Iowa Law celebrated its 2023 Alumni Awards recipients with a special farewell brunch held at Hancher Auditorium during the reunion weekend.
This year’s honorees include Abhay M. Nadipuram (13JD), chief legal officer at the Iowa Hospital Association, Alison Guernsey (08JD), clinical professor and director of Iowa Law’s Federal Criminal Defense Clinic, the Hon. C.J. Williams (85BA, 88JD), a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, and Carroll J. Reasoner (73BA, 76JD), former University of Iowa vice president for legal affairs and general counsel.
The College of Law’s alumni awards program recognizes alumni who have made significant achievements in their careers and their service to the College of Law. The program features four award categories: Emerging Leader, Iowa Law Review Distinguished Alumni, Alumni Service, and Alumni Achievement.
Read more about the 2023 Alumni Awards honorees:
Emerging Leader Award
The Emerging Leader Award is granted to alumni of the College of Law for early-career achievements in their area of practice and their service to the college, community, state, or nation.
Abhay M. Nadipuram (13JD)
Abhay M. Nadipuram is the chief legal officer for the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA). He was appointed in 2022 after serving as vice president and chief legal officer for Care Initiatives, a West Des Moines-based long-term care provider serving more than 2,800 Iowans across the state. Nadipuram oversees the Legal Department at IHA. He also serves as the executive sponsor for the IHA’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and holds the roles of corporate secretary and secretary to the board of officers and trustees.
Michael Jenkins (13JD), who introduced Nadipuram at the awards ceremony, noted that his classmate cares deeply about the law and the profession. “I can’t think of a better person to receive this award. When we were here at school, he led in many roles, including as co-president of the Iowa Student Bar Association. He continues his dedication through his service on the Law School Foundation Board. He’s got that same level of care for his undergraduate alma mater, Wartburg College, where he serves on the president’s council.”
Jenkins also noted Nadipuram’s service to the legal community, calling him the “de facto leader” of the Iowa Society of Healthcare Attorneys and citing his broad community involvement. Nadipuram currently serves on the board of directors for the Iowa Law School Foundation. Previously, he sat on the board of directors for the Des Moines Choral Society, the Willis Dady Emergency Shelter, and served as chair of the membership development committee for the Des Moines Rotary.
Iowa Law Review Distinguished Alumni Award
The Iowa Law Review Alumni Achievement Award is selected by the Iowa Law Review board.
Alison Guernsey (08JD)
Alison Guernsey graduated from Iowa Law in 2008, Order of the Coif, and served as editor in chief for Volume 93 of the Iowa Law Review. Early in her career, she clerked for the Hon. Michael Melloy (74JD) of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, and the Hon. Karen Nelson Moore of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.
After her clerkships, she worked as a trial attorney and eventually as a supervising attorney for the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington & Idaho, where she provided direct representation to indigent individuals charged with federal crimes. Her years of experience as a federal public defender led her to return to Iowa Law, where she founded the Federal Criminal Defense Clinic, only the second of its kind in the country. Under tutelage, her student have argued before the federal district courts and the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuit federal appellate courts.
Jonathan Picado (3L), editor in chief of Volume 109 of the Iowa Law Review, noted that Guernsey “has exemplified an inspiring commitment to give back to the institution that helped her start her career by shaping the next generation of lawyers.”
He also quoted clinic students, who praised Guernsey for her guidance, leadership, and mentorship in her work with the Federal Criminal Defense Clinic.
“Alison Guernsey doesn’t just encourage students to become better lawyers—she shapes students into better human beings,” Picado quoted one student as saying. “Without Alison, I wouldn’t have found my passion in criminal defense, nor would I have learned how powerful a loud voice can truly be.”
Alumni Service Award
The Alumni Service Award is granted to alumni of the College of Law for significant service to the college, university, community, state, or nation.
Hon. C.J. Williams (85BA, 88JD)
C.J. Williams earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 1985 and graduated from Iowa Law in 1988. He started his legal career clerking for the Hon. Donald E. O’Brien in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa and serving as special assistant to the U.S. Attorney (on detail) in the Eastern District of Virginia. Williams later entered private practice in Kansas City before returning to Iowa in 1997 to serve as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa for nearly 20 years. He served as Chief Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Iowa for two years before being appointed to his current role as Federal District Court Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Since 2001, Williams has been an adjunct professor for Iowa Law.
Iowa Law Dean Kevin Washburn introduced Williams at the awards ceremony, saying Williams earned his current seat on the bench “the hard way, not by knowing a senator or working in the White House or on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” but from providing distinguished service as a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
“One of the traits Iowa Law grads offer to the world is a work ethic, and CJ is one of the hardest working people I know. In addition to judicial opinions, he has written several books and law review articles,” Washburn said. “All of that would make Judge Williams remarkable, but what wins him the prize, for me, is his extensive service as a teacher and colleague at the College of Law.”
Washburn estimated that Williams has taught 350 to 450 Iowa Law students since 2001 in courses such as Federal Criminal Law and Practice, Corporate Crimes, Applied Evidence, and Sentencing Advocacy, for which Williams uses his own casebook, Sentencing Advocacy: Principle and Strategy.
Alumni Achievement Award
The Alumni Achievement Award is granted to alumni of the College of Law for significant accomplishments in their law careers and service to the College of Law.
Carroll J. Reasoner (BA73, 76JD)
Carroll J. Reasoner “began accumulating awards even before she left Iowa Law,” said Casey Mahon (76JD), who introduced her. Her post-graduate honors include being selected as the first woman and youngest president of the Iowa State Bar Association, being named one of Iowa’s “Up-and-Comers” by The Des Moines Register in 1991, and being profiled in Who's Who in American Law, Who's Who in American Women, Who's Who in Emerging Leaders, and The Best Lawyers in America. She became a fellow of the American Bar Association and received an Award of Achievement from its Young Lawyers Division before receiving the 1992 Young Award/Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (formerly the University of Iowa Foundation).
Like Williams, Reasoner is a double Hawkeye, having earned her BA in 1973, followed by her JD in 1976. After a distinguished career with Shuttleworth & Ingersoll, PLC, in Cedar Rapids, where she was a senior vice president, she returned to the University of Iowa as vice president for legal affairs and general counsel. She retired in November 2022 after 14 years in the role.
Mahon, who met Reasoner when they were both at Iowa Law, said Reasoner was more than deserving of the Alumni Achievement Award for all she accomplished throughout her career. Just as important to Mahon, is the personal connection she and Reasoner have maintained: “She’s great fun. She’s been my classmate, my colleague, my landlady, my mentor, holder of my plenary power of attorney, and my friend for 50 years.”