Law classes for this most unusual, challenging, and resilience-building academic year concluded on Friday, and excitement is mounting toward graduation on May 11! 

Our graduates will be walking across the stage, with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland delivering the virtual keynote. 

This year's elected class speakers are JDs Katie Derrig and DeLorean Forbes, MLS Lauren Easter, and SJD/LLM Jingyuan (Joey) Zhou. Find out how you can celebrate with the Class of 2021 below.

In this edition of Letter of the Law, 2021 BA in Law graduate Martin Landon shares his inspiring story and his pride in this year's class.

Until the footnotes,
26 Years after Foregoing College, BA in Law Grad Finds New Success

College wasn't part of the plan for Martin Landon. He says,
"If you would have asked me in 1995, when I graduated high school, there is no way that I would have thought that I could succeed in college or junior college or anything past high school."
And yet, after seeing the example set by his son, Martin is now graduating from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in law and numerous academic distinctions on his record.
After high school, Martin dove into the workforce and did not give a second thought to higher education. It was not until later in life when he began driving his eldest son to classes at Pima Community College, that he thought, "I'm already here, might as well take a class or two and see what happens."
A few classes at a time, Martin completed his associate degree through the paralegal program at Pima Community College. He did so well that he received a full scholarship to continue his education.
"Since I was granted that scholarship, I thought, 'Wow, I have an opportunity to do this. I knew I wanted to stay in a legal program, and since the University of Arizona offers the BA in Law, unlike any other school in the country, it was a really good fit."
Martin's eldest son, who first inspired him to go back to school, has also now graduated from the University of Arizona. He has two more children enrolled as Wildcats, both completing their junior years. He even shared two general education classes with his youngest daughter.
"It was her choice, not mine. She actually did better than me in one of the classes, and she will never let me live that down."
Finding His Voice and Using it for Others
Martin gravitated to the legal field because he wants to help amplify the voices of people with disabilities.
"I am a disabled person, and I always felt that sometimes their voices are unheard." He says that if there are more people with disabilities working in the legal profession, "then maybe we can help each other out."
Martin found an outlet for his advocacy through University of Arizona Law's Innovation for Justice Program, directed by Stacy Butler ('02).
In the combined undergraduate and graduate Innovating Legal Services course, Martin worked with Emerge Center Against Domestic Abuse and helped prepare a report for the Arizona Supreme Court that became the Licensed Legal Advocate pilot -- a program that trains non-lawyers to offer limited legal advice to domestic violence survivors. It's the first such model in the country. Through the Innovation for Justice program he also helped evaluate and redesign an app for the State of Utah for settling small claims disputes.
Martin says hands-on classes like Innovating Legal Services and internships that provided him with real-world experience introduced him to career paths he had not previously considered.
As a non-traditional student who transferred to the University of Arizona from community college, Martin often did not know what to expect during his journey as an undergraduate student. Now, he is graduating with the newfound confidence that comes from success, noting,
"I got the confidence to know that I could do it. I got the feedback from my professors and advisors and support from my peers. After 20 years away from school, knowing that I can come back and have the support to succeed as well as I have, earn scholarships and some recognition is really awesome."
Martin is graduating with a job offer in hand, but after speaking to his advisors, professors and family, he is now considering continuing his legal education.

"Thinking about law school and pursuing a JD is actually a possibility that I would not have thought about a few years ago."
Martin says that whatever path he takes, it will always center on helping the community. And after managing the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he takes pride that he and his fellow graduates can handle any curveballs thrown their way.
"We had an entire year of completely disrupted schedules, ideas, internships. So congratulations [to the Class of 2021]. You survived it, you did it, you persevered, you pressed through. Tremendous work all around."

Around the College


Visit for full details on this year's ceremony.

Join us as we celebrate the diverse accomplishments of Arizona Law's outstanding 2021 graduates. 

This year's ceremony will be held online, with a limited in-person "watch party" at the College of Law for up to 100 attendees. Family, friends, and classmates are all welcome to attend.

When: Friday, May 14, 4 p.m.

Where: Join us via Zoom -- Register for the Online Event

Join us in person (100-person limit) -- Register for the In-person Event

We will also announce the award recipients in an upcoming edition of Letter of the Law.

Contribute to the 2021 Class Gift 

The Class of 2021 is raising money to establish a mental health fund at the College of Law. Help them reach their $5,000 goal with a donation of $20.21.

Bear Down Network Giveaway

We're sharing this message from the University of Arizona Alumni Association's Bear Down Network. 

"Help us celebrate the Class of 2021! Let's welcome these graduating Wildcats to the Bear Down Network by sharing our own graduation memories.
Now until May 30, post a photo from your graduation or a favorite memory from your time on campus to the main feed and tag the Alumni Association. You'll be entered to win a grand prize of a two-night stay at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort as well as other prizes!"

In the News

Census Privacy Technique to Face Scrutiny of Three-Judge Panel
Courthouse News Service, quoting professor Jane Bambauer

Arizona Daily Star, special commentary by professor Priya Sundareshan 

Event replay: 
Panel discussion moderated by professor Toni Massaro

Congratulations to Martin Landon, and to all of his fellow graduates in our BA in Law program. Martin's path has not been a typical one, but as we get to deeply know all of our students across our degree programs, we find that nearly every student's path has its own twists and turns.
Graduation is always a perfect moment to look back, and forward. It is also a time to stop, at least for a moment, and celebrate one of life's defining moments. A BA in Law, a JD, an LLM, or MLS, or SJD -- each of these degrees reflects depth, substance, and purpose. Completing any one of our Arizona Law degrees is cause for pride and recognition of new knowledge and skills that will help our graduates shape their careers, and our world.


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