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

Mark Harrison

Mark Harrison

Last week we heard some great news about an Arizona lawyer from the national organization Justice at Stake.

Mark Harrison is a member at Osborn Maledon, as well as the board chairman of Justice at Stake. On February at the midyear meeting of the American Bar Association in Dallas, he was given the 2013 Burnham “Hod” Greeley Award.

As a press release indicates, he was honored “for making a significant, positive impact on public understanding of the role of the judiciary in a democratic society.”

Justice at Stake is committed to aiding the judiciary. It “promotes increased public awareness of the need for a fair and impartial judiciary.” As the organization describes itself:

“Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign working to keep America’s courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom—so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law.”

Gavel Grab adds a mention that Harrison “has worked as president of Justice for All, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving a strong and impartial judiciary in Arizona.”

But … am I missing something? Unmentioned in the accolades is the fact that Mark was once the President of the State Bar of Arizona. Sure, Justice at Stake writes that he “led the local Bar with distinction,” but who the heck is that “local bar,” anyway? It was the SBA.

Maybe the omission signals a reduced “wow” factor associated with being a state bar president. But that would surprise me. I know that folks at Mark Harrison’s level have a drawerful of accolades and high-level experience. But even given that, bar president on the state level usually merits a mention.

And why not mention it? Isn’t the mentioning the only real payoff for the work of leading a bar? Remember, the days of a bar president are littered with meetings regarding section revenues, and lunches with tiny civic organizations, and information-sharing trips to exciting venues like Dallas or Duluth or a legislative grilling chair. After all that work, why not drop the title occasionally?

In any case, congratulations to Mark Harrison. We at the local bar look forward to continuing to collaborate with him on important issues.