Five Elon Law alumni honored at reunion weekend
Elon Law’s 2015 Reunion Weekend included a Class of 2010 fifth-year reunion dinner, a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar, an affinity group brunch, a family fun day luncheon, a race for women’s health and an evening reception at the O.Henry Hotel where five alumni were recognized for achievement and professional service.
Luke Bierman, dean of Elon Law, expressed appreciation for the Elon Law Alumni Council, chaired by Andrea Harrell L’09, for its contributions to the success of Reunion Weekend.
“From the CLE on Friday to the Saturday morning run and family event to the affinity group brunch, with all the receptions and dinners in between, our alumni, students, faculty and staff demonstrated great enthusiasm and support for Elon Law while enjoying old and new friends at the various activities,” Bierman said. “As we continue to improve our law school and enhance the opportunities available to our students, we should be motivated by recognizing that in just a few short years, Elon Law graduates are making a difference.”
Continuing a tradition started in 2014, four awards were presented in recognition of alumni accomplishments in the legal profession and in service to their communities.
Jameson Marks L’10 received the George R. Johnson Professional Achievement Award in recognition of significant professional contributions. Presenting the award, Jennifer Reutter L’10 noted that Marks began his legal career with the Forsyth County District Attorney's Office in the fall of 2010, helping to establish their DWI Prosecutor position and earning recognition for his work in the Domestic Violence Court. In 2011, Marks moved to the Triangle region of North Carolina and began working as an Assistant District Attorney in Johnston County.
“Jameson spent several years building a digital case law database to aid prosecutors around the state with DWI prosecution and was instrumental in creating local rules for district criminal court to more effectively handle the backlog of DWI cases,” Reutter said. “In 2014, Jameson left the District Attorney's office to become the youngest ever Commission Counsel for the NC Judicial Standards Commission, where he offers guidance to judges and justices across the state on judicial and ethical issues.”
While in Johnston County, Marks focused on criminal domestic violence cases and volunteered his time with a domestic violence prevention coalition. He was a regular participant in the local women's advocacy group and participated in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundraising event. Marks annually serves as a judge for a local school's We the People civics competition. As Commission Counsel for the NC Judicial Standards Commission, Marks reviews and supervises investigations into judicial misconduct and, if necessary, prosecutes judges or justices administratively at the Court of Appeals.
Allison Lukanich L’12 and Natalie Teague L’09 received the Leary F. Davis Service and Leadership in the Community Award, presented to alumni who have demonstrated outstanding service to the community, state or nation. The remarks of Andrea Davis L’12 in presenting this award follow:
“There are many Elon alumni who are out in our community making a difference, but we have two here tonight that have worked so hard and made such an impact, that we felt that they both deserved the award. Allison Lukanich and Natalie Teague have both done so much to stand for those people who cannot stand for themselves, to be the voice for those that cannot speak. Individually they are great, but together, they are unstoppable!
“Allison and Natalie are immigration attorneys who have dedicated themselves to helping protect the people who are in the most desperate need of protection. Many of the people they represent are victims of rape and human trafficking, and have fled to America to try and find a safe, new life, only to be detained by our government in detention centers that are basically prisons. Without help, they will be deported right back to the torture they were fleeing. Both Allison and Natlie went to Artesia, New Mexico for a pro bono week representing women and children who are being detained in the US. The center was in the middle of the desert, and the attorneys there worked long days at the center speaking with clients, and then the night researching to build asylum cases.
“You may not know that Allison went to law school already having a passion for immigration law issue, having spent time in Mexico and Chile as an undergraduate, and spending one summer at the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in Costa Rica. While at Elon, she worked at the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic helping to create asylum cases. She went into private practice as an associate attorney doing immigration law in Durham. Allison focuses on family-based petitions and humanitarian-based immigration law, including asylum cases and special immigrant juvenile status.
“Natalie also traveled as an undergraduate, having received a Burch Fellowship to work with a women’s sewing cooperative in a refugee community in Nicaragua and spending a semester with the School for International Training in Mexico. At Elon Law, she helped establish the International Law Society, the Elon ACLU chapter and the Public Interest Law Society as a member of our founding class. She received the North Carolina State Bar Pro Bono Award for logging over 675 hours of pro bono service in immigration internships in law school. She worked for the Federal Public Defender and at UNC Chapel Hill before returning to her passion for immigration, with the Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte in Asheville. Now she runs her own law firm dedicated to immigration.”
Collin Cooper L’12 received the Young Alumni Award, an award presented to an alumnus of Elon Law within the first five years of their graduation from the law school, in recognition of significant achievements in their area of practice and in their service to the University, community, state or nation.
Beth Klein L’12 delivered the following remarks to presentat this award:
“In addition to his job as a Senior Contract Specialist with Pharmaceutical Product Development, Collin has dedicated much of his time and talents to our profession through his work with the Young Lawyers Divisions (YLD) of both the American Bar Association (ABA) and the North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA). Among his numerous positions, Collin has served as the Associate Editor of The Young Lawyer for the ABA YLD between 2012 and 2014; he was an ABA YLD Diversity Scholar in 2013 and 2014; and he currently serves as the Vice-Director of Diversity for the ABA YLD as well as the Inaugural Vice-Chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee. Collin also currently serves as the Inaugural Chair for the Subcommittee on LGBT Issues for the NCBA YLD.
“Collin has authored works published by both the ABA and the NCBA, and he recently served as the Program Materials Coordinator for the CLE hosted by the ABA Business Law Section entitled ‘Gay Marriage and the Repeal of DOMA: What Every Business Lawyer Needs to Know.’ In 2014, he was a panelist for the ABA CLE entitled ‘LGBT Lawyers and Implicit Bias’ which took place in Los Angeles, CA. Next week Collin will serve as a panelist for the NCBA CLE ‘NC Marriage Equality: A Practitioner's Symposium’ along with fellow award winner tonight, Justin Ervin. These are only some of the examples of Collin's work with both the American and North Carolina Bar Associations. It is my honor to present the 2015 Young Alumni Award to my classmate and friend, Collin Cooper.”
Justin Ervin L’10 received the Distinguished Service to Elon Law School Award.
Melanie Crenshaw L’09 delivered the following remarks in the presentation of this award:
“Justin Ervin graduated from Elon University School of Law in 2010 and continued his education at the University of Florida where he earned his LLM in taxation. Justin is always ready and willing to help fellow alumni with estate questions; just ask him, I know I have. In addition to his general willingness to share his legal knowledge, Justin has given back to Elon through his involvement on the Elon Law Alumni Council. As a member of the council, he has coordinated and hosted reunion events and worked to build a strong alumni group. In addition, Justin has conducted CLEs at Elon, bringing a wide range of practitioners into the school.
“Justin is invested and involved in the greater community through his work with community organizations, fundraising and service projects such as Project Grace. Justin's work with pro bono legal drives and his involvement in the fight for equality for the LGBT community has earned him the respect of his colleagues. I am happy to present this award to my friend and colleague, Justin Ervin.:
Reflections from Elon Law alumni on Reunion Weekend 2015:
Andrea Davis L’12: “I come back because I like Elon and I like what Elon does and I like to support Elon in whatever way I can.”
Kristin DelForge L’14: “I enjoy being a part of the Elon Law community. I think this weekend was a great way to connect with people, meet students and see the faculty. I really enjoyed it.”
Nikki Feliciano L’11: “I miss being around my Elon Law family. I really love our school and I love my classmates.”
Andrea Harrell L’09: “I like seeing everybody, meeting new people and showing off my baby!”
W. Benjamin Woody L’14: “I was hoping to learn more about the law school’s new programs and innovations, and I was excited to hear about how we’re evolving.”
Many alumni participated in the seventh annual Barbara Sullivan 5K Race for Women’s Health on Saturday, coordinated by student leaders of the Women’s Law Association at Elon Law. The race is named for the mother of former WLA member Ann Sullivan L’09, who lost her life to a brain tumor. Every year, WLA honors other members of its association and their families by donating all of the proceeds of the race to health issues that have affected them. All proceeds from the 2015 race are designated for the Greensboro nonprofit organization Hannah's Haven.