The Catholic University of America

 

 

 

 

 

Law School Hosts First Reception Honoring Alumni Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

 

 
Nearly fifty members of the Catholic University law school community gathered in downtown Washington on the evening of Nov. 6 to recognize and celebrate alumni “Super Lawyers” and “Rising Stars,” attorneys who have been nominated by their colleagues as being among the best at what they do.
 
It was the first time the law school has formally honored graduates who have earned the Super Lawyer or Rising Star designation, which is the result of a multi-phased selection process that includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
 
“This reception is a first for us. The best in any particular area always like to meet the rest of the best,” said Columbus School of Law Dean Daniel F. Attridge during his welcome remarks.
 
The law school invited all of its alumni Super Lawyers/Rising Stars to the reception at the Phoenix Park Hotel near Union Station. Those who attended were split between Super Lawyers, people who have been in practice for a significant length of time, and Rising Stars, up-and-comers who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less.
 
Lauren McDermott, 2011, practices with the small labor firm of Mooney, Greem, Saindon, Murphy & Welsh. She said her nomination as a Rising Star was unexpected, and that three other young colleagues at her firm were similarly surprised by their own nominations.
 
“It felt good as a firm – we got a lot of recognition. You get a little logo that you can put on everything that tells the world of the Rising Star status,” McDermott said.   
 
The emphasis on community and connection that has long distinguished the law school was on full display. Brian Stolarz, 1998, who is a member of the Alumni Council as well as a Super Lawyer, spoke for a few minutes, inviting some current students who were in attendance to work the advantage that comes with being a member of the Columbus School of Law.
 
“I will always take any of you out for coffee, dinners, anything you want, to discuss your careers,” Stolarz offered.

He also spoke of the unique satisfaction of pro bono service, something he has been repeatedly recognized for. As fate would have it, Alfred Dewayne Brown, a Texas death row inmate whose cause of innocence Stolarz took on years ago, had his murder conviction overturned just the previous day, after the state’s criminal appeals court found prosecutors withheld evidence that could have aided his defense.

Brown has been on death row since 2005. Stolarz had worked passionately on his defense almost from the start.
 
The final program speaker was Stan Samorajczyk, Class of 1967 and a member of the law school’s Board of Visitors. His highly successful career included 18 years with Akin Gump.
 
“My success is all due to what I had at Catholic University. Your law school - my law school - is a community, and that’s very rare in higher education. I can never give back to CU law school what it gave to me,” he said.
 
Since 2004, 645 graduates of CUA Law have been listed in the pages of the annually updated Super Lawyers Magazine, representing approximately five percent of the law school’s alumni base. It is common for recognized attorneys to be listed for multiple years, though not necessarily sequentially.
 
Three hundred and thirty six Columbus School of Law alumni were recognized for their professional standing and accomplishments in the 2014 issue of Super Lawyers Magazine