As I’ve talked about before, the gap between legal services and those who need them has never been wider. Fortunately, many, many lawyers do more than gaze into that chasm; they opt to offer their time and expertise on a free or reduced-cost basis.

October traditionally includes what the profession calls “Pro Bono Week,” a time to focus on the legal needs of many people. But lawyers give throughout the year, as we saw at an event last week.

The following news comes from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez at the State Bar of Arizona.

The State Bar and Univision 33 hosted Abogados a Su Lado (“Lawyers at Your Side”) on Thursday, August 23. The evening’s topic was personal-injury issues.

There were seven volunteer attorneys participating in the public service program (for this blog post, I’ve provided links where I could locate them): John Alston, Jess Gulbrandsen, Ridge Hicks, Jose M. Leon, Carlos Slack-Mendez, Patricio Smith and Julio Zapata.

The lawyers fielded 76 calls during the two-hour phone bank. The following is a small sample of the questions that were received:

  • How long do I have to file a claim after a collision?
  • How long does it take to resolve a claim after it has been filed?
  • Can I change attorneys if I am not satisfied with my current attorney?
  • Can I file an injury claim if the vehicle does not exhibit major damage?
  • Can I file a claim if I don’t have a driver’s license?

All seven of the Abogados a Su Lado volunteers were first-time participants. They were satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the Abogados a Su Lado public service program. Calls were consistent from 5 to 7 p.m., which led to a successful phone bank.

Congratulations and thanks to all the participating lawyers.

I reported before about a competition for students at the University of Arizona Law School. It was a writing competition sponsored by alum and Arizona lawyer Richard Grand.

Richard Grand

The generosity of Richard and his wife Marcia fund that award, but their gifts range far beyond that. One of the other benefits of their contributions go to an annual oral argument competition. In it, students present damages evidence in personal injury cases. Student finalists argue how much in damages should be awarded in a civil lawsuit.

Congratulations to the law students who won the competition. Here is more information.


Five law students received recognition and cash prizes for their lawyering skills in the 16th Annual Richard Grand Argument Competition at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

Student Winners of the April 4th competition were:

    • Nora Dillon (1st place – $2,000 prize)
    • Joe Ezzo (2nd place – $1,000 prize)
    • Jonathan Confer (3rd place – $500 prize)
    • Brian Chase & David Friedman ($250 prizes)

    The event is an oral argument competition that emphasizes the presentation of damages evidence in personal injury cases.  Student finalists present mock closing arguments on the issue of how much in damages should be awarded in a civil lawsuit.  Five local lawyers – Professor Paul Bennett, Brian Laird, Ryan Redmon, Julie Santander, and Ed Hopkins — Served as jurors and judges for the arguments.

The competition is funded by Richard Grand, a 1958 graduate of the University of Arizona College of Law.  Grand began his practice in Tucson as a deputy county attorney and, since 1962, his practice has been limited to representing plaintiffs.  On more than 100+ occasions he has obtained either a verdict or settlement in excess of $1 million.

In 1972, he received a jury verdict of $3.5 million, at that time the largest in the United States for a single injury.  Wry v. Dial 18 Ariz. App. 503 (1972).  In 1972 he founded the Inner Circle of Advocates, which is limited to 100 U.S. lawyers who have completed at least 50 personal injury trials and have at least one verdict in excess of $1 million for compensatory damages.  In 2002, the University of Arizona Alumni Association Board of Directors awarded the University of Arizona’s Professional Achievement Award to Richard Grand.  Mr. Grand was only the twelfth person to receive this prestigious award.