Rutgers School of Law–Newark Alumni Association Annual Gala 2022



Distinguished Alumni Awards

Hon. Zahid N. Quraishi '00

Zahid N. Quraishi was appointed as a United States District Judge on June 23, 2021. Zahid, who is of Pakistani ancestry, is the first Muslim American to serve as an Article III judge in the United States. Zahid previously served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey in the Trenton Vicinage since 2019 where he was the first Asian-American to serve on the federal court in New Jersey.

Prior to his appointments to the federal bench, he was Chair of Riker Danzig’s White Collar Criminal Defense and Investigations Group and his firm's first Chief Diversity Officer. His practice focused on white collar criminal defense, internal corporate investigations, and complex civil litigation.

In private practice, Zahid had extensive experience representing clients with government enforcement and compliance issues involving potential criminal charges. He regularly managed complex federal and state court litigation on behalf of corporations, and their officers, directors, and employees. Zahid has represented both companies and individuals in connection with criminal investigations involving violations of securities law, healthcare fraud, money laundering, computer crimes, environmental statutes, public corruption, and tax laws among other white collar areas of law. His practice also extended to representing both corporations and individuals in complex federal and state civil litigation.

As Chief Diversity Officer, Zahid provided leadership in advancing the firm’s diversity and inclusion values, and assumed overall responsibility for overseeing its diversity and inclusion goals.

Before joining Riker, Zahid served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for over five years. He tried numerous federal criminal cases involving public corruption, financial fraud, perjury, firearms and narcotics offenses within the Special Prosecutions Division and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and Government Fraud Units of the Criminal Division. 

Zahid’s government service and prosecutorial experience extends well beyond his years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He previously represented the United States as an Assistant Chief Counsel and trial attorney with the Department of Homeland Security. He also served as a military prosecutor and achieved the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. In the Army, Zahid was assigned to the First Infantry Division stationed in Germany and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 and 2006 before he was honorably discharged.

George A. McPhee '92

On July 13, 2016, George McPhee became the first-ever President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Vegas Golden Knights. On September 1, 2019, McPhee retained the President of Hockey Operations when he promoted Kelly McCrimmon to the team’s General Manager.

In his current role, McPhee oversees the team’s day-to-day hockey operations including development, with an emphasis on scouting, drafting and overseeing the coaching staff. He has created a team-first culture in his short time with the franchise and has hired staff around him who share that philosophy.

Under McPhee’s guidance, the Golden Knights became the first expansion team to start their inaugural season 3-0. The Golden Knights continued their strong play in October, starting with an 8-1 record, despite losing multiple goaltenders to injury. The Vegas Golden Knights finished their unprecedented inaugural season with a 51-24-7 record (109 points) and the Pacific Division title, becoming the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four North American professional sports leagues to start from scratch and finish first in its division.

For his efforts, McPhee was named the General Manager of the Year during the NHL Awards show on June 20, 2018. It was his first GM Award in his second appearance as a finalist, having finished as a runner-up in 2009-10 with the Washington Capitals.

Prior to the season, McPhee was tasked with putting together a competitive team in the short-term but also building for long-term success. Contributing to both of those goals was a successful Expansion Draft. The Expansion Draft was not the only place where McPhee and his staff were successful. Through the expansion process, the Golden Knights made agreements with other teams and benefited by having three first-round draft picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and 13 overall picks in the draft. The team ended up making 12 selections, the most of any team in the 2017 draft.

McPhee joined the Golden Knights after most serving as a Special Advisor to New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow in 2015.

Prior to his time with the Islanders, McPhee served as Vice President and General Manager of the Washington Capitals for 17 seasons. Under his guidance, the Capitals grew from a lottery team to a perennial contender with multiple Southeast Division championships and the team captured the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009-10.

The Capitals reached the playoffs 10 times during McPhee’s tenure in Washington, including six straight seasons from 2007-08 to 2012-13. Under his leadership, the team claimed seven Southeast Division titles and he oversaw the Capitals first trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 1997-98, McPhee’s first season with the franchise.

McPhee also saw success through the draft while with Washington as the team held 15 first-round draft picks from 2004-13, the most of any NHL team. His most notable selection was the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, Alex Ovechkin. Prospects flourished under McPhee’s direction as the Capitals affiliate of the American Hockey League, the Hershey Bears, were Calder Cup champions in 2006, 2009 and 2010.

Prior to his time in Washington, McPhee spent five seasons as the Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations as well as alternate governor for the Vancouver Canucks, assisting then General Manager Pat Quinn with all hockey-related matters. In his time with the Canucks, the team enjoyed four trips to the playoffs, a division championship and a trip to the 1994 Stanley Cup Final.

McPhee began his playing career in his hometown of Guelph, Ont., with the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Guelph Platers, leading them to the 1978 Centennial Cup, Canada’s Tier II championship. Following his stint with the Platers, McPhee attended Bowling Green State University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, where he became one of college hockey’s most decorated players. A four-year letter winner from 1978-82, he was the recipient of the 1982 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given to the top player in college hockey. His other accolades included a first-team All-CCHA selection in 1982, second-team All-CCHA honors in 1979 and 1981 and his selection as the CCHA’s Rookie of the Year in 1979. Earning a degree in business, he became the first player to be named to the CCHAAll-Academic Team in three consecutive seasons.

Upon the completion of his college career, McPhee signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers and started his NHL career during the 1982 Stanley Cup playoffs. Following his seven seasons with the Rangers and New Jersey Devils, McPhee earned his law degree from Rutgers University in 1992. McPhee and his wife, Leah, have two daughters, Grayson and Adelaide, and one son, Graham, who was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.


The Fannie Bear Besser Award for Public Service

Jeanne LoCicero '00

Jeanne LoCicero is a leading civil rights attorney who has dedicated her career to advancing racial and social justice. As the Legal Director of the ACLU of New Jersey, Jeanne works with her team across the state to protect and expand civil rights and civil liberties while growing and overseeing an expansive legal advocacy portfolio designed to hold the government accountable, promote individual rights and equity, and build a fairer and more just New Jersey for all.

Jeanne joined the ACLU of New Jersey as a staff attorney in 2004, later becoming Deputy Legal Director in 2008 and Legal Director in 2018 and managing the growth of the legal team and its strategic direct representation and amicus litigation dockets. Throughout her career, Jeanne has worked on a wide range of civil rights issues, developing expertise in racial equity, LGBTQ+ rights, anti-discrimination advocacy, prison and jail conditions, and free expression. Jeanne has argued cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court, the Third Circuit, the Appellate Division, and appeared in trial and municipal courts around the state. She is a trustee of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey and has been an active member of the New Jersey State Bar Association, serving on its Pro Bono Committee and in the LGBT Rights Section. Jeanne was appointed to serve as a member of New Jersey’s Transgender Equality Task Force and currently sits on a special committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Earlier in her career, Jeanne was a litigation associate at Debevoise and Plimpton where she worked on bankruptcy litigation, regulatory investigations, and contract disputes. She began her career as a law fellow at the ACLU of Alabama.

Before becoming a lawyer, Jeanne earned a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies from Douglass College. As an undergraduate, she organized on campus aiming to make college more affordable for working families, and later continued to build communities around broader economic justice, women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, and reproductive health issues. She had not known any lawyers until she met a Rutgers Law alum who represented students facing disciplinary charges and arrests for protesting tuition hikes. Prior to law school, Jeanne worked in food service, office support, student and social services, and abortion care.

Unexpectedly, Jeanne enjoyed law school, valuing her time surrounded by inspiring classmates and professors. She interned for the ACLU of New Jersey after her first year, was later selected to be a Kinoy Fellow, and then worked in the Constitutional Rights and Women & AIDS Legal Clinics. She also served as the Senior Articles Editor on the Women’s Rights Law Reporter and helped organize the Women’s Law Forum and LGBT Caucus, and was a proud member of the Public Interest Law Forum and the student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. In 2000, Jeanne graduated with highest honors, was a member of Order of the Coif, and was awarded the A. Harry Moore and Saul Tischler Memorial Prizes.