ASU A-Z Index
Colleges & Schools
News & Events
Centers & Programs
Alumni and Friends
Support ASU Law
College of Law News
Alumni named to bar leadership program
Alumni named to inaugural bar leadership program
Five graduates of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law are participating in a new State Bar of Arizona program designed to foster professional growth and expand the leadership skills of a diverse group of Arizona attorneys.
Named to the Bar Leadership Institute were K Royal (Class of 2004), director of Pro Bono Programs and Student Life at the College of Law, Jesus Acosta (Class of 2002), an assistant Phoenix city prosecutor, Jocquese Blackwell (Class of 2004), an attorney at Goldberg & Osborne in Tucson, Steve Bodmer (Class of 2006), an attorney at Rosette & Associates in Mesa, and Leta Hollon (Class of 2005), an attorney at Hufford, Horstman, Mongini, Parnell & Tucker, P.C. in Flagstaff. They’re among 15 attorneys who met Sept. 15 for the first in a series of programs in leadership, ethics and career development.
The Institute’s mission is to increase the participation and visibility in the State Bar and the community of historically under-represented groups, with an emphasis on racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability and geographic diversity.
The program was developed after the State Bar’s Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law submitted a report last year that concluded the bar had fallen short of its goals to promote diversity. In response, the bar’s Board of Governors appointed a Diversity Task Force to evaluate the merit of a leadership institute and provide the framework and details for it.
The Institute’s participants will meet monthly through next May to learn about such topics as, “What Does it Take to be a Leader,” “Improving Your Legal Practice,” and “Practicing Law in the Public vs. Private Sector.” They’ll have opportunities to meet with judges, members of Congress, lobbyists and in-house counsel to experience the diversity of the legal profession. In exchange, after the program ends, the attorneys will participate for one year in a State Bar committee or section or in another bar association or community organization.
After graduating from the Institute next spring, Blackwell would like to be involved in Arizona Minority Bar Association, and he also is interested in working with high school students of color. While in law school, Blackwell was involved in Moot Court, the Rule 38(e) program of the Arizona Supreme Court and Street Law, a pro bono program in which law-related courses are taught to local inner-city junior high and high school students.
"One of the most important times in a person’s life is when they are young,” he said. “And if people who look like you are professionals and doing great things in your community, you begin to see that you can do the same things if you apply yourself.”
The Institute also will help Blackwell advance his career goals, that of becoming an intellectual property lawyer in a firm with a diverse group of attorneys.
Hollon, who practices employment and education law in Indian Country, said she was honored to be named to the Institute, which will help her stay better connected to her peers and provide a meaningful way to participate in the Bar.
“I definitely enjoy Northern Arizona,” she said, “but one negative aspect is feeling disconnected from what’s going on in the metropolitan legal community. I want to stay associated with people outside my practice area and outside my geographic area. Volunteering with the Bar offers an opportunity to stay connected and informed."
Hollon, who was active in the Native American Law Student Association, Executive Moot Court Board and the Gay and Lesbian Legal Alliance, said she would like to introduce undergraduate students from underrepresented groups to the field of law by “planting the seed of possibly attending law school.” She'd also like to share with law students the benefits of working in rural areas or in smaller practices.
“It’s not a traditional path,” Hollon said. “But it’s a very satisfying one.”