“People generally understand the gist of their legal defense. What’s impossible for them, and understandably, are the court procedures. I think that’s the chief problem,” Marchbanks told The Columbian.

Read more in The Columbian

Erik Olsen ('10): New President of Kent Rotary


Erik Olsen was recently sworn in as the new president of Kent Rotary. Olsen is an attorney at Hanis Irvine Prothero in Kent, focusing on personal injury litigation, with an emphasis in motor vehicle accidents, criminal defense and traffic infractions.

Olsen has held most of the positions for the South King County Bar Association and is also a member of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Washington State Association for Justice and the King County Bar Association.


Upcoming Events

Orientation Alumni Mixer


Tuesday, August 20, 2019
4:00 - 5:00 P.M.
Back Lawn

During our fall orientation, you are invited to join the incoming Class of 2022 for an alumni mixer. Enjoy a barbeque on the back lawn and visit with the newest 1L students.

Pilgrimage 2019

Dean Rooksby and Law School Chaplain, Fr. Pham, will be joining Gonzaga's Mission & Ministry on September 14, 2019 for their annual pilgrimage to the Cataldo Mission. The pilgrimage is an 11.5 mile hike to the historic Mission of the Sacred Heart in Cataldo, Idaho. Alumni and students are encouraged to participate. More details to come.

2019 Center for Civil and Human Rights Conference

Center Conference 

September 20, 2019

As we move further into the information age, the domain of intellectual property (IP) continues to grow exponentially. This domain––which includes algorithms, digital creations, genes, and even living organisms––is a vast economic resource that garners massive earnings for the media, pharmaceutical, agricultural, and academic industries, among others. Often overlooked are questions of how the resources of IP can be used to advance the wellbeing of our communities, nations, and the world at large. With these tensions in mind, this conference puts IP into conversation with social justice by asking how the areas of patent law, trademark law, and copyright law can better serve the public good in the modern world.

Register and Agenda


Recent Photos

Wine Law in Italy

Wine Law 

Participants of our Wine Law program ventured into the Tuscan countryside to learn from experts about the legal and business aspects of wine. After kicking off the festivities with a master class at the beautiful Bargino Winery, attendees traveled to stay at the charming Castello di Splatenna in Gaiole. This inaugural program was a resounding success and provided a wonderful opportunity for participants to explore one the world's most famous wine regions.

Learn more about the 2019 Wine Law Program

"Teaching Today's Law Students"

Simpson conference 

Sixty-eight attendees from around the world gathered to discuss “Teaching Today’s Law Students” at the annual Institute for Law Teaching and Learning conference. Professor Sandra Simpson, co-director of the Institute, taught a plenary workshop on how to thrive in multigenerational workplaces and classrooms.

“It is so inspiring to be part of an organization that values good teaching, putting students first,” said Professor Simpson. “As the conference is done in a workshop format, each participant, including me, leaves our conference with a list of great teaching ideas to implement in his or her classroom which will enhance student learning.”