Law Alumni Board Members
2016-17 Law Alumni Board
Jason Amala '05 (President-Elect; Chair, Development Committee) is a partner and co-founder of the law firm, Pfau, Cochran, Vertetis & Amala PLLC, with offices in Seattle and Tacoma, where he has a diverse practice representing plaintiffs. While a student at SU Law, he was twice elected president of the student body and finished second in his class. At graduation, he received the Faculty Scholar Award. Jason serves on the board of the Just Cauz Foundation and is a volunteer with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Joanna Plichta Boisen '06 (President) is a partner in the business group at Foster Pepper PLLC. She serves as the firm's Pro Bono Counsel and the Chair of the firm's Tax-Exempt Organizations Industry Group. In her role as Pro Bono Counsel, she oversees the pro bono program and is responsible for ensuring that the firm's corporate social responsibility initiatives align with its values and culture. She also manages and supervises Foster Pepper's wide-ranging pro bono cases and projects, while maintaining her own matters and clients. As the Chair of the Tax-Exempt Organizations Industry Group, she and her team provide legal representation in virtually all areas of tax-exempt and charitable giving law on a billable basis.
Heidi Borson '97 (Co-Chair, Regional and South Sound) is an attorney at Durrell Law Group, P.C. in Anchorage, Alaska, where her practice focuses on estate planning, business law, nonprofits, real estate, probate and Alaska Native corporations. Prior to joining Durrell Law Group, Heidi was a litigation associate at MacDonald, Hoague & Bayless in Seattle, focusing on civil rights, discrimination, and employment law. Heidi clerked for the Honorable Robert J. Bryan in the United States District Court in Tacoma, and for the Honorable H. Russel Holland and the Honorable John W. Sedwick in the United States District Court in Anchorage. Heidi served as the first Graduate Fellow and Supervising Attorney of the Access to Justice Institute upon graduation from SU Law.
Michael Cherry '11 has 40-years of experience in the technology industry working in a variety of industries including cable television, government service, networking, manufacturing, oil and gas, consulting, and software evangelism and program management with Microsoft. He was instrumental in the design of a key feature of the Windows NT Operating System. He currently works as a Senior Analyst at Directions on Microsoft.
Leslie Clark '04 is a litigation attorney at Phillips Burgess PLLC in Tacoma, where her practice focuses on land use and environmental law. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, she worked for two Seattle firms, handling municipal matters as well as land use and environmental law related cases. She has published on these topics, including the evolving regulatory takings and cleanup apportionment laws. Before becoming an attorney, she served as a land use planner for municipalities in Washington, Utah, and Louisiana.
James (Jamie) Corning '12 graduated first in his class and currently practices commercial litigation at Davis Wright Tremaine, where he focuses on class-action defense, intellectual property, contract, and antitrust/consumer protection disputes. Before pursuing a legal career, Jamie worked for nearly a decade as a software developer and program manager for various technology companies, including Microsoft. Jamie is a volunteer attorney with the Housing Justice Project and King County Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services, and in his spare time, he coaches the law school's regional and national moot court competition teams.
Justin Farmer '09 (Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Committee) is a lawyer, licensed real estate broker, and entrepreneur. After law school, he worked as an Assistant Attorney General in Olympia where he served as “in-house” counsel to Washington’s largest state agency and provided advice to various “business” divisions within the organization. Justin has combined his passion for business, entrepreneurial spirit, and legal background to form his own business Private Practice Transitions, Inc., while also excelling as the Director of Legal Projects for Robert Half Legal in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.
Yair Inspektor '11 (Co-Chair, Regional and South Sound) currently serves as an Attorney Advisor in the General Counsel's Office for D.C. Public Schools. His previous role was that of an Assistant Attorney General for the D.C. Attorney General's Office. Yair is a member of the Maryland and D.C. bars and is an active member of the Seattle University School of Law D.C. Alumni Chapter.
Angie R. Jones '06 is a member of Perkins Coie's litigation practice. She focuses on white collar and investigations, corporate governance, False Claims Act, and other complex commercial litigation. She has conducted numerous internal corporate investigations in a variety of contexts, including the False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and has defended clients in government investigations conducted by such agencies as the DOJ, SEC, FDIC, and FINRA. She also handles civil fraud matters and commercial disputes.
The Hon. Gretchen Leanderson '87 was recently appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to the Pierce County Superior Court. She served the Attorney General's Office for 26 years, most recently as Chief of the Tacoma Division, practicing tort litigation, workers compensation, elder law, Medicaid, and DSHS licensing appeals. She is active in the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, Washington Women Lawyers, YWCA and the Crystal Judson Domestic Violence Center.
Celeste McDonell '81 is a principal at Skellenger Bender where her practice is focused in the areas of family law, guardianships, estate planning, and probate. She is an active member of the Washington State and King County Bar Associations, and serves as a volunteer settlement conference mediator for King County family law cases. She volunteers with the King County Volunteer Attorneys for Persons with AIDS program and as a member of Seattle University's Planned Giving Committee.
Megan McNally '13, JD, CFRE, is Interim Vice President for Development at Seattle's iconic Pacific Science Center. She has two decades experience in the nonprofit sector as a leader, speaker, educator and consultant, focusing on philanthropy, organization strategy, and public policy. She completed her JD cum laude in the evening program while serving in executive leadership at the Washington State Bar Association and Foundation. She serves on the University of Washington Certificate in Nonprofit Management Advisory Board. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive, a member of Washington Women Lawyers and QLaw, and provides pro bono legal assistance to nonprofits as a volunteer for Wayfind.
Leslie Meserole '02 is Adjunct Faculty at Seattle University School of Law.
Alexis Oliver '08 (Co-Chair, Outreach) is a Broker with Windermere Real Estate. Prior to this role, she served as Director of the Washington State Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises and as Executive Policy Advisor to Governor Christine Gregoire. Alexis chairs the diversity committee for the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington and is a board member of NARAL.
John Payseno '02 (Co-Chair, Strategic Planning Committee) is Associate General Counsel at Microsoft Corporation supporting digital advertising. Previously, he supported Microsoft's volume licensing business and was a real estate and land use lawyer at Cairncross & Hempelmann, P.S.
The Hon. Judith H. Ramseyer '87 joined the King County Superior Court bench in 2012 after serving as a litigation attorney focusing on complex civil litigation for 25 years. Judge Ramseyer is active in professional organizations and has received the Washington Women Lawyers President's Award and Passing the Torch Award, as well as Washington State Bar Association's Excellence in Diversity Award.
Nate Roberts '08 is a trial attorney at Connelly Law Offices, PLLC. His practice focuses on the litigation and trial of complex personal injury and wrongful death claims, including civil rights, abuse and neglect, government liability, medical malpractice, Federal Tort Claims Act, and product liability matters. He serves on the Board for the Washington State Association for Justice and received the New Lawyer Award. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association and received TPCBA's Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Clinic Service in 2013.
Catherine Romero '96 is a senior attorney at Microsoft and a member of the Latina Commission of the HBNA. A Standford graduate, she was an engineer at Boeing for seven years before attending Seattle U Law. After graduating, she worked for Perkins Coie before running her own firm that provided legal services to Microsoft. Before joining Microsoft, she worked in-house for T-Mobile. She has taught a mergers and acquisitions lab at the law school as an adjunct professor.
Jennifer Shaw '87 (Past President) is a program officer for the justice team of the Open Society Foundations' U.S. Programs, overseeing grantmaking related to policing and the death penalty.is, leading policy advocacy, public education, and mobilizing programs. Prior to this role, Jennifer was deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington State. She also served as a public defender for Northwest Defenders Association and practiced at Aoki & Sakamoto LLP. She served on the King County Sheriff's Blue Ribbon Panel and the Seattle Mayor's Police Accountability Review Panel.
Kripa Upadhyay '07 (Co-Chair, Outreach) is the founder of Orbit Law, PLLC where her practice focuses on all areas of Immigration and Nationality Law. Rated a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2014, she is actively involved in leadership positions with various specialty bars in Washington State, including serving as a Board Member of the South Asian Bar Association of WA and Chair of the CLE committee for the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Kripa is also a co-founder and volunteer at Running Peaceful (www.runningpeaceful.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering at-risk youth to take on leadership roles in their own lives and community.