USD School of Law Honors Distinguished Alumni

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San Diego (November 20, 2015) – Today the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law honored four alumni at the school’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards and Rising Star Recent Alumni Awards Luncheon held in San Diego. Judge Louisa S Porter, ’77 (JD), and Michael J. Weaver, ’73 (JD), received the school’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. David Fox, ’07 (JD), and Kate E. Payerle, ’07 (JD), received the Rising Star Recent Alumni Award.

Stephen Ferruolo, dean of USD School of Law, said this year's award winners are "evidence of the national reach of the law school."

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to those who have excelled either in the legal field or their chosen profession, and "embody the high ethical standards and commitment to community service USD School of Law seeks to instill in its graduates." View previous recipients.

Louisa S Porter, ’77 (JD), was appointed United States Magistrate Judge for the Southern District California in 1991. She served as Presiding Magistrate Judge from 1997 through 2002, during which time she coordinated the addition of a full-time magistrate judge with a new courthouse in Imperial County. She retired from the bench in 2012 but remains on recall status.

Judge Porter is respected for her contributions to legal education as a lecturer for the Federal Judicial Center, the Sedona Conference, Lawyer Pilot Bar Association, American Conference Institute, USD, California Western School of Law, Universidad de Chile, and international law conferences. She was instrumental in the training and implementation of criminal justice reforms in Mexico. Porter received her Juris Doctor degree cum laude from USD in 1977. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and government from Indiana University in 1969.

Watch Judge Porter's bio video

Michael J. Weaver, ’73 (JD), retired from Latham & Watkins, LLP, where he was the partner in charge of the San Diego litigation department. Devoted to litigation and civil trial work, including appearances in a number of state and federal courts, Weaver gained significant experience representing lawyers and law firms and a wide range of commercial- and business-related clients on a national basis. He is now a panelist at JAMS providing arbitration and mediation services.

Weaver received his Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from USD in 1973. He was editor-in-chief of volume 10 of the San Diego Law Review. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University, Long Beach, in 1967, and then served for three years as an officer in the United States Navy.

Watch Weaver's bio video

Rising Star Recent Alumni

The Rising Star Recent Alumni award is given to alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and have had significant achievements in the legal profession or their chosen field, while also demonstrating a high level of community involvement. View previous recipients.

David Fox, ’07 (JD), is the founder of Fox Law, a trial firm focused on helping individuals through catastrophic personal injury cases. Prior to opening the firm, Fox was a senior trial attorney with Gomez Trial Attorneys, where he obtained several jury verdicts in cases ranging from wrongful death, motor vehicle accidents, and premises liability. In 2015, the San Diego plaintiffs’ bar recognized him with the Outstanding Trial Lawyer award and he was elected into San Diego Super Lawyers.

Fox received his Juris Doctor degree from USD in 2007 and was inducted into the Order of the Coif. He graduated cum laude in the top six percent of the class. Fox received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory University in 2002 as a member of the Dean’s List.

Kate E. Payerle, ’07 (JD), recently joined the Department of Justice Criminal Division in Washington, D.C., where she anticipates being assigned to the fraud section upon completion of security procedures. Before accepting this new position, Payerle spent seven years as an attorney with Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A., in Charlotte, North Carolina. She focused on commercial disputes concerning long-term contracts for the manufacture or delivery of complex engineering or programming products or services. Payerle maintained an active courtroom practice, litigating financial services industry cases, personal injury lawsuits, employment litigation, agency proceedings, and trade secret claims in all stages of litigation or arbitration.

Payerle received her Juris Doctor degree summa cum laude from USD in 2007 as valedictorian and was inducted into the Order of the Coif and Order of the Barristers. She received a Master of Public and International Affairs degree from USD in 2004 and a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina in 2001.

Nominate a USD Law Alumnus/a for the Distinguished Alumni Award or Rising Star Recent Alumni Award (nominations close March 4, 2016).

About the University of San Diego School of Law

Celebrating 60 years of alumni success, the University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 900 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 81 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 23rd worldwide in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.


Patrick Riedling
(619) 260-4207


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