SMU Dedman School of Law honors distinguished alumni

Dedman Law honors alumni for their legal and business achievements.

Law Quad at SMU's Dedman School of Law

DALLAS (SMU) — Six esteemed legal and business professionals were presented Distinguished Alumni Awards by SMU Dedman School of Law on Feb. 23 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Since 1986, the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner has been Dedman School of Law’s premier annual event. An alumni committee selects recipients who are standouts in their respective fields, and an honorary award given at the invitation-only ceremony also acknowledges exceptional service to the law school. This year’s awards and recipients were:

W. Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr.
Charles O. Galvin Award for Service to SMU Dedman School of Law

Tog RogersGainesville native “Tog” Rogers received a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from North Texas University in 1956 and his LL.B. from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1961.

Rogers began his career as a briefing clerk for the Supreme Court of Texas, but while in Austin, he was recalled to active duty with the Air Force. After active duty release, he joined the Dallas firm of Wynne, McKenzie, Jaffe and Tinsley to handle civil litigation matters.

In 1967 Rogers became general counsel for L. L. Ridgway’s, Inc., a small public reprographics firm headquartered in Houston. Two years later he became the company’s president and member of its board of directors; in 1980, he took the company private. During the next 20 years Ridgway’s grew its sales from $10 million to more than $100 million, with offices in 27 U.S. cities. During this time Rogers served on the board and was president of the National Association of Blueprint and Diazo Coaters. He also was on the board of the International Reprographics Association. 

Since his retirement from Ridgway’s, which he sold in 2000, Rogers has volunteered with Child Advocates of Houston as guardian ad litem for abused children and on the Endowment Board of Child Advocates. He is a member of the Executive Board of SMU Dedman School of Law and the Houston Steering Committee of SMU’s Second Century Campaign. 

In October 2012 Rogers gave $12.1 million dollars to provide scholarships for SMU Dedman School of Law.

Pablo J. Alliani
Distinguished Global Alumni Award

Pablo J. AllianiPablo J. Alliani of Buenos Aires, Argentina, received his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1989 and his LL.M. degree from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1992. Before returning to Argentina in 1992, he worked for Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP in Dallas, and was a foreign visiting attorney with the Houston office of Baker Botts LLP. 

In 1993 Alliani became a partner with Alliani & Bruzzon-Abogados, leading the firm´s global energy practice to advise oil and gas producers and service companies engaged in high-level transactions – stock/asset purchase agreements, joint operating agreements, farm-outs, gas contracts, upstream joint ventures, and midstream- and downstream-related projects. He has counseled and negotiated on behalf of international oil and gas majors, independent companies and utilities on major infrastructure projects, and mergers and acquisitions. Alliani is an independent expert in international arbitrations.

Alliani was president of the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) in 2011-2012 and is now board chair of AIPN’s National Oil Companies Committee.

Alliani is the chair of the International Bar Association’s section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law. He also has served as trustee-at-large of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law. Alliani has spoken extensively in the area of energy and natural resources.

Alliani has been recognized as one of the top oil and gas lawyers in Argentina by Chambers and Partners. In 2011 Who’s Who in Oil and Gas selected him as one of the top 10 energy practitioners worldwide.

U.S. Rep. Lamar S. Smith
Distinguished Alumni Award for Government Service

Lamar SmithU.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of San Antonio is a sixth-generation Texan. He majored in American studies at Yale University and graduated from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1975. While at SMU he edited The Advocate, which won an American Bar Association award for best law school newspaper.

Since 1987 Smith has represented the 700,000 residents of the 21st District, which stretches from San Antonio to Austin and includes many Hill Country counties.

Smith became chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee in January 2013 and continues to serve on the Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees. During the last Congress, he chaired the Judiciary Committee, which approved more bills that were enacted into law than any other Committee. These included the America Invents Act, the first major change to the U.S. patent system in more than 60 years (for which he was named “Policymaker of the Year” by Politico in 2011); the PATRIOT Act reauthorization; the ForeignIntelligence Surveillance Act Amendments; and the Child Protection Act.

Smith is a former Chairman of the Ethics Committee, making him the only current member who has chaired three permanent Committees. Before his election to the U.S. Congress Smith practiced law, managed a family ranch and began his public service as a Bexar County commissioner.

William D. Powell
Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice

William PowellWilliam D. (Bill) Powell is a native of Fort Smith, Arkansas.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas, was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated with high honors in 1954. He earned his LL.B. summa cum laude, graduating first in his class from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1957. As a law student Powell served as editor-in-chief of the Southwestern Law Journal (now SMU Law Review) and was president of the law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta. He also was a member of the honorary law fraternity the Order of the Woolsack and the advocacy fraternity Order of Barristers.

After graduation Powell was the first SMU Dedman Law graduate to be chosen as a law clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court, serving Justice Tom C. Clark during the 1957-1958 term. 

Powell began private practice in Dallas with the firm Carrington, Gowan, Johnson, Bromberg & Leeds in1958. After the firm reorganized into two separate ones, he continued with the firm Johnson, Bromberg & Leeds for 35 years. 

In the early days of real estate law practice Powell became one of a small group of real estate attorneys in Dallas. His first project was helping his firm represent Raymond Nasher in the development of NorthPark Center. He later directed the legal work for NorthPark Center’s expansion and The Nasher Sculpture Center project. 

Powell has represented many leading Dallas real estate developers, investors and service companies, such as Lincoln Property Company and I.C. Deal Companies, in their local and national activities – representing some on regional, national and international levels for several decades. In 1995 he was a founding partner Powell Coleman & Arnold LLP, a firm specializing in real estate and general business law.

Powell has been selected for The Best Lawyers in America for 30 years since the inception of the publication in 1983. He also has been named one of the “Best Lawyers in Dallas” by D magazine and as one of the “Texas Super Lawyers” by Texas Monthly. He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and a Senior Life Fellow of the Dallas Bar Foundation.

Powell served as a member of the board of directors of NorthPark National Bank before its merger with Comerica Bank.  He also has served as president of the SMU Law Alumni Association, as chairman of the SMU Law Fund Campaign, and as the law alumni member of an SMU School of Law Dean Search Committee.

Dennis J. Grindinger
Distinguished Alumni Award for Corporate Service

Dennis GrindingerAfter graduating from Jesuit Dallas, Dennis J. Grindinger attended the University of Notre Dame, earning a B.B.A. in finance in 1979 and a J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law in 1982.

Grindinger began his law practice in Dallas at Thompson & Knight LLP, initially working in the practice area of real property. In 1983 he moved to Washington, D.C., and worked in the tax area at Steptoe & Johnson for 14 months. Returning to Dallas in late 1984 Dennis rejoined Thompson & Knight, working in the tax division for 16 years. While at Thompson & Knight, he handled cases involving project financing, divestitures, acquisitions, mergers and tax litigation. He served before various courts, including the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In 2001 Grindinger became general counsel of Hunt Oil Company, working on an array of legal issues associated with Hunt Oil’s worldwide Exploration & Production operations, including a two-year arbitration with the government of Yemen. In 2008 he became executive vice president and chief financial officer of Hunt Oil Company, overseeing all of Hunt Oil Company’s financial issues, including access to capital markets, short- and long-term strategic planning and acquisitions and divestures. Grindinger also supervises Hunt Oil’s quarterly and annual financial reports, its domestic and international land holdings and the company’s reservoir engineering.

On behalf of the community Grindinger has served as board chair for Genesis Women’s Shelter, which provides a safe haven for domestic violence victims, and Austin Street Center, which offers refuge and therapy for hundreds of homeless individuals.

Nancy E. Underwood
Honorary Alumnus Award

Nancy UnderwoodNancy E. Underwood was born in Dallas. She received her Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude from Emory University in 1974 and her Juris Doctor in 1977 from Emory University School of Law.

Following graduation from law school Underwood began her career as a litigation attorney with Hurt, Richardson, Garner, Todd and Cadenhead in Atlanta, becoming only the second woman to be hired there. In her first three months with the firm she was second chair for a trial that at the time resulted in the largest award ever given in Atlanta. Underwood also holds the distinction of being the first woman to try a civil case in Atlanta’s Fulton County. During her litigator years she never lost a jury trial and won more motion hearings than any other litigator at the firm.

In 1981 Underwood served as general counsel of Riverhill Development Corporation. Five years later she became owner and CEO of Underwood Financial, Ltd., a commercial real estate investment company where, under her leadership, assets in land, retail and investments have increased 690%.

In 2001, Underwood received the Savvy Award as well as the Salvation Army Texas Volunteer of the Year Award. In 1999, she was awarded the Salvation Army’s Guardian Angel Award and in 1990, the Salvation Army’s Southern Territory Distinguished Service Award.

Underwood has served on the board of directors for the European Initiative Ministry since January 2013, Comstock Resources since 2004 and the Texas Health Resources Foundation since 2002. She also has served on the National Advisory Board of The Salvation Army and has held various leadership positions on the Dallas County Advisory Board of the Salvation Army. 

Underwood is a member of the Georgia Bar Association, the Dallas Bar Association, the Texas Bar Association and the American Bar Association. 

In 1971 the Underwood Law Library at SMU was named in honor of her parents, George M. and Nancy Chambers Underwood. She is a member of the SMU Cox Women’s Initiative and the SMU Dedman School of Law Campaign Steering Committee and Executive Board. 

Shown at the 2013 SMU Dedman School of Law Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA) reception are, from left: Dean John B. Attanasio; award recipients Nancy E. Underwood and Pablo J. Alliani; Dawn Moore, DAA selection committee member; award recipient W. Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr.; Albon Head, DAA selection committee chairman; award recipients Rep. Lamar S. Smith and Dennis J. Grindinger; and SMU President R. Gerald Turner. (Not pictured: William D. Powell.)
Shown at the 2013 SMU Dedman School of Law Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA) reception are, from left: Dean John B. Attanasio; award recipients Nancy E. Underwood and Pablo J. Alliani; Dawn Moore, DAA selection committee member; award recipient W. Yandell “Tog” Rogers, Jr.; Albon Head, DAA selection committee chairman; award recipients Rep. Lamar S. Smith and Dennis J. Grindinger; and SMU President R. Gerald Turner. (Not pictured: William D. Powell.)