Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

May 04, 2010
Southwestern to Honor Three with Honorary Degrees

At a recent meeting of Southwestern's Board of Trustees, the Board voted to award honorary Doctor of Laws degrees to three deserving individuals who have contributed significantly to Southwestern, legal education and the community. Michael J. Downer '81, Professor Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow, and Hon. Alicemarie H. Stotler will be honored on May 16, during the law school's 95th Commencement Ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Michael J. Downer '81

Throughout his distinguished career, Michael J. Downer has been a leader in the investment management industry and higher education. He is currently Senior Vice President, Secretary, Coordinator of Legal and Compliance, and a Director of Capital Research and Management Company (CRM), investment adviser to American Funds, one of the largest groups of mutual funds in the world. Affiliated with the company since 1980, Mr. Downer also takes a leadership role in many of CRM's subsidiaries. He is a member of the Investment Policy Group and the Operating Committee of Capital Research and Management, Director of American Funds Distributors, Inc., and Chairman of the Board of Capital Bank and Trust Company. He serves American Funds as President, Principal Executive Officer and a Director of American Funds Target Date Retirement Series, Inc.; as Executive Vice President and Principal Executive Officer of American Funds Insurance Series; and as Vice President of EuroPacific Growth Fund and New World Fund.

In the greater business community, Mr. Downer is Vice Chairman of the Board of ICI Mutual Insurance Company, the predominant provider of liability insurance and fidelity bonding for the U.S. mutual fund industry. He is Chairman of the Board of the California '40 Acts Group and previously served consecutive five-year terms first as Chairman of the Compliance Committee and then the SEC Rules Committee of the Investment Company Institute. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences on topics relating to fund regulation. The Los Angeles County Bar Association recognized him as Outstanding Corporate Counsel of the Year in 2006. Active in higher education, he has taught ethical and professional standards courses for the University of Southern California - CFA Institute Society of Los Angeles Review Program for more than a decade.

Mr. Downer has also maintained a close association with Southwestern, serving on the law school's Board of Trustees since 1999, where he chairs the Finance and Audit Committee, and established the law school's first unrestricted endowment. Over the years, he has mentored and hired numerous Southwestern graduates. In 2007, the Southwestern Alumni Association honored him as Alumnus of the Year. He also serves on the boards of nonprofit organizations such as The Alliance for Children's Rights. Mr. Downer earned his B.A. degree at the University of California, Los Angeles before completing his J.D. degree at Southwestern in 1981 where he won the American Bar Association Client Counseling Competition and served on the Law Review. He is a member of the California State Bar.

Professor Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow

A pioneering legal educator and scholar in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), as well as civil procedure and legal ethics, Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow is a founding faculty member of the University of California, Irvine School of Law. She previously taught law for 20 years at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law where she was Co-Director of the Center on Conflict Resolution, and received the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 1996, she joined the faculty at Georgetown University Law Center, where she has directed the Georgetown-Hewlett Fellowship Program in Conflict Resolution and Legal Problem Solving, was named as the inaugural A.B. Chettle Jr. Professor in Dispute Resolution and Civil Procedure, and won the Frank Flegal Teaching Award. She has also taught at Stanford University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Toronto, among other law schools.

As a Fulbright Scholar in 2007, Professor Menkel-Meadow taught and conducted research in Chile, Argentina and China. Most recently, she has served as the Faculty Director of the Center for Transnational Legal Studies (in London), a first-ever collaborative effort to conduct legal education with students and faculty from 13 different nations. She has chaired the Association of American Law Schools' Sections on Law and Social Science, Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Women in Legal Education, and served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the American Bar Foundation, among other leadership posts.

An active arbitrator and mediator, Professor Menkel-Meadow has trained lawyers, judges, diplomats, government officials and mediators on five continents and consults for the federal courts on issues involving ADR. She is the author or co-author of several books including Dispute Resolution: Beyond the Adversarial Model (2005), Negotiation: Processes for Problem Solving (2006), Mediation: Theory, Policy and Practice (2006), and Law and Popular Culture (2007), and over 100 articles ranging from dispute resolution to feminist theory, and served as co-editor of the Journal of Legal Education, and the International Journal of Law in Context. A member of the California and Pennsylvania State and District of Columbia Bars, Professor Menkel-Meadow was an attorney in both private and public interest firms before she began her career in academia. She earned her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania where she served on Law Review, and her A.B. degree, magna cum laude, Honors in Sociology from Barnard College, Columbia University. A long-time supporter of Southwestern, Professor Menkel-Meadow has been a Visiting Scholar at the law school and served as a strategic planning facilitator.

judgestotler.jpgThe Honorable Alicemarie H. Stotler

The Honorable Alicemarie Stotler has devoted her career to serving the people of California for more than four decades as a highly respected prosecutor, defense attorney and judicial officer. Appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, she served as Chief Judge of the Court from 2005 until 2009, when she took senior status. After earning both her B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Southern California, Judge Stotler began her legal career in 1967 as the first full-time female Deputy District Attorney in Orange County, a position she held for six years. A certified specialist in criminal law, she then entered private practice as a criminal defense attorney at the firm of Stotler & Stotler.

Judge Stotler was first named to the bench in 1976 by Governor Jerry Brown who appointed her to the Orange County Harbor Municipal Court. Two years later, Judge Stotler was elevated to the Orange County Superior Court where she served until 1983, and soon thereafter was appointed to the federal bench. In addition to her judicial responsibilities, she served as Chair of the U.S. Judicial Conference's Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure and oversaw advisory subcommittees focused on bankruptcy, criminal, civil and appellate law. She was the inaugural Chair of the Public Information and Community Outreach Committee for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. She also served as President of the California Judges Foundation and Vice President of the Federal Judges Association.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to the bench and bar, the Orange County Bar Association presented Judge Stotler with the Franklin G. West Award for Contributions to the Profession, and the Orange County Chapter of the Federal Bar Association created the Alicemarie H. Stotler Award for Distinguished Service to the Central District in her honor. She was a featured speaker and played a key role in the planning of the 2006 Southwestern Law Review symposium commemorating 40 Years of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.