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Small class sizes,
small group sections

Highly skilled faculty dedicated to teaching and scholarship

A demanding core curriculum, supplemented with focused coursework in emerging
areas of law

Interdisciplinary enrichment programs such as the Rogers Program on Law, Philosophy and Social Inquiry

“Boot Camp,” an intensive legal research course

Dozens of active student organizations and a strong Student Bar Association

Pre-entry assistance through the Gonzales-Villareal Bridge Program

Award-winning Trial Advocacy and Moot Court opportunities

Elements of Success The Student Success Model:
A handful of students at the Rogers College of Law moved from classroom to tackroom on a chilly Saturday morning in February. Part of the law school’s coordinated community service effort, they cleaned stables and manicured trails for Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT), a local nonprofit organization providing equine therapy for challenged youngsters. Several weeks later, a larger group of students and local attorneys and judges worked side by side to build the Pima County Bar Association’s Habitat for Humanity home.

Law students log a conservative 1,400 hours of community service each year in the law-related and general community improvement projects organized by the College’s Community Service Board. Composed of student, faculty and administration representatives, the Board selects about a dozen activities each year and invites all students, faculty and staff to participate.

In addition, the Community Service Board coordinates the VLP Advocates Program, which is a partnership between the Rogers College of Law and the Volunteer Lawyers Program. More than 70 students have served as VLP Advocates in the past year, working with VLP attorneys to provide pro bono legal services.

Martha Fenn, Coordinator of Special Projects, facilitates these efforts. “We’ve done everything from AIDSWALK to senior citizen dances to building homes,” Fenn says, “and we also create opportunities for interaction between law students and practicing lawyers. It’s important to communicate the values of public service, whether that means traditional pro bono service as lawyers or just helping out in the community at large.”

Heather Strickland took those values to heart by becoming a VLP Advocate. “I knew I wasn’t on the traditional law firm practice path, and that can be hard to break out of in law school. I was pretty lost for the first year and a half,” she confesses. “But then I worked in the VLP domestic relations, child support and bankruptcy clinics. I loved working with people to sort out their problems. I had a reason to get up every morning and I wanted to get to work every day. That’s when I said – this is what it’s all about.”

Although she enjoyed working in all of the clinical settings, a fascination with “people, their money, and the choices they make” drew Strickland to focus on helping people with financial problems. She was honored by the VLP as Law Student of the Year in 2003 for her many hours of bankruptcy counseling and other casework.

Second-year student Aaron Hall serves on the Community Service Board and coordinated the student Habitat for Humanity effort. He attests to the value of both law-related and non-legal volunteering. “What’s been good is that it has kept me involved with what’s going on in town. When we brainstorm with projects, it helps me reconnect and feel connected to the community. It’s given me an outlet to do service that’s not law related, but also to work side by side with attorneys and judges, and I get insight into their connections with the community.”

Information on the Community Service Board is available on the College’s website at

Scholarship, Citizenship, Professionalism
Teaching to learn
Imagine coming to class and receiving a course syllabus with the ambitious goal of changing lives. It constitutes a tall order for the students involved in an innovative collaboration between the College and the Pima County Juvenile Court Center.

Throughout the semester, pairs of law students conduct weekend and afternoon sessions with teen detainees at the Center. Under the direction of Professor Kenney Hegland, law students use roleplays, guided small group discussions, mock trials, and videos to engage students in discussions about their lives. Students serve as positive role models, helping troubled youth think through the problems they face and anticipate future life challenges and strategies. Although some ‘packaged’ teaching materials are used, students must prepare their sessions, assess the participants and stay on their feet while teaching.

Megan Nielsen got important ‘real-world’ insight through her work. “It is an incredible opportunity to see how the juvenile justice system works in reality, rather than in a textbook – how our laws and system affect children.”

There is also be a substantial payoff in professional skills. While participating in the program, John Torresala honed his counseling techniques, noting that “. . . as law students, we attempt to show them alternate ways of dealing with certain situations and get them to analyze why the law responds the way it does.”

Professor Hegland believes that the teach-to-learn model enhances all aspects of the law school experience. “Students get a chance to relate principles to practice, and work with a diverse group of personalities and issues. They are tested – in so many ways – and they really do change the lives of some of the people they touch.” Ana Himelic and Melanie Yazza serve as student administrators for the project.

Details on the project are available from Professor Hegland at 520-621-1285.

Missouri lawmakers probably never expected their work to intersect with the Rogers College of Law, yet this session they may act on a bill introduced as a direct result of our student and faculty scholarship. The University of Arizona Jim Crow Study Group is responsible.

Graduate students in public policy at the Eller College of Business and Public Administration collaborated with law students this spring to produce a report about the legal legacy of racism in eight Southern States. Law Professor Jack Chin and Eller Professor Roger Hartley worked with their students, the Jim Crow Study Group, to identify segregation-era laws still on the books. They found many, and issued a report to legislators, interest groups and community leaders with a call for statutory review.

The Jim Crow Project, however, is only one example of many activities that enable students to improve their research, writing and synthesis skills while impacting public and legal policy. In the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, students research and document existing law, helping to formulate new policy initiatives to assist tribes coping with rapid economic and other change. The College’s two journals, The Arizona Law Review and Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, provide a forum for documenting scholarship and legal analysis. Additionally, many students work directly with faculty mentors to write and publish their own work, or to compete in national competitions.

“I’m impressed with the success of our faculty in imparting the social value of scholarship to students,” states Dean Toni Massaro. “It’s a core value, and we work hard to identify projects at the student level that contribute to the legacy of law as an engine of positive social change.”

The College’s intellectual environment is enriched by frequent lectures, visiting faculty presentations, brownbag discussions and student organization programs on legal issues. Massaro notes, “we create a place where students challenge themselves intellectually, and can broaden their horizons.” A calendar of presentations and enrichment opportunities is available on the website at


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