The College of Law's Innovation for Justice (i4J) program, which is led by professor Stacy Butler ('02), began its pilot of the Licensed Legal Advocate program this spring. Find out more about this innovative program and the local attorney mentors who are making its success possible in this edition of Letter of the Law

Also read on to see how the Cracchiolo Law Library is celebrating Women's History Month with their blog post about the women of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Until the footnotes,
Launch of the Licensed Legal Advocate Program Fills a Critical Unmet Need
As of March 22, 2021, two lay legal advocates from the nonprofit Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse will assume new roles and responsibilities and will begin offering limited legal advice and assistance to clients of Emerge. 

They will be the first-ever Licensed Legal Advocates in Arizona, having completed a rigorous eight-week training program developed by the University of Arizona Law's Innovation for Justice (i4J) program. 

The eight-week Licensed Legal Advocate (LLA) program includes online instruction, a weekly meet-up with faculty, and testing administered by the Supreme Court of Arizona.

Retired Superior Court Judge and Professor of Practice Karen Adam ('76) developed the LLA curriculum, and shares details about the pilot -- a collaboration among i4J, the Supreme Court of Arizona, and Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse -- and received significant funding support from the State Justice Institute (SJI). 

One of the requirements of the SJI grant is that the LLA evaluation team collect and analyze a variety of data about the pilot and publish the results. If the data are favorable, the pilot will likely be replicated in other locations.

As states across the nation are exploring market-driven licensed legal paraprofessional service models, this pilot provides the first research in the U.S. regarding how those models can be adapted for the non-profit sector.
A four-member team of practicing attorney faculty has been critical to the success of the pilot program. They are actively engaged in professional and community organizations and have each won numerous awards. They have agreed to serve as mentors to the newly minted Licensed Legal Advocates for the next year. 

Without them, Judge Adam says, the pilot would never have launched. We are proud to introduce -- and extend our gratitude to -- the team!

Marissa Sites
Hue Le
Kristy Clairmont ('15)

Arianne Kerr ('14)
Marissa Sites has a BA from the UA and graduated with her JD from Arizona State University. She has practiced in various areas of law and is now a family law attorney at Karp & Weiss in Tucson. She serves on the University of Arizona College of Law Board of Visitors, is chair of the Family Law Section of the Pima County Bar Association, and chairs Lawyers for Literacy, a program matching legal professionals with elementary school students who need help with reading. Marissa brings years of experience as an attorney, a mentor, and a community activist to the roles of attorney faculty and mentor in the LLA pilot.
Hue Le graduated from the University of Washington and from Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has worked as a prosecutor, a public defender, an assistant attorney general, a private practitioner, and now, at the Pima County Legal Defender's Office, representing children and parents in child welfare cases. She works with Marissa in the Lawyers for Literacy program and is on the Board of Trustees of the Pima County Bar Foundation. Hue brings a vast depth and breadth of experience to the LLA pilot.
Kristy Clairmont ('15) was a public school teacher for many years after graduating from Boise State University. After leaving her teaching career, she graduated from the Arizona Law with a Family and Juvenile Law certificate. She is the owner/attorney at Family Law Legal Consulting, PLLC, providing unbundled legal consultation services to self-represented litigants. Kristy volunteers at Step Up to Justice and the Pima County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Program as an attorney and educator. Kristy's experience as a teacher and her work with self-represented litigants make her an excellent attorney faculty member and mentor.
Arianne (Ari) Kerr ('14) earned a BA from Arizona State University and worked with Teach for America in Memphis, Tennessee, and as a case manager developing services for at-risk youth before receiving her JD from Arizona Law. She has worked in several positions as an attorney but has concentrated her practice on family law cases involving intimate partner violence. As a judicial law clerk to a juvenile and family law judge, Ari spent hours in the courtroom listening to the testimony of family law litigants, many of whom were intimate partner violence survivors. She volunteers at Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Step Up to Justice and the Pima County Bar Association. Ari has consulted frequently with Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse regarding legal issues that were beyond the scope of the lay legal advocates' service. Her experience in the field of family law and family violence, combined with her teaching and mentoring skills make Ari a terrific addition to the attorney faculty and mentor team.
Judge Adam shares,

"This strong team of attorney mentors, the LLA pilot development team, and our courageous student participants are breaking new ground -- for Emerge! clients and for self-represented litigants everywhere. Our hope is that the model of this pilot will make a difference in the way justice is delivered to intimate partner survivor self-represented litigants, not only in the year in which data will be collected, but long after and in many more court systems around the state and the nation."

Around the College

Celebrate Women's History Month with the Law Library
Our very own Daniel F. Cracchiolo Law Library invites you to follow their blog and celebrate Women's History Month. Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian Marcelo Rodriguez initiated the new blog, and the latest post by is by Law Library Fellow Alex Clay Hutchings. It begins:

"In the fall of 2019, I toured the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Up the grand staircase off the rotunda and just outside of the famous Presidential Portrait Gallery hangs an oil-on-canvas composition featuring four of our nation's most accomplished women. The portrait, entitled The Four Justices, showcases four women who broke the glass ceiling in America's highest court -- Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. 

The Four Justices,
Source: National Portrait Gallery,

In the years since artist Nelson Shanks painted this monumental portrait, we have lost one of these trailblazers, and gained another. After 27 years on the bench, Justice Ginsburg died September 18, 2020, at the age of 87. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was sworn in just over a month later to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg's passing, making her the fifth woman to serve on the Supreme Court. In the spirit of Women's History Month, we at the Cracchiolo Law Library wish to celebrate some of the groundbreaking accomplishments of these five women and guide you to additional resources to conduct your own further research."  

The post goes on to discuss Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg, and will highlight Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Barrett in the upcoming part two.

Alumni Spotlight: Patrick O'Brien (PharmD '89, JD '93)

Read our web spotlight on Dr. Patrick O'Brien, a joint alumnus of the UA Colleges of Law and Pharmacy, and find out more about the graduate certificates in Regulatory Science and Health Law.
"My experience in both the College of Pharmacy and the College of Law is that both of those programs had excellent academic faculty that gave me the opportunity to learn as deep as I was willing to go, and as a student, of course, the best thing you can do for yourself, is to is to take full advantage of that." 

-- Dr. Patrick O'Brien

In the News

Arizona Public Media, featuring Innovation for Justice program manager Mackenzie Pish

It would be hard to overstate the importance of the Legal Licensed Advocates experiment. It will be important to the victims of domestic violence served by Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse. It will be important as a model for other entities providing support for victims of domestic abuse. It will be important as a model for other states, and for other unmet legal needs.
To get to this point has required leadership, vision, partnerships, process, and patience. Stacy Butler and a group of judges and lawyers, including Judge Karen Adam, Marissa Sites, Hue Le, Kristy Clairmont, and Ari Kerr, and a host of wonderful students have brought us to this point. Thank you to every person and institution involved in this effort.
I hope and expect this is a transformative step in creating far greater access to law and justice -- for victims of domestic violence and for people with a vast range of other legal needs. We are not alone in our efforts, but Arizona Law will play an important part as that powerful story is recounted over time.


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