Today, we feature 2018 Arizona Law alumnus Pete Sabori, whose unique first-generation story illuminates some of the challenges and opportunities embraced by so many of our "first-gen" alumni and current law students as they a new course through law school and beyond.

For us, the Block A stands for many things, including access: increased access to legal education, and increased access to legal services. We invite you to join us in celebrating and supporting our many first-gen students, now and over the years.

Until the footnotes,
First-Generation Stories: When Law School is a "Dive into the Unknown"
Image credit: Idara Ekpoh

When Pete Sabori ('18) first decided to attend law school, he says his family was incredibly supportive, but nervous. He says,
"Like many other first-generation students, I was raised in a low-income family. Prior to law school, I had a job with a decent salary, a retirement account, and health insurance. The prospect of law school meant leaving that job, accruing debt, and forfeiting stability. Law school was a dive into the unknown."
It was a dive Pete was ready to take, after working as a domestic violence victim's advocate and then as a court program coordinator with the Colorado River Indian Tribe's (CRIT) criminal justice system.
"I saw first-hand how lawyers were uniquely situated to address and respond to the needs of crime victims while ensuring due process rights for the accused. I wanted to learn more, and that curiosity led me to law school."

Pete's interest in federal Indian law and criminal law led him to the University of Arizona.
"It was very important to me to gain clinical experience, learn the theories, and earn certificates in both the Indigenous People's Law and Policy program and the Program in Criminal Law and Policy." 
As a first-generation student, he felt a unique sense of freedom in charting his own course, with no pressure to follow in someone else's footsteps.
"I only had my expectations, and I had flexibility. I took classes to meet my certificates and to prep for the bar, but I also took electives that I thought would be interesting."
Pete supplemented his coursework with experiential opportunities, first as a summer intern at the U.S. Department of Justice, Phoenix Criminal Section, and later as a law clerk and student practitioner at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. 
As a law clerk at the Pascua Yaqui Tribe's Office of the Prosecutor, Pete worked on projects related to the tribe's special domestic violence jurisdiction under the 2013 Violence Against Women Act, which authorizes the prosecution of felony domestic violence offenses perpetrated by non-Natives on the reservation.
"It was an incredible opportunity to work with passionate individuals on groundbreaking policy that could have an impact on communities similar to my own."
Pete's paternal grandparents are from Laveen on the Gila River Indian Community, and his maternal grandparents are from the Hopi reservation and Acoma Pueblo.
In the midst of his academic and professional advancement, Pete also faced significant family challenges and loss. As Pete began his first-semester final exams, his father began chemotherapy treatments for cancer. He lost both his grandmothers, his godmother, and uncle while in law school.
Navigating unfamiliar territory while also managing life outside of law school made having a supportive community all the more important for Pete.
"I sought mentorship from individuals who had similar backgrounds, overcame similar challenges and met goals that I aspired to one day meet. From them I learned how to study better, I learned how to write better, and I learned tips for wellness."
Pete joined the Pima County Attorney's Office after graduation. To this day, he maintains relationships with faculty, whose connection to students in and outside the classroom he says is a far cry from the law professors he had previously only seen in movies.
"I am still in contact with a handful of professors, and they continue to respond to any requests for guidance and advice."
He hopes to be able to do the same for other first-generation law students.
"You may not have family in law, but there are plenty of people willing to serve in loco parentis for the limited purpose of mentorship -- and making goofy legal jokes. Find academic resources if you need them, seek mentorship, and build a team of support from your peers."
To current first-generation students, Pete has one final message: Nahongvita! Translated from Hopi: Keep going, you're almost there.

Around the College

For the Record: Recent Faculty News 

Catch up on recent University of Arizona Law faculty accomplishments, including awards, new positions, and media coverage. 

Paul Bennett
Justin Pidot
Stacy Butler

Professor Bennett and Clinic Students Receive 2020 Attorney of the Year Award at Pima County Juvenile Court
Professor Paul Bennett and the Child and Family Law Clinic students received the 2020 Attorney of the Year Award at Pima County Juvenile Court. The award winner is selected by the Pima County Court Special Advocates.
Professor Pidot Delivers Distinguished Public Lands Lecture at the University of Kansas School of Law
Professor Justin Pidot delivered the Distinguished Public Lands Lecture at the University of Kansas School of Law on March 9, 2021. He presented "Protecting Sacred Lands and the Bears Ears National Monument." 
Pidot was recently appointed as general counsel to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. 
Professor Butler's White Paper Cited in CDC Federal Evictions Moratorium
In late January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ordered an extension of the federal moratorium to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The moratorium cited professor Stacy Butler's ('02) white paper, "The COVID-19 Eviction Crisis: An Estimated 30-40 Million People in America Are at Risk."

Toni Massaro
Tara Sklar
Dean Emerita Massaro Featured in Jotwell, Lectures on Pandemic and the Constitution 
Dean Emerita Toni Massaro's article, "Free Speech and Democracy: A Primer for 21st Century Reformers," was reviewed in Jotwell by former Vanderbilt Law School Dean Edward Rubin.
In February, Massaro delivered a public lecture on pandemics and the Constitution at the San Diego State University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. 
Massaro was also a guest lecturer on the same topic at Stanford University, speaking to medical students and other health care professionals interested in shaping and securing cooperation in enforcing pandemic health and safety protocols.

Professor Sklar Presentation at 2021 US Congress Festival of Biologics
Health Law professor Tara Sklar spoke on March 30 at the 2021 U.S. Congress Festival of Biologics. Her presentation was called: "Can the U.S. Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act Achieve Its Promise? A Decade Review." 
Her talk helped those in attendance become familiar with the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), its intent to increase market competition, and progress to date. She encouraged attendees to learn more about the FDA abbreviated pathway for approval of biosimilars created under BPICA and implementation of the FDA Biosimilars Action Plan. The paper also considers proposed recommendations to support the stated promise of BPCIA, which is to lower the price of biologics via increased market competition, and to improve transparency through the disclosure of biologics manufacturing information.  


Robert Hershey
Robert Williams

KUNR, March 8, 2021

Some Indigenous history is preserved in stories, songs and ceremonies that are passed down orally. A group of Indian law scholars argues that knowledge should be admissible as court testimony. Professor emeritus Robert Hershey weighs in. 

U.S. News & World Report, March 8, 2021

Law schools provide many resources and opportunities for future lawyers from Native American communities. Regents Professor Robert Williams provides his input on what Native American law school applicants should know.


In Case You Missed It: Karen Korematsu Delivers Neumann Lecture

"Underneath the rule of law is humanity, and we must remember that."
We are grateful to Karen Korematsu, founder and executive director of the Fred T. Korematsu Institute and daughter of the late civil rights icon, for delivering the inspiring 2021 Peter Chase Neumann Lecture on Civil Justice on March 24.

Don't Miss Virtual Innovative Cities Day, April 16

When: this Friday, April 16, with sessions from 8:30 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.

The Rothschild Fund for Civic Innovation is hosting nationally recognized leaders for a free online conference to present the most successful and cutting-edge ideas and approaches for how urban communities can be stronger, safer, and more connected.
Former City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild -- also a professor of practice with the James E. Rogers College of Law -- is convening the best "thinkers and doers" from across the country for discussions and ideas about how to best re-group and re-imagine our post-pandemic city.
Participation in one or all sessions is free.

Join Justice Advocates Coalition Volunteer Event, April 21

The Justice Advocates Coalition (JAC) invites you to join in their  first socially-distanced volunteer event on Wednesday, April 21, taking on non-medical volunteer roles at the UA Vaccine POD. 

Meet on the UA Mall at 8 a.m. to have a pre-packaged, individually wrapped breakfast together, then walk over to the Vaccine POD to volunteer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Masks will be required when not eating. We will follow all of the UA's guidelines and have your safety at the forefront! Sign-up details and instructions can be found here:

Please register for a vaccine volunteer shift and complete the training as soon as possible. Contact Tate Richardson if you have any questions.

In the News

First-generation students across the University of Arizona and in our college make up a critical part of our community.  And first-generation alumni help lead the way. 

I consistently find passion and clarity in how first-generation students approach legal studies, and a similar energy as they apply their knowledge, skills, and unique perspectives after graduating.
Perhaps this is a good time to build on the long Arizona Law traditions of an open door and individual support to create a network of past, present, and prospective first-generation law students. If you would like to help make this idea a reality, or find other ways to support our first-gen students, let's talk.


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