The University of Iowa College of Law honored three of its graduates at a dinner held in conjunction with the 2012 COL alumni weekend at the hotelVetro on Friday, October 19. The following alumni received awards: Alumni Achievement: Marvin Berenstein (1961), Alumni Service: R. Thomas Price (1963), and Recent Alumni: Laura Ebinger (2007).
Marvin S. Berenstein, ’61, is the senior partner of Berenstein, Moore, Heffernan, Moeller, & Johnson, L.L.P. He joined the firm as an associate in 1962, and became partner in 1963. His practice focuses on, but is not limited to, business law and taxation, with emphasis on estate and corporate planning.
Prior to joining the law firm, he served on the Iowa state Attorney General’s staff in 1961, and was Special Assistant Attorney General in 1962.
Berenstein has a personal commitment to community service, as well as the state of Iowa and The Iowa State Bar Association (ISBA). He was President of ISBA from 1980-1981, President of the ISBA Foundation from 1992-1993, and President of the ISBA Young Lawyers Section from 1969-1970. In 1996, he was honored to receive the Award of Merit from ISBA. In addition, he currently is serving as a Director of the University of Iowa Law School Foundation.
Berenstein formerly served as a Director of the following organizations: Siouxland Foundation, Siouxland Initiative, Marian Health Center Foundation, Sioux City Library Foundation, Iowa State Bar Foundation, and numerous Sioux City charitable organizations. He is also a member of the Iowa Society of Hospital Attorneys
In 1989, he was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad to the Iowa State Board of Regents for a six-year term, and he was elected President of the Board in May 1993. He also served on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission to study financing of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 1986.
Berenstein was appointed by former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack in 2000 to the Vision Iowa Board which oversees and manages distribution of funds to Iowa communities for cultural, recreational, and educational activities with the intent of keeping and attracting citizens to Iowa’s quality of life.
Berenstein and his wife, Zena, have been married for 54 years and have twin sons, Craig and Greg. Both sons are 1985 graduates of the UI College of Law, and attorneys at Berenstein, Moore, Heffernan, Moeller, & Johnson, L.L.P.
Tom Price received an undergraduate degree from Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1960. He graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1963. After graduation, he went to work for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, where he had previously clerked. In 1964 he returned to Fort Dodge as a general law practitioner, developing over the years an emphasis in family law.
He joined the Iowa State Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project in 1983, shortly after it was created. According to the records of Legal Services, he has donated 742 hours of his time in the service of pro bono clients. He served on the organization’s board and as Vice President. Price’s representation is almost exclusively of women who have been abused and are facing issues of child custody, visitations, child support, spousal support, and property division.
In addition, he has accepted pro bono cases from the Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center in Fort Dodge. He has received the Iowa State Bar Association Pro Bono award and has been formally recognized for his pro bono work by the Iowa Supreme Court.
In addition, he taught Criminal Law I and II for 30 years at Iowa Central Community College. Most of his students were in law enforcement or looking for a career in that area.
He believes pro bono work is an extension of one’s professional oath. Price feels the educational emphasis on service at the College of Law made it clear that law students are privileged, and possess certain talents and education, allowing them to be of service and that the privilege should embraced.
He is married to Sondra Price, who is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Nursing and Social Work. They have been married for 51 years. Their four children, John Price, Carrie Anne Whittaker, Susan Price Saylor, and Allyson Rushford, also attended the University of Iowa.
Laura Ebinger is a children’s attorney at Kids First Law Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Since graduating from Iowa Law in 2007, she has successfully represented hundreds of at-risk children in high-conflict divorce and custody cases. She also designed and created educational workshops to help all children of divorce in Linn County.
Ebinger researched programs for children of divorce around the country and developed four different curricula and workbooks for youth in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-11. Iowa’s Sixth Judicial District Court judges unanimously agreed to mandate attendance to the class for all school-aged children of divorcing parents in Linn County. Since 2008, the class has helped more than 1,000 children in Linn County understand and cope with separation and divorce. She was also instrumental in expanding the workshops to Johnson County by training United Action for Youth staff.
Ebinger is an active member of the state and local bar associations. She served on the Board of Governors of the Linn County Bar Association and as President of its Young Lawyers Group. She currently is a member of the Linn County Bar’s Family Law Committee and on the planning committee for Law Day. She was elected and served as a sixth district representative of the Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Division. In 2010, she was awarded the Minnie Rubeck Award by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation for her commitment and dedication to making a difference.
Ebinger is from Cedar Rapids and is the daughter of Matt and Jeanne Brandes. She graduated magna cum laude from Marquette University in 2004 and in 2007 received her Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law. While studying for the bar exam, she married her high school sweetheart, Tom Ebinger, and they reside in Iowa City with their two-year-old daughter, Maggie. The couple had a second daughter in November.