Class of 2005 alumna Laura Conover is the presumptive Pima County Attorney elect, having won the Democratic primary in August and running unopposed on November 3. She will deliver the college's Darrow K. Soll Memorial Lecture next Wednesday, October 21, at noon (register here). We share a Q&A conversation with Laura below.

Until the footnotes,

Q&A with Laura Conover ('05)
What follows is an interview from Dillon Fishman ('05) with his classmate Laura Conover, the presumptive next Pima County Attorney and the featured speaker in our October 21 Soll Lecture.
Where are you originally from and what brought you to the University of Arizona for law school?
"I arrived in the Old Pueblo as a baby, and my mom decided this was her forever home. She instilled in us the lifelong love of Tucson, which really stuck with me. My brother and I have never left and have invested our energy here. 

I wanted to practice law here in Tucson, so it was great fortune that my hometown had a fantastic law school right in our back yard. For high school, college, and law school I was basically in a three-block radius: attending Salpointe and then the University of Arizona for college and law school. In college I studied political science and Spanish, in part because my mom was committed to the importance of becoming bilingual --something that I still thank her for."
What stands out most from your time at the University of Arizona law school?
"The faculty and administration created a warm and supportive environment, despite the stress of the curriculum. They invested heavily in the short- and long-term success of students."
What was your path from law school to the present day?
"I attended law school with the purpose of working in the criminal justice system. I went to the County Public Defender's Office, first as a clinical law student for two years and then as an attorney for three more. Afterward I moved to the Federal Public Defender's Office for about seven years until I established my own small law practice. I handled diverse cases ranging from security clearance matters and criminal defense to helping employers hire former offenders and victim representation. Additionally, starting in about 2018, the federal judiciary appointed me to manage nearly 400 Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys statewide. I am now the presumptive Pima County Attorney elect, with no opponent in the general election. Although I never planned to run for political office, I saw this opportunity as a means to help the community find solutions on a broader level rather than by continuing to approach my legal career one case at a time."
How have enduring UA Law connections influenced you?
"I have especially kept in touch with friends and faculty mentors. I deeply believe in the value of mentorship. One example is Professor Jack Chin, my former criminal law professor, who recently took a sabbatical to help me establish the first fraud unit in 20 years at the Pima County Attorney's Office. Together, we will focus on fraud and consumer protection."
What will be your main focus in the next year?
"My priority begins by taking a close look at the office's $37 million annual budget with a twofold aim of enhancing our transparency and community focus. One specific goal is to partner with the public and behavioral health realm to stop felonizing drug addiction and mental illness. I expect that to free up resources and time to address fraud and consumer protection, and to go after real threats and harm to our community."
What would you tell younger professionals and recent Arizona Law graduates about how to start off on the right foot early in your career?
"I'd encourage younger lawyers to get involved. The more real-world or community-based experience you can find time for, the better your career will be. You help the community, make connections, and identify what works and doesn't work for you. That also allows you to share your gifts with the community. Going back to 2003, I can see the patterns of my career all the way through to the present day: my friendships, mentorships, and professional connections, that played out through weekly tutoring with Lawyers for Literacy.   
Among friends, the lawyers who are happiest are involved in the community. The lawyers who are isolated and aren't participating aren't as fulfilled. You never know what life will bring. The more involved you are, the more doors will open just at the moments when you need them most."

Thank you, Laura, and thank you, Dillon!


James E. Rogers College of Law alumna Laura Conover ('05), presumptive new Pima County Attorney, will assume her duties in January 2021. Ms. Conover joins a growing list of reform-minded prosecutors who have been elected to usher in a new era of health and safety by reframing prosecutorial priorities. Ms. Conover will discuss the challenges and opportunities of leading the prosecutor's office and her vision for criminal justice reform in Pima County.
When the seat for Pima County Attorney opened for the first time in 24 years, Ms. Conover's work in criminal justice reform, her formative years of study at the James E. Rogers College of Law, her continued connection to the college, and her desire to help teach the next generation of prosecutors combined together for a successful run for office. She is honored to have the opportunity to record and stream live from the college for a lecture she has cherished attending for many years.
About the Soll Lecture
The Soll Lecture enhances the college's Program on Criminal Law and Policy (PCLP), headed by Professor Jason Kreag. PCLP offers students experience in a number of clinics, a JD certificate, and a Master's level concentration, as well as a weekly PCLP lunchtime lecture series throughout the year.
Friends and colleagues of the late Darrow K. Soll ('92) established this lecture as a memorial to his life's work by creating an endowment at the James E. Rogers College of Law, through the efforts of Jennifer Simmon Woods ('99) and other generous donors.

Around the College
Jenckes Closing Argument Competition Update
The Jenckes Cup
The final round of this year's Jenckes Closing Argument Competition was held virtually on October 7.     
This was a runoff round to determine the two students who will represent the College of Law in the annual Jenckes Competition against ASU on November 6. This round was judged by members of the Arizona Association of Defense Counsel, which is awarding cash prizes to all five finalists.
1st place ~ Clarissa Todd (2L) ~ $1,000
2nd place ~ Rachel Madore (2L) ~ $500
3rd place ~ Sean Aiken (2L), John McKelvey (2L), and
Vincent Yesue (2L) ~ $250 each
Thank you to AADC, congratulations to all five superb finalists, and best of luck to Clarissa and Rachel against ASU. 

American Constitution Society Event, Oct. 19

The UA student chapter of the American Constitution Society invites you to a virtual discussion with Professor Michael Klarman (right) of Harvard Law School about the degradation of democracy, voting, Trump's authoritarian bent, what is needed to entrench democracy, the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and court reform. 

Professor Klarman's presentation will be followed by an open Q&A session moderated by Arizona Law Associate Dean Teresa Miguel-Stearns. This event is free to attend takes place on Monday, October 19 at noon (Arizona/MST). 

Contact with questions.

Next BLSA Coffee Conversation on Oct. 22

The University of Arizona Black Law Student Association (BLSA) invites you to their October Coffee Conversation with Professor Emerita Carol Rose on Thursday, October 22nd at noon (Arizona/MST). 

Professor Rose will discuss the history of racially restrictive covenants and redlining, as well as the detrimental effects that these policies had on Black wealth, which endure to the present day.
Download Your Arizona Law Digital Wallpaper 

If you'd like to project a visual reminder of your pride in Arizona Law, you can select one of our digital wallpapers to use as your Zoom background. There are over a dozen to choose from.

In the News

From the College of Law:

College of Law Coronavirus Response Information, including current College of Law status.

COVID-19 and Law Coalition, mobilizing University of Arizona Law expertise in response to the pandemic
COVID-19 Health Law Resources, with new video resources added frequently

If we can step away from the headlines and social media --and I'm not saying that is easy to do -- then we will see so much that is optimistic about the future of our community and our profession.
Faculty have the honor of seeing that every day while interacting with our great students in classes and clinics, in competitions, and through the work of our journals.
We all see knowledge and hope in our many college talks and workshops. And we see hope in the leadership of our alumni, across fields, embodied in the new challenges that alumna and presumptive Pima County Attorney elect Laura Conover embraces and will discuss in the forthcoming Soll Lecture.


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