Meet Elizabeth Sperling
, a 2002 Arizona Law alumna and partner with Alston & Bird in Los Angeles.
Although Elizabeth and her family moved frequently as a result of her father's Air Force career while she was growing up, Phoenix became home after his retirement from Luke Air Force Base. Elizabeth went to Arizona State for undergrad and wanted to stay in Arizona for law school. Tucson and Arizona Law provided just the right change of scenery.
She recalls great law school friendships, especially the core group of friends that she made through a pre-orientation program for minority students called BRIDGE, which existed at the time. She has great memories of spending time with those friends and enjoying Tucson.
"A karaoke devotee, I had a weekly schedule of all the karaoke places in Tucson. My friends and I would go to karaoke, try new restaurants, do Bikram yoga, and generally have fun exploring Tucson."
Elizabeth decided to become a litigator during her 2L summer as an associate with Snell & Wilmer in Tucson. As part of the summer associate program she was able to take projects from all the different practice groups. At the end of the summer, when it came time for the associates to rank their choice of practice groups, she realized she enjoyed the work in all of the practice areas and was truly open to everything.
"I chose commercial litigation because I really clicked with the commercial litigators that summer and felt that I would receive the best mentoring from them."
After spending another year with Snell & Wilmer in Tucson after law school, Elizabeth was ready for a change. She transferred to the firm's Orange County office, where she stayed for close to two years. Next, she relocated to Los Angeles where she worked for a mid-sized firm that later merged with Alston & Bird LLP. She's been there ever since.
Elizabeth says LA is a terrific place to live and, as a self-proclaimed foodie, she enjoys the vast range of cuisines offered in the area. She also takes advantage of the many great destinations that are within a few hours' drive away (all with the usual LA-qualifier, "depending on traffic") -- wine country in the Central Coast, Santa Barbara, Orange County, Palm Springs, and even Las Vegas. "All of these places have their own unique qualities and you can really feel like you got away after a quick weekend trip."
We asked Elizabeth what she enjoys most about being a litigator.
"I approach each new case like a puzzle that needs to be solved. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out the best strategy or maneuver to employ at each turn. When I took golf lessons years ago, my instructor told me that what he loved about golf was that, on the green, when it comes to putting, anyone could beat Tiger Woods head-to-head. I think litigation is similar. When it comes to writing and presenting arguments in a brief, even the youngest lawyer can win a motion against the most experienced lawyer. It levels the playing field."
Elizabeth says she also loves learning about the underlying subject matter of every new case.
"Ever the student, I enjoy learning about everything from real estate transactions to toxic chemicals to appliances to publishing. It's all very interesting to me."
Arizona Law friendships, mentorships, and connections have been a consistent presence in Elizabeth's post-law school life.
"My best friend remains my roommate from law school. My earliest mentor from law school, Judge Paul Tang (JD '82, BA '79), remains my mentor and very dear friend to this day."
She has also consistently found ways to give back to the college. Having served as an interviewer for Arizona Law students at the Los Angeles career fair from its inception several years ago, she is committed to helping Arizona Law students who want to practice in California. Elizabeth has also been a member of the College of Law Dean's Economic Council for the last several years and enjoys the opportunity to stay connected with Arizona Law and fellow alumni while working to help shape the future of the college. Elizabeth, thanks for sharing your expertise with fellow alumni and students and on the Dean's Economic Council, and by being an outstanding Wildcat ambassador in LA.