L to R: Sharon Ng, Lisa Loo and Melissa Ho, Sept. 27, 2011

An organization’s board of directors is a representative body. Ideally, it reflects the membership’s changing face, because board members must embody the future of a profession rather than be in thrall to the past.

On that score, the State Bar of Arizona has reason to be proud.

On Tuesday evening, the Arizona Asian American Bar Association gathered to congratulate three of its members who sit on the State Bar’s Board of Governors. Each of them is a successful lawyer who has a lot to contribute. And each is an Asian American. For good measure, each is also a woman. (All photos are courtesy AAABA.)

At Portland’s Restaurant & Wine Bar in Phoenix, AAABA members and other well-wishers applauded the achievements of Lisa Loo, Melissa Ho and Sharon Ng.

AAABA President Briana Chua

Lisa and Melissa are each representatives from District 6; Sharon is the Young Lawyers Division President.

The event was a happy one. Host and AAABA President Briana Chua reminded attendees that, as well as anyone can tell, there has never been a time when three Asian Americans have served on the board at the same time. Amidst the many conversations I had that night with Arizona lawyers in attendance, one exclamation stands out: “This isn’t your grandfather’s board.”


More photos are on the AAABA Facebook page. (And while you’re there, “Like” them.)

At the AAABA reception, L to R: Maricopa County Bar Association Executive Director Allen Kimbrough, lawyer Mike Mason, and State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps

Lawyer Melissa Ho, center, following her keynote speech at the Asian LEAD Academy graduation. Also pictured: community supporter Claudia Kaercher (left) and program coordinator Norean Sablan

An educational event in late June exposed a group of young people to a variety of leadership possibilities. And an important part of that gathering was a peek into the world of courts and lawyers.

The Asian LEAD Academy at Arizona State University provides high school kids and incoming college freshmen the chance to learn in a wide range of areas. Much of the focus is instruction in the Asian American experience (though it is open to students of all ethnicities).

You can read more about it here and here.

Held the last two weeks of June, the academy culminated in a mock trial performed by the high school students. They spent days preparing their cases, and the resulting theater, staged at the Phoenix Municipal Court, was a terrific example of civic engagement by future leaders.

Kirstin Story

(I am compelled to confess my family’s involvement in the academy: My wife, an ASU associate professor, taught one of the seminars. And our 15-year-old daughter was a participant; she wrote and delivered the prosecution closing argument, and as long as I’m disclosing fully, she was phenomenal!)

As I see it, a significant benefit of the program is the exposure it affords young people to the legal profession. And in that regard, I have to tender kudos to a few people.

Kirstin Story is a lawyer at Lewis and Roca, and she gave days of her time preparing the students for the trial; it could never have happened without her.

Matthew Meaker

And Matthew Meaker is a Scottsdale lawyer with the Andante Law Group who served extremely well as the guest judge. He guided the youngsters and used many of the trial events, like objections, as teaching moments.

Finally, Melissa Ho delivered a rousing keynote address at the academy’s closing luncheon and graduation. The Polsinelli Shughart lawyer provided a refreshing antidote to the all-too-common perception that lawyers are unhappy with their work. Melissa—who also serves on the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors—explained the value of remaining connected with others who have shared your experience. And she invited any of the graduates to contact her in the future as they find their own path.

Congratulations, and thanks, to all the participants.

Melissa Ho

To see more photos, go to the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

Asian LEAD Mock Trial participants