2021 Alumni of Color Awards

At Law Alumni Weekend 2021, the Syracuse University Law Alumni Association (SULAA) Inclusion Network and the College of Law will celebrate the distinguished achievements of alumni of color for their service ‎to the College, the legal profession, Syracuse University, or the world ‎at large.

BLSA Legacy Award

Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93

Hon. Rodney Thompson L’93

Presiding Judge, Family Division, Superior Court of New Jersey

Judge Thompson currently sits in Mercer County Superior Court-Family Part, where he serves as Presiding Judge and hears Juvenile Delinquency, Domestic Violence, Contempt of Restraining Order, Weapons Forfeiture, and Family Crisis matters.  He has presided over and served as the Lead Judge for the Children in Court docket, hearing child abuse, neglect and termination of parental rights matters. Judge Thompson is a member of the Conference of Family Presiding Judges, including the Family Presiding Judges Mentorship and Juvenile Committees. He also is Chair of Mercer County’s Domestic Violence Working Group and Co-Chair of the Youth Services Commission and Council on Juvenile Justice System Improvement. 

Immediately prior to appointment to Superior Court, Judge Thompson was a municipal court judge for more than four years. He served a complete term as a full-time judge in Trenton and was reappointed Chief Judge. Additionally, Judge Thompson presided over the shared services Municipal Court for Westampton, Eastampton, and Hainesport townships in Burlington County. He was the first African-American municipal court judge to serve in the Westampton Municipal Court.

Judge Thompson worked for more than a decade in his own general private practice. Simultaneously, he also served as a municipal public defender for 12 years in Trenton. Judge Thompson has also worked for the NJ Office of the Public Defender, Office of Parental Representation, representing parents in child abuse, neglect, and termination of parental rights cases.

Judge Thompson graduated from Mercer County Community College with honors, earning an Associate in Applied Science degree in 1988. In the same year, he was selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar from New Jersey. In 1990, Judge Thompson graduated cum laude from Trenton State College, now The College of New Jersey. While at Trenton State College, Judge Thompson was selected and participated in the Washington Center’s Minority Leaders Fellowship Program in Washington, DC, during the summer of 1989.

Judge Thompson then earned Master of Public Administration and Juris Doctor degrees from Syracuse University, both in 1993. While at Syracuse University, he was named an Andrews Scholar by the law school and a Graduate Scholar by the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

LALSA Legacy Award

Hon. Ramón E. Rivera L’94

Hon. Ramón E. Rivera L’94

New York State Court of Claims

Judge Rivera was nominated to the New York State Court of Claims by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, confirmed by the NYS Senate, and sworn in on June 8, 2021.

Before this appointment, Judge Rivera was a partner at Mackenzie Hughes LLP, which he joined in 2001. He was a member of the firm’s business department, where he had served on the Executive Committee and chaired the Employment/Immigration Law Practice Group. His responsibilities included providing counsel and assistance to corporate and individual clients with establishing US branch offices, affiliates, and subsidiaries for US immigration purposes; counseling businesses on US employment and non-discrimination laws, I-9 compliance, and worksite enforcement audits; assisting locally and nationally based hospitals and medical providers with obtaining an administrative waiver of the home residency requirement; and counseling foreign and domestic corporations with obtaining inter-company transfers of key personnel, executives, and multinational managers. 

Judge Rivera also was judicially appointed Chair to the New York State Appellate Fourth Department Fifth Judicial District Attorney Grievance Committee, and judicially appointed to the NYS Appellate Fourth Department Judicial Committee on Character and Fitness. Judge Rivera was as an adjunct professor at Syracuse Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California.

Inaugural Asian Pacific Islander Legacy of Excellence Award

Seuk Joon Lee L’99
Seuk Joon Lee L’99

Seuk Joon Lee L’99

Senior Foreign Counsel, Yulchon

Seuk Joon Lee is a foreign attorney (and a member of New York Bar since 2000) at Seoul-based international law firm Yulchon and primarily practices in the areas of antitrust, medicine and pharmaceuticals, broadcasting and telecommunications, and air transportation. 

Lee is Vice Chair of the Antitrust Practice, handling all types of antitrust matters, including cartels, merger review, abuse of market dominance, and unfair trade practices. He has been selected as a leading lawyer by international publications such as GCR’s International Who’s Who and Chamber’s Asia. 

Lee is also a core member of Yulchon’s Health Care Practice Team and has advised many prominent Korean and foreign pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies on various healthcare regulation issues, including compliance issues and reimbursement for medical products. 

Before joining Yulchon in 2006, Lee spent 21 years working for the Korean government agencies such as the KFTC, the Economic Planning Board, and the Ministry of Information and Communication. 

At the KFTC, Lee held a number of leadership positions such as Director of the Investigation Division, Director of the Labeling and Advertising Division, Director of the Large Business Group Division, Director of the Competition Promotion Division, and Director of the Monopoly Regulation Division. 

While he worked for the KFTC, Lee took a leading role in investigating many historically important antitrust cases in Korea, including the abuse of market dominance cases against Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm. In addition, Lee took a prominent role in the development of fair trade policies and the revisions of the Monopoly Regulation and Fair Trade Act and relevant regulations, in particular as it relates to large Korean conglomerates.

Lee has served as President of the Korean Law Alumni Association of Syracuse University in South Korea, the College’s largest overseas alumni group.