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AUGUST 25, 2021


Aug 27

LawCats Live: "Collaborating to Build the Policy Infrastructure for Indian Country"

Sep 4

UA Vegas Takeover

Nov 4-6

Homecoming & Reunion Weekend


Classes are in full swing here at the law school and it is exciting to have the new academic year under way.


This week we check in with Phoenix political and election attorney and Class of 2005 alumna Roopali Desai, who was named Arizona Capitol Times’ 2021 Best Political Lawyer.

Roopali is also an active mentor for Arizona Law students, and today she shares some of her advice for early-career attorneys and law students.

Until the footnotes,



Political Attorney Roopali Desai ('05) Takes on High-Profile Cases

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Phoenix attorney Roopali Desai is one of the busiest political and elections attorneys in the state. In fact, she has worked on some of the highest-profile statewide cases of the last four years, including a current suit to invalidate laws banning COVID-19 risk mitigation policies on the basis that they violate the Arizona Constitution; representing the Arizona Secretary of State in 11 successful election-related lawsuits in the last election cycle; and serving as lead counsel for two citizen initiatives, Prop 207 (adult-use marijuana) and Prop 208 (Invest in Ed), in the 2020 General Election.

She is also a triple Wildcat, with her BA, Master’s in Public Health, and JD all from the University of Arizona.

Born in Canada, of East Indian heritage, Roopali settled with her family in Phoenix as a child. During her undergraduate and Master’s studies, she fell in love with Tucson’s mountains and the community, and also met her husband. So when she decided to go to law school, her decision to attend Arizona Law was an easy one.

“Unlike larger law programs, Arizona Law is like a family. There were only 100 students in my 1L class; having intimate small sections and seminar classes fostered a tight-knit, collegial environment. It was also a great place to study and enjoy the outdoors together; some of my fondest memories are hikes with friends and classmates before or after classes or study sessions.”


As a law student, Roopali knew she wanted to work in the public sector helping vulnerable populations. She was drawn to litigation from the beginning, always enjoying public speaking, persuasion and thinking outside the box.

“Litigation allows me to find innovative ways to advocate for clients through writing, thinking and arguing creatively. And, in my area of practice, winning a case often means that a broader group of people — beyond just my immediate client — will benefit. Today I represent clients where I give a voice to the voiceless by working on cases that improve the lives of Arizonans.” 

After graduation, Roopali clerked for then-Chief Judge Mary Schroeder of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit—an invaluable opportunity to learn how to approach hard legal problems, evaluate different solutions, and justify a chosen outcome. It also honed her critical thinking and writing skills.

After her clerkship, she went to work for a large regional law firm that provided the opportunity to handle complex matters and work with excellent lawyers. 

“I left the big firm to join Coppersmith Brockelman, a remarkable firm that checked every box for me: an incredibly collaborative team of brilliant lawyers, predominantly women, doing the highest-level legal work in Arizona. The firm has supported me as I have developed and grown my unique public law and political and election law practice alongside my litigation practice. I am surrounded by some of the best and brightest lawyers in Arizona and we do extremely interesting and important work.”

Roopali says that one of the greatest things about have gone to law school in the state where she practices is the continuity of great connections with people she’s stayed in touch with and collaborated with from the minute she graduated until today. That includes fellow Arizona Law alumni Marvin Ruth ('01, '05) and Naomi Jorgensen ('01, '07), who work with her at Coppersmith Brockelman.

“I really enjoy having people from my class at the firm and as part of my community.”

It’s also fantastic when she has the opportunity to reconnect with other Arizona Law alumni after many years since graduation. Some are clients, opposing counsel, judges, fellow parents and soccer moms, and volunteers in the community.

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Enjoying the outdoors with family.

“It’s remarkable how easily you can pick up as if no time has passed, and I credit that to Arizona Law and how good they are at fostering relationships both in law school and after graduation. Having a common history and shared experience allows you to more easily connect and work collaboratively.”

Roopali has some inspiring advice for those starting out in the law, or considering new opportunities of any kind.

“Many young lawyers feel they should follow a prescribed track or trajectory, but there are lots of paths for lawyers to pave. They should pursue their interests even when it doesn’t seem easy or there aren’t footsteps to follow. When you enjoy the work you do, you’ll be so much happier. I’ve met many lawyers who have left the profession because they don’t enjoy their practice. I’m incredibly lucky — I get to have an impact and do gratifying work with an amazing team of people — but it’s because I decided not to just follow one track. I kept doing different things until I had more of the work I wanted to do and I could let go of the work I didn’t enjoy as much. You can make your career powerful and exceptional by doing work that interests you.

My other advice is to interact with other lawyers and members of the community as often as possible. Putting your head down and working is important and expected at clerkships and law firms, but you also need to get out and talk to people at different firms, companies, nonprofits and government."

Over the last 15 years, in addition to raising her three young daughters and enjoying the mountains of Southern Arizona with her family, Roopali has served on numerous non-profit boards, including for the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, Save Our Schools Arizona, and New Pathways for Youth. She has been a mentor, participated in a wide range of community events and organizations, and volunteered extensively of her time.

"I’m known in my community, so when people need help, they think of me. It’s really rewarding to be called to help someone.” 

Fall Semester COVID-19 Update

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As we start the fall semester, we are eager to welcome Arizona Law students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends to campus (both in-person and virtually) and to engage in the important work that unites us as a community. 

If you plan to be on campus in person this fall, please take a moment to review the new College of Law Fall ‘21 COVID FAQ page. These procedures and mitigation measures give us our best shot at keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe. It’s also the clearest path available for preserving the best possible academic experience.


Join Us for LawCats Live, August 27


Join us on August 27 at 12:15 p.m. (Tucson time), via Zoom, for LawCats Live, "Collaborating to build the policy infrastructure for Indian Country."

Arizona Law Regents Professor Rebecca Tsosie and Lohse Fellow Darrah Blackwater ('20) will discuss the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program's policy initiative and ways in which grassroots leadership and advocacy at the community level can inform federal policy.

During this lively conversation they will focus on spectrum sovereignty, broadband infrastructure in Indian Country, digital inclusion, environmental and climate resilience, as well as the comparative research being done across borders on Indigenous health, education, and sustainable economies.


UA Vegas Takeover, September 4


Arizona Law will be well represented in this year's Wildcat takeover of Vegas. Will we see you there? Let us know about your Vegas plans so that we can connect in person.

Homecoming & Reunion Weekend, November 4-6

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Arizona Law’s 2021 Homecoming celebration is scheduled for November 4-6, back on campus!

We are building an exciting schedule of events and activities to engage our Arizona Law community. There will be online, virtual elements as well, so get registered, stay connected, and watch for event details on the Arizona Law Homecoming website

Reunions this year will be double the fun! We are making up for lost time by hosting two years' worth of reunions in one.

Join Arizona Law classmates and friends as we celebrate reunions for all classes ending in 0, 1, 5, or 6 during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend 2021. 

Want to help shape your reunion experience? Contact for details.

Learn More and Register for Events


As Colorado River Basin states confront water shortages, it's time to focus on reducing demand

The Conversation, opinion by Regents Professor Robert Glennon

The new law school term is ramping up quickly. This week all of the UA is back in session—with the largest first-year undergraduate class in history. 

For my wife Chris and I this is a huge year, as our oldest child, Owen, started as one of those undergraduates at the UA on Monday.

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Soon, many more aspects of university life will spring to life—arts and athletic events, lectures, and workshops.  

Our daily lives are still far from a complete return to normal. But this is not last year, and, carefully, classes and time spent hanging out on the UA Mall and so many other dimensions of university life have returned. 


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