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Each year, the Emory Law Alumni Awards recognize outstanding alumni who have achieved distinction in legal practice, teaching, research, or public administration and who have demonstrated distinguished service to Emory Law, the Emory Law Alumni Association, or Emory University.


We welcome nominations throughout the year. To submit an alumni award nomination, click one of the following links:

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award

Established in 1985, the Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an alumna or alumnus who embodies the values of the school and has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the legal profession and in service to society.

Kathy Buckman Gibson 89B 89L

Gibson is president and CEO of KBG Technologies, LLC, a distributor of chemical products, services, and technologies, based in Memphis, Tennessee. For nearly 25 years before that, she was COO, chair of the board, and general counsel for the specialty chemical supply company, Buckman, which was founded by her grandfather in 1945. KBG is the only woman-owned business that provides specialty chemistries and smart technologies to the water treatment and pulp and paper markets.

Gibson is recognized as an industry world leader, but also as a good citizen of Memphis. She volunteers with multiple charities, many of which support women and childhood education. They include: First Eight Memphis, Seeding Success, and Tennesseans for Quality Early Education. As a member of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Circle, she has chaired its Pre-K Initiative. She’s a trustee with the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis and serves on the board of the National Civil Rights Museum. She also led the global BuckmanCares initiative, an effort that touches nearly 100,000 people annually, through community relations, volunteerism, and giving.

2023 Alumni Service Award

The Alumni Service Award honors an alumna or alumnus who has contributed significant, sustained leadership and outstanding service to the Emory Law community.

Aloke Chakravarty 97L

Chakravarty, a partner at Snell & Wilmer in Denver, is widely recognized as an excellent white-
collar criminal defense lawyer and cybersecurity specialist; he co-chairs those groups at his law firm. Chakravarty pivoted to private practice in 2018 after 15 years with the Justice Department and now focuses on cybersecurity, data protection and privacy, and counsels clients in crises such as government investigations, cyber incidents, enforcement actions, and regulatory scrutiny.

Chakravarty is a nationally renowned lawyer, known for prosecuting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving defendant in the 2015 Boston Marathon bombing conviction. He has been featured prominently in the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe and is still quoted often by national media. In addition to prominent defense cases, his work includes several other high-profile prosecutions, including nationally followed financial crime prosecutions; a seminal prosecution of internet propagandists; and a prosecution of perpetrators in the Rwandan genocide seeking asylum in the United States. He also participated in the investigation of the Times Square attempted bombing. He is known for pioneering the use of wiretaps and surveillance technology in national security and criminal investigations. Through his work in government, teaching, and private practice, Chakravarty has developed an expertise in privacy law. His many commendations include The Attorney General's Awards for Exceptional Service and for Distinguished Service (from the Justice Department), and the Director’s Award from both the FBI, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. His service to Emory includes speaking to incoming 1L classes and teaching Trial Techniques. He is a member of Executive Committee of the Dean’s Advisory Board.

2023 Eléonore Raoul Trailblazer Award

The Eléonore Raoul Trailblazer Award commemorates Eléonore Raoul 1920L, the first woman admitted to Emory University and a national leader in the women’s suffrage movement. It is given to an Emory Law alumna who has blazed a trail for others through her own professional and personal endeavors.

Johanna "Jo" DeLaGarza-Chitlik 12L

Chitlik 12L is a human rights attorney. She is also a second-generation diplomat whose father served 23 years abroad with the State Department. From an early age, she saw the diversity of cultures and the workings of US foreign policy.

She earned her JD in International Law and a ThD in World Religions before completing her LLM at Emory Law. She was named Deputy Director of Legislative Services for then Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader Stacey Abrams. Chitlik then went to the Republic of Georgia Ministry of Justice to consult on bilateral investment and energy agreements dating back to the Soviet era. She was awarded a Franklin Fellowship in the US Department of State where she became an Investment Policy Specialist (TS/SCF), she oversaw the Western Hemisphere and Middle Eastern Portfolios. She represented the Department in the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and at the United Nations General Assembly as a lead negotiator. She also; prepared the Annual 527 Report on U.S. citizen expropriation claims presented to Congress, created an international monitoring system to track the investment climate for U.S. investors and companies, drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department, the United Nations and the Global entrepreneurship Network which seeks to improve the lives of 1.8 billion vulnerable people. She received 3 State Department Meritorious Awards and a Superior Award. She was a Visiting Research Scholar at the American University Washington College of Law. In 2021, she was named a Fulbright Specialist (FSA) with the State Department. In 2021, she was chosen for an FSA project in Columbia at the Universidad La Sabana, and in 2023 she has been selected for an FSA project in Pakistan, at Fatima Jinnah Women's University. She now regularly mentors Emory Law LLM students.

2023 Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award recognizes the professional and personal achievements of an alumna or alumnus who graduated within the past 15 years and has made notable leadership and service contributions to Emory Law and to the legal profession.

Marcus Sandifer 15L 17L

in 2021, Sandifer joined Celsius Holdings, Inc., as vice president of business and legal affairs, general counsel, and corporate secretary. A self-described “1/2 superhero, 1/2 lawyer, full-time law nerd,” Sandifer was previously employed with DLA Piper LLP in Atlanta. He’s also worked with PepsiCo and Nestlé Waters. In addition to work with the Celsius Board and its committees, Sandifer will ensure compliance with NASDAQ listing standards and SEC regulations, ESG reporting, and advise on corporate governance and regulatory developments.

Sandifer earned his bachelor’s degree at Florida A &M, where he was a National Merit and Presidential Scholar. At Emory Law, he was a Sutherland Scholar and Dean’s Fellow, and named Most Outstanding 3L by his peers. While a law student, he was vice chair of the Law Student Division for the American Bar Association, national director of community service for the National Black Law Students Association, and vice president of the Emory Law Student Bar Association. He’s since held leadership positions with several national and state legal associations. Sandifer currently serves as Emory Law’s BLSA Alumni Advisory Board president. He was named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s top 100 “Modern Men” and included in The National Black Lawyers’ “40 Under 40” list.