President Lisa Loo, center, and the other State Bar of Arizona officers, 2016-17. L to R: President-Elect Alex Vakula, Second Vice President Steve Hirsch, President Lisa Loo, First Vice President Jeff Willis, and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Furuya.

President Lisa Loo, center, and the other State Bar of Arizona officers, 2016-17. L to R: President-Elect Alex Vakula, Second Vice President Steve Hirsch, President Lisa Loo, First Vice President Jeff Willis, and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Furuya.

In the September issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, be sure to read our profile of the newest State Bar of Arizona President, Lisa Loo. Her life story began in Macau, China, and she emigrated to New York City when she was a young girl. Her story, and that of her family, is moving and provides some insight into the leadership lessons she’s learned. 

Back in 2001, Arizona Attorney published another article on Lisa.

In the meantime, here is the formal announcement from the State Bar of Arizona. As the item points out, Lisa Loo is the first Asian American woman to be elected State Bar president. Just as fascinating is that the only other Asian American attorney ever to serve as Bar President was Thomas Tang, who went on to become a respected Ninth Circuit Judge—and who was the persuasive impetus behind the original formation of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association:

The State Bar of Arizona has announced the election of Lisa Loo as the 85th president of its Board of Governors. The board also announced the election of Alex B. Vakula as President-Elect, Jeffrey Willis as First Vice President, Steven A. Hirsch as Second Vice President, and Brian Y. Furuya as Secretary/Treasurer.

Lisa Loo in Arizona Attorney Magazine, October 2001 (photo by John Beckett).

Lisa Loo in Arizona Attorney Magazine, October 2001 (photo by John Beckett).

Lisa Loo is Vice President for Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel at Arizona State University and is responsible for leadership of the lawyers in the business and transactional practice group. She joined the ASU Office of General Counsel in 1993 after eight years in private practice.

She has served the legal profession and the greater community in various volunteer leadership roles.

“The Bar is fortunate to have such an experienced and talented person serve as our board president,” said John Phelps, Executive Director and CEO of the State Bar of Arizona. “Leading up to her role as president, Lisa Loo has been an actively engaged board member. Over the past 23 years, she has contributed to some of our most influential committees, including the Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law, the Rules on Professional Conduct Committee, and the Bar Leadership Institute Selection Committee. She has also served on the State Bar’s Strategic Planning Committee and the Diversity Task Force. Her passion in championing Arizona’s legal community is unmatched, and I look forward to continuing my strong working relationship with her. She has already proven to be an excellent leader for the Bar.”

Loo is the first Asian American woman to be elected president of the State Bar. She is a founding board member of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association and served as Vice President of Victory Together, the primary group that advocated for the voter-approved MLK, Jr./Civil Rights Day in Arizona.

Loo graduated from the University Of Virginia School Of Law in 1985 and from Fordham University in 1982. She was admitted to the practice of law in Arizona in 1988 and has served on the State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors for seven years.

The State Bar of Arizona has honored Loo as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year and for Outstanding Achievement in Advancing Equal Opportunity in the Profession.

In addition to those elected, Young Lawyers Division President Alexia J. Peterson of DeConcini McDonald Yetwin & Lacy PC (Phoenix) joined the Board. The YLD president receives an automatic seat on the Board during their one-year tenure.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color

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The 2016-17 officers are pictured, L to R: President-Elect Alex Vakula, Second Vice President Steve Hirsch, President Lisa Loo, First Vice President Jeff Willis, and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Furuya.

The 2016-17 officers are pictured, L to R: President-Elect Alex Vakula, Second Vice President Steve Hirsch, President Lisa Loo, First Vice President Jeff Willis, and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Furuya.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAt its regular annual meeting at the State Bar Convention this afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors confirmed its slate of officers for the coming year. The new roster includes the newest officer, Secretary/Treasurer Brian The 2016-17 officers are pictured, L to R: President-Elect Alex Vakula, Second Vice President Steve Hirsch, President Lisa Loo, First Vice President Jeff Willis, and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Furuya.

uya, elected today:

President: Lisa Loo

President-Elect: Alex Vakula

First Vice President: Jeff Willis

Second Vice President: Steven A. Hirsch

Secretary/Treasurer: Brian Furuya

Following board bylaws, the new slate of officers assume their positions at the close of the annual meeting.

Follow more news via this Convention Daily and on Twitter, hashtag #azbarcon

The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass will be the site for the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is the site for the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

Board members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association for 2016-17 (photographed at C-Fu Gourmet, Chandler, Ariz., April 14, 2016.

Board members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association for 2016-17 (photographed at C-Fu Gourmet, Chandler, Ariz., April 14, 2016.

Back on April 14, the Arizona Asian American Bar Association hosted its 20th scholarship fundraiser and installation banquet. It was as remarkable and delicious as ever. In fact, this event broke all records, as about 450 people crowded into C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler to collaborate and hear from great speakers such as Incoming State Bar President Lisa Loo.

I recommend you read AAABA President Amanda Chua’s letter here. And to see more photos and some great video regarding the legal pioneers who were honored that evening—Thomas Tang, Dr. Pearl Tang, Anthony Ching, and Wing Ong—go here.

L to R: Then-AAABA President-Elect Amanda Chua, State Bar of Arizona President-Elect Lisa Loo, then-AAABA President Nicole Ong, April 14, 2016.

L to R: Then-AAABA President-Elect Amanda Chua, State Bar of Arizona President-Elect Lisa Loo, then-AAABA President Nicole Ong, April 14, 2016.

Hon. Patricia Norris and President-Elect Lisa Loo share a decisive moment, June 26, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

Hon. Patricia Norris and President-Elect Lisa Loo share a decisive moment, June 26, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

More news from the Convention will be in this space Monday. But as #azbarcon 2015 draws toward a close, I share a great photo snapped by the Bar’s Rick DeBruhl. Above you’ll see a historic moment: When Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Norris (L) acquiesced to the urging of President-Elect Lisa Loo to … serve as a Convention Co-Chair for next year’s Convention!

Thank you in advance, Judge Norris, for giving of your time and talents in the coming year!

State Bar of Arizona Officers, 2014-15: (L to R): Alex Vakula, Bryan Chambers, Richard Platt, Lisa Loo, Geoffrey Trachtenberg

State Bar of Arizona Officers, 2014-15: (L to R): Alex Vakula, Bryan Chambers, Richard Platt, Lisa Loo, Geoffrey Trachtenberg

At its regular annual meeting at the State Bar Convention this afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors confirmed its slate of officers for the coming year. The new roster includes the newest officer, Secretary/Treasurer Geoffrey Trachtenberg, elected today:

  • President: Richard T. Platt
  • President-Elect: Bryan B. Chambers
  • First Vice President: Lisa Loo
  • Second Vice President: Alex Vakula
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Geoffrey Trachtenberg

Following board bylaws, the new slate of officers assume their positions at the close of the annual meeting.

Follow more news via this Convention Daily and on Twitter, hashtag #azbarcon

The new Board of the State Bar of Arizona, June 10, 2014, Westin La Paloma, Tucson

The new Board of the State Bar of Arizona, June 10, 2014, Westin La Paloma, Tucson

Former Chief Justice Ruth McGregor delivers keynote remarks at panel on judicial diversity, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 27, 2014.

Former Chief Justice Ruth McGregor delivers keynote remarks at panel on judicial diversity, Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 27, 2014.

A busy spring is kicking the butt of Change of Venue. There are just too many great events.

By way of explanation: Change of Venue is my attempt to have some lighter lifting on Fridays. A photo or two, a humorous (and maybe nonlegal) story, in, out, hello, weekend!

I mean, you like that too, right?

Well, yesterday I attended a powerful panel discussion on the topic of diversity on the bench. And I thought I should share what was said and ask for your thoughts.

Sponsored by the Arizona Advocacy Network and Justice at Stake, the event at the Carnegie Center in Phoenix was a kickoff to the groups’ efforts to address some judicial challenges in 2014. Here are a few of the day’s high points.

Judicial diversity forum 2014 3 v2

Judicial diversity forum, Feb. 27, 2014, Carnegie Center, Phoenix, Ariz.

It is always a privilege and pleasure to hear Ruth McGregor speak. The former Arizona Chief Justice was the keynote speaker, and she delivered some compelling statistics about the lack of diversity on the bench, nationally and locally.

But before you presume she’s in favor of a simple numbers game, understand that the quality of judicial decisions is her goal—and that of many engaged in the creation of diverse benches.

As Justice McGregor said, “Diverse experiences can be used in appropriate circumstances to better understand the case at hand.”

And yes, Justice McGregor has data. She cited studies from Tufts and Columbia that examined group decision-making. Here’s what they found.

In Tufts’ mock juries: “Diverse groups discuss significantly more case facts than non-diverse groups; and diverse groups exhibited significantly fewer inaccurate statements.”

Also at Columbia: The presence of even one female participant in a group increased the probability of a different decision. That’s one woman.

What are the results for judges? “Diversity may yield a more careful, more accurate and broader discussion of issues.”

“The presence of diverse voices,” Justice McGregor said, “broadens discussion and analysis.”

Would judicial results be different? We cannot say that. But “at least the discussion would be different,” she said.

Lisa Loo moderates judicial diversity panel, Feb. 27, 2014.

Lisa Loo moderates judicial diversity panel, Feb. 27, 2014.

She urged attendees to consider how certain blots on legal history may have been decided if there had been even a tiny bit of diversity on their judicial panels. Consider Korematsu, Bowers v. Hardwick, Plessy v. Ferguson. Would those rulings have been the same if one of the judges had been Japanese American, gay or lesbian, or African American? Can you doubt it?

Justice McGregor also urged listeners to try their hand at an online Implicit Association Test. Try one here!

Kudos also to moderator Lisa Loo, who strolled among the audience, tossing queries to panelists. And the panelists—Linda Benally, Judge Roxanne Song Ong and James Christian—offered excellent summaries of the challenges faced by diversity advocates.

(I reported from the event on Twitter, and you can see below how talented a moderator I found Lisa to be. Click the link to see the photo:)

At left, Lisa Loo @ASU @AZStateBar governor kicks butt as @JusticeStake moderator, strolls room, tosses Qs to panel. http://t.co/WfdTY8Knxg

— Tim Eigo (@azatty) February 27, 2014

Judge Song Ong said something that made me think of the old proverb about when it’s best to plant a tree. So here is a Change-of-Venue-style image to consider:

Plant a Tree Now revised judge

Have a great—and diverse—weekend.

State Bar of Arizona BLI graduates 2013

2013 BLI Graduates—Back row, L to R: Brad Martin, Blair Moses, Elizabeth Kruschek, Buck Rocker, Doreen McPaul, Ray Ybarra Maldonado. Front row, L to R: Chris Tozzo, Tabatha LaVoie, Nicole Ong, Laura Huff, Annamarie Frank, Cid Kallen, Jessica Sanchez. Not pictured: Heather Baker.

The newest class of the State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute graduated last Friday. As always, it was a noteworthy event marking the accomplishments of a talented group of lawyers.

You may already know about the BLI, but here is a description of the program:

BLI graduation 2013 1 sign“The Bar Leadership Institute is a nine-month program designed to foster the professional growth and enhance the leadership skills of a diverse group of Arizona attorneys. The purpose is to increase participation and visibility in the State Bar and the community-at-large among historically under-represented groups, with an emphasis on racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability and geographic diversity. In 2009 the Bar Leadership Institute was selected by the American Bar Association to receive its prestigious Partnership Award.”

More detail is here.

Speakers at the graduation stressed the qualities of leadership exemplified by the attorney graduates.

State Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer praised the attorneys, and she thanked them for their continued participation in the work of the Bar.

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, May 10, 2013

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, May 10, 2013

CEO John Phelps urged the graduates to value the friendships and connections they forged through the BLI program.

“That network of leaders is something special,” he said. “Take advantage of that friendship; nurture it. You’ve had the opportunity to connect with others in this special program.”

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, May 10, 2013

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, May 10, 2013

With a laugh, he concluded, “You’re part of the club now. Be sure to use your club membership.”

Elena Nethers, the Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Advisor, reminded graduates, their families and supporters that the BLI is designed to “enable people to attain their full potential.”

This year, she reported, the 14 graduates arose from a pool of 60 applicants.

Bar Governor Lisa Loo praised the program and the attorneys, taking the time to introduce audience member Henry Ong, a Bar member since 1972. He has been an active participant in the activities of multiple bars, Lisa pointed out. And for good measure, he is the father of Nicole Ong, one of this year’s BLI grads.

Also attending the event was BLI chair and attorney Booker Evans, Jr.

If you are interested in being part of this successful initiative (for yourself or someone else), be sure to share and complete the Bar Leadership Institite application for the coming year’s class. The application is due by June 28.

State Bar Governor Lisa Loo and BLI chair Booker Evans, Jr., at the 2013 BLI graduation

State Bar Governor Lisa Loo and BLI chair Booker Evans, Jr., at the 2013 BLI graduation