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Francis J. Conte Special Service Award
The Francis J. Conte Special Service Award recognizes an individual's extraordinary community service, as reflected in the school's Catholic, Marianist values, and support for the School of Law through donations of time, talent or financial assistance. This award is not reserved for alumni, but may be given to anyone who supports the School of Law.
Kathy Lee Ellison ’79
It is with great honor that this year’s award is presented, posthumously, to Kathy Lee Ellison ’79, who lost her battle with breast cancer in January.
Dean Paul McGreal said, “Kathy’s career and her contributions to assisting the underserved truly exemplifies the Marianist mission as she was assisting the poor, caring about her clients, putting purpose before money and notoriety. She was a sole practitioner who provided affordable legal services to working-class families in Dayton for over a third of a century.”
Jeffrey Swillinger of Taft Law wrote in 2009, “Kathy joined a ‘team’ of attorneys assisting the underserved at a monthly free law clinic located at the Wesley Community Center in West Dayton. Long after she should have stayed at home as her illness overcame her best efforts to continue on, and even when she had a brace on her neck due the pervasiveness of the cancer and could hardly speak, she was there in body, mind and spirit. She was an essential contributor to helping those who could not help themselves, until the bitter end.
Ellison was profiled in Judith Ezekiel’s 2002 book, Feminism in the Heartland. This careful documentation shows the ways in which the entire progressive community benefitted from foundations laid by the Dayton Women’s Liberation of which Ellison was a founding activist in the 1970’s. She was active in Girl Scouting, the Dayton Jewish Film Festival, fair housing, preservation of the SunWatch Indian Village & Archaeological Park, as well as LUNAFEST, which is a festival of short films by, for and about women and other progressive causes.
Her good friend, Dalma Grandjean ’77, offered brief remarks regarding Ellison’s nomination. Phil Hinrichs, Ellison’s partner and caregiver, accepted the award on behalf of her daughter, Lindsay Meck of New York City.
Glen Dewar '89
Before joining the faculty of the School of Law in 1979, Kel Dickinson practiced in a small law firm in Michigan and served as assistant general counsel and secretary to the Renegotiation Board. The Renegotiation Board was a small federal agency charged by Congress with eliminating excessive profits on nation defense and space contracts and no longer exists.
Professor Dickinson was attracted to the School of Law, which was then only five years old, by its people, faculty, staff and students. He saw an opportunity to have significant impact on the formative years of the institution. He also liked that it was at a major Catholic university, with a beautiful campus in a vibrant and active city.
Originally teaching business courses, he served as associate dean of academic affairs from 1980 to 1983, from 1987 to 1992, and again from 2001 to 2005. In this role, Professor Dickinson had a hand in many of the major developments at the school, including the creation of the Legal Profession Program in the 1980s, and space and budget for Keller Hall in the 1990s.
Mary Louise Dreety
The Honorable G. Jack Davis
Lori Shaw '87
A member of the Legal Profession faculty at the School of Law since 1988, Lori Shaw was appointed dean of students in 2003. She listens to, works with, and counsels students concerning personal and academic issues; serves on the management team for UDSL; and acts as a liaison between students, faculty and members of the administration. She also helps develop and enforce student policies; serves as an advocate for student needs and represents the student body on law school and university committees; oversees and provides leadership for various student programs and organizations; and organizes special events.
She is also the faculty coordinator for the Honorable James J. Gilvary Symposium on Law, Religion and Social Justice. Dean Shaw writes a bimonthly column on legal ethics in the American Bar Association Student Lawyer and previously co-wrote a regular column for the Columbus Bar Journal. She is a recipient of the TWEN Award for Innovation in Teaching from West Group and in 2006 received her second national award from the American Society of Business Publication editors.
Thomas P. Whelley II '77
Tom Whelley has been a consistent and loyal supporter of the law school since graduating in 1977. He is a member of the School of Law’s Advisory Council and teaches civil trial practice at the law school.
He also serves on the boards of the Dayton Early College Academy and the Law Leadership Institute and has served as president of the Legal Aid Society of Dayton and the Dayton Bar Association, and as chair of the Western Ohio Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Whelley is a partner in Dinsmore & Shohl’s Dayton office He has extensive experience in litigating complex business cases, including shareholder disputes, accounting malpractice, broker dealer actions, and other related fields. Previously, he worked at Chernesky, Heyman & Kress and Thompson, Hine & Flory.
“I believe community service is a learned behavior,” Whelley said, crediting his parents, professors and “icons” of the Dayton community for instilling him the importance of service.
In 1994, he received Dayton Law’s Distinguished Alumni Award. While in law school, he was editor-in-chief of the University of Dayton Law Review.
Dave Barnette '79
Mike Ledbetter '97
After serving with the 1st Armored Division in Erlangen, West Germany, Mike Ledbetter earned a B.A. from Bowling Green State University and then a J.D. from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1997.
He worked for 10 years as an associate attorney and partner in a Dayton-based labor law firm. In 2006, Mike established his new office, where he has represented clients in proceedings in state and federal court, in arbitration proceedings, and before administrative agencies. Mike regularly speaks at conferences hosted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and has authored articles published in the Foundation's Benefits and Compensation Digest.
Mike serves on the Kessler Scholarship Golf Tournament Committee and coordinates the community service project during Alumni Weekend, often bringing his family along to serve and put the university's Catholic, Marianist philosophy into practice.
Ria Farrell Schalnat '99
Ria Farrell Schalnat is a patent attorney at Frost Brown Todd, LLC, and has a technology focus in telecommunications, billing, and other software-oriented inventions. Her substantive practice includes prosecution, litigation, due diligence reviews and portfolio management.
She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dayton School of Law in 1999. She worked for several years as a programmer after graduating in 1995 with a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Kentucky University.
An adjunct professor at the School of Law, Ria teaches the Patent Litigation Capstone. She is a board member of the Cincinnati Intellectual Property Law Association. She served as president of that organization in 2008 and 2009 and previously as vice president. She is also a member of the Intellectual Property Owners Subcommittee on Open Source. She performs pro bono legal services through Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor in the area of adoption law.
Ria is an amateur chess player and enjoys singing in choirs. She placed first in the 2009 Cardinal Open Chess Tournament for the U1000 Division.
Thomas Hurney Jr. '83
Thomas Hurney, Jr., Class of 1983, has long-standing ties to both the University of Dayton and the School of Law. He received a bachelor's in business administration from UD in 1980. Three years later he graduated cum laude from the University of Dayton School of Law. As a law student, he was the comments editor of the Law Review.
Since graduating, Hurney has remained active with the School of Law and regularly interviews students on behalf of his law firm, Jackson Kelly in Charleston, West Virginia. Tom manages Jackson Kelly's litigation practice group.
In 2011, the firm employed 13 Dayton Law graduates, including seven associates, the largest single contingent of Dayton Law attorneys employed by any private employer outside of Ohio. Over the years, Jackson Kelly has hired dozens of other Dayton Law graduates who have moved on to other opportunities where they have flourished, thanks in large part to the tutelage provided by Hurney and his colleagues.
Eric Chaffee is director of faculty research, associate professor of law and chair of the Project for Law & Business Ethics at Dayton Law. He joined the law school in 2006. He is an expert in the areas of business law, criminal law, nonprofit organizations and securities regulation. He regularly presents at CLE programs for Dayton Law alumni and participates in law school activities and alumni events.
He is a prolific scholar and is regularly invited to speak at symposia, conferences, workshops and other events in the United States and abroad. He has been voted Professor of the Year several times by the student body.
Chaffee has worked with numerous nonprofit organizations. He has served as the president and a trustee of the Cleveland Association of Phi Beta Kappa, which annually gives more than 120 awards and scholarships to Northeast Ohio high school students, and as a director and the governance chair of the Domestic Violence Center in Cleveland. He also has served on the board of the Law Academy at Martin Luther King Jr. School for Law and Municipal Careers. He has volunteered with United Way Services and Harvest for Hunger in Cleveland. As a law student, he spent time working at legal aid in both Philadelphia and Xenia.
Prior to coming to the School of Law, Chaffee was an attorney with Jones Day, where he handled civil and criminal matters and gained practical experience in numerous areas of law.
He received his J.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A. at Ohio State. While in law school, he was managing editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law, editor-in-chief of the Penn Law Forum student newspaper and founder of the Penn Law Immigration Clinic.
Josh Lorentz is considered an overachiever, with both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science, from Ohio University. Known as a hard worker in his law school days, Lorentz served a Judicial Externship with Judge Merz at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. His positive perspective and attitude towards life and law school, even during the days when most students focus almost exclusively on their studies, was well-known.
Lorentz joined the Intellectual Property Practice Group at the Cincinnati office of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP when he completed his studies at Dayton Law, making partner in January 2008 as a result of his tenacious efforts and enthusiasm for the practice of law. His professional experience includes working with numerous technologies in the chemical/materials, mechanical and electrical engineering arts. While his practice focuses on patent and trademark litigation, it also includes drafting and prosecuting patent and trademark applications; rendering patentability, infringement and trademark registrability and clearance opinions; and licensing of patents and trademarks. He has extensive experience in actions before the International Trademark Commission and he is currently on the firm’s recruiting committee.
Lorentzis involved in many professional associations. He is a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation Section of the Cincinnati Bar Association; he is the former Treasurer for the Cincinnati Intellectual Property Law Association, known as CincyIP; and he belongs to the Ohio State Bar Association, the Licensing Executives Society, the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the International Trademark Association.
Ria Farrell Schalnat, another UDSL alum and former President of CincyIP, said, "Josh’s commitment to the IP bar at large is refreshing in the current myopic, recessionary climate. When so many lawyers are focused on just turning over their billables, Josh spends hours of uncompensated time sorting through the budget for CincyIP and keeping the rest of the officers and committees focused on utilizing the money to get the best possible return on investment so that the entire IP bar can benefit. His commitment to strategic planning for CincyIP goes beyond the usual duties of a Treasurer – he is a team player in every sense of the word."
Lorentz has been named an Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Star – five times! - and graciously volunteers his time as a member of the Board of Directors for the Cincinnati Area Senior Services and to the United Way Tocqueville Society.
Despite Lorentz's great success in his professional endeavors and the time he dedicates to service outside the legal arena, he always finds time to return to Dayton Law. Lorentz has guest lectured for faculty members, and helped by reviewing and commenting on students’ law review articles in his field of expertise. He also went out of his way to create an unpaid externship for one particularly deserving student, and ensured that student was treated just like the firm’s summer associates in every respect.
According to Tim Swensen, Assistant Dean and Director of Dayton Law’s Career Services Office, "Josh consistently goes above and beyond the call of duty on behalf of current students and recent graduates. He has interviewed our students regularly for summer and permanent positions at Dinsmore & Shohl and spends countless hours meeting with and counseling students on every facet of their career pursuits. For example, he has conducted mock interviews, critiqued written documents used for various job applications, written letters of recommendation, participated in CSO-related programs, and generally served as a reliable, honest and insightful mentor to dozens of students over the years. His loyalty to Dayton Law cannot be overstated, and his enthusiasm is inspirational and contagious. His achievements are a testament both to his intrinsic qualities and to the education he received at Dayton Law."
William H. Frapwell '77
The Honorable Daniel G. Gehres '78
Marybeth Rutledge '82
A.J. Wagner '77
A.J. Wagner is a 1977 graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law. He is a former Montgomery County auditor and is a partner in the law firm Shively & Wagner in Dayton. He is also a past president of the law school's Alumni Association.
Wagner received his undergraduate degree in elementary education from the Franciscan University of Stuebenville. He has worked as a teacher, probate court referee, and acting judge in the Dayton Municipal Court before establishing a private legal practice. Wagner has served as a trust officer for Society Bank and is a member of the board of trustees for the Miami Valley Regional Transit authority in 1986. He has also served on the Dayton Civil Service Board.
Involved with other area politicians prior to running for county auditor, Wagner ran the re-election campaign for Mayor Richard Clay Dixon and served as treasurer for County Commission President Chuck Curran during his state senate campaign. Wagner has also sat on the Democratic Central and Executive Committees.