judge roxanne song ong headshot

Judge Roxanne Song Ong (ret.)

This Thursday, the annual event called Spring Training for Lawyers will be held. (I mentioned it yesterday, here.)

There is quite a bit of content worth seeing at the event this Thursday and Friday. Topics include (in no particular order) stereotyping, the Hobby Lobby decision, representing clients with disabilities, mindfulness in practice, and immigration law.

Every one of those (plus others) look like great panels helmed by talented lawyers.

But the opening panel on Thursday is the one I really am disappointed to miss. The title is “Perspectives on Diversity in the Legal Profession in Arizona, and it runs from 1:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The speakers have walked the walk:

  • George Chen, partner at Bryan Cave
  • Booker Evans, shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy
  • Sonia Martinez, solo practitioner and past President of NABA
  • Ed Maldonado, solo practitioner and past President of Los Abogados
  • Hon. Roxanne Song Ong, retired Presiding Judge of the Phoenix Municipal Court

Topics will include:

  • Challenges facing minority attorneys in the workplace
  • Issues of majority attorneys working with minority lawyers
  • Importance of developing business for minority lawyers

As organizers say, “A full hour is also dedicated for the panelists to interact with the audience, who are encouraged to ask the ‘tough questions’ about minority issues. The panelists will do their best to provide their candid answers.”

More information is here, including the full program, fees (regular, late, and student discount), additional registration and CLE information.

Register here.

Spring Training for Lawyers Minority Bar Convention 2015-page0001

I have written multiple times about Judge Roxanne Song Ong (here, for instance), including her commitment to the community—legal and otherwise. But now I must refer to her as retired Judge Song Ong.

As you likely already know, she was the longtime Presiding Judge of the Phoenix Municipal Court. But in November, a crowd of well-wishers said their good-byes, as the Judge heads into retirement.

Many, many folks queued up to say a few words to Judge Song Ong. Among those to take time on November 12 was Chief Justice Scott Bales.

Ariz. Chief Justice Scott Bales and Judge Roxanne Song Ong (ret.)

Ariz. Chief Justice Scott Bales and Judge Roxanne Song Ong (ret.)

As the good Judge exited stage-left, she also received another major accolade in her remarkable career: a national award from the American Judges Association. Well done, once again.

The Judge tells me that we may be seeing more of her, as she remains committed to education and mentoring in the profession. We look forward to seeing her. Congratulations and best wishes.

New board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association sworn in by Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Feb. 13, 2014, Chandler, Ariz.

New board of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association sworn in by Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Feb. 13, 2014, Chandler, Ariz.

Four years ago, I posted a list of the nine courses (yes, nine!) served at the annual Arizona Asian American Bar Association banquet. You can read it here.

Over the (too) many years of this daily blog, I have covered that event in multiple ways—for example, here, here and here. (I’ve even included photos and a video of our now-beleaguered Attorney General Tom Horne playing the piano as the crowd chats; here’s a photo you might like).

But writers are always learning, and here is the instructive point for me: I have always and forever received the most follow-up queries after my here’s-our-meal-list post. Showing, I suppose, that food trumps most legal issues, including allegations of campaign-finance violations. The main commentary I typically receive: The list is nice, and your description of the keynote speech is swell, but why only one food photo?

C-Fu Gourmet restaurant logoThe public speaks, and I listen.

So today, on Change of Venue Friday, I decided to keep the words to a minimum and to share only photos and captions of each of the dishes served last night at C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler. If you were there, you know how great it was. If you missed it, too bad for you. Remember to follow the Asian American Bar Association on Facebook, so you can keep track of when they announce next year’s banquet. You can join the organization too.

I hope you’re sated by the photos below (click to make them larger). I plan to share later some more detail about the evening’s great elements, among them the awarding of a few law student scholarships. But that’s for another day.

Have a great—and dim sum-filled—weekend.

Leon Silver, center, and Judge Roxanne Song Ong, far right, are two of the honorees of the YWCA Leadership Awards. Photo taken at Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, Dec. 9, 2013.

Leon Silver, center, and Judge Roxanne Song Ong, far right, are two of the honorees of the YWCA Leadership Awards. Photo taken at Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix, Dec. 9, 2013.

This month, the Arizona YWCA announced whom it is honoring this year for leadership in the community. I’m pleased to report that among the honorees are a few members of the bar.

Congratulations to Judge Roxanne Song Ong, Presiding Judge of the Phoenix Municipal Court, and Leon Silver, a partner at Poilsinelli.

Judge Song Ong was honored as a leader in public service, Silver as a leader in advocacy.

On Monday evening, that announcement was made at a cocktail reception at the Ritz-Carlton. The bigger-deal event will be a formal dinner on February 1 (also at the R-C).

More detail on the February 1 dinner (and names of all the honorees) is here.

Here is what an engaged organization looks like:

A crowded University Club for an annual Arizona Women Lawyers event, in Phoenix, Oct. 24, 2013.

A crowded University Club for an annual Arizona Women Lawyers event, in Phoenix, Oct. 24, 2013.

Not such a great picture, eh? Well, that’s what I get for attending a function put on by an active group of lawyers.

Last Thursday, I stood in a packed-to-the-gills University Club in Phoenix. There, the Arizona Women Lawyers Association gathered to mingle and to honor a great judge, Roxanne Song Ong.

Judge Roxanne Song Ong spoke briefly, describing her path toward her current position as Presiding Judge of the Phoenix Municipal Court, “the State’s largest limited jurisdiction court and among the top ten busiest municipal courts in the United States,” as the court’s website says.

The judge spoke of her challenges as a young lawyer who was also a young mother. On that path, she would work part-time as a prosecutor, meeting her office’s needs by increasing her work-week from one day, to two, and so forth, until she found herself a full-time employee. On many of those days, she would rush home to breast-feed a young child. The trek repeated itself as she moved from being a part-time pro tem judge to becoming a full-time jurist.

The popularity of the AWLA annual event is conveyed somewhat by my bad crowd photos. Here’s another. The diminutive Judge Song Ong is way up there, in the back of the photo.

Judge Roxanne Song Ong speaks at the AWLA event, Oct. 24, 2013.

Judge Roxanne Song Ong speaks at the AWLA event, Oct. 24, 2013.

Even more evocative than the number of attendees, though, is the engagement I witnessed. Here’s an example.

I spoke with many folks at the event, and by the time the prepared remarks began, I found myself toward the back of the room, standing near a group of six or so young women lawyers (that was a coincidence, I assure you).

judge roxanne song ong headshot

Hon. Roxanne Song Ong

As Judge Song Ong spoke about her life’s path, I was able to see the reaction among those young women. The judge’s description of her challenges in balancing life’s needs was met by multiple nods by the women. Time and again, they smiled at her remarks. Most telling, they caught each others’ eye, smiled broadly and nodded.

Having spoken with a few of the women at the evening reception, I know that they don’t all have growing families or spouses. They are not (yet) toiling as judges pro tem or presiding judges. And yet the judge’s remarks resonated with them. In her story, they could spy parts of their own path.

As I left the University Club that evening, I walked to the parking lot with a young lawyer who had been among that group. I was not so surprised to hear that she was headed back to the office for more work. That is not very uncommon in law. I’m confident that Judge Somg Ong’s remarks cheered her, just for a bit.

I wrote last Friday about the multiple values of diversity, among them an actual increase in quality in the legal profession. That quality was transmitted by Judge Song Ong, and appreciated in the young lawyers who seek guidance in a challenging profession. Well done.

Arizona Women Lawyers Association logo pin

Have you gotten your AWLA pin yet?