This May, DePaul University honored three of its most notable graduates at the 2017 Law Alumni Awards Lunch. During the annual ceremony, Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea acknowledged the achievements of these DePaul Law Champions, whose contributions to the legal profession exemplify the mission of the school. This year's winners were: Shawn Kasserman ('90) – Distinguished Alumnus Award; Damon Ritenhouse ('11) - Outstanding Service to the DePaul Community Award, and Sufyan Sohel ('11) - Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.
Shawn Kasserman ('90) – DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD
A founding partner of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman LLC, Shawn Kasserman ranks as one of Chicago's top personal injury lawyers. Dedicated to representing people dealing with life-changing tragedies, Kasserman has won over $150 million in verdicts and settlements, including from products liability, construction liability, and premises liability suits. Outside of his legal career, Kasserman gives back to his community by sitting on the Board of Directors for Kids in Danger and volunteering with Anchored for Safety.
Kasserman felt genuinely honored by winning this award. “When I saw the list of past recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna award I was overwhelmed with pride,” he said. “To be recognized by my beloved DePaul - alongside of some of the greatest names in the legal community is perhaps the highest professional honor of my career. The truth is that I share this award with my professors, fellow students and my family - all of whom have given me unending support.”
Damon Ritenhouse ('11) - OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO THE DEPAUL COMMUNITY AWARD
As a partner at EV Has, LLC, Damon Ritenhouse focuses on foreclosure defense law and oversees the office's litigation practice. In addition to these accomplishments, Ritenhouse has spent the past five years as the attorney supervisor for DePaul's Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program (NLAP). Through NLAP, law students provide legal aid to homeless persons by assisting them in expunging and sealing their criminal records and acquiring state IDs. He is a role model for his student volunteers, and his efforts have allowed NLAP to grow and include more attorneys and students who are looking to make a difference for the city's most vulnerable populations.
Ritenhouse considers the receipt of this award to be “one of the high points in my legal career.” He continues, “one of the best aspects of winning the award was that I got to speak about the work we have done at NLAP over the last five years and recognize many of the people who have contributed to its success during that time.”
Sufyan Sohel ('11) – OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNUS AWARD
Sufyan Sohel is the deputy director and counsel at CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations)-Chicago. Along with providing legal and strategic direction to the group, he is responsible for its day-to-day management. Sobel gained experience in public service while at DePaul Law by participating in the activities of International Human Rights Law Institute (IHRLI). In addition to receiving the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 2017, he also won the Chicago Bar Association's prestigious Vanguard Award.
Sobel is “deeply humbled to receive the DePaul College of Law Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. … DePaul fueled the flame that drives me to provide aid to those most disenfranchised and to better serve all my communities. DePaul sent me to Egypt and the United Nations to advocate for women’s rights issues, empowered me to lead fellow classmates in teaching the US Constitution to CPS students, and introduced me to CAIR-Chicago where I started as a law clerk and now serve as Deputy Director & Counsel. … This award more than anything, pushes me to work harder to combat hate and injustice in our communities. ”
While these three are singled out, the entire DePaul alumni network is responsible for some other remarkable achievements over the past year. More than 200 alumni participated in the school's Prepare-to-Practice (P2P) program, with more participating as mentors and employers. Alumni have raised over $175,000 in Alumni Achievement Scholarship Awards for students starting in September 2017. Dean Rosato Perea also recognized other “DePaul Law Champions” for their generosity and commitment to the law school, especially its students and recent alumni.