ua law logo high res | Link                                                                                        May 8, 2013



This week's three featured members of the Arizona Law community are student Victor Nilsson, Associate Dean Sally Rider, and alumni Henry and Nicole Ong. Enjoy!


Until the footnotes,




Student News
Victor Nilsson (Class of 2013)

Graduating 3L Victor Nilsson lived all over the world before finding a home in Arizona.


"I was born in England, grew up in Sweden, and moved to Seattle in 2005 to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Washington. Before moving to Arizona, I worked in political consulting in Seattle, followed by a year of teaching English at an international school in Lille, France."


During his time in Seattle, Victor met his wife, Christen Lemon, who is also graduating this May with a Master's  Nilsson, Victor degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Arizona.


But how did they end up in Tucson from nearly 6,000 miles away? "While in France, my wife and I applied to graduate schools all over the US. We chose U of A because it made the most sense financially and the quality of both graduate programs is top notch. Also, after living in one rainy city after another our whole lives, there was something very appealing about seeing the sun pretty much every day of the year!"


While Victor's time in law school is ending, he reflects fondly back on one specific memory. "My most meaningful law school experience was writing my law review Note "You Are Not from Around Here, Are You? Fighting Deceptive Marketing in the Twenty-First Century," and enjoying the subsequent recognition it has received. I was particularly humbled and honored to win first prize in the ABA Business Law Section's Mendes Hershman Student Writing Contest, which is open to students from every law school in the country."


Professor Barak Orbach praised Victor's accomplishments. "This is a very lucrative and highly competitive contest, and it is not the only award that this piece received, though it's by far the most prestigious one. Victor's article demonstrates innovative thinking, excellent research and writing skills, and great attention to details. For me, as a faculty member, it was a great privilege to see the evolution of his work, and I'm really pleased that it has been acknowledged."


After graduation, Victor will sit for the Arizona Bar Exam this July and then begin a one-year clerkship with the Honorable Peter Swann of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division II, in Phoenix. "My long-term career ambition, and ultimately the reason I chose to enter law school, is to serve clients in corporate and transactional matters. Should the opportunity arise, I remain particularly interested in focusing on business planning, securities regulation, and mergers and acquisitions."


Outside of law school, Victor still makes time for what's most important to him. "Now that I'm done with schoolwork and law review duties, I'm excited to spend more time with my family and friends, and become more involved in the Arizona chapter of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce. Golf lessons and Spanish classes are also on my list. After the bar exam that is..."


You can connect with Victor through his LinkedIn profile.


Faculty News
Sally Rider ('86)

Associate Dean for Administration and Chief of Staff Sally Rider also serves as Director of The William H. Rehnquist Center on the Constitutional Structures of Government. The Rehnquist Center focuses on public education about separation of powers, federalism, judicial independence, and the role of the courts in our Constitutional system of government.


Rider, Sally

Sally is a native of Tucson, a third-generation Arizonan, and a two-time graduate of the University of Arizona (BA, '80). "I always knew I wanted to end up in Tucson, it just took me a while to find my way back."


She graduated from the College of Law in 1986 and was selected for a one-year fellowship in Washington, DC, working as staff counsel for Congressman Morris K. Udall, who for many years represented southern Arizona in Congress. "Congressman Udall was then the chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs and was the first in a long line of extraordinary people I've worked for."


"I thought I would return to Tucson after that year, but instead took a job as a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the Justice Department. There, I represented the United States in tort suits filed all over the country. I handled district court and appellate litigation of those cases."


After three years, Sally tired of the travel and took a job as an Assistant US Attorney in the District of Columbia, which she calls "the best job ever." She continued, "I defended the United States and its agencies in every type of litigation you can imagine - medical malpractice, contract disputes, employment, constitutional cases - and developed a specialty in litigation involving the First Amendment, particularly in relation to protesters on federal land in DC."


In 1995, one of her clients, the State Department, asked if she'd like to supervise international litigation pending in The Hague. She took the job, and went back to traveling, although this time it was all over the world. "I got to try two cases in The Hague, including one where former Secretary of State Warren Christopher was my main witness. After three years, I was offered a job as Deputy Chief of the Civil Division at the DC US Attorney's Office and couldn't pass it up."


In that role, Sally was assigned to defend the Supreme Court in a First Amendment case involving the regulation of the use of signs on the sidewalks around the Supreme Court building. The plaintiffs were protestors who sought a temporary restraining order, so the case was on a very fast track. "Within a month I had tried the case and won. During that time, the person who served as chief of staff for Chief Justice Rehnquist and was my contact for the litigation told me he was leaving his job to return to private practice, and I was invited to apply."


Two weeks later she was offered and accepted the job. "It entailed helping Chief Justice Rehnquist manage the Supreme Court, serving as his liaison to the Congress and the Executive Branch, drafting his public speeches and statements, and assisting him in his role as head of the Judicial Branch. Another great job, and another incredible boss."


Although the position was originally a two-year appointment, Sally stayed with Chief Justice Rehnquist for his final five years on the Court, and when Chief Justice Roberts was confirmed, agreed to stay for his first year.


"At the end of that year, I had to choose between staying with Chief Justice Roberts permanently, or coming back to Tucson to become the founding director of the Rehnquist Center. The hardest part was convincing my partner, Betsy Strange, who had grown up on the East Coast, to make the move. Our two daughters, Louise and Gracie, were then six and seven, so we figured if we didn't move then, we'd stay in DC until they were grown."


"Luckily Betsy, also a lawyer, agreed to take a chance, and now she serves as the First Assistant US Attorney for the District of Arizona." So in 2006, Sally finally returned to the College, and she's been here ever since.


Sally wants everyone to know that she's a Wildcat through and through. And her passion has spread to her family: "When our daughter Louise was a baby, I was out of town and Betsy called saying she couldn't get Louise to sleep because she wanted Betsy to sing a song about bears and Arizona. That was when I taught Betsy "Bear Down," the unofficial fight song I had grown up with."


For more information on Sally, you can visit her faculty profile.


Alumni News
Henry ('69) and Nicole ('08) Ong

When Henry Ong graduated from Arizona Law's 1969 "Carpenters" class, he had no idea that nearly forty years later his daughter would follow in his footsteps.


In fact, Henry wasn't even sure that he would go to law school. "I was active in student government as a U of A undergraduate student. A lot of student government leaders and some of my friends were going to Arizona Law, so I decided to give it a try."


Henry was the first in his family to attend law school, and he found it to be very memorable. "My favorite law school memory is graduating. I found law school to be very challenging. Dean Charles Ares sought architects of the law and not carpenters of the law. Because we were admitted before Dean Ares took over, our class was viewed as the carpenters."


"At our graduation breakfast, our class wore t-shirts with a picture of a judge in his robes wearing a carpenter's apron with nails falling out and holding a hammer as a gavel in his hand. Ultimately, I believe our class was vindicated as we had the most sitting judges in Arizona at one time."


After law school, Henry served two years in the US Army as a result of earning a reserve officer's commission by taking advanced ROTC at the U of A. "From February to August, 1970, I was Assistant Adjutant of 3rd Infantry Division Artillery in Wurzburg, Germany. From October, 1970, to July, 1971, I was a Legal Officer under Da Nang Support Command in Vietnam. I was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain."


Following his discharge in 1973, Henry became a Deputy County Attorney with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he stayed until 2000. He focused on criminal prosecution, child support enforcement, drug diversion program, and mentoring new attorneys. 


Now, Henry lives by the golden rule: "I try to treat others the way I want to be treated. I'm also a loving husband and father to four daughters. And I am very proud and grateful that my daughters all have successful careers."


Ong, Nicole and Henry
Nicole's mother and Henry pose with Nicole at her admission to the state bar in October 2008


One of his daughters, Nicole, wasn't always sure she'd attend Arizona Law either. Like father like daughter I suppose...


"Of course, I knew the merits of Arizona Law," Nicole said. "Nonetheless, I resisted a little the idea of attending the same law school as my father. While on winter break during my last year at the University of San Francisco, I decided to visit the law school with my family."


"When we arrived on campus, one of the first people we met was the beloved then-Dean of Admissions, Terry Holpert. Dean Holpert invited me and my entire family into her office. She didn't have enough chairs to seat all of us, so she dragged in two more chairs so that we could all join her. Right then and there, I recognized the welcoming environment of Arizona Law, and I knew that this law school was the place for me."


While many alumni knew how they wanted to focus their careers in law school, a select few have also found a different focus. "My favorite law school memory is meeting my partner, Nate Rushforth ('09), in our Foreign Investment in Developing Economies class when Professor Robert Hornick assigned us to the same oral argument group. We've been together ever since."


After graduation, Nicole clerked for two years for Judge Stephen M. McNamee ('69) in the US District Court, District of Arizona. "Currently, I'm a real estate attorney at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix concentrating in retail and commercial leasing, purchase and sale transactions, liquor licensing, and land use matters."


Outside of her practice, Nicole is also passionate about serving her community. "Working in the Child Advocacy Clinic during my last year at Arizona Law really inspired me to work in the community to end domestic violence. I currently serve as Vice President of Sustainable Funding on the Board of Directors for Sojourner Center, the nation's largest domestic violence shelter."


"Since 1977, Sojourner Center has provided shelter and comprehensive support services to thousands of women and children affected by domestic violence in Maricopa County. I would love to be contacted by anyone who is interested in learning more about Sojourner Center."


You can read more about Nicole on her attorney profile.



Movers and Shakers

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


Also, the Wildcat Wednesday - Letter of the Law is available every week for any colleague, family member, or friend who would like to keep track of life at the College. Anyone can sign up here.



Graduation - May 10

At 7:30pm on Friday, commencement ceremonies for the class of 2013 will take place at Centennial Hall on main campus. Please join me in congratulating Arizona Law's latest graduating class, marking 98 years of Arizona Law graduates.


At commencement, we will also honor four members of the Arizona Law community with awards for their service: Mary Birmingham, former Assistant Dean of Career Services; Anil Kakani ('95), an investment banker in Mumbai, India, and long-time US federal public trade official; Michael King ('79), Member at Gammage & Burnham; and Sharon Marcus-Kurn ('86), Assistant US Attorney at the US Department of Justice.


An awards ceremony for graduating students will be held for the Class of 2013 on Friday in the Lewis and Roca Lobby at the College from 10am - noon. We honor all of our graduates for their passion, intelligence, and engagement, and we look forward to having them become members of our alumni community.


Denver Alumni Reception - May 22

Attention Denver alumni: Arizona Law is coming to your town! The firm of Dorsey Whitney is hosting the event from noon - 1pm on May 22nd. Professor Chris Robertson will be presenting his latest research on juries and the credibility of expert witnesses. For more information and to register, click here. We hope you will join us for lunch and the presentation.


13th Annual Himelic Memorial Dinner and Golf Classic, May 31 - June 1

This Tucson event raises funds for ALS Research at the UA College of Medicine. Since it began in 2001, the dinner and golf classic has raised more than $832,000 to benefit ALS research at the University. Golf enthusiasts can experience the Westin La Paloma Resort's private Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, while non-golfers can enjoy dinner, auctions, and dancing to live music.


The weekend was established to honor Jim Himelic ('73), a former Pima County Juvenile Court judge who lost his battle with ALS in 2000. Now, his daughter, Ana ('05) continues to help raise funds in search of a cure for the disease. For more information on the event, including how to register, click here.





Marc MillerMarc Signature  


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

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