In this week's Letter of the Law, we begin a summer series in which recent alums share how they were supported as students by the Arizona Law community through scholarships and in other ways. Today's profile is of a second-generation Arizona Law alumnus, Nick Verderame ('13).

Also, don't miss the list of upcoming alumni receptions in the footnotes. There will be many opportunities to visit and to connect with Arizona Law over the summer.
Until the footnotes,


Nick Verderame ('13)

Nick Verderame is an associate with Plattner Verderame, P.C., in Phoenix, where he practices with his father and fellow alumnus, Frank Verderame ('82).
Nick and his dad, Frank, in Cooperstown, NY, in July 2015 for Randy Johnson's induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
I asked Nick about how he chose the UA for law school. Here is a little of what he had to say:

"I chose UA for a couple reasons. I lived in Connecticut at the time, and was tired of the cold weather and being across the country from my family. I grew up in Arizona, and I was in the middle of my second blizzard in Connecticut, when I decided I'd had enough. I was heading west. My dad went to law school at UA, so I was familiar with the school, and the faculty was more impressive than ASU's."
He also explained the role of scholarships in his law school career, saying:

"My scholarship had a huge impact on my decision. I was debating between the University of San Diego (which also has no blizzards) and UA. San Diego gave me a bit more money, and offered the beach. When I told UA that I wanted to come to Tucson, but needed the UA to beat their scholarship to make it make sense for me, UA was able to do so. Had UA not been able to do that, I probably would have ended up at the University of San Diego."

When I talk to prospective students, I often tell them about the supportive Arizona Law community. I asked Nick about his own experience and he responded:
"I had a ton of supportive people. My family was extremely helpful, especially my dad. Having gone to law school, he was a great coach all the way through. I also had incredible professors. Ellen Bublick, Toni Massaro, and Larry Ponoroff all made great teachers, counselors, and friends." 

Nick's parents, Frank and Laurie, Nick, his sister Ann, and his brother Ted. 
"Finally, my friends and classmates were the biggest help on a daily basis. My favorite part of UA Law School is the atmosphere. It's not the competitive atmosphere that you hear about at other schools around the country and even in the state. People at UA look out for each other and we're supportive of each other. It's no secret that the grades are on a curve, which means some people have to do better than others. But, the majority of the school seems to put that to the side and work hard together. We studied together, shared notes, and made sure everyone was in a position to succeed. That makes going to school so much more fun."

Nick also said,
"You hear horror stories about law school, but I truly loved it. While the intellectual challenge that came with the education played a role in that, the friends I made, which remain some of my best friends in the world, are the primary reason I loved my three years in Tucson."

Nick, Mikindra Morin and Mike Malfettone 
after sky diving during law school.
Arizona Law opens up many pathways. Here is what Nick had to share about his career path:
Nick with his girlfriend, Brianna, and her son Hudson at Hudson's tee ball game.
"I'm working with my dad at Plattner Verderame, P.C., in Phoenix. We do plaintiff personal injury law, including car crashes, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Before coming here, I lived the 'big firm life' for nearly three years, doing mergers and acquisitions and hotels and leisure work. I found that in the big firms the people are outstanding, the work is 'sexy,' the clients are great, and the deals are huge. But, while my co-workers were great, the type of work and the lifestyle were ultimately not for me."
"When I discussed it with my dad, he suggested trying plaintiff litigation. Throughout law school, he was great about never pushing me in one direction or the other, he was always just supportive. As a result, I never felt pressure to 'join the family business.' But, when I was looking to make a change from transactional work, he told me why he loves what he does. We get to help real people, who truly need the help. We get to stand up against insurance companies who do whatever they can to avoid helping their customers. We spend our days working with people instead of working in documents, which aligns with my personality. Plus, he reminded me how much I loved Professor Bublick's torts classes." 
"So, I decided to make the move. The firm is small -- there are only four lawyers -- but it's extremely well respected and great at personal injury work. As a result, I get to work with my dad (and my mom, who does our books) every day, while learning from some of the best trial lawyers in the business. Plus, I feel like I'm doing good for society by doing this work.  I made the move just over two months ago, but so far it is a great fit."

Nick, thank you for sharing your story with the Arizona Law community. We are proud of every one of our alumni and look forward to sharing more stories from recent graduates throughout the summer. 

In Memoriam -- Bill Begley ('85)

The Arizona Law community is saddened by the news that Bill Begley passed away in late February. Bill and his wife Sara Begley are both graduates of the Class of '85 and celebrated their 30th class reunion last fall with several classmates. He was a very loyal Wildcat. 
You can read more about Bill here.

Three Alums are Fed Bar Legends

The Federal Bar is having their Legends seminar on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the University Mariott, 880 E 2nd St, Tucson, AZ 85719, at 1:30 p.m. with a reception at 4:30 - 6:00 honoring the past presidents of the Federal Bar, William Browning Chapter.
The Legends are Burt Kinerk ('62), Grace McIlvain ('78), and Bruce Heurlin ('72). 

Hon. Stanley Feldman ('56), Retired Justice, Supreme Court of Arizona, will be the moderator.
Please register here.

It's Alumni Reception Season!

We are planning lots of summer alumni receptions. Here is the list so far. Alumni, family, and friends are all welcome. If you live or work near one of our receptions or will be in the area, please stop by to say hello. We would love to see you.

Weds., June 15
Arizona Bar Convention Reception at Wild Horse Pass, Quail Room, 5:30 - 7 p.m. 
Fri., June 17 
Arizona Bar Convention Lunch for 50-year alumni. 
UA Law will have a table set up outside of the lunch to hand out certificates to our alumni who have been a part of the Arizona Bar for 50 years.
RSVP to Marissa White by email or at (520) 626-8132.
Thurs., June 30 
Seattle Alumni Breakfast at Portage Bay, South Lake Union, 8:30 - 10 a.m. 
Fri., July 8 
Reno Alumni Reception 
Save the date - registration details coming soon.
Mon., July 11 
CLE by the Sea, Arizona Law Alumni Luncheon in Coronado, California. 
Save the date -- registration details coming soon.
Tues., July 26, and Weds., July 27 
Lunch for the Arizona Bar Takers at Steptoe, 201 E Washington, Suite 1600, Phoenix. For all Arizona Law alumni taking the Arizona Bar.
No registration required.
Weds., July 26 
Downtown Phoenix Alumni Reception.
Save the date -- registration details coming soon.
Fri., August 19
New Mexico Alumni Reception in conjunction with the New Mexico State Bar, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at Buffalo Thunder Resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 
Save the date -- registration details coming soon.

Online Alumni Directory

More and more of you have joined our online alumni directory and made yourselves available to connect with our new graduates -- and your fellow classmates -- through this relatively new channel. If you haven't joined yet, now is the perfect time to do so.

If you need us to resend your personalized invitation, please email or call (520) 621-8430.
This week, we congratulate Dustin Christner ('99), the latest winner of an Arizona Tshirt from among new directory members.
Law schools are, in the end, all about people.  Our community of more than 7,000 alums and many friends believes that law matters more than ever in a society less and less interested in policy, debate, nuance, and ideas -- and that Arizona Law matters more than ever as we educate people to push back against these trends.
Each year we build the next class, hungry for knowledge, and for training that will enable them, like you, to make a difference. That new class, now on the horizon, needs your support. Scholarships and the personal and intellectual connections forged throughout their time at Arizona Law, with everyone in the Wildcat community, set them on the path to a rewarding career, and to making a difference.

I encourage you to support current and future students by making a contribution In Favor of Students by June 30. Any amount makes a difference. Thank you to those who have already given.

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Shaping the next century of legal education 
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