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Attorneys Honored at Western New England University School of Law Alumni Recognition Reception

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2017 - 10:10 AM Law , Alumni , All News
  • School of Law Dean Eric Gouvin and Attorney Tahirah Amatul-Wadud L'05

  • Law Alumni Association President Stephen Button L'06 and Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Russell Thompson L'90, chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel at Mariner Investment Group, LLC

  • Law Alumni Association President Stephen Button L'06 and Ascending Alumni Award recipient Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni '03/L'07

  • The Distinguished Law Review Alumnus Award recipient Attorney Justin Dion '00, with Paige M. Vaillancourt, Editor in Chief of the Law Review

  • Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni '03/L'07 and U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni L'89

Western New England University School of Law recently held its Annual Alumni Recognition Reception in the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History. The event featured the presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award, two Ascending Alumni Awards, and the Dean's Award, as well as special recognition for the classes of 1977, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’97, ’02, ’07, and ’12.

“The School of Law Alumni Association is very proud of its alumni and their many achievements,” says Stephen Button L’06, president of the Alumni Association. “These awards afford us the important opportunity to recognize and celebrate those achievements. The Association is honored to recognize Russell Thompson L’90, chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel at Mariner Investment Group, LLC with the Distinguished Alumnus Award,” says Button.

Since joining Mariner in 2004, Thompson has served as chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel. He began his career as an enforcement attorney at the SEC, worked in compliance at Prudential, and served as chief compliance officer of MacKay Shields. Thompson also spent several years working in sports and entertainment law. His volunteer work includes the Western New England University School of Law Invitational Basketball Tournament, coaching youth football and basketball, and public service and legal work for a religious organization.

The Distinguished Law Review Alumnus Award honored Justin Dion ’00, who was recently appointed professor of legal skills and director of Bar Admission programs at the School of Law, following nine years of serving as an adjunct faculty member. After working as a bankruptcy and organization attorney for Bacon Wilson LLC, Dion began teaching, including several years at Bay Path University, where he rose to serve as Professor and Chair of the Department of Legal Studies, Forensic Studies, and Criminal Justice.

This year’s Dean’s Award was presented to Tahirah Amatul-Wadud ’05, an attorney in solo practice in Springfield, specializing in civil rights and domestic relations law. She is a commissioner for the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, and in that role advocates before the state legislature to enact laws responsive to the needs of women and girls. In 2015, Tahirah participated in a program on Celebrating and Protecting America's Tradition of Religious Pluralism. An active public speaker, she was an honoree of the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Top Women of Law Award.  

The Dean’s Award recognizes an alumnus or alumna whose professional accomplishments bring credit to the School of Law and who has a record of service that demonstrates the core values of the Western New England University School of Law.

The Ascending Alumni Award honored Massachusetts Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni ’03/L’07, and Taylor Bouchard Wallin ’09, Certified Family Law Specialist at Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt & Klein, LLP of Los Angeles. This award spotlights the achievements of new alumni who have graduated 10 years or less from the School of Law. Nominees are those who have shown leadership in their chosen field and/or in the community. Candidates are those who stand out from their peers and have a great deal of drive and potential.

Gulluni, the commonwealth’s youngest district attorney, took office in 2015 after previously serving as assistant district attorney and worked for the City of Springfield Law Department and the Salvation Army. A hallmark of his innovative administration has been the creation of the Community Outreach and Prevention Unit. He also supports swift and aggressive prosecution of violent and repeat offenders, and promotes partnerships with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Attorney Wallin is a Certified Family Law Specialist with Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt & Klein’s Family Law Department. Her practice encompasses a diverse range of complicated family law issues. She has extensive experience litigating high conflict child custody matters, and has prevailed for parents in interstate and international child custody relocation cases.