Photograph: Alumna meeting with student.

Distinguished Service Award Past Recipients

The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed on graduates of the School of Law who have particularly distinguished themselves and brought recognition to the school through their service to the Washburn University School of Law, the legal profession, their community, or public service.

2017 Recipient

Photograph: Steve Cavanaugh.Steve Cavanaugh, BA '71, J.D. '80, graduated with honors from Washburn Law and joined the firm of Fisher, Ochs & Heck, P.A. The firm is now known as Cavanaugh, Biggs & Lemon, P.A., and he is Of-Counsel. He was president of the Topeka Bar Association and chaired the Bench and Bar Committee for 18 years, and he currently serves both on the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys and as president of the Sam A. Crow Inn of Court. Cavanaugh has a long history as a supporter of Washburn Law and served as an adjunct professor for 11 years. He was also a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors from 1998 to 2012, serving as president from 2010 to 2012. In addition, Cavanaugh was the president of the Washburn Law School Foundation Board of Directors for three years and served on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of the Washburn University Foundation from 2012 to 2015.

2016 Recipient

Photograph: Lynette Petty.Lynette Petty, 1987, began her career as a teacher for 12 years before graduating cum laude from Washburn University School of Law in 1987. She joined the faculty in 1992 and dedicated the last 24 years of her career to preparing law students to be effective and empathetic lawyers. While at the Law Clinic, she practiced in the areas of social security disability, family law, juvenile law, and immigration law. She served as the assistant dean for accommodations, ensuring equal access for all students to a top-notch legal education at Washburn. Prior to joining the Washburn Law faculty, Petty was a staff attorney, then assistant managing attorney and project director at Kansas Legal Services.

2015 Recipient

Photograph: Nancy Moritz.The Honorable Nancy L. Moritz, 1985, was born in Beloit, Kansas, on March 3, 1960. She grew up in a big family in the small community of Tipton, Kansas. Her family moved to Salina, Kansas, when she was 15.

Judge Moritz received her BBA from Washburn University in 1982 and her J.D. from Washburn University School of Law in 1985, where she served as the Notes Editor of the Washburn Law Journal.

Judge Moritz currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The Tenth Circuit, based in Denver, Colorado, reviews legal cases from Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

In 2004 Judge Moritz was appointed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius to the Kansas Court of Appeals and served on that court until 2010, when Governor Mark Parkinson appointed her to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Prior to her appointment on the Court of Appeals, Judge Moritz served as a Research Attorney from 1985 to 1987 to Kansas Supreme Court Justice Harold S. Herd. She then served as a law clerk to Judge Patrick F. Kelly with the United States District Court in Wichita, Kansas.

From 1989 to 1995, Judge Moritz was an associate with Spencer Fane Britt and Browne, in Overland Park, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri, where she handled defensive matters and specialized in employment litigation.

She returned to public service in 1995 when she became an Assistant United States Attorney in Kansas City, Kansas. She worked in the Civil Division of that office in Kansas City and later in Topeka until 1999, when she became the Appellate Coordinator for the United States Attorney's office, a position she held until her appointment to the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Judge Moritz served for nearly two decades on the Board of Editors of the Journal of the Kansas Bar Association and was the first woman to chair that Board. She has also served on the Kansas Continuing Legal Education Commission, the Tenth Circuit Advisory Committee, and the Board of Governors of Washburn University School of Law.

She has written and published several legal articles and has been a frequent presenter at CLE programs statewide. She continues to be an active member of the Kansas Bar Association and other professional and community organizations.

2013 Recipient

Photograph: Judge Bill Ossmann. The Honorable C. William "Bill" Ossmann, 1977, is presently a District Court Judge in Shawnee County, Kan. Before he was appointed to the bench in August 2012, he was the Chief Litigation Attorney for the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services for a few months. He had earlier held a similar position with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (later the Department for Children and Families). He assumed that position in November 1997.

Judge Ossmann was in private practice for a short time following his admission to the bar in 1977, and his early experience included work as a guardian ad litem with the Shawnee County juvenile court. He was a criminal prosecutor from 1978 to 1993, serving as an Assistant District Attorney and later First Assistant District Attorney in Shawnee County. He worked with the Kansas Department of Agriculture as a Special Assistant Attorney General from 1993 to 1997.

Judge Ossmann received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Kansas State University and his law degree from Washburn University School of Law. He received a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kansas, where he was recognized with the K.U. Capital Center Award for outstanding achievement in graduate study.

The Kansas County and District Attorney's Association selected him to be Prosecutor of the Year in 1990. He is active as a Master in the Sam A. Crow Inn of the American Inns of Court and a Life Member of the Washburn Law Alumni Association.

Judge Ossmann served as Chairperson of the Kansas Crime Victims Compensation Board from 1991 to 1993, and he was Municipal Judge in Silver Lake, Kan. from 1993 to 1996. He has been active in the Topeka community, participating in the 1991 Leadership Greater Topeka class and maintaining a life membership in the National Eagle Scout Association.

Judge Ossmann served as the fire chief with Shawnee County Fire District #4 until January 31, 2013. He remains an EMT and volunteer with the department which serves portions of western Shawnee County and eastern Wabaunsee County. He is the Past President of the State Capital Area Firefighters Association and a Past President of the Downtown Topeka Kiwanis Club.

Judge Ossmann frequently teaches for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) trial skills and deposition skills programs in Chicago and Colorado. He has served as the program director for NITA Public Service Lawyers programs in Topeka and Hays. As an adjunct professor at Washburn University School of Law he teaches trial skills, depositions, and cross examination. He was selected as the Adjunct Professor of the Year in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

In 2009, the Kansas Bar Association presented Judge Ossmann with its Distinguished Government Service Award. He and his wife Catherine live on a ranch west of Topeka.

B.S., Kansas State University, 1973
M.P.A., University of Kansas, 1992
J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1977

2012 Recipients

Photograph: Carol Green. Carol Gilliam Green, 1981, earned a bachelor's degree in education from Southeast Missouri State University and a master's degree in English from the University of Missouri - Columbia. While in law school, she served as managing editor of the Washburn Law Journal, garnering faculty awards for outstanding comment and note.

Green began her legal career as a law clerk to Chief Justice Alfred G. Schroeder of the Kansas Supreme Court and then served as director of the Central Research Staff for the Kansas Court of Appeals. She was named clerk of the Appellate Courts in 1991, the first women appointed to this position, and serves in an administrative capacity to the Board of Law Examiners, Board of Examiners of Court Reporters, Client Protection Fund Commission, Commission on Judicial Qualifications, and the Supreme Court Nominating Commission.

Green has been active throughout her career in drafting and editing the Kansas Appellate Practice Handbook and has served on numerous professional committees. She is currently chairwoman of the Judicial Council Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee.

Throughout the years, Green has been active in local, state, and national bar and professional associations, serving in leadership roles and achieving recognition for her service and professionalism.

Green served on the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association Board of Governors from 2002 to 2008. She appears regularly on the Washburn Law campus with the Kansas bar admissions staff to provide orientation for entering students and practical guidance through the bar application process for graduating students.

B.S. Ed, Southeast Missouri State University
M.A., University of Missouri-Columbia
J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1981

Photograph: David Pierce.David E. Pierce 1977, began his legal career as a solo general practitioner in Neodesha, Kansas, and served as city attorney for Cherryvale, Kansas. Subsequently, he worked in-house for Shell Oil Company in Houston, Texas, and served as of-counsel for the Gable & Gotwals law firm in Tulsa, Okla., and the Shughart Thomson & Kilroy law firm in Kansas City, Missouri.

Pierce joined the faculty of Washburn University School of Law in 1989 after two previous stints as a visiting professor (spring 1981 and from 1986 to 1987). A nationally recognized expert in oil and gas law, Pierce currently teaches Oil and Gas Law, Advanced Oil and Gas Law, Energy Regulation, and Drafting Contracts and Conveyances. He has also taught the core courses in Contracts, Business Associations, and Environmental Law. In 2006, Professor Pierce was named director of the Washburn University School of Law Business and Transactional Law Center, a position he held until fall 2009.

Pierce has taught at the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis; the University of Tulsa College of Law; the University of Houston Law Center; and the University of Texas School of Law. In addition, he has served as visiting chair of Natural Resources Law at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

A prolific writer, Pierce is the author of a number of books including co-authorship of Cases and Materials on Oil and Gas Law, which is used as a textbook by law schools across the country. He is the author of the Kansas Oil and Gas Handbook, and the West hornbook Hemingway Oil and Gas Law and Taxation. He is a co-editor and upkeep author of the multi-volume treatise Kuntz A Treatise on Oil and Gas Law and co-editor of theOil and Gas Reporter.

Pierce was only the third law professor to serve as the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation president in its 54-year history, a position he held from July 2008 to July 2009. He is a member of the American Law Institute. His professional affiliations include serving as vice chair for the American Bar Association's Energy and National Resources Litigation Committee, Natural Resources Energy and Environmental Law Section in 1991 and as section editor for the KBA Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section from 1996 to 1997.

B.A., Pittsburg State University, 1974
J.D., Washburn University School of Law, 1977
LL.M, University of Utah College of Law, 1982

2011 Recipient

Photograph: Paul Hoferer. Paul Hoferer, 1975, Topeka, joined the Kansas City office of Lathrop & Gage after retiring as vice president and general counsel for BNSF Railway Company, Fort Worth, Texas, in 2008.

He began his legal career in 1975 when he joined The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as a trial attorney. He was later promoted to assistant general counsel and managed the regional law office in Topeka. Following the merger of Burlington Northern Railroad and the Santa Fe Railway Company in 1995, he was promoted to assistant vice president-claims and litigation counsel. In 2000, he became general counsel, and in 2002 was named vice president and general counsel.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969 as an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Purple Heart.

He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri, and a juris doctor from Washburn Law. He attended the Institute of Business Economics and Management at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Hoferer serves on the Washburn University School of Law Board of Governors and is a member of the Dean's Circle. He shares with Washburn Law his business acumen by serving as an advisor to the Business and Transactional Law Center. He and his wife, Jeanne, established the Paul & Jeanne Hoferer Law Scholarship.

2010 Recipient

Photograph: Marla Luckert.The Honorable Marla J. Luckert, 1980, joined the Topeka firm of Goodell, Stratton, Edmonds and Palmer after law school graduation. While in law school, she served as technical editor of the Washburn Law Journal and received the faculty and alumni awards for best student note.

In 1992, she was appointed as a district judge of the Third Judicial District and in 2002 to the Kansas Supreme Court.

Justice Luckert has served as president of the Kansas Bar Association, the Kansas District Judges Association, the Kansas Women Attorneys Association, the Topeka Bar Association, the Sam A. Crow Inn of Court, and the Women Attorneys Association of Topeka. She has received awards for outstanding achievement, service, or professionalism from many bar groups and community organizations.

In 1993, then-Judge Luckert was recognized as a Washburn University Alumni Fellow. She has been an adjunct professor of business and of law at Washburn. She served on the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association Board of Governors and on the Washburn Legal Assistant's Advisory Board from 1995 to the present. In addition, Justice Luckert has been a guest lecturer and frequent speaker at Law Clinic swearing-in ceremonies, admitted and prospective student events, and Washburn's pre-legal camp for high school students. She has served as a mentor to numerous Washburn Law students through the law school's alumni and Women's Legal Forum mentorship programs.

BA, Washburn University, 1977
JD, Washburn University, 1980
Kansas Supreme Court Justice

2009 Recipient

Photograph: William 'Bill' Bunten.William D. "Bill" Bunten, '56, was President of INTRUST Bank, N.A (formerly The First National Bank) of Wichita from 1982 until his retirement in 1996. His previous banking positions were as Executive Vice-President of United Central Bank, Des Moines (1979-82); Merchants National Bank as President from (1967-79); and Vice President of National Bank of Detroit (1957-67). Bunten has provided his leadership to several boards: Vice Chairman, 1st Financial Corporation in Wichita (1982-96); Vice Chairman, 1st Bancorp Kansas; and Topeka's American Home Life Insurance Company (1974-99). He is licensed in Kansas and Michigan.

His service to Washburn has been plentiful, including Washburn Law School Foundation, Board of Directors, currently serving as Treasurer; Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association Board of Governors (2002-08); Washburn Endowment Association Trustee (1990-present) and Director (2006); Washburn University Alumni Association (1989-92), President (1991-92); Board of Advisors, Business and Transactional Law Center (2004-present); Chairman of the steering committee for the Washburn University School of Law Centennial Celebration (2003-06).

Over the years, Bunten has made a contribution to civic service as a member of the board of directors for United Way-Topeka (1969-77), Des Moines (1980-82), and Wichita (1983-88). Other boards include: YMCA, Wichita, (1988-96); Boys & Girls Club, South Central Kansas, (1990-96); Boy Scouts of America, Jayhawk Council (1968-78); and Quivira (1983-96).

AB, Baker University, 1953
LLB, Washburn University, 1956
MBA, Wharton School of Finance, 1958

2008 Recipient

Photograph: Duke Dupre.Duke Dupre received his BA in Accounting from Kansas State University in 1967. After graduation he entered the US Army, served in Vietnam, and was discharged in 1970 as a Captain. He earned his JD degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1973.

Duke began his career as law clerk to Chief Justice Harold Fatzer of the Kansas Supreme Court. His career at Southwestern Bell Telephone as Vice President and Associate General Counsel heavily involved changes in the restructuring of the telecommunication industry. In 1979, he represented SWB in the AT&T antitrust case. As General Counsel in three states, he tried several regulatory dockets involving the breakup of the Bell System.

Dupre served as Counsel for SBC in Washington D.C. for the hearings on the Telecommunications Act in 1996 and was responsible for federal proceedings for SBC and its operations telephone subsidiaries, SWBT and Pacific Bell Telephone Company. Dupre retired in 1999 as Vice President and General Counsel-External Affairs for SBC Communications Inc.

Duke later served as Chairman of the Board for a software technology company developing encryption algorithms for military and commercial use. Four years ago he retired from that position. During his retirement, Duke has provided pro bono legal services to those in need of legal assistance. He is a member of the Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas State Bar Associations and the American Bar Association.

Over the years Dupre has served in a variety of ways for his alma mater including his role as a current member of the board of trustees for the Washburn Endowment Association; past president, vice president and board member of the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association board; current member of the Board of Advisors, Business & Transactional Law Center, Washburn University School of Law, and current president of the Washburn Law School Foundation. He was recognized as the 1999 Alumni Fellow by Washburn University School of Law.