Four members of the Indiana Law community were honored Friday (September 23) with Distinguished Service Awards. Javier Becerra ’17; Shontrai Irving ’03; Laura Walda ’09; and Mark Wright ’89, received their respective awards during a moving ceremony in front of a standing-room only crowd in the DeLaney Moot Court Room, though circumstances prevented Walda and Wright from attending in person.
“These awards are especially meaningful and timely to all of us at the Law School because of our commitment to instilling public service in our students,” said Interim Dean Christiana Ochoa. “Every one of our students commits to an aspirational goal of 60 hours of pro bono service during their three years of law school, so it’s incredibly gratifying to recognize alumni who set such a great example for our students after they enter the legal profession.”
The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1997 to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves in service to their communities and the Law School in ways far exceeding traditional business, professional, and civic duties.
Through their hard work, passion, and accomplishments, these alumni define Indiana Law’s ideals for community service and serve as accomplished role models for our Law School and the greater community. This year’s event was held with the majority of the Law School’s 1L class in attendance, giving them an opportunity to hear first-hand the importance of community service after they graduate.
“We are honored to recognize Javier, Shontrai, Laura, and Mark for the example they have set for their communities, the Law School, and all of our students,” Ochoa said.
The 2022 Distinguished Service Award winners are:
Javier Becerra is senior corporate counsel at Global Payments, a Fortune 500 Fintech company. He served as managing editor of the Indiana Law Journal of Law and Social Equality, held multiple leadership roles while a student, and received the school’s Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award. He was recognized in Atlanta Magazine’s Top 500 Most Powerful Leaders in Atlanta in both 2021 and 2022. He is an active member of his community and professional organizations, including the Board of Directors for the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association, the Atlanta Echelon Young Professionals Chapter (President), and Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, Inc. (past national director of expansion).
Shontrai Irving is a clinical associate professor of business law at Purdue University Northwest, Irving has also worked as a public defender at the Lake County Juvenile Center, where he represents children’s interests. Irving serves on the Law School’s Black Law Students Association Alumni Advisory Board, and has received a number of awards, including the prestigious Sagamore of the Wabash award, presented earlier this summer by Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. Irving is a single adoptive parent, advocating on behalf of foster children for nearly 20 years. During that time he’s opened his home to more than 60 children.
Laura Walda is a shareholder at Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed in Orlando, Fla., where she focuses on commercial real estate. She has been an active member of the Law School’s Alumni Board for nine years, and has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America (2022 and 2023), a “Florida Rising Star” 2016-19 by Florida Super Lawyers, and as a member of the Orlando Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2021. Walda is active in her local community of Winter Park, Fla. She was a Governor’s Fellow with the Governor of the State of Indiana in i2004-5 and was recognized with the Ninth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Merit Award.
Mark Wright is a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath in Indianapolis, where he’s been involved with some of Indianapolis’ most recognizable projects, including the Emmis Broadcasting Corporate Headquarters, Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the JW Marriott Convention Center Hotel. Wright has been a tremendous advocate for the Law School, serving as a firm solicitor, class agent, and admissions recruiter. He served for more than a decade on the school’s Alumni Board, including past president. Wright has received a number of honors including recognition as a Best Lawyer-Real Estate Law, 2021-23 and by Martindale-Hubbell as a “Top Ranked Lawyer in Real Estate.”