Patricia White , dean emerita of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, was honored with a 2009 Judge Learned Hand Award from the Arizona Chapter of the American Jewish Committee on Tuesday, March 17.
White, who stepped down as dean in July to return to teaching, shared the Committee’s Public Service Award with Toni Massaro, outgoing dean of the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona.
Paul Schiff Berman, who was appointed Dean of the College when White stepped down, praised her work and dedication.
“Trish White was not only an extraordinarily effective Dean of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, she was a Dean who cared deeply about the role that public legal education can play in the broader community, both by expanding access to a legal education and by making sure the legal academy remains connected to the important social issues of our day,” Berman said. “Accordingly, she is truly deserving of this honor.”
The Committee also gave its Community Service Award to Herbert Ely, who founded the Arizona office of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Bradley Vynalek, a litigation partner with the national law firm of Quarles & Brady, received the Committee’s Emerging Leadership Award, which is a tribute to an attorney practicing 12 or fewer years who has demonstrated a commitment to the values of public or community service.
The awards were presented at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.
The honorees were chosen by an independent selection committee, consisting of 60 prominent elected officials, judges, corporate leaders, law professors, and attorneys.
White joined the College as Dean in January 1999 and served until July 2008—the longest serving dean in the history of the College. She was the first woman to serve as a law dean in Arizona. Her leadership marked a transformative period for the law school. The size of the faculty more than doubled, the student-faculty ratio became one of the best in the country, five new clinics were added, a nationally recognized legal writing program was developed, the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology and the Indian Legal Program grew to national prominence, a large and active pro bono program for students was developed, interdisciplinary and joint programs were added, and the school was renamed in honor of retired U.S. Supreme Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
White works in the areas of tax law, torts, bioethics, philosophy of law, and trusts and estates. She has taught at Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Michigan, and the University of Utah. During the 2008-09 academic year she is a Visiting Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and is Special Counsel to Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Washington, DC. She is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.
Read a booklet about White here .