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Alan Rothenberg, '63, Honored with Michigan Law's Distinguished Alumni Award

By James Weir
September 30, 2019

Michigan Law has named Alan I. Rothenberg, '63, the 2019 recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award, the Law School's highest honor. The annual award was presented to Rothenberg at a recent ceremony in Los Angeles. Rothenberg gave the keynote address, and was introduced by close friend and classmate Herbert Kohn, '63.

"It is a remarkable accomplishment to receive the Law School's highest honor, given our large and talented alumni network," said Dean Mark West, who presided over the presentation ceremony. "We are so proud to call Alan one of our own, and there is no doubt that he has earned his place among the Law School's most distinguished alumni."

In his remarks, Rothenberg described two life-changing events that shaped the course of his life and career, both of which took place in the summer of 1960. The first was marrying his wife, Georgina, who he credits as a partner in all his professional successes, and with whom he has three children and six grandchildren. The second transformational event was starting at Michigan Law.

"I fell in love with law school, and it has been absolutely vital in my life, in terms of what I learned, and the context and the relationships that I made in Ann Arbor," said Rothenberg. "Michigan Law taught me how to think like a lawyer, how to examine all the facts in order to define the core issue and find a resolution. It has served me in law, business, and life, and that instinct became ingrained in me in the Quad."

Rothenberg is a renowned expert in sports and business law who provided decades of executive leadership to the National Basketball Association, helped initiate a new era of American soccer as president of U.S. Soccer—during which he established Major League Soccer and presided over two record-breaking World Cups hosted in the United States—and served as a managing partner of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg & Phillips and as a partner at Latham & Watkins. Rothenberg also was president of the State Bar of California and the Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles, has held senior leadership roles for a number of sports-related corporations and on the boards of several banks, and currently is chairman of 1st Century Bank and Premier Partnerships.

Michigan Law's Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes extraordinary alumni whose achievements exemplify the values and ethos of the University of Michigan Law School, and has been presented annually to one or more alumni since 2011. The award highlights individuals who have made an exceptional impact on their profession, community, and Michigan Law. Learn more about how to nominate someone for the Distinguished Alumni Award on this page.

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