DC Metro Area Alumni Chapter

If you wish the join this Chapter's listserv to receive notices about their events or volunteer please submit this form

Chapter Officers:

Karen Roos

Karen Roos

WCL 2007 - President

Karen Roos is the CEO of HireRoos, a boutique legal staffing agency. Karen has 15 years of experience in the legal industry. She received her legal training in the US, France and Germany. She has a Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law, American University, and a Master 2 in International Trade Law from Nanterre University in France. 

Karen has worked for the US government, law firms and alternative legal service providers. Her expertise is in alternative dispute resolutions, legal translation work and E-discovery. She draws on her international experience and her multilingual abilities to help law firms strategize for their international legal interpretation needs and their US staffing needs.

Karen is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and the State of New York. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and French and speaks intermediate German. She is active in the Washington DC Bar and the American Bar Association.

Tom Morante, WCL 1977-Second Vice President

Matt Lapin

WCL 1999 - First Vice President

Matt has more than two decades of experience in international transactions and international trade law as external counsel, in-house counsel and counsel to a government corporation. He focuses on anti-corruption, export controls, sanctions, customs and corporate compliance. He is well-versed in the details of export controls compliance with respect to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the U.S. Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as well as the various embargo and sanctions programs administered by the Office of Foreign Asset Controls (OFAC) and their counterpart agencies in the U.K., E.U. and other jurisdictions.

Matt has served as trade compliance counsel to U.S. and non-U.S. headquartered Fortune 500 companies, and multinational energy, medical products, pharmaceutical, utilities and aerospace companies. In addition to providing regular counseling on economic sanctions, export controls and customs laws, he also conducts and assists clients with internal investigations, disclosures, and communications with OFAC, DOE, the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

In addition, Matt advises on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and a variety of other domestic and international anti-bribery laws. He has developed programs, processes, conducted investigations and provides training for clients on compliance issues and regularly leads due diligence efforts in the context of cross-border mergers, acquisitions and divestitures.

Tom Morante, WCL 1977-Second Vice President

Tom Morante

WCL 1977 - Second Vice President


For more than 30 years, Tom Morante’s clients have relied on him to help them navigate an increasingly complex global regulatory and technology-driven environment. He advises clients with respect to U.S. and foreign insurance regulatory, compliance, and transactional matters, as well as on cross-border business operations, with a focus on Latin America.

Tom counsels insurance and reinsurance companies; captive insurers; insurance agents; distributors and wholesalers; insurtechs; fronting insurers; financial institutions; and investment funds, with a focus on matters involving life and annuities, health, business interruption, extended warranty, reps and warranties, title, data privacy, cyber, parametric, credit, and political risk insurance.

Clients engaging in business in the United States and abroad also seek Tom's counsel with respect to mergers and acquisitions, joint venture transactions, capital formation, import/export, and licensing and distribution agreements. Collaborating with foreign law firms around the world, Tom has also handled regulatory compliance and enforcement matters abroad. He is fluent in Spanish and completed undergraduate study in Colombia and Spain, and legal studies in Mexico.

Insurance clients regularly ask Tom to assist in the development of offshore life insurance, annuities, and investment products in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and other offshore jurisdictions. He also counsels them on the foreign laws implicated in the distribution and cross-border sale of insurance products, with an emphasis on Latin America and Asia. He advises U.S. insurers with respect to establishing operations in various foreign countries and foreign insurers on engaging in insurance business in the U.S.

Tom also advises insurance clients with respect to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations, the USA Patriot Act and foreign country anti-money laundering laws, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and foreign anti-corruption legislation. Further, Tom counsels clients on the financial services chapter of the USMCA, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Tom leads Carlton Fields’ International Insurance Regulatory team and co-chairs its Mexico Desk. He is the former chair of both the ABA Business Law Section’s International Coordinating Committee and International Business Law Committee, and currently co-chairs the ABA Business Law Section/International Law Section Working Group on international collaboration. He also serves as a member of the ABA UN Representatives Committee, which comprises a select few ABA members serving as representatives to the United Nations. Tom also serves on the board of advisors of Inter-American Dialogue’s Financial Services Advisor publication.

Jessica Byler, WCL 2020-Secretary

Luis Clavijo

WCL 2002 - Treasurer


Jessica Byler, WCL 2020-Secretary

Jimmy Valenzuela

WCL 2020 - Communications & Marketing

Jimmy Valenzuela is a Tax Senior with Deloitte’s Washington National Tax – Multistate Services practice. He provides technical subject matter expertise and works with the firm’s tax professionals and clients to provide a comprehensive approach to analyzing complicated issues and managing risk. After completing his legal education at American University Washington College of Law in May 2020 and before joining Deloitte, Mr. Valenzuela completed an LLM in Taxation at the Georgetown University Law Center. During law school, Mr. Valenzuela was a Thurgood Marshall Law Clerk with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, an Intern with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He was also a Student Attorney for the AUWCL Community and Economic Development Law Clinic. Mr. Valenzuela is interested in providing guidance and mentorship to individuals from underrepresented communities, including first-generation immigrants interested in attending college or pursuing a professional degree, particularly those interested in becoming the next generation of lawyers.

La-Vaughnda Taylor, WCL 2009-Virginia Representative

La-Vaughnda Taylor

WCL 2009 – Virginia Representative

La-Vaughnda ("LV") Taylor is the 2023-2024 VA Regional Representative. Originally from South Carolina, she got her undergraduate degree from Clemson University and graduated from WCL in 2009. Since graduating, she has worked in various industries from sports, music, entertainment, and the tech startup world. Prior to her current role, La-Vaughnda was a solo practitioner focusing on intellectual property, business, and entertainment law matters. Barred in NY and pending admission to the VA State Bar as corporate counsel, she currently is the Assistant General Counsel at the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA) and sits on the board of several NYC-based non-profit organizations. In her "free time," she is a freelance film critic and cocktail party host.

Parker Thoeni, WCL 2008-Maryland Representative

Parker Thoeni

WCL 2008 - Maryland Representative

Parker Thoeni represents management in employment litigation in state and federal courts, and in administrative proceedings before federal, state, and local administrative bodies.  Parker also provides advice and counsel to employers regarding personnel matters.

Parker litigates a broad range of labor and employment disputes; he focuses the majority of his time on litigation involving employee mobility (common law tortious interference and non-competition and non-solicitation agreements), confidentiality agreements and trade secrets, as well as wage and hour class and collective actions.  Parker advises clients on all aspects of the employment relationship, including employee leave, reasonable accommodations, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, wages and hours, restrictive covenants, executive employment agreements, misappropriation of confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information, and development of personnel policies.  Parker routinely oversees and conducts internal investigations and provides both management and employee training on a variety of labor and employment laws.  Parker is certified by the D.C. Office of Human Rights to provide sexual harassment training, as required by the D.C. Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018.  Parker has been a frequent speaker on medical marijuana in the workplace, as well as LGBTQ workplace rights.  Parker represents employers in a variety of industries, including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, construction, professional services, food services, and manufacturing.

Parker Thoeni, WCL 2008-Maryland Representative

Joanne Chong

WCL 2017 - DC Representative

Joanne Chong is currently an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Special Reviews and Communications at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) Office of Inspector General (OIG). She also serves as the Congressional Liaison for EXIM OIG. Ms. Chong previously served as an attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the United States Postal Service OIG, where she provided legal guidance on investigations, ongoing audits, and contracting and employment related matters. She began her OIG career in law school and served as a law clerk at the United States Department of the Interior OIG and Architect of the Capitol OIG. 

Ms. Chong earned her Juris Doctor from the American University Washington College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from the University of Southern California. She successfully represented an asylum applicant in court as part of her pro bono work in the Women and the Law Clinic (currently the Gender Justice Clinic). 

Prior to law school, Ms. Chong lived in London, where she studied global communication and media. She also lived in Seoul, where she researched South Korean business-governmental relations.

Ogochukwu Ekwuabu, WCL 2008-Student Engagement

Ogochukwu Ekwuabu

WCL 2008 - Student Engagement

Ogochukwu Ekwuabu currently serves as the acting Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Management (DAIG-M)/Deputy Executive Director at the U.S. Department of State (State), Office of Inspector General (OIG), overseeing matters of administration, information technology, quality assurance, budget development and management, employee development, human resources management, space management, and operating policies. Prior to being detailed to this position, Ms. Ekwuabu served as the Senior Risk Management Officer in the Office of Enterprise Risk Management at State OIG since June 2021.

Her career in government started in June 2011 as a staff attorney in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of General Counsel in Washington, DC. Subsequently, she served as the principal legal liaison and advisor to senior representatives at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center. From 2018-2021, she was an attorney advisor at the VA OIG, where she provided legal advice and guidance to OIG management related to OIG operations and activities, including federal procurement law, protection and release of information, and VA programs and operations as well as reviewed OIG work products, such as audits, evaluations, inspections, reviews, and investigations. In 2021, she also served as the acting Deputy Counselor for Employee Relations at VA OIG.

Ogochukwu Ekwuabu, WCL 2008-Student Engagement

Gene Rossi

WCL 1982 - Parliamentarian

With nearly three decades of criminal and civil litigation experience at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Gene Rossi leverages the skills he honed as a federal prosecutor to concentrate on matters related to white collar criminal defense and government investigations.

During his DOJ career, Gene had more than 110 federal trials (including an unprecedented 90 jury trials) in U.S. district and bankruptcy courts. From 1989-2001, he worked in the Tax Division, trying complex civil and criminal matters and serving on an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

In 2001, he became an assistant U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, which is known as the “Rocket Docket.” There, he led and supervised a vast array of significant investigations involving the opioid crisis, OCDETF, murder, health care, tax, immigration, public corruption, terrorism, and the environment. Gene also served as deputy chief of the Narcotics Unit, and later as chief of the Specials Unit, where he trained more than 1,000 new prosecutors in the Rocket Docket and at the DOJ’s National Advocacy Center. In the Eastern District of Virginia alone, he had a record 65 felony jury trials. Because of his many high-profile trials, the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia set aside a special area in his honor called the “Gene Rossi War Room.”

One of his most notable matters was the OCDETF Operation “Cotton Candy,” the largest opioid investigation in DOJ history, with more than 200 convictions of doctors, pharmacists, nurses, patients, and dealers. As part of Cotton Candy, Gene had numerous trials in the Eastern District of Virginia, including two lengthy jury trials against a prominent pain management doctor (William Hurwitz), who prescribed 1,200 oxycodone pills daily to one patient alone. Gene's two Dr. Hurwitz trials and other Cotton Candy cases served as the basis for a 2016 Hollywood documentary (“Dr. Feelgood”).

Gene’s other prominent DOJ matters included a major civil tax trial against a Chicago alderman, the OCDETF trial of a violent murderer (responsible for more than 30 deaths), and the prosecution of General Sekouba Konate of the 54-nation African Union, who pleaded guilty to charges of false statements and smuggling cash into the United States that he had received when he was president of Guinea.

Gene’s courtroom achievements have earned him numerous commendations, including the FBI Washington Field Office’s Career Achievement Award in 2016 — the first (if not only) time the award has ever been presented to a prosecutor. He also received the following DOJ honors: a Tax Division Outstanding Attorney Award in 1993; a Director’s Award in 2005; and a DEA Administrator’s Award for his lead role in Operation Cotton Candy.

Gene’s passion for teaching extends beyond his training of more than the 1,000 DOJ prosecutors. He has taught legal writing and ethics at American University Law School, constitutional law and criminal procedure at George Mason University, and trial advocacy at Harvard and University of Virginia law schools.

He is a frequent legal commentator and trial analyst. He is often quoted in articles and has appeared on many cable and radio shows, including CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, CBS News, Law & Crime Network, Court TV, Hill TV, and several others. Moreover, he has a regular radio program (“The Gene Rossi Show”) in the Richmond, Virginia, area on WJFN 100.5 FM (www.wjfnradio.com).

In 2017, Gene ran for lieutenant governor of Virginia. A longtime youth basketball coach, Gene was a Connecticut all-state basketball player (1,300 career points, including 41 points in one high school game).

A brief sample of the scope of Gene’s representation of defendants, targets, and witnesses in high-profile criminal and civil matters includes: Robert Mueller’s Paul Manafort trial; the Southern District of New York's Stormy Daniels election fraud investigation involving Michael Cohen and the president; the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol investigation by the DOJ; federal RICO, organized crime, drug trafficking, bank and wire fraud, and national security cases in the Eastern District of Virginia, the Western District of Virginia, the Southern District of New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, and elsewhere; various state cases involving a multitude of felony crimes; and obtaining a favorable state jury verdict in defending against wrongful termination and shareholder claims.

Jessica Byler, WCL 2020-Secretary

Kimber Colton

WCL 1995 - officer


Kimber Colton is a retired congressional staffer who served on Capitol Hill for most of the past three decades. During her time on the Hill, Kimber worked for Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

In her role as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Congressman Kennedy her portfolio included the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee and the Labor, HHS, and Education subcommittee on Appropriations. As Counsel for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, her responsibilities included the Interior and Environment subcommittee on Appropriations. In addition, she oversaw the environment, energy, fishery, and climate issue portfolios.  Kimber also worked as a Senior Policy Associate at the Sheridan Group in 2011.

Since retiring from the Hill, Kimber has continued to be active in local grassroots organizations geared at supporting Democratic candidates nationwide.

She graduated from Eckerd College with a BA in Sociology/Criminal Justice. Upon moving to Washington DC, she received her JD from Washington College of Law, American University. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association.

Andrea Rivers-Officer

Andrea Rivers

WCL 2021 - Officer


Andrea Rivers is an associate in Baker McKenzie’s Litigation & Government Enforcement— Antitrust group. Her broad antitrust practice includes civil litigation, government investigations, mergers and acquisitions, and counseling and compliance.

Andrea’s previous experience includes analyzing legal issues on the agenda for the Commissioner of the United Nations Office, International Law Commission Seventy-First Session in Geneva, Switzerland as well as assisting on pro bono litigation matters at a global law firm. Prior to joining Axinn, Andrea was a Legal Intern for the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition, Anticompetitive Practices Division as well as a Legal Intern to the Antitrust, Commercial & Administrative Law Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Andrea earned her JD at American University Washington College of Law. She holds a BA in Economics from Howard University.