The connection between the University of Arizona Law and the State Bar of Arizona runs wide and deep. 

Class of 1986 alumnus John Phelps was Executive Director and CEO of the State Bar of Arizona for ten years. He concluded his tenure in January of this year.

Taking the reins is another distinguished graduate from the Class of 2002, Joel England. We share our Q & A with Joel below.

I hope you will make it a point to connect with Arizona Law during the bar convention by stopping by our booth and attending our reception. RSVP for the June 27 Arizona Law bar convention reception here.

Until the footnotes,
Q & A with Joel England ('02), State Bar of Arizona Executive Director and CEO
Joel England, the newest Executive Director and CEO of the State Bar of Arizona, is a 2002 alumnus of the James E. Rogers College of Law. 

In recognition of his service to the bar and in anticipation of this year's bar convention, we asked Joel to tell us more about his path from Arizona Law to today, and what he sees ahead for the bar and profession.

Q: What stands out most from your time at the University of Arizona law school?
A: I am thankful for professors like Dean Massaro, Professor Henderson, and Professor Obiora who made me a better critical thinker. In my role as Editor in Chief of the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, I also had the opportunity to learn a lot about leadership and the importance of teamwork and developing relationships. And each day I lean on these influences.
Q: How have enduring UA Law connections influenced you, professionally, personally, or both?
A: Over the years, UA law connections have proven to be great resources for advice and professional growth.
Q: Could you briefly describe your path from law school to the present day?
A: After law school, I began serving as an attorney in the United States Air Force (judge advocate). I held a variety of positions, including service as a prosecutor, defense counsel and as a deployed combat operations attorney advising on the law of armed conflict. My final duties included serving as the Chief of Professional Responsibility for the Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps and as the General Counsel for the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base. After my last Air Force assignment at Luke, I had the privilege of serving as the Chief Judge of the Yavapai-Apache Nation in Camp Verde, Arizona, the town I grew up in. I was responsible for the overall administration of the Court and presided over criminal and civil cases as well as an alternative disposition Wellness Court. In January 2019, I began work as the CEO of the State Bar.
Q: What has been your main focus in the first 6 months as CEO and executive director of the State Bar of Arizona? What are your priorities for the next year?
A: My main focus since January has been to listen and learn about all aspects of the State Bar and build internal and external relationships to support the mission of the Bar. We are currently coming to the end of a 5-year strategic plan. My main priority for the upcoming year is to facilitate the creation and implementation of a new strategic plan, which provides useful, measurable guidance for accomplishing the State Bar mission as set forth by the Supreme Court of Arizona.
Q: What do you see as the top two or three issues currently facing the legal profession in Arizona?
A: I think attorney wellness and closing the access to justice gap are two top issues. A recent report by the ABA National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being indicated too many lawyers and law students are experiencing chronic stress, depression and substance abuse. We owe it to these legal professionals and their clients to take actions to support a healthier profession. Additionally, too often some Arizonians are unable to effectively access our justice system. The Supreme Court's Access to Justice Commission as well as the Court's Task Force on the Delivery of Legal Services provide important venues for exploring systematic changes that will promote greater access.
Q: What would you tell younger professionals and recent Arizona Law graduates about how to start off on the right foot early in your career?
A: Recognize that, as a lawyer, you are in a position of special trust with a unique opportunity to help others and your community. Seek out opportunities to make a difference. Build your reputation by consistently acting with integrity. Find mentors that can provide you wise counsel. Maintain balance.

Around the College
Clinic Students Gain Experience, Successfully Represent Asylum-Seeker  
Wouter Zwart ('19) outside the U.S. Citizenzhip and Immigration Office in Phoenix.
Wouter Zwart ('19) says the best law school graduation present he got, by far, was the news granting asylum to the client whose case he had worked on as a 2L in 2017, alongside then-3L Nji Anyere ('18).
Supervised by Professor Lynn Marcus, Director of the Immigration Law Clinic, Wouter and Nji conducted extensive client interviews, investigated the facts, and engaged in legal research and writing culminating in a "letter brief" filed with the Asylum Office in Anaheim, California. They argued that their client's long history of sexual abuse -- coupled with cultural taboos, the limited rights of women in the home country, and other factors -- amounted to persecution that qualified her as a "refugee" under international and domestic law. They also argued that the abuse would likely recur if she were deported.
This March, Wouter and Professor Marcus represented the client at her asylum interview in Phoenix. On the eve of graduation, they received good news about the outcome in the mail and conveyed it by phone to a relieved, overjoyed client. Commenting on her experience, the client writes,
"When I first came to the law clinic I was scared, lost and with no stability. Because of Wouter, Lynn, and Nji's hard work and dedication to my case, now I can finally say I have the stability, control over my life, and safety that I was looking for since I was a child. And for that I will be forever grateful."
Wouter's work on the case was just one of several noteworthy experiences with the Immigration Law Clinic during his 2L and 3L years. He also did research on due process in removal proceedings for a CLE presentation he and Professor Marcus gave to Arizona immigration attorneys in Phoenix last fall, and worked on the still-pending case of a legal permanent resident undergoing removal proceedings on charges of alien smuggling (this included conducting the direct examination of the client in court).
Currently, Wouter is studying for the bar exam. After that, he will be clerking first for Chief Judge Samuel Anderson Thumma of the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division 1, and then, in 2020, for U.S. District Court Judge James O. Browning in New Mexico.
Nji has two new accomplishments to add to his Clinic case victory: his wife just gave birth to their second child and he recently found out he passed the DC bar exam. His future plans are to practice immigration law.

Arizona Law in Hawaii

The University of Arizona has a big presence in Hawaii, with close to 1,000 living alumni in the state.

We are grateful to the nearly 30 alumni and friends of the UA and the College of Law who took time to join us for our reception in Honolulu last week.

Special thanks go to Double Wildcat Richard Fried (law Class of '66 and BS Class of '63 in business administration) who hosted us at the Outrigger Canoe Club.

What a terrific group and beautiful setting!

The Bear Down Network is now over 3,100 Wildcats strong!

The Arizona Law online alumni network will be phasing out after June 30. But you can stay connected with Arizona Law students and alumni on the University of Arizona's new Bear Down Network! 

Join to access networking and career development opportunities exclusive to Wildcats. http://beardownnetwork.com/ 

Once you've signed up, you can find classmates by looking for the College of Law Group.
In the News

We love our Law Cat traditions, which, in the summertime, include celebrating the role of our alumni in the state bar and our road trip to meet many of you on your home turf (or, in this case, home surf).





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