Greetings Fellow LawCats!
 
Where have the 32 years gone since graduation? For law students and recent graduates, three decades WILL race ahead, ready or not -- just enjoy the journey by maximizing opportunities, embracing challenges and riding the roller coaster of life known as "change."
 
Law school was an exciting time for me, embarking on a new intellectual challenge coupled with uncertainty and uneasiness, having left the comfort zone of my hometown in the Phoenix area and without the "safety net" of already knowing lawyers or a having a strong understanding of law practice going in. However, soon I discovered I was not alone without this safety net, and that was the start of developing lifelong bonds with classmate "PALS" (with a wink to those of you who will understand this reference).
 
Professors whom I dreaded at the time made an impact on me in law school and years later in my career journey. Names like: Jack Rappaport, Dan Dobbs, Dean Chuck Ares, Rekha Hoffman, Art Andrews, Tom Mauet, and Andy Silverman.
 
Interesting how career paths change -- my goal of becoming a tax lawyer, combining my tax emphasis with an accounting degree, was short lived when I found my true calling as a government relations lawyer, then legislator-policymaker/corporation commissioner-regulator, and now as executive director of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's Office of Equal Opportunity
 
My advice to law students and young lawyers is to be flexible in your initial career path, continue to grow professionally, and take courses outside of your initial path because that knowledge may come in handy one day!
 
Over the years, the College of Law has strengthened its stature nationally, and internationally, by recruiting top professors in their fields, expanding its degree offerings, and being innovative in attracting quality students from all walks of life. Many deans helped lead this transformation including Dean Toni Massaro and current Dean Marc Miller. Equally noteworthy is Dean Miller's focused outreach to alumni across the country and in Arizona's most populous county of Maricopa.

With classmates at 30th reunion dinner.
With classmates at diner before Homecoming.
 
The term "ecosystem" is popular in the smart-phone environment but is equally applicable to the UA law school where its inter-related system extends beyond the law school-proper to its alumni, and includes judges -- who hire UA law clerks, employers -- who hire UA graduates, and other active alumni supporting the law school. Every graduate is part of the UA law ecosystem and is encouraged to participate at any level whether attending an alumni event, hiring or mentoring a graduate, or writing a check.
 
In this issue of the Letter of the Law, we celebrate three of our graduates who were recently named by Arizona Business magazine as 2016's Most Influential Women. The recognition of these alums is indicative of the great contributions that generations of our graduates have made and continue to make throughout the state, meanwhile strengthening our law school ecosystem.
 
Until the footnotes,
 
Barry Wong ('84)

Three Alums are 2016 Most Influential Women in Business
The College of Law is proud to announce that three of its graduates -- all of whom practice in Phoenix and have the added distinction of being double Wildcats -- have been named by Arizona Business magazine as 2016 Most Influential Women
 
The honor goes to top female "innovators, trailblazers, and leaders of industry" from across the state. These words accurately describe our alumnae who made the list: Nicholle Harris ('07), Melanie Pate ('96), and Roopali Desai ('05) (left to right). We bring you a profile of Nicholle below and will showcase Melanie and Roopali in an upcoming issue.





The winners will be honored at a banquet next month at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Way to go, Wildcats!
Nicholle Harris ('07)
2007 College of Law graduate Nicholle Harris's inclusion on the list of 2016's Most Influential Women in business comes on the heels of being named a partner in her firm and president-elect of the Arizona Black Bar.
 
Nicholle joined Gust Rosenfeld's Phoenix office in 2011 after serving as Assistant Attorney General with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. She practices in the area of public law, providing general legal services to municipalities and other public bodies across the state. She also serves on the firm's diversity committee.
 
On being named a partner in January, Nicholle became one of a very small number of female African American lawyers to make partner in firms across the country (less than 1 percent nationally). "This firm is a great fit for me, and I am extremely honored and gratified to be named a partner at Gust Rosenfeld" Harris said in January (here). "I've been surrounded here by people who want me to succeed. I could not have done this alone."
 
In her practice, Nicholle says that she enjoys interacting with clients on a daily basis to develop the best legal strategy to accomplish the goals of their city or town. She also enjoys the variety of issues she deals with on a day-to-day basis and the great working relationships she has with the clients she represents. "At this stage of my career I am living out the famous quote 'choose a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life.'"
 
Nicholle serves on the board of the University of Arizona Black Alumni-Phoenix club and is a member of the Arizona Black Bar (ABB). Last month, the ABB announced that Nicholle will serve as is its president-elect for the 2016-17 year; her term as president will begin in 2018.
 
Nicholle's primary goal for her ABB term is to increase membership, in part by reaching out to Arizona Law alumni in the Phoenix area. Further, "All Arizona Law alumni have a lot to offer and can help the ABB to be a resource for the legal community. I'd also like to connect with the UA Black Law Students Association to be a resource for students who desire to stay and work here in Arizona."

ABB also plans to establish a mentorship program with high school students interested in pursuing a career in the law. Nicholle says, "I decided to become a lawyer at the young age of 10 and I fondly remember being inspired by the lawyers I met at the various mock trials and pre-law programs I attended."
 
With fellow Wildcats (and Cardinals), Jennifer Dent, Justin Niedzialek, and Randy Lopez.
With part of the "law school crew," Thomas Chiang and Christina Wu Covault.

Nicholle has maintained a number of important law school connections: "While at Arizona Law I established relationships with several classmates, mentees, and mentors with whom I remain in close contact today." Her "law school crew" consists of Kami Hoskins (her mentee, Class of 2008), former SBA president Randy Lopez, Tom Chiang, Sheena Chiang, Christina Wu Covault, Jason Covault, and Greg Rodriquez (all from the Class of 2007). She says, "Since graduating, I've continued to stay in close contact with each of my crew members and we've supported each other in our personal and professional goals."

Celebrating graduation '07 with Randy Lopez.

Adding to the support of great classmates, Dean Jordan-Curtis was Nicholle's faculty mentor: "She was instrumental in helping me navigate the law school journey. She is now a personal family friend and receives two of my Dad's homemade sweet potato pies during the holidays."
 
Nicholle says that the first half of 2016 has been phenomenal. We look forward to seeing what's next!
 
Read more about Nicholle in our profile from 2014.

Footnotes
Summer Alumni Receptions

Alumni, students, family, and friends are all welcome at our summer alumni receptions. If you live or work near one of our events or will be in the area, please stop by to say hello. We would love to see you.

Wed., August 3   
Downtown LA Alumni Reception at The Library Bar, 630 W 6th Street Suite 116-A, Los Angeles, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Register here.
 
Monday, August 8  NEW DETAILS
Downtown Denver Alumni Reception at The Corner Office, 1401 Curtis Street, Denver, 5:30 - 7 p.m. Register here.
 
Fri., August 19
New Mexico Alumni Reception in conjunction with the New Mexico State Bar Convention, at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, Caldera Ballroom B, 30 Buffalo Thunder Trail, Santa Fe, 5:30 - 7 p.m. Register here.

In closing this issue of Letter of the Law, I would like to congratulate classmate Hon. Janet Calkins Bostwick ('84, at right) who was recently appointed by Governor Ducey as judge of the Arizona Superior Court, Pima County (read the announcement here).

Arizona Law is an outstanding institution that I have appreciated over the many years since graduation -- I am proud to be part of the ecosystem. 

I encourage all of my fellow alumni to get involved -- come to an alumni reception, go back to campus, or support a student.
 
Bear Down, Go Cats!
 
Barry


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