The quality of Drivon School of Law is reflected in the achievements of its students, outstanding alumni, staff, faculty and its community. In honor of their accomplishments, and in recognition of others who invest in education, the Drivon School of Law created the Hall of Fame in 2008.
The Hall of Fame spotlights the success of our alumni and community and acknowledges the role of the Drivon School of Law in their outstanding achievements. Those inducted into the Hall of Fame exemplify the power and potential of higher education. Our graduates have contributed to the advancement of business, healthcare, government, public service, education, and more.
At the same time, our Hall of Fame inductees serve as role models for current students, and demonstrate that by pursuing our dreams, we can achieve more than we ever believed was possible.
Hall of Fame Inductees
Honorable Jose L. Alva 2017
Jose Alva was appointed to a vacancy on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in 1979. He was the youngest person to serve on the Board and was the first Latino, then becoming the Chairman of the Board in 1983. He opened a consulting firm and decided to attend Drivon School of Law Humphreys University in 1985. He became an attorney in 1989 and continued to participate in many public and community affairs. His education consists of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Inter-American Studies and Social Science from Elbert Covell College and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from University of the Pacific. Judge Alva enlists in the U.S. Army serving from 1970 to 1972. He has been involved in many civic organizations such as the SJC Assessment Appeals Board and the SJC Economic Development Advisory Committee. He was a founding member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, NALEO. He has served on the boards of the Easter Seals Society, KUOP Radio, SJC Parks and Recreation Commission, SJC Mental Health Advisory Board, and many more. In 2006, Judge Alva was appointed to serve as Judge on the San Joaquin County Superior Court and since 2016 served as the President Judge. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Trial Courts Presiding Judges Advisory of the Judiciary Council, and the Commission on the Future of California’s Court System. He served on the Board of Trustees at Humphreys University.
Archie Bakerink 2016
Archie was admitted to Humphreys College School of Law in 1971 with no prior college education. Mr. Bakerink interned for Larry Drivon and upon passing the Bar, they became partners. In 1981, Archie earned the first million dollar verdict in San Joaquin County. He later formed a partnership with Jim Stroup and became a Certified Specialist in Wills and Trusts. He set up the first 12-Step Program in Russia and Cuba to help those with substance abuse. In 2010, along with Judge Vlavianos, Archie set up a partnership with the Law School for the student supervised representation of individuals in four collaborative courts. Always involved in his community, Archie was on the original board of the McHenry House, he formed the Second Harvest Food Bank and served 30 years on the board of Good Samaritan Community Services. He founded Sober Charities, was president of the Lions Club, and named Professional of the Year by the Tracy Chamber of Commerce. He received the Award of Excellence by the Tracy Press as Legal Advisor for five years. Archie was selected Professor of the Year by the Law students in 2013 and has mentored many students and at least 20 young lawyers beginning their careers.
Honorable Judge Susan D. Siefkin 2013
Judge Siefkin is a graduate of U.C. Santa Barbara in Political Science (1966). She attended the U.C. Education Abroad Program at the University of Bordeaux, France (1963-64) and has a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from Rutgers University (1967). She taught American Government and Politics at Modesto Junior College and at California State University, Stanislaus. In 1975 she became only the second woman to be elected to the Modesto City Council. At the beginning of her second four-year term in office she decided to enroll in Humphreys College School of Law. Women were just beginning to enroll in law schools at that time, and her class at Humphreys began with four women students. During Law School she continued her work on the Modesto City Council and also worked as a Consumer Fraud Intern in the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office. She graduated as Valedictorian in 1983,
Judge Siefkin initially practiced tort and business litigation with the firm of Gianelli and Israels in Modesto, where she became a shareholder. In 1990 she opened her own office, principally practicing as a contract attorney with Roger M. Schrimp. In 1991 she joined the firm of Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios and Ladine, where she became a partner with a focus on business litigation, torts and bankruptcy. She was elected by the Stanislaus County Bar Association as the first woman President of that organization (1989- 1990). She is a member of the Modesto Rotary Club and is Director and Officer of the Parent Resource Center. She was named Outstanding Woman of Stanislaus County (1982) by the Stanislaus County Commission for Women. An avid art quilter, she has exhibited her art work in regional and international shows and in local art galleries. In 1995 Judge Siefkin was appointed to the Stanislaus County Municipal Court by Governor Pete Wilson and in 1998 became a Superior Court Judge.
Honorable George Abdallah Jr. 2012
The honorable George Abdallah, Jr. finished Humphreys Law School in 1980. He practiced law for seven years until becoming the Court Commissioner in Manteca in 1987. In 1995, he became a Municipal Court Judge and in 1998 joined the Superior Court. He served as Presiding Judge from 2002 to 2003. He has extensive teaching experience at Humphreys College, University of the Pacific, and the Drivon Law School. He has served as a trustee of the Stockton-San Joaquin libraries and on the Judicial Council and the Commission on Judicial Performance. He is well known for teaching judges in their training programs. He is married to Judge Elizabeth Humphreys.
Larry Drivon 2012
Larry graduated from Humphreys Law School in 1970 and stayed the extra year, then a requirement, to earn the JD in 1971. He began practice in Lodi and after six days in the office of attorney Leonard Cain tried his first civil trial. In 1972 he was President of the San Joaquin Trial Lawyers. When Judge Grande was sworn in, Drivon and Bakerink took over his Tracy practice. Eventually Stu Tabak joined as partner. Larry’s office set up the first law firm in California with computer based records. He also holds the record for the longest criminal trial in the county, along with Dean Patrick Piggott. The firm had a partnership with Melvin Belli from 1982 to 1985. He served as President of the State Trial Lawyers and was awarded their Trial Lawyer of the Year award. From 2000 to 2002 Larry volunteered to be the attorney for a Legislative committee in Sacramento and began the process that brought ENRON to its knees. He was the San Joaquin County Attorney of the Year in 2003. His biggest success was his relationship with Jeff Anderson and their remarkably successful civil trial record representing victims of child abuse. He retired in December, 2008.
Barbara Fass 2012
Now retired and living in Arizona Barbara will return for this event. She graduated from Humphreys law school in 1974, and with Ann Cerney, Roleen McIlwrath and Judith Yecies formed the first all women law firm in the county. She served on the City Planning Commission, and was elected to the City Council in 1979. In 1985 she became the first woman Mayor of Stockton and served until 1990. She was responsible for setting up the Magnolia Historical District and setting up the corporation to handle the money received after the Cleveland School shooting. That fund has distributed hundreds of scholarships to Cleveland students. Ms. Fass did a great deal of social security disability law representing a large portion of the Cambodian and Hmong communities. She saved the Fox theater and the Fair Hotel (Xochimilco’s Restaurant) from demolition and other areas as well, including Family Law.
John Schick 2012
At his death, John was the Assistant Dean of the Law School. He had taught longer at the school than any other instructor, 40 years. He retired from his practice and became a full time Professor in 2006. He was a graduate of UC Davis undergraduate and King Hall Law School. He was President of their Alumni Association in 2010-11. He practiced criminal law in Stockton all those years and earned a top reputation. He was active with bird watchers and traveled extensively. His work with the Lawyer Referral Service made that system successful. He did many death penalty cases, appointed by the Courts for his expertise in criminal defense. The proceeds of this year’s event will go to establishing the John Schick Criminal law Center.
Honorable James E. Cadle 2011
In 1954 Jim Cadle entered the Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton. After his service, he was a police officer for thirteen years in Tracy, California. After his first year in law school (1972-73), he switched his full-time job to be an Investigator with the San Joaquin County Public Defenders Office. In 1976 he graduated from Law School, passed the Bar, and joined the Lake County District Attorney’s Office. Shortly thereafter, he received an offer from Riddle, Schick, and Jacobsen and returned to Stockton, joining their criminal defense firm. In 1980 he joined John Brinton as a general partner in the Manteca law firm of McFall, Burnett, Brinton, and Cadle. The practice was entirely civil, and the firm served as the City Attorney’s Office for Manteca. On July 12, 1984, he was sworn in as Judge with the Manteca-Ripon-EscalonTracy Municipal County. With consolidation, he became a Superior Court Judge and served in Tracy until his retirement in July of 2004.
Ann Cerney 2011
Ann Cerney grew up in a rural area and saw the need to help those less fortunate. She moved to South America with her husband, Reid, and their first child, serving in health clinics. They returned to California. Ann had her sixth child and became a schoolteacher. She graduated from Humphreys School of Law and began practicing law in 1976. With classmates, she became a member of the first and only all-female law firm in the Valley. Her partners were Barbara Fass (later Mayor of Stockton), Rolleen Mcllwrath (later a judge) and Judy Yecies. Ann always focused on the underprivileged and unrepresented individuals. She worked in MediCal Law, a unique field and specialized in Social Security Disability and Supplement Security Income Law. She became the go-to person for CRLA for decades. For 16 years she had been the San Joaquin County representative on the CRLA State board of Trustees. In the late 1970s, Ann was elected to the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees and served for thirteen years. Her advocacy, with others, led to the creation of the child care center for Delta. She began attending planning commission meetings as observer for the AAUW. Always active in Democratic politics, she once ran for Congress and has always advocated her positions with grace and ethics. In 2011, Ann Cerney was named Attorney of the Year by the San Joaquin County Bar Association.
Robert C. Dalton 2011
Dalton was born in Colorado. He moved to California and was educated at Bellarmine College Prep School in San Jose. He then finished his undergraduate studies at University of the Pacific. From 1958 to 1964, he was a Probation Officer for San Joaquin County, serving as Head of the Adult Investigation unit. He entered Humphreys College Law School, completed his legal education and was admitted to the California Bar in 1966. Throughout his early adult years and until becoming an attorney, Bob was a professional singer, singing folk music along with John Swingle at such noted establishments as the Purple Onion, Hungry I, and in Lake Tahoe. Together they produced one album. He wrote and published music and continued to assist John Swingle in teaching music at Delta College. He began his practice with Bud Marx and later became a Deputy District Attorney. Upon leaving the DA’s office, he practiced law in Stockton for the next 35 years. He was a senior partner in Piggott, Ford, and Dalton until 2004. Bob was the first graduate of the Law School to return as an Adjunct Professor in 1967 and taught for over 40 years. His first class was Criminal Procedure. He became the second alumni to serve as President of the San Joaquin County Bar Association. Working with the Bar, he was among the first volunteers for the Legal Aid Society. He was in Kiwanis, the Yosemite Club, and served as President of the 20-30 Club. During the tumultuous time of school desegregation, he was elected to the Stockton School Board and served two terms as President. His car was bombed and he received many threats, but he successfully completed the task. In 1977 he received commendations from the State legislature and the County Board of Supervisor and was elected to Who’s Who in America.
Wallace F. (Wally) Caldwell 2010
Doctor Caldwell earned his B.A., with honors, from Washington State University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D in Political Science from the University of Washington. In 1970 he came to Stockton to teach at the University of Pacific. Teaching Constitutional Law to undergraduates, he decided to earn his own Law Degree and entered Humphreys College Law School, graduating with his J.D. in 1975. Over the next 19 years he taught at UOP and became Head of the Policital Science Department as well as practicing law Simonelli, Simonelli and Carash. He also began teaching at Humphreys Law School immediately on graduation. In 1994 he retired from UOP and was awarded the Order of Pacific. Wally primarily taught Torts and Constitutional Law and was invited to be Commencement speaker twice and twice awarded Professor of the Year.
Honorable Rolleen K. McIlwrath 2010
Rolleen McIlwrath was a school teacher. She had graduated from the University of Colorado. While raising a family she entered Humphreys College Law School and graduated in 1975. After two years of private practice she became a founding partner of the only all women law firm in the Valley, Cerney, Fass, McIlwrath and Yecis. Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the Municipal Court bench in 1983. She served twice as Presiding Judge and helped create and then became the first full time Judge of the Drug Court. She was President of the California Judges foundation in 1989. She served on the Board of the Children’s Home and along with Ort Loftus was a founding member of the substance abuse program, New Directions. The San Joaquin County Bar named her the Law Day Award winner in 1996. Judge McIlwrath retired from the Superior Court in 2003.
Louis F. (Bud) Gianelli 2009
Bud Gianelli graduated from Stockton High and served in the U.S. Navy from ’44 to ’46. He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from UC Berkeley in 1950. He began Humphreys College Law School in 1958 but left after 1960 to pursue a business opportunity in Modesto, returning in 1970, graduating and passing the Bar in 1972. He established the law firm of Gianelli and Associates in Modesto, California. In 1963 he was the Young Man of the Year in Modesto. He served as President of the County Heart Association, Modesto Lions, the Chamber of Commerce and the Modesto Racquet Club, all before 1979. He was named Boss of the Year by the County Legal Secretaries and served as President of the California Association of Inheritance Tax Referees, the Memorial Hospitals Association of Stanislaus County, and the Modesto Rotary Club.
Dr. Richard Nickerson, M.D., J.D. 2009
Dr. Nickerson grew up in Newport Beach, California and in 1943 graduated from high school and enlisted in the army. He served in the South Pacific and in 1946 returned and entered UCLA for pre-med studies and in 1952 graduated from California College of Medicine, completing residency in general surgery at LA County Hospital. He moved his family to San Joaquin County and was a surgeon and instructed in surgery at San Joaquin General Hospital until 1972. During this same time he entered Humphreys College Law School and finished in 1965. He served on the City of Stockton Planning Commission from 1991-1996 and in 1997 was elected to the City Council, serving two terms, until 2005. In 2006 he was appointed to the San Joaquin County Planning Commission.
Cruz F. Portillo 2009
Cruz Portillo grew up in east Stockton and served in the Navy in WWII. That service eventually took him to Iowa and a degree from Iowa State. He returned in 1948 and in 1952 entered Humphreys College of Law. He graduated and passed the California Bar in 1956, becoming our first Hispanic graduate and Lawyer. After working as a Deputy District Attorney he chose to run for the Assembly in 1960. He lost the campaign but gained a great reputation. He became a workers compensation specialist and practiced until 1992 when he retired. Along the way he was a founder and Charter President of the San Joaquin Lions Club. He was President of the San Joaquin Toastmasters Club, Deputy District Governor of Lions International, vice-president of the San Joaquin County Bar Association and for twenty years served as Legal Consultant to the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento.
Honorable David P. Warner 2009
The Honorable David P. Warner Judge Warner graduated from Lodi Union High School in 1967 and then CSU Sacramento with a BA in Police Science and Administration. He completed Humphreys College Law School in 1975 and was admitted to the California Bar the same year. After five years as an associate with two firms in the county he opened his own office and was in private practice from 1980 to 1998. In 1994 he was elected to the Lodi City Council and became Mayor in 1995, Humphreys’ first graduate to do so. In 1997 he was appointed to the San Joaquin County bench by Governor Wilson. He served on the California Judges Association Ethics Committee for three years and the members all received the 2007 President’s Award. Beginning in January, 2010, Judge Warner will be the Presiding Judge of the San Joaquin County Courts. He has been active in his church and served as President of the Lodi Today Rotary Club.
Herb Bowman 2008
Mr. Bowman was a CPA in Stockton in 1949, with an MBA from Harvard, but he was unable to complete his clients’ cases by representing them in court. He approached Dr. John Humphreys and asked if he could set up law classes. The rest is history. Mr. Bowman was the first ever graduate of the law school and the first person admitted to the California Bar from this school. He continues to practice as a CPA and lawyer on March Lane to this day. He has an extraordinary reputation and is highly regarded in both of his professions.
Honorable Ann Chargin 2008
Ann Chargin is one of the first female law program graduates (Class of 1962). She became a Public Defender before she was appointed to the bench. We are proud she became the second female judge in the county and the first female graduate so appointed. She remains an active participant in numerous community organizations.
Honorable Laurence Drivon 2008
Judge Drivon taught in the first years of the law school. He was elected District Attorney of San Joaquin County and later appointed a Municipal Court Judge. Throughout his distinguished career, he taught at Humphreys Law School and served on its Board of Trustees, including years as Chairman. Three of his sons have graduated from the Law School as well as a daughter-in-law and three step-grandchildren. The school was named after Judge Drivon in 2003.
Honorable Nels B. Fransen 2008
Nels Fransen began teaching here after graduating from Hastings College of Law and shortly after Judge Drivon. He continued for almost fifty years. He became Dean in the 1980s and served until his retirement in 2004. He is Dean Emeritus. After decades on the bench as Judge Fransen in the Superior Court, he retired but continues to sit as a substitute judge throughout northern California.
John R. Humphreys, Jr. 2008
As President of the College, he arranged the first law classes offered. He remained in charge as the College grew and became accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners and later WASC. One cannot imagine how the school could have succeeded without his leadership and direction.