Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

May 05, 2011
Gerald Agnew, Bruce Brusavich, Hon. Gerald Rosenberg and James Coufos Honored at Annual Alumni Event

In April, the Southwestern community gathered to salute four individuals who have contributed significantly to the legal profession, the law school and the greater community at the 24th Annual Awards Recognition Reception, Silent Auction and Reunion. Gerald E. Agnew '74 and Bruce M. Brusavich '80, prominent trial attorneys who embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Southwestern graduates, were named Alumni of the Year; Hon. Gerald Rosenberg '75, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, was recognized as Outstanding Judicial Officer; and James A. Coufos, Former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs and a Southwestern Trustee, was honored as Outstanding Friend.

2011 Honorees (from left) Hon. Gerald Rosenberg '75, Bruce M. Brusavich '80, Gerald E. Agnew '74 and James A. Coufos

Mr. Coufos has led a highly successful career in the investment banking and securities industry. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Southwestern Board of Trustees, where he serves on the Finance Committee. A former board member of the Alliance for Children's Rights, he enthusiastically supported the establishment of Southwestern's Children's Rights Clinic and has generously designated an annual donation toward that endeavor. "Receiving this honor is like having life come full circle," Mr. Coufos said. "I am not a lawyer, but I went to law school for one year, and that year was fabulous because it taught me how to conduct myself well on Wall Street."

Judge Rosenberg '75 practiced law in the private sector specializing in civil litigation during the first 20 years of his career. He was first appointed to the bench in 1995 as a Commissioner in the Beverly Hills Municipal Court, and five years later, was named as a Commissioner in the Superior Court of California assigned to Santa Monica. He was elevated to the position of Judge of that court in December 2000 with assignments in Criminal Preliminary Hearings and Trials, Civil Trials, Family Law, and Probate. Upon receiving his award, Judge Rosenberg said. "One of the most important steps in advancing my position was the excellent education I received at Southwestern." He thanked his friend and fellow alumnus, the Hon. Allen Webster '71 for reconnecting him with Southwestern. Since then, Judge Rosenberg has continued a close relationship with the law school as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the host of Inn of St. Ives dinners, and a judge for the Bonelli Trial Advocacy Competition.

Gerald Agnew and Bruce Brusavich co-founded the firm of AgnewBrusavich in 1984 and have maintained close ties with Southwestern over the past 30 years, as members of the Dean's Cabinet and hosts of many regional alumni receptions, supervising externs and hiring graduates.

Mr. Agnew has successfully tried over 100 civil jury trials representing consumers and their families in catastrophic injury and wrongful death actions involving defective products, construction accidents, premises, bicycle and vehicular accidents, medical malpractice, elder abuse and other acts of negligence. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Master in the American Inns of Court, and a Fellow in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. At the ceremony, he humbly acknowledged, "I am truly touched by receiving this award. My co-honoree Bruce is a big reason for this. Our law partnership has lasted longer than most marriages."

Mr. Brusavich focuses his practice on personal injury, insurance bad faith, business litigation, elder abuse, professional malpractice, product liability and wrongful death. He is a Past President of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and Consumer Attorneys of California, where he led efforts to reform the summary judgment statute, create a two-year statute of limitations, improve the administration of justice, and maintain trial court funding. Mr. Brusavich is currently serving his second term on the Judicial Council of California's Civil and Small Claims Advisory Committee. "Thank you for this wonderful honor," Brusavich said. "And thank you to the Board of Trustees for continuing to help the school grow."