Denis Fitzgibbons is the new Pinal County representative on the State Bar Board of Governors, May 2015.

Denis Fitzgibbons is the new Pinal County representative on the State Bar Board of Governors, May 2015.

I previously told you about a unique election occurring for the Pinal County representative on the State Bar Board. Today, I share the result.

After one candidate used his campaign space to tout the abilities of his opponent, the conclusion is probably no surprise.

Besides announcing that Denis M. Fitzgibbons has been elected as a Bar Governor, the Bar also shared the name of the new Young Lawyers Division representative: Tyler Carrell.

Tyler Carrell, YLD representative to the State Bar of Arizona, May 2015.

Tyler Carrell, YLD representative to the State Bar of Arizona, May 2015.

You can read the Bar’s complete release here.

Congratulations to both attorneys.

Gallagher & Kennedy associates Hannah Porter and Kimberly Allen pictured with a small selection of the clothing the firm's Professional Women's Group donated to Dress for Success.

Gallagher & Kennedy associates Hannah Porter and Kimberly Allen pictured with a small selection of the clothing the firm’s Professional Women’s Group donated to Dress for Success.

Recently, I was pleased to hear some great news out of a law firm and its Professional Women’s Group. Their efforts represent some of the best elements—and charitable impulses—of the Arizona Bar.

I have written about the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group before. That was when they committed themselves to a year’s worth of reading to school-aged children. You can read about that effort here.

Here is the news from G&K and their work on behalf of Dress for Success. Do you, your law firm or your law office have stories of community contribution? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

“On March 16, 2015, the Gallagher & Kennedy law firm donated more than 300 professional clothing items as well as a monetary donation to the Arizona affiliate of Dress for Success (DFS), an organization that supports women reentering the workforce. Over three weeks in February, the law firm’s Professional Women’s Group collected new and gently used women’s business clothing to donate to the Dress of Success Phoenix boutique. Donations were gathered from others in the Esplanade Complex, vendors and employees of the law firm.”

“The Professional Women’s Group became a new partner for DFS Phoenix in 2014 with members participating in various mentorship opportunities including interview skills and resume writing workshops. ‘Gallagher & Kennedy has been a wonderful partner this year,’ said Pat Torres, boutique coordinator for Dress for Success Phoenix. ‘Their dedication to helping women in the community through their contribution of time, professional expertise and clothing items will have a lasting impact for our clients.’”

“Whether partnering to support the causes of their clients or serving organizations that meet unique personal or professional interests of their employees, hundreds of volunteer service hours are given to hundreds of nonprofit and professional organizations each year by Gallagher & Kennedy employees.”

Kimberly Allen and Hannah Porter, associates with Gallagher & Kennedy, deliver donated items to Dress for Success, Phoenix.

Kimberly Allen and Hannah Porter, associates with Gallagher & Kennedy, deliver donated items to Dress for Success, Phoenix.

 

Gallagher & Kennedy attorney Laura Antonuccio reads to Phoenix Day schoolchildren, May 28, 2014.

Gallagher & Kennedy attorney Laura Antonuccio reads to Phoenix Day schoolchildren, May 28, 2014.

At a school in south Phoenix, dozens of children smile as a group from a law firm enters the room. They’ve come to know these women—each one a woman professional from law firm Gallagher & Kennedy—over the course of many months. And this day—May 28, 2014—is the culmination of the nearly year-long relationship.

If your eyes grow large at the notion that children would be pleased to see attorneys, you really need to understand what these women accomplished at Phoenix Day, an early education and youth development center serving underprivileged children.

The 18 women from Gallagher & Kennedy sought a way to make a difference in their community. The result was their participation in the Million Minutes Reading Challenge of the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Seeing the need, the G&K folks formed their own “Team Right to Read.” They also sought out a participating school, landing at Phoenix Day. Since last September, the women have volunteered more than 7,300 minutes (and counting) reading to 86 students.

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group who donated hundreds of books to children at Phoenix Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, as part of their role in the Valley of the Sun United Way's Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. L to R: Jodi Bohr, Jennifer Cranston, Lori Stinson (Phoenix Day), Laura Antonuccio, Meg Smeck, Alana Hake. (Photo: PatrickCorley.com)

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group who donated hundreds of books to children at Phoenix Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, as part of their role in the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. L to R: Jodi Bohr, Jennifer Cranston, Lori Stinson (Phoenix Day), Laura Antonuccio, Meg Smeck, Alana Hake. (Photo: PatrickCorley.com)

May 28 was a reading day like many others. But it also was an opportunity to give the children another present—a large box of books (and other items) for each to take home. The materials had been gathered and assembled over multiple weeks by the G&K women.

As the school’s Education Director Lori Stinson looks on with a smile, attorney Laura Antonuccio leads the kids in a rousing rendition of “Clap Your Hands.”

“Reach for the sky, wiggle your toes, Stick out your tongue and touch your nose.”

Antonuccio originated the idea of a reading support group, and she is adept at firing the children up with the excitement of reading.

She suddenly exclaims, “On the count of three, everybody tell me how old you are!” The joyful cacophony of “3,” “5,” “4” fills the room, while a sotto voce (and slightly Eeyore-ish) voice adds from the back of the room, “30.”

After the festivities, lawyer Jennifer Cranston tells a visitor why the women are committed to this effort.

“Of course, we are all a part of the community,” she begins. And if listeners need a better reason to offer children the gift of reading, she adds, “And we’ll certainly reduce the need for lawyers if the entire population can become better educated.”

(Yes, she meant reducing the need for lawyers is a good thing.)

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy women’s group may continue their work at Phoenix Day. But the group also seeks a new initiative for the coming year. Congratulations and thank you to each of them for their remarkable commitment.

Here are some more photos from the May 28 event.

Gallagher & Kennedy's Meg Smeck with children of Phoenix Day.

Gallagher & Kennedy’s Meg Smeck with children of Phoenix Day.

One of the many boxes of donated items gathered by the Gallagher & Kennedy women as gifts to the children of Phoenix Day.

One of the many boxes of donated items gathered by the Gallagher & Kennedy women as gifts to the children of Phoenix Day.

Gallagher and Kennedy attorney Jodi Bohr reads to a Phoenix Day student.

Gallagher and Kennedy attorney Jodi Bohr reads to a Phoenix Day student.

Phoenix Day students and Gallagher and Kennedy women professionals at the May 28, 2014, event.

Phoenix Day students and Gallagher and Kennedy women professionals at the May 28, 2014, event.