The College of Law will honor six alumni at the Annual Alumni Luncheon in Chicago on Thursday, April 12th. Three different types of awards will be presented, each for a distinct purpose.
The Alumni Professional Development Award honors an alumnus who has made important contributions to the career development of our students and alumni. The 2018 recipient is Steven Roeder '84.
Roeder is the principal of Roeder Law Offices LLC, where he focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, professional liability and class action litigation throughout the country. Mr. Roeder has achieved an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating that firm gives. He has been recognized in Illinois Super Lawyers for business litigation and class action/mass torts defense from 2005 to the present and as an Illinois Leading Lawyer for commercial litigation, class action defense and product liability law. Since 2005, Mr. Roeder has taught trial advocacy as an Adjunct Professor at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Mr. Roeder has more than 30 years of jury trial experience, representing corporations and individuals in hundreds of cases throughout the United States. He successfully has tried more than 35 cases before state courts, federal courts and arbitration panels.
The Alumni Loyalty Award celebrates an alumnus who has demonstrated exceptional leadership through their service to the College of Law community. This year, two alumni will receive the Alumni Loyalty Award.
Rick Smith '80 is a partner of White & Case LLP based in its Los Angeles office. He has a transactional and corporate practice with an emphasis on leasing and asset finance. Rick has significant experience in aircraft leasing and finance, and his work spans the globe, involving airlines throughout Europe, South America, and Asia. He served as executive partner of the White & Case Los Angeles office for over ten years and was head of the firm’s global asset finance practice for four years. Rick is a double Illini, with a BA and JD from the University of Illinois. He was a member of the Illini gymnastic team as an undergraduate. Rick has served on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the College of Law for over a decade. He moved to Manhattan Beach, California, after graduation from the College and still lives there today with his wife, two children, and their new golden retriever puppy.
Murvel Pretorius Jr. ’71 is a senior partner of Quinn, Johnston, Henderson, Pretorius & Cerulo. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1971. He has also been admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court. He has practiced actively in Central Illinois for more than 35 years, representing physicians and medical groups in malpractice cases. He also practices in the areas of healthcare law. He has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer, and by the Leading Lawyers Network, for medical malpractice defense litigation.
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni for their professional achievements and leadership in their communities. Three alumni have been selected to receive 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards.
The Honorable Barbara Crowder ’81 is a Judge in the Third Judicial Circuit of Illinois consisting of Madison and Bond Counties. She was appointed an associate judge on January 8, 1999. She was elected as a Circuit Judge in 2006 and then retained by voters in 2012. She is retiring at the end of this term in December 2018. A double-Illini, Judge Crowder first worked in LaSalle-Peru but moved to Madison County in 1982 where she became an assistant state’s attorney and the spouse of double-Illini Lawrence O. Taliana (B.A. 1978, J.D. 1981) who she counts as her absolute best take-away from law school even though she concedes the incredible legal education has allowed her to follow a great career path. In 1985, she went into private practice at Robbins & Crowder (later Robbins, Crowder & Bader) in Edwardsville. She left that firm to create Crowder & Taliana, a partnership with her spouse, in 1988 and practiced law with Larry until she became a judge. Judge Crowder participates in a number of professional activities, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee’s 2017 Leadership Award.
Mark Steinberg ’92 will also receive a Distinguished Alumni Award. Regarded throughout the sports industry as one of the premiere sports agents in golf, Mark Steinberg has represented some of the top golfers in the world, including Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, and Gary Woodland. With over 20 years of experience in sports management/marketing, Mark joined Excel Sports Management in July 2011 to head up Excel’s new Golf Division. As a Partner, Mark now leads the strategic direction of both the golf and consulting businesses. Throughout his career, Mark has negotiated some of the largest endorsement deals in sports history for his clients, including guiding Tiger Woods to become the first athlete in the world to amass $1 billion in earnings. Before his days as a sports agent, Mark attended the University of Illinois, where he walked on the University’s basketball team that competed in the 1989 Final Four. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law. Mark currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Tiger Woods Foundation, The Kate and Justin Rose Foundation, The Tiger Woods Learning Center, Golf 20/20 and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
John Seitman ’66 is a double Illini, with a Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois. He was admitted to the California state bar in December 1966 and practiced law with the San Diego firm Lindley, Lazar & Scales from that date until October 1997. His practice focused on commercial litigation with an emphasis on complex business disputes, financial institutions, real estate, and employment law. He also during that time frequently served as an arbitrator and as a consultant and expert witness in professional liability matters, with an emphasis on professional responsibility issues. He has served as President of the San Diego County Bar Association, President of The State Bar of California, and President of the San Diego County Bar Foundation and has received multiple awards for Outstanding Service to the Legal Profession. For 20 years, Mr. Seitman served as a full-time neutral, arbitrating and mediating domestic and international cases, first with the American Arbitration Association and from 2000 through December 2016 with JAMS. Mr. Seitman is married to the Hon. Joan K. Irion, Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, and has two adult sons.
Congratulations to all of our 2018 honorees!