2011 -2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards
The University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1973 to recognize graduates of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law who, through the accomplishments in their careers and contributions to their profession and/or their communities, have exhibited outstanding leadership qualities and enhanced the reputation of the Law School.
The University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association is pleased to announce this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awardees.
Donald (Don) Moritz ’51
Donald Moritz earned a BS in Business in 1948 and a JD in 1951, both from the University of Pittsburgh. In 1952, Moritz joined the law department of Equitable Gas Company (now known as EQT) and after a series of promotions, was elected vice president in 1972 and president in 1978. When Moritz announced his retirement, EQT created a scholarship for Pitt Law students in his honor.
Moritz also served as the director of PNC Financial Corporation, was president and director of the Pennsylvania Gas Association, and was a member of the National Petroleum Council Advisory Group to the United States Secretary of Energy. In addition, he was a trustee of the Institute of Gas Technology and a director of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. And finally, Moritz also was a member of the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania Economy League and served as a director of the Duquesne Club.
Believing that it is essential to allocate time for community activities, Moritz was the president of the Pittsburgh Symphony for six years and actively participated on numerous boards throughout the city of Pittsburgh such as the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Montefiore Hospital, Presbyterian University Hospital and Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, he still serves on the boards of the Pittsburgh Symphony, Seton Hill University and Phipps Conservatory.
Moritz and his wife, Janet Papernick will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary next year. They have three children; two girls, Paula Spock and Laurie Moritz, and a son, J. Kenneth Moritz, who is also a Pitt Law graduate from the Class of 1988.
Edgar Snyder ’66
Edgar Snyder is a 1966 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Anyone who lives in western Pennsylvania will likely recognize him as the injury lawyer who points and says: “There’s never a fee unless we get money for you!” He started his career as a public defender, and was a defense criminal lawyer handling major felony cases for over 12 years. In 1982, Snyder began his two-person law firm, which today employs over 130 attorneys and staff. Edgar Snyder & Associates has offices in Altoona, Ebensburg, Erie, Johnstown and Pittsburgh, and has represented over 30,000 injury victims and people with disabilities.
Snyder believes that if you are fortunate enough to be successful in business, it is your responsibility to give back to the community. Because his law firm represents victims of alcohol-related accidents, the law firm invests significant resources in media campaigns and sponsors many programs designed to discourage drunk driving and underage drinking. Snyder personally serves on a number of international and local boards and committees, supporting many projects that helps members of the Jewish community as well as on an international scale. In 2006, his wife Sandy (also a Pitt grad and the law firm’s chief marketing officer), created the Edgar M. Snyder Distinguished Visiting Scholar Program at Pitt Law in honor of Snyder’s 40 years of service to the legal profession.
In addition to earning his JD degree from Pitt, Snyder has a BA from Pennsylvania State University. He is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell, and was voted Best Attorney in the City in Trib Total Media’s Readers Choice Awards. For seven years, he was voted a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer. In recognition of their philanthropic efforts, PNC honored the Snyders with the Community Builders Award. He and Sandy have three children and three grandchildren.
Diane Perer ’76
Diane Perer is an attorney at the Pittsburgh law firm of Swensen, Perer & Kontos (SPK). Perer concentrates her practice in complex personal injury cases. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and was recently appointed chair of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Civil Procedural Rules Committee.
Perer, a 1968 graduate of Vassar College, earned her law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1976. During her career, Perer has made contributions to business, the public sector, and law. Perer’s board affiliations have included the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, the University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association, Pittsburgh Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Services, the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board, and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.
She and her husband, Alan Perer, also a 1976 Pitt Law alumnus, created a scholarship fund at the Pittsburgh Foundation to support the education of students from The Neighborhood Academy.
Alan Perer ’76
Alan Perer is an attorney at the Pittsburgh law firm of Swensen, Perer & Kontos (SPK). Perer’s career has seen a long series of successes in a wide range of cases involving wrongful death, medical malpractice, product liability, and harmful pharmaceuticals. Perer is an elected member of the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, Best Lawyers in America, the Million Dollar Advocates Group, a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer and a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice and the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. He is also Pittsburgh chapter president of the INBLF, which is an international organization of premiere boutique law firms. Perer has also served on the alumni board for the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Perer attended Washington & Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh, where he obtained his BA in English in 1973. He then attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where he earned his JD in 1976.
Perer is also involved in a wide range of community and charitable activities. For several years, he was on the board of Pittsburgh Hearing and Deaf Services and a long-time member of the board of WYEP Community Broadcasting Network, a Pittsburgh public radio station. He is currently on the board of the Pittsburgh Film Office.
Alan and Diane Perer met in law school during their first year as part of a study group. Along the way, they had two daughters, Abby, who is now completing her 3rd year of law school and lives in N.Y.C., and Langley, who is recently married and is a film producer in L.A.