Law Briefs


Each year, Santa Clara Law hosts the Celebration of Achievement to recognize alumni and members of the law school community with the following honors: the Alumni Special Achievement Award, the Edwin J. Owens Lawyer of the Year Award, the Amicus Award, and the Young Alumni Rising Star Award.

The Celebration of Achievement honors lawyers who have made a difference for Santa Clara Law. The community comes together to acknowledge the significant contributions of alumni and friends from far and wide.

Special Achievement Award:
Rebecca Jones BA 83, JD 87
Rebecca Jones, managing partner of Gallagher, Reedy & Jones, maintains a general practice emphasizing estate planning, wills and trusts, family law, business transactions, unlawful detainer and general litigation. Her firm maintains a fundamental goal to provide ethical, cost-effective legal representation by way of a concerned, personalized attorney-client relationship that focuses on problem resolution as its primary objective. Ms. Jones strongly believes in giving back both in her legal and local communities. Her motto is: “If you take care of the community, the community will take care of you.” Ms. Jones has given countless hours of service to Santa Clara Law. In addition to serving on the Santa Clara Law Alumni Board for nearly 20 years (1997-2018), she has also taught at the Law School for more than 30 years, with classes including first-year Legal Analysis, Research and Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Upper Division Legal Writing, as well as a writing course to help third-year law students pass the California Bar Exam. In addition, she is a volunteer for the Santa Clara County Pro Bono Project, SALA, and volunteers as a Judge Pro Tem helping others settle their cases. She also serves on the board of Lincoln Glen Little League, the Pirate Football Booster program, and has been an active fundraiser for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge and Coaches Against Cancer.

Owens Award:
Professor Emeritus Kenneth Manaster
Kenneth A. Manaster, the Presidential Professor of Ethics and the Common Good at SCU, has taught at Santa Clara Law for nearly five decades. He also serves as senior counsel in the environment, land use, and natural resources group of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in San Francisco. After earning his bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard University, Manaster studied in Peru on a Fulbright Fellowship, served as a law clerk for Judge Bernard M. Decker of the U.S. District Court in Chicago, and was in private practice at what is now Sidley Austin LLP. During the summer of 1969, he worked as associate counsel to the Special Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. He then served as a member of the Illinois and Chicago bar associations’ Joint Committee on the Judicial Article. In 1970, he became an assistant attorney general of Illinois, heading the Chicago office of the attorney general’s Environmental Control Division. From 1973 to 1990, he was a member of the Hearing Board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, serving as its chair for eleven years. In addition to law review articles on environmental law and other subjects, he co-authored State Environmental Law, a two-volume treatise, and he co-edits California Environmental Law and Land Use Practice, a seven-volume treatise. He is also the author of several other books including Environmental Protection and Justice, Illinois Justice: The Scandal of 1969 and theRise of John Paul Stevens (which was the basis for a 2015 PBS documentary film), and The American Legal System and Civic Engagement: Why We All Should Think Like Lawyers.

Amicus Award:
Paul Gentzkow
Paul Gentzkow is president and chief operating officer of Robert Half International, one of the world’s largest accounting and staffing firms. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Menlo Park, Robert Half has for several years been ranked first in its industry on Fortune magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies.” In his role with Robert Half, Mr. Gentzkow oversees staffing operations throughout North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. Since 2006, he has served as a Trustee of Santa Clara University, during which time he has been chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee, chair of the Audit Committee, and a member of the Executive Committee. He recently served a 3-year term as Chair of the Board of Trustees. When Mr. Gentzkow was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees, then SCU President Michael Engh, SJ said “Paul has a proven track record in corporate leadership here in Silicon Valley and around the globe. His international perspective as well as his leading presence in Jesuit, Catholic education have been invaluable to our board.” Gentzkow is a graduate of Minnesota State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance. He has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Regents for Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose and as president of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. In addition to his service to the University, Paul, his wife Barbara, and his company have generously supported various Law School causes over the years, including the popular Justice Ed Panelli Golf Classic, the construction of Charney Hall, and the mentoring and hiring of many students and alumni from Santa Clara Law.

Young Alumni Rising Star Award:
Nicole Shanahan JD ‘14
Nicole Shanahan is the founder and CEO of ClearAccessIP, an automated patent management and valuation platform, and a legal technologist who specializes in the legal applications of neural networks, structured databases, APIs, UI/UX, automation and SaaS. Apart from the practical applications of legal technology, she is formulating an economic theory, entitled “Coasean Mapping” to predict the pace and nature of society’s adoption of legal artificial intelligence. Ms. Shanahan is a Stanford CodeX Fellow at the Stanford Center of Legal Informatics, a joint center between Stanford Law School and Computer Science, and she has been featured in ABA Law Journal, Huffington Post, and MOGUL for her leading work in legal technology. Her research at Stanford is entitled “Smart Prosecution,” an ongoing, multi-disciplinary project applying data science to the prosecutorial process and involving partnerships with district attorneys and police departments. Ms. Shanahan has been named one of 18 millennials changing the face of legal tech by Legaltech News. She serves as President of the Bia-Echo Foundation, which, according to its website, aims to invest in “changemakers at the forefront of innovation who are tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges within our core areas of investment: reproductive longevity and equality, criminal justice reform, and a healthy and livable planet.” The foundation has committed to invest $100 million over the next five years in these areas.

Register to attend this exciting event on April 18th!