Walking through our college's halls you can feel the anticipation and excitement about the 2017 College of Law convocation. 

This year's class of JDs, SJDs, LLMs, MLSs, and BAs, is poised to join you as alumni. 

In this issue of Wildcat Wednesday -- Letter of the Law we highlight some of the people who will appear onstage over the weekend alongside our new graduates -- the college's convocation speaker, student speakers, and our honorary degree recipient.
We also share news from the recent Arizona Asian American Bar Association's annual dinner at which three Arizona Law students were awarded Thomas Tang Memorial Scholarships.
And we invite you to peruse the inaugural issue of the University of Arizona Law Journal of Emerging Technologies -- hot off the digital presses and a great cap to the Spring semester.
We congratulate our graduating students, our scholarship recipients, and the student editors of LJET and all of our student publications on a job exceptionally well done. 

Until the footnotes, 

Countdown to Convocation

This coming Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m. in Centennial Hall,  Arizona Supreme Court Justice John R. Lopez IV  will address the James E. Rogers College of Law Class of 2017.

Justice Lopez will speak from his wealth of experience in state and federal-level prosecution and now on the bench. 

He was appointed in November of 2016 to one of two new seats on the expanded high court by Governor Doug Ducey.  At his December swearing-in, Justice Lopez became the first Hispanic to serve on the Arizona Supreme Court. 

Justice Lopez joins the court after previously serving as Solicitor General of the Arizona Attorney General's Office for two years, and, before that, with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix beginning in 2002.  He also served as a clerk to Arizona Supreme Court Vice Chief Justice Charles E. Jones in 1998-99 and in private practice with Bryan Cave in Phoenix.
Student speakers at the convocation are graduating JDs  Bernardo M. Velasco and Paul Garns and MLS  Alancay Morales Garro

Margo Casselman will sing the national anthem to begin the ceremony. And Mason Storm Byrd and Jillian Anderson will announce the Class of 2017 Gift.

During the main University of Arizona commencement ceremony on May 12, Judge Sarah ("Sally") Simmons will be presented with an honorary law degree ( read the full UA News announcement and bio here).

We are thrilled to recognize Judge Simmons's longstanding devotion to Arizona Law -- including her two years in attendance and her service on the Law College Association's Board of Directors and the college's Board of Visitors -- with this well-deserved honorary degree. 

It is only fitting that at the College of Law ceremony on the 13th, Judge Simmons will deliver the alumni welcome to our new graduates.

Arizona Asian American Bar Association Scholarship Awardees
The Arizona Asian American Bar Association (AAABA) held its 21st annual banquet in Phoenix last month -- and three of the four scholarship winners were Arizona Law students. 

The Thomas Tang Memorial Scholarship is intended to increase awareness about the rights and legal needs of minority communities.

The AABA was founded in 1993 by the late Honorable Thomas Tang ('50), one of the first Asian Pacific American judges to be appointed to the federal bench.  Please join me in congratulating this year's winners of the Thomas Tang Memorial Scholarship from Arizona Law, Hanees Haniffa, Mariah Logan, and Nick Alsaka ... and the AAABA for its 24 years of service to the community and the legal profession.
Hanees Haniffa ('20)  

Hanees Haniffa is originally from Sri Lanka.  He came to Tucson to attend the UA for his undergraduate studies, obtaining a B.Sc in Computer Engineering, and an M.Sc in Electrical and Computer Engineering.  As a law student, he hopes to specialize in intellectual property.  He chose Arizona Law because he believes in UA's excellence. 

"I've always been proud of being a Wildcat. A year into law school, I know I made the right decision choosing Arizona Law."
Hanees has been fortunate to attend networking and fundraising events held by the AAABA. He says, 

"To me, the award represents the commitment of professionals in the community toward diversity in the legal profession, and public access to legal services. I am deeply honored to have been recognized through this award."

Here Hanees is pictured, at left, receiving his award and, at right, with his very proud mother, who joined him at the banquet.

Mariah Logan ('19) 
Mariah Logan is from Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona.  She graduated from Marquette University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminology and law studies. 

Mariah chose Arizona Law because she believes that the outstanding faculty, alumni network, and hands-on legal clinics will prepare her for a career in law.  She says she finds joy in exploring the different areas of law that the curriculum offers.  However, Mariah's favorite classes have been community property and the Child and Family Law Clinic.
"As a recipient of the Thomas Tang Scholarship, I am proud to know that others in the legal profession celebrate differences and share a dedication to diversity."

Nick Alsaka ('17)
Nick Alsaka is from Orlando, Florida and attended the University of Florida as an undergraduate. He says he chose UA because of its reputation ... and a change of scenery. 

Nick came to the desert in part to experience different places, cultures, and climates before settling on a place to call home. His favorite courses have been those that deal with constitutional law, a field further animated when he served as a teaching assistant in a constitutional law course for our BA in Law students.
Of the award from the AAABA, Nick says, 

"I am so honored to have received such a generous award from an association that is making great strides towards inclusion and understanding within the Arizona Law community and the state."

LJET Publishes Inaugural Issue
The University of Arizona Law Journal of Emerging Technologies has published its inaugural issue. 

JD student John Howard is the editor in chief. Faculty advisors are Professor Derek Bambauer and Professor Allan Sternstein

Professor Bambauer writes:
"It is my great pleasure to announce that the first issue of the University of Arizona Law Journal of Emerging Technologies is now available.
Please join me in congratulating the LJET leadership and members for their hard work and dedication in launching this new journal, which will help bridge disciplines by publishing scholarship of interest to lawyers, technologists, policymakers, and the general public."

Graduation Weekend Events
We invite the Arizona Law alumni community to celebrate graduation with us.  RSVP for any event by contacting Bernadette Wilkinson.
Friday, May 12, 2017
1:30 p.m. Certificate Ceremony for curricular programs (lower level, Daniel Cracchiolo Library).
4 p.m. Student Awards Ceremony (lower level, Daniel Cracchiolo Library).
5-7 p.m. Graduation Celebration (Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Lobby). You are invited to attend this reception, with music, light appetizers and beverages (limited hosted bar). 
Saturday, May 13, 2017
2 p.m. Convocation Ceremony, Centennial Hall. 
Doors open for audience seating at 1 p.m. 
The reception begins immediately after the convocation. 
4-5 p.m. Convocation Reception, across the street from Centennial Hall on the lawn of Arizona State Museum.

The end of the school year is a time of memory and movement.  Everyone at the college is on the move -- whether to a summer job, or to do summer research, or to tend to institutional needs.
But our graduates each year are making a move of a different kind, as they continue down their professional pathways.  They join an engaged and supportive alumni community across the country and around the world, and I hope you will welcome them, and support them, as you have over years, classes, and generations.


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