The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1997 to recognize graduates of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law who have distinguished themselves in service to their communities and the 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.
The Distinguished Service Award
2022 DSA recipients
- Javier Becerra, '17
Senior Corporate Counsel
- Shontrai D. Irving, '03
Clinical Associate Professor of Business Law
Purdue University Northwest-College of Business
- Laura M. Walda, '09
Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed P.A.
- Mark E. Wright, '89
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Javier Becerra, '17 is currently a Senior Corporate Counsel at Global Payments, a Fortune 500 Fintech Company. In his role, Javier supports numerous subsidiaries of Global Payments in their day-to-day operations and is responsible for negotiating and drafting agreements. Before arriving at Global Payments, he was a Junior Counsel at Imerys and an Assistant General Counsel at Primerica.
During his time at Maurer, he was a certified legal intern at Student Legal Services, a research assistant, and Managing Editor of the Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality. He, along with his moot court partner, won the best brief award in the Sherman Minton Moot Court Competition. He also served in multiple leadership roles in various student organizations, such as Director of the Pro Bono Immigration Project and Vice President of the Latino Law Student Association.
Shontrai D. Irving, '03, is a Clinical Associate Professor of Business Law at Purdue University Northwest-College of Business Hammond & Westville. His coursework focuses on areas including business law, litigation, ethics, justice and courts. Since January 2017, Shontrai has also worked as a Public Defender at the Lake County Juvenile Center, representing children’s interests. He is also a single and adoptive parent who has opened his heart and home to more than 60 children to date. Additionally, Shontrai practices as an associate at Semko Law Office LLC in Schereville, Indiana, handling matters in criminal and family law, as well as personal injury.
Shontrai has been recognized in countless ways. He was named Indiana’s 2007 Foster Parent of the Year by the Indiana Foster Care Adoption Association and has received recognition from the Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Colts, and Indiana General Assembly. In June 2022, Shontrai received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Governor Holcomb.
Laura M. Walda, '09, is a shareholder at Lowndes Drosdick Doster Kantor & Reed P.A. in Orlando, Florida. Her practice focuses on commercial real estate, with a particular emphasis on contract and lease negotiation and drafting, real estate acquisitions and dispositions, negotiation and structuring of credit facilities and review of title insurance matters. She also has experience in commercial litigation regarding title insurance matters, landlord/tenant disputes and banking. Laura often serves as lead counsel on major, multi-million dollar commercial real estate transactions involving office, retail, industrial, and multifamily properties. In addition to her busy legal practice, Laura is active in a number of community and professional organizations.
Mark E. Wright, '89, is a Partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP in Indianapolis, IN. His practice includes all aspects of real estate transactions, focusing largely on real estate development, including sales and financing. Mark has played an integral role in the financing, development and construction of high-profile, billion-dollar projects involving Fortune 100 corporations, automotive companies, sports franchises and utility companies. Mark also represents clients in a wide variety of real estate leasing transactions (including build-to-suit projects) from both the landlord and the tenant perspective.
Since the early 1990’s, Mark has helped advance public/private (incentive-based) development projects. He has played a key role in numerous high-profile projects in downtown Indianapolis.
- The nature of the service rendered by the nominee may include, but is not limited to: exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism, furthering humanitarian causes; rendering pro bono services in the nominee’s area of expertise; serving with distinction on community-based boards; actively fostering citizenship; or serving his or her community, state, or country in some exceptional and distinctive manner.
- The nominee must have received a degree from the IU Maurer School of Law.
- The nominee must agree to be present at the award ceremony.
- Current officers of the Indiana Law Alumni Board (President, President-Elect, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer) are not eligible for this award.