Orange County Business Journal

Business Journal Honors Top General Counsels

Jerry Sullivan Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The legal and business communities here came together to laud five of its members with honors at the Orange County Business Journal’s 2nd annual General Counsel Awards last night at the Hyatt Regency Irvine.

The event drew a crowd of more than 400, including more than 30 nominees along with winners from the inaugural event last year.

The awards in the category of public companies went to:

John Alpay, director of legal affairs for apparel and sunglass maker Oakley Inc. in Foothill Ranch, which is owned by Luxottica Group SPA in Italy. Luxottica is publicly traded in the U.S. and in Italy.

Stergios “Terry” Theologides, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary for Santa Ana-based real estate data and research provider CoreLogic Inc.

The honorees for private companies were:

Daniel Burke, executive vice president of administration, general counsel and secretary for Irvine-based clothing maker St. John Knits International Inc.

Wendy Peterson, general counsel of Knobbe, Martens, Olsen & Bear LLP in Irvine

A Rising Star award went to Matthew Maletta, vice president and associate general counsel for Irvine-based drug and medical products maker Allergan Inc.

The honorees will be profiled in the Business Journal’s July 11 issue.

Chapman University Law School Dean Tom Campbell—a former businessman, congressman and candidate for statewide office—delivered the keynote address. He credited the honorees and nominees for “what they do to create opportunity” rather than “fighting over something someone else has created.”

Campbell, who recently arrived to Orange County from Northern California, said the business landscape and the legal community that serves it are “every bit as vibrant” as Silicon Valley.

Campbell took several humorous turns in his talk, entertaining the crowd with tales of his days on Capitol Hill. He poked fun at himself over past campaigns for governor and senator that fell short, noting that his return to academia came at the “nearly unanimous” suggestion of California voters.

Several of the honorees also drew laughs with humorous points woven into expressions of appreciation for the awards and thanks to family and colleagues.

Knobbe Martens’ Peterson thanked the firm’s attorneys, who specialize in intellectual property, for keeping her busy and sharp.

They “clearly have IQs 50 points higher than mine because they all were technical geniuses before they became lawyers,” Peterson said.