ua law logo high res | Link                                                                                       July 10, 2013



This week's three featured members of the Arizona Law community are student Chris Hicks, Adjunct Professor Jeff Willis, and alumnus Tom Dillof.


You will see that the stories about Chris and Tom are linked, and demonstrate the kind of bridges we build all the time between students and alumni. If you are an alum and want to play a similar role for our current superb students, or for the great new class that will join the Arizona Law community this fall, just let us know.


Until the footnotes,



Student News
Chris Hicks (Class of 2014)

Third-year law student Chris Hicks feels extremely fortunate to have landed his summer internship at Sony Electronics in San Diego. His good fortune is a testament to the power of the Arizona Law alumni community. This fall, through a career panel at the law school, Chris met alumnus Tom Dillof ('08). (More about Tom, below.) This connection eventually led to the position Chris enjoys this summer.

Originally from the small town of Pojoaque, New Mexico, Chris earned his BA in English (pre-law) and psychology from the University of New Mexico. "I came to Arizona Law for a variety of reasons, the first being it is a well-respected and highly ranked school with an impressive and diverse curriculum," he says. "The school also appeared to put a lot of effort into career development in a variety of specialized fields.  I was ultimately persuaded when I met then-Dean Birmingham, who explained that Career Services works with many firms and government entities from around the country to provide internship opportunities to students. I was also very impressed with the employment statistics of recent graduates."

At Arizona Law, Chris has been honing his leadership skills as president of Pride Law, vice president of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and community outreach liaison for the Arizona Intellectual Property and CyberLaw Society.

While he had been planning to pursue practice at a law firm specializing in business and IP law, Chris' career goals took a new turn earlier this year.  "I opened myself up to the possibility of an in-house counsel position after attending a lunchtime lecture at the University from my mentor here at Sony, Tom Dillof," Chris says. "Tom's presentation portrayed the range of tasks, the complexity of the subject matter, and the room for exploration and growth that accompanies an in-house position."

Now, Chris says, "I would love to work as in-house counsel. Thankfully, corporations and other businesses have begun accepting younger associates into such positions."

He adds, "Working at Sony has been an amazing experience, because all of my work involves the two things about which I am most passionate: progressive technology and intellectual property. I have been fortunate enough to work on varied assignments with several of our attorneys, ranging from contract drafting and corporate best practices to electronic agreements and antitrust matters. Every day brings new issues, and what makes them all so exciting is that the answers aren't all easy, clear-cut, or even available. Inherent uncertainty and constant progression is what makes this job so exciting."

Chris is also pleased to be spending the summer in San Diego. "It's a wonderful city, especially for IP and business law. And who can hate the beach?"

You can connect with Chris through his LinkedIn profile.

Faculty News

Jeffrey Willis

Jeffrey Willis in Paris

Like so many of our adjunct faculty members, Jeff Willis is a highly regarded and seasoned practitioner who brings invaluable experience and an insider's perspective to the classroom.

Jeff moved to Tucson from Phoenix in 1987 and says he's "not regretted a minute." During the 1990s, he taught Basic Trial Advocacy and Pre-trial Litigation at Arizona Law. Today, he teaches Advanced Trial Advocacy.

"I enjoy teaching Arizona Law students, in large part because they are eager to learn and show great improvement in their trial skills throughout the semester," he says.

Jeff is a senior partner at Snell & Wilmer at its Tucson offices. He was recently elected to serve a three-year term on the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, representing Pima and Santa Cruz counties in the bar's fifth district. This is actually Jeff's second stint on the board; he was a member from 2002 to 2007. (As an aside, Arizona is the only state in the country where law school deans sit on the State Bar Board of Governors, which provides great knowledge and opportunity for the Arizona Law community.)

Jeff practices commercial litigation at Snell & Wilmer, where he assists clients in federal and state litigation in Arizona, Nevada, and California, in cases involving patent infringement, construction disputes, shareholders' rights, toxic and environmental torts, antitrust, and commercial fraud, among other areas.  He is a courtroom veteran who has won many favorable verdicts and settlements for his clients.

When not practicing law or teaching law students, Jeff volunteers his time for many community organizations. In addition to his work for the State Bar, he has served as president of the Federal Bar Association. He also serves on the board of directors of Patronato San Xavier, which is dedicated to restoring and maintaining the San Javier Mission; and on the boards of COPE Community Services and Northern Arizona University Foundation. He enjoys traveling, and was recently in Paris for Snell & Wilmer's annual party at the French Open for the firm's European clients and colleagues.

You can connect with Jeff through his LinkedIn profile. 

Alumni News

Tom Dillof ('08)

While he considers himself "a New Yorker through and through," Tom Dillof felt a kinship with Arizona Law even before he decided to attend: His sister Emily Dillof '02 is an alum. "Her endorsement was a big factor," he says. "Plus, I wanted a school with a collegial rather than cutthroat atmosphere and solid academics, in a region that would be fun to explore."

3Ls Tom Dillof and Robin Quarrier, in 2007. Photo by Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star

Tom is an attorney at Sony Electronics in San Diego, where he supports Sony's US VAIO PC and Xperia tablet businesses, as well as Sony's online store, and handles open source software and other licensing and technology matters for the company.


"I entered law school expecting that upon graduation I would join a law firm and practice in the patent field, but the Great Recession had other plans for me," Tom says. "I moved to San Diego and bounced around, doing patent preparation and prosecution for a while, and eventually joined Sony Electronics on a temporary basis, doing contracting work. I guess they liked my work, because my contract was extended many times. Eventually, I was brought on full-time--first as a marketing compliance analyst, then as a contracts specialist, and finally as an attorney. It was a long journey, but actually I think I benefited in many ways by taking a nonlinear and less traditional path."

In February of this year, Tom was on our campus to speak with students about careers as in-house counsel. He shared his experiences working at a large international corporation and handling software, apps, trademarks, licensing, website terms of use, and privacy issues, among others.

It was Tom's first trip back to Arizona Law since graduating, but he hopes to return to our neck of the woods before too long. "I really miss Mount Lemmon and Tucson Mountain Park," he says.

You can connect with Tom at his LinkedIn profile.

I am very grateful to Tom for making the time to return to campus. Alumni engagement is a critical piece of the Arizona Law story and it is one of our strongest values. If you are an alum, and would like to return to campus to talk to students about your career path, please contact the Office of Career Services or send an email to


Movers and Shakers


Congratulations to Jonathan Pinkney-Baird ('07)


Jonathan Pinkney-Baird, at left

The Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) recently honored Jonathan Pinkney-Baird ('07). In a resolution adopted at its 18th congress, the FSM expressed gratitude to Jonathan for representing the Micronesian people as a staff attorney for over two years. His work included drafting legislation on a variety of issues, writing briefs in a case argued before the FSM Supreme Court, providing legal advice at inter-governmental meetings, and staffing the Committee on Judiciary and Governmental Operations and the Special Committee to Investigate the Executive Branch


Jonathan is a Deputy County Attorney in the Civil Division of the Pima County Attorney's Office. You can connect with him at his LinkedIn profile.


Is there something new or interesting going on in your life or your career? Do you have updated contact information or generally want to be more in touch with the college? You can always email us your latest news at


Arizona Law Featured in Los Angeles Daily Journal

The College of Law gained valuable exposure in the Southern California market on June 28, with an article in the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Read the article here. Copyright 2013 Daily Journal Corp. Reprinted and/or posted with permission.


Pay It Forward


You built your reputation on the foundation of the excellent education and training you received at Arizona Law. Likewise, Arizona Law's reputation rests in no small part on the success of you, our alumni--and on our ability to provide current and future students with the same excellence you enjoyed.


Pay it forward. Give back to Arizona Law, and help ensure future alumni can succeed. Our online option to make monthly gifts using a credit card is an easy way to support any of the programs at Arizona Law:




UA President's Distinguished Speaker Series

Featuring Dean Marc Miller - Washington, DC, July 11


Tomorrow I'll be giving a talk, "Legal Education in Crisis: Challenges & Opportunities -- A View from Arizona," in Washington, DC.  If you are in the area, I hope you will join me. The program starts at 6 pm with light hors d'oeuvres and a no-host bar; my talk starts at 6:30 pm. It takes place at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education headquarters, located at 1307 New York Ave., NW, in the ground floor auditorium. For more information, contact Nancy Yaeli at the U of A Alumni Association at, 800-232-8278, or 520-621-9034.



Dean's Alumni Receptions

*             Washington, DC - July 11, 7:30am-9am, Morgan Meguire LLC, RSVP    

Dean Miller with alumni at a recent reception at

Stoel-Rives in Portland, Oregon

*             Sacramento, CA - July 29 RSVP


Other Dean's Visits:

*             San Francisco, CA - July 18

*             New York City, NY - August 6


For updates on these planned gatherings, contact Marissa White.





Marc Signature  


Dean & Ralph W. Bilby Professor of Law
James E. Rogers College of Law

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