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Class Notes

Keep up-to-date with your fellow University of San Francisco School of Law alumni through class notes.

Let us know about your professional or personal news by emailing updates to lawalumni@usfca.edu or you can update your fellow alums here. The USF School of Law reserves the right to edit all class notes submissions.

Recent Class Notes

Justice Ming Chin ’67 was appointed to the Judicial Council by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Timothy W. Salter ’72 was featured in the San Francisco Daily Journal article “Tried and True: Tough sentencing may be a thing of the past for Judge Salter, but he’s a stickler for proper procedure.”

Randy Iwase ’74 was appointed chair of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

California State Senator Bill Monning ’76 was appointed to serve as majority leader by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon.

Andrew Kluger ’78, chairman of The Mexican Museum Board of Trustees, has been re-elected for the coming year and was mentioned in a San Francisco Chronicle article about his role in establishing the museum’s new facility.

Bennett M. Cohen ’81 recently won a unanimous California Court of Appeal decision that held that the California Department of Insurance has a duty under California law to screen all new disability insurance policies for deceptive or illegal provisions before they may be sold in California. He also won a jury verdict for his client against Standard Insurance Company of $873,622 for bad faith denial of her claim.

San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Mary E. Wiss ’81 was featured in the San Francisco Daily Journal article “Quick Study: Mary Wiss’ complex courtroom assignment came as a surprise, but she wasted no time catching up.”

Susan Lee ’82, newly elected Maryland State Senator, has been named to the Maryland Legislature’s Joint Committee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Biotechnology. She was featured in the Daily China article “Two Chinese-American reps sworn in.”

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge James G. Bertoli ’85 was featured in the San Francisco Daily Journal article “Court ‘n’ Disaster: Amateur musician James Bertoli may be the only judge to submit song lyrics for ethics approval.”

Joshua A. Bloom ’90 joined the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Environmental Law Section advisory board.

Natasha L. DeCourcy ’93 in the Walnut Creek office of Littler has been elevated to principal.

Alex Verba ’93 celebrates eight years as managing partner of Astana Law Partners, an international law firm based in the capital of Kazakhstan. The firm is involved in a range of international and local matters with focus on investments in oil, mining, energy, and renewable projects.

Denise Helfstein ’96 has been appointed to the Oak Park Unified School District Board of Education.


Scott Peterson ’98 was recently appointed general counsel for the Colorado Association of Realtors.


Mary Catherine Wiederhold ’99 received the 2014 Attorney of the Year award from the AIDS Legal Referral Panel for her outstanding legal work on behalf of clients in cases involving real estate, landlord/tenant issues, and the fair housing law.

Britt K. Strottman ’00 was promoted to principal at Meyers Nave. 

Shannon Thorne ’01 joined Intel Corporation as an employment law attorney.

Heidi Mayon ’02 has been promoted to partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

Elinor Leary ’03 was elevated to trial team leader at The Veen Firm.

Brian Knapp ’05 has been named head of Legacy Republic.

Suzy Loftus ’05 is assistant director of the state attorney general’s division of law enforcement, where she manages the evidence and witness protection programs, and president of the San Francisco Police Commission, where she’s crafted policies for domestic violence cases and those involving children. She was profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle’s article “Suzy Loftus, S.F. Police Commission president, victims’ advocate”.

Jose M. Sanchez ’05 was promoted to principal at Meyers Nave.

Heather Wong ’05 was featured in the San Francisco Attorney magazine article “Mentors Blaze the Trail for Women in the Law.” She recognized the support she received at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, where she is now partner, and continues to pay it forward and open doors for other young female attorneys.

David Mesa ’07 was sworn in as a member of the board of governors of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He will serve a two-year term as the alternate regional governor for the Northern California region.

Cometria Cooper ’09 was re-elected president of the Charles Houston Bar Association.

Jenica Maldonado ’09 was featured in the San Francisco Attorney magazine article “Mentors Blaze the Trail for Women in the Law,” where she credited the female mentors who have helped her on her journey to deputy city attorney in San Francisco.

Jesse A. Arana ’13 recently opened his own firm in Southern California focusing on criminal defense and immigration.


In Memoriam

James D. Hobbs ’54, December 2014

Gilbert Walker ’78, March 2014