Where are you originally from and what brought you to the University of Arizona for law school?
I grew up in the center of Tucson, not too far from the University of Arizona campus. As a kid, I spent a ton of time on campus skateboarding, hitting football and basketball games, biking, playing volleyball on the mall, and even catching movies at the Gallagher Theater on campus. To my friends and family, even though we were not students at the time, campus was a welcoming and exciting community asset to be shared and treasured by all. It was our Central Park.
I still remember the moment I opened my acceptance letter from Dean Terry Sue Holpert. I was a senior at Stanford and law school was a dream I wanted to fulfill. Dean Holpert's note was so thoughtful, gracious, and welcoming that I knew Arizona Law was the home for me. It was as simple as that; her sincere interest in me, my future, and my dreams made all the difference. I knew she and the school believed in me.
It was an amazing opportunity to return to my home state to launch my career. And, truth be told -- Dean Holpert granted my request to defer my start for a year so that I could backpack in New Zealand, work for the 1996 Olympic Committee in Atlanta, intern at a law clinic, travel around the country, and do some soul searching that I had never had time to do in college.
Mini-reunion in October 2019 with members of the
Classes of 1998, 1999, and 2000.
What stands out most from your time at Arizona Law?
The people -- what an absolutely awesome group of classmates, professors, and staff. The education was outstanding, but the people and memories we created stand out the most. Special moments include meeting three guys for the first time as roommates -- Lance Blanco, Eric Blank, and Mike Korenblat (all Class of '99). I had never met them before before they all converged on Arizona Law, each from different parts of the country. We ended up renting a house together within walking distance of the law school. We hosted a regular Thursday night cocktail event for our classmates. One Sunday night we even hosted a member of Congress at our house to talk policy and law. We didn't have enough chairs and used stacked-up crates for a few of us to sit on.
Here are a few additional memorable Arizona Law moments.
~ Sitting in Justice Rehnquist's U.S. Supreme Court class and being able to debate issues with him as a student.
~ Camping out in front of O'Malley's on Fourth Avenue for hours to make sure a good portion of our class would have seats and tables to watch the basketball team win the 1997 national championship. What a crazy win and night!
~ Endless, great conversations with classmates in the lobby between and after classes.
~ Securing the late Senator McCain to serve as our graduation keynote speaker and being on stage with him as a student keynote speaker, after having had the honor of being one of his legal interns in DC.
What path did you take from law school to today?
I started with Quarles & Brady 21 years ago and have made the firm my professional home. I started as a young associate in litigation and through good luck and committed mentors across the firm, I have been able to build a practice representing clients headquartered in Arizona, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Paris, Milan, London, Southern California, and Minneapolis.
My attraction to Quarles & Brady very much mirrored what I loved about Arizona Law. The recruiting team and all the people I interviewed with were great people who made it clear they invested in young attorneys to support them in both their career paths and their community service interests outside of the firm. Many mentors, including people like Andy Sherwood ('74), took time, offered opportunity, and always were there for me.
Brad and Amy's three kids
and future Wildcats
Gabe, Mabel, and Hazel.
Brad and Amy with Jeff Simmons and Jo Ellen McBride.
How have enduring Arizona Law connections influenced you?
These have been so important. Personally and professionally, I stay in touch with several classmates. We visit each other in different cities and even vacation together. To this day, one of my best friends from Arizona Law, Dan Oseran ('00), and I routinely catch up and counsel each other on our lives and careers.
How have you maintained your connection to Arizona Law over the years?
Over the years, aside from classmates, I have stayed close to several alumni. One, in particular, has been really helpful to me. Jeff Simmons
('86, now Chief Legal Officer at GlobalTranz) recruited me to the Law College Association
two decades ago and was an important sponsor in many leadership opportunities for me at Arizona Law. He took me under his wing and provided a trajectory I didn't know existed. I still vividly recall my lunch with him and Dean Toni Massaro
when they invited me to get more engaged.
I loved my days of running Gutter Bowl with Jo Ellen McBride ('90). More recently, it has been an absolute honor to serve on the Dean's Economic Council, providing strategic guidance with world class alumni like Rob Bujarski ('01), Meghan Cocci ('98), and Elizabeth Sperling ('02), to name just a few. Just a few years ago, I even participated in a mountain bike race with my dear friend Karl Fazio ('97), who graduated a year before me.
Why is it important that you give back, and what would you tell others about getting involved through their philanthropy, especially at this time of year, and in these times?
My first gift to the UA was in 1999 when Vicki Fleischer (now Senior VP for Development at the UA Foundation) asked me to restart the class gift tradition. Vicki helped us all see the gifts Arizona Law had provided us and the importance of giving back, and she asked me to lead my class's efforts. I am proud that I can give more than I could then! And the simple truth is that giving helps pave the way for future generations. My beliefs about giving back have only grown throughout my career; at Quarles & Brady, giving and performing pro bono work are core to who we are. We want to invest in the communities in which we are so blessed to have wonderful law practices.
Tell us about your new role, what your main focus will be, and what excites you.
Earlier this year, our executive committee created a new leadership structure that allows our managing partner to focus on internal operations of the firm while, in the newly created role of president, I focus more on external opportunities. I'm excited to work closely with our managing partner and my colleagues across the firm to reimagine our future in this fast-paced world. Externally, I'll work with clients on innovative approaches to deliver even better client service and outcomes. We see ourselves as trusted advisors, not vendors, and aim to help our clients solve business problems that happen to have legal dimensions. Internally, it is an honor to work with so many phenomenally talented attorneys and staff members as we collaborate to further our purpose as an organization devoted to unparalleled talent development and client dedication.
What do you see as the biggest issues currently facing the legal profession?
One of the biggest challenges the profession faces is the pace of innovation. The world is innovating in so many incredible ways and it is hard to keep up. Likewise, in this particular time with COVID, finding balance has been more challenging for members of our profession. Working at home can mean you are working almost all of the time. That said, the silver linings -- being home for dinner with loved ones every night, being able to help your kids with school, and spending more and better time with family and friends -- have been really special.
What would you tell younger professionals and recent Arizona Law graduates about how to start off on the right foot early in your career?
Dive in, get lost, and find your way out. I have found that when I am in over my head, I have to think differently and broaden my view, which ignites creativity. That mindset helps you advance more than anything else. And don't be afraid to take risks. If they don't pay off, you will have learned and discovered new things about yourself. And, when they do pay off, it provides a new way to advance your career and help others.