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Candidate Statements

Several of the 2021 Board candidates have submitted statements in support of their candidacy. You can read those statements below.

Online elections will be held in the following Board Districts:

  • District 2 – 1 Board Seat Available: Yavapai County
  • District 5 – 1 Board Seat Available: Pima and Santa Cruz Counties
  • District 6 – 1 Board Seat Available: Maricopa County
  • District 7 – 1 Board Seat Available: La Paz and Yuma Counties

The online election will launch on March 24, 2021 and will close at 5 p.m. on April 7, 2021.

For questions, please contact Carrie Sherman at 602.340.7201 or carrie.sherman@staff.azbar.org.

District 2: Yavapai County
Sharon Flack (Incumbent)
Musgrove Drutz Kack & Flack PC
The candidate chose not to provide a statement.
District 5: Pima and Santa Cruz Counties
Leticia Marquez (Incumbent)
Federal Public Defender’s Office
The candidate chose not to provide a statement.
James Rappaport
Curl, Glasson & Patrascioiu

The message below is from a candidate for the State Bar Board of Governors. While the message is posted on the State Bar’s website, the Bar is not responsible for its content.

My name is James Rappaport, and I am asking for your vote for the State Bar Board of Governors.

I am running for the Board of Governors because I think we need a strong voice for Pima County at the state level. As a young lawyer, I am willing and able to put in the required hours to make that happen. For the past two years I have chaired the Pima County Bar Association’s Rules Committee and have used that position to advocate for the lawyers in our community when it comes to proposed changes to our rules of court. In just those two years, I have seen multiple rule changes enacted with the blessing of our State Bar Association with little apparent regard for the input of Pima County’s lawyers.

Rules of court are rarely things people get excited about, but they can affect us and our practices very acutely. Most recently, I echoed our community’s overwhelming opposition to the rule changes that now allow passive investors to own equity stakes in law practices and establish a new class of legal paraprofessionals. I wrote two comments in opposition to that petition and joined hundreds of other skeptical lawyers and even some judges, but the State Bar went ahead and recommended that the new rules be enacted anyway. (And they were.) This petition will work seismic changes to our profession and may well change the very nature of our work as lawyers, but the State Bar acquiesced and helped usher it in all the same. Respectfully, I do not believe our Board of Governors listened to our membership. It certainly did not advocate for us.

Chairing the Rules Committee here has required me to be as much an advocate as a listener. Whether it is listening to the concerns of civil trial lawyers about amending Rule 68 or the peremptory change of judge rules, talking to recent law grads about diploma privilege, or corresponding with current Bar Governors about adding diversity and inclusion to our continuing legal education, I have made it a priority to seek input from those most affected by proposed rule changes and to incorporate that input into the comments I write. The work has forced me to recognize that my own practice is only one part of a much larger profession.

I often hear from practitioners that the State Bar should listen more to its membership and advocate more for us, particularly as its decisions can affect our practices in deep and lasting ways. If elected, I will do exactly what I have been doing for the past two years for the Pima County Bar Association: listen to the lawyers I live and work with, and make sure that their voices are heard.

Sincerely,
James Rappaport
www.curllaw.com

District 6: Maricopa County
Jena Decker-Xu
Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen and Loewy LLP
The candidate chose not to provide a statement.
Sam Saks (Incumbent)
Guidant Law PLC

The message below is from a candidate for the State Bar Board of Governors. While the message is posted on the State Bar’s website, the Bar is not responsible for its content.

Please consider supporting me in the Board of Governors election, which begins this week. If re-elected, I will continue working to increase the Bar’s value to its members and the public. Among other things, I will continue working to:

• Keep dues low
• Simplify lawyer reporting requirements
• Enhance education opportunities by making selected CLEs and publications free
• Increase free networking and referral opportunities
• Support the independence of the sections and voluntary bar organizations
• Control the Bar’s expenses

With the new rules permitting non-lawyer ownership of firms and non-lawyer practitioners, electing Board members with previous Bar experience is more important than ever. I believe the Bar can do more to enhance professional development and protect the public from unscrupulous lawyers and non-lawyers. If re-elected, I will work to ensure the Bar provides meaningful networking and referral opportunities, especially in light of the COVID pandemic. Finally, I will continue to advocate for controlling the Bar’s expenses rather than increasing dues. I have served the Bar for over twelve years, most recently as a member of the Board of Governors, a member of the Rules Committee, and chair of the Technology Committee.

Thank you for your consideration.

About Sam Saks

Sam Saks has served the Bar for over twelve years. He has been active in the Maricopa County Bar Association, the Thurgood Marshall Inn of Court, and the Solo and Small Firm section. Sam practices commercial litigation at Guidant Law PLC. Before entering private practice, Sam clerked at the Arizona Court of Appeals for Chief Judge Sheldon Weisberg. Sam believes the Bar should make the lives of attorneys easier so they can focus on practicing law, not Bar regulations.

For more information about Sam, visit www.guidant.law/sam-saks

Sam Saks, Esq.
Guidant Law PLC
Direct: 602-888-0725

Barry Wong
Governor's Office of Equal Opportunity

The message below is from a candidate for the State Bar Board of Governors. While the message is posted on the State Bar’s website, the Bar is not responsible for its content.

ENDORSEMENTS of Barry for SBA BOG include:
• Diane Drain, past President, Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Maricopa County Chapter
• Briana Chua, past President, Arizona Asian American Bar Association
• Alan Bayham, past President, State Bar of Arizona – Board of Governors
• Alex Vakula, past President, State Bar of Arizona – Board of Governors

INTRODUCTION
I have been a proud member of our legal community since 1986. The State Bar of Arizona is a crucially important institution in the regulation of lawyers and other legal professionals. This unique model requires that our association’s governance be accountable, strict and fair.

PUBLIC SERVICE TO BENEFIT STATE BAR
Public and community service has been a vitally important part of my legal career. It was my honor to have served as an elected official in the Arizona Legislature and on the Arizona Corporation Commission. As a legislator, I served on the Joint Legislative Audit and House Appropriations committees which were responsible for the fiscal and operational oversight of licensing bodies. I will bring this experience to the Board of Governors to ensure its operations are focused and benefit our profession and the public.

STATE BAR MISSION: PROTECT PUBLIC AND PROFESSION
The fundamental mission of the bar is to protect the public and our profession, and that is why I support fair, common-sense and reasonable regulations. A review of these regulatory and licensing structures and practices will help ensure continued efficiency of financial and non-financial resources, including dues, fees and other revenues, are allocated going forward.

ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND LEGAL SERVICES
If elected, I commit to a comprehensive review of access to legal services and justice issues with all stakeholders. This includes reaching out to legal service providers from the public, private, pro bono and non-profit legal organizations to develop a strategic plan to be executed over the long-, mid- and short-term.

I humbly ask for your vote.

SERVICE with Professional and Community Service Organizations, include:
• Arizona Supreme Court, Character and Fitness Committee – past Member and Chairman
• American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter – past Board Member
• Phoenix Museum of History – past Board Member
• Luke Air Force Base, Honorary Commander Program - Alumni

EDUCATION:
• Thunderbird School of Global Management – Certificate in Global Leadership
• University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law – J.D.
• Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business – B.S. (Accounting)

District 7: La Paz and Yuma Counties
Jimmie Dee Smith (Incumbent)
Attorney at Law
The candidate chose not to provide a statement.

The messages below are from candidates for the State Bar Board of Governors. While the messages are posted on the State Bar's website, the Bar is not responsible for their content.

Candidates' Statements Submitted

District 5/Pima and Santa Cruz Counties - Candidate James Rappaport

My name is James Rappaport, and I am asking for your vote for the State Bar Board of Governors.

I am running for the Board of Governors because I think we need a strong voice for Pima County at the state level. As a young lawyer, I am willing and able to put in the required hours to make that happen. For the past two years I have chaired the Pima County Bar Association’s Rules Committee and have used that position to advocate for the lawyers in our community when it comes to proposed changes to our rules of court. In just those two years, I have seen multiple rule changes enacted with the blessing of our State Bar Association with little apparent regard for the input of Pima County’s lawyers.

Rules of court are rarely things people get excited about, but they can affect us and our practices very acutely. Most recently, I echoed our community’s overwhelming opposition to the rule changes that now allow passive investors to own equity stakes in law practices and establish a new class of legal paraprofessionals. I wrote two comments in opposition to that petition and joined hundreds of other skeptical lawyers and even some judges, but the State Bar went ahead and recommended that the new rules be enacted anyway. (And they were.) This petition will work seismic changes to our profession and may well change the very nature of our work as lawyers, but the State Bar acquiesced and helped usher it in all the same. Respectfully, I do not believe our Board of Governors listened to our membership. It certainly did not advocate for us.

Chairing the Rules Committee here has required me to be as much an advocate as a listener. Whether it is listening to the concerns of civil trial lawyers about amending Rule 68 or the peremptory change of judge rules, talking to recent law grads about diploma privilege, or corresponding with current Bar Governors about adding diversity and inclusion to our continuing legal education, I have made it a priority to seek input from those most affected by proposed rule changes and to incorporate that input into the comments I write. The work has forced me to recognize that my own practice is only one part of a much larger profession.

I often hear from practitioners that the State Bar should listen more to its membership and advocate more for us, particularly as its decisions can affect our practices in deep and lasting ways. If elected, I will do exactly what I have been doing for the past two years for the Pima County Bar Association: listen to the lawyers I live and work with, and make sure that their voices are heard.

Sincerely,
James Rappaport
www.curllaw.com


 

District 6/Maricopa County - Candidate Sam Saks

Please consider supporting me in the Board of Governors election, which begins this week. If re-elected, I will continue working to increase the Bar’s value to its members and the public. Among other things, I will continue working to:

  • Keep dues low
  • Simplify lawyer reporting requirements
  • Enhance education opportunities by making selected CLEs and publications free
  • Increase free networking and referral opportunities
  • Support the independence of the sections and voluntary bar organizations
  • Control the Bar's expenses

With the new rules permitting non-lawyer ownership of firms and non-lawyer practitioners, electing Board members with previous Bar experience is more important than ever. I believe the Bar can do more to enhance professional development and protect the public from unscrupulous lawyers and non-lawyers. If re-elected, I will work to ensure the Bar provides meaningful networking and referral opportunities, especially in light of the COVID pandemic. Finally, I will continue to advocate for controlling the Bar’s expenses rather than increasing dues. I have served the Bar for over twelve years, most recently as a member of the Board of Governors, a member of the Rules Committee, and chair of the Technology Committee.

Thank you for your consideration.

About Sam Saks

Sam Saks has served the Bar for over twelve years. He has been active in the Maricopa County Bar Association, the Thurgood Marshall Inn of Court, and the Solo and Small Firm section. Sam practices commercial litigation at Guidant Law PLC. Before entering private practice, Sam clerked at the Arizona Court of Appeals for Chief Judge Sheldon Weisberg. Sam believes the Bar should make the lives of attorneys easier so they can focus on practicing law, not Bar regulations.

For more information about Sam, visit www.guidant.law/sam-saks

Sam Saks, Esq.
Guidant Law PLC
Direct: 602.888.0725


 

District 6/Maricopa County - Candidate Barry Wong

ENDORSEMENTS of Barry for SBA BOG include:

  • Diane Drain, past President, Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Maricopa County Chapter
  • Briana Chua, past President, Arizona Asian American Bar Association
  • Alan Bayham, past President, State Bar of Arizona – Board of Governors
  • Alex Vakula, past President, State Bar of Arizona – Board of Governors

INTRODUCTION
I have been a proud member of our legal community since 1986. The State Bar of Arizona is a crucially important institution in the regulation of lawyers and other legal professionals. This unique model requires that our association’s governance be accountable, strict and fair.

PUBLIC SERVICE TO BENEFIT STATE BAR
Public and community service has been a vitally important part of my legal career. It was my honor to have served as an elected official in the Arizona Legislature and on the Arizona Corporation Commission. As a legislator, I served on the Joint Legislative Audit and House Appropriations committees which were responsible for the fiscal and operational oversight of licensing bodies. I will bring this experience to the Board of Governors to ensure its operations are focused and benefit our profession and the public.

STATE BAR MISSION: PROTECT PUBLIC AND PROFESSION
The fundamental mission of the bar is to protect the public and our profession, and that is why I support fair, common-sense and reasonable regulations. A review of these regulatory and licensing structures and practices will help ensure continued efficiency of financial and non-financial resources, including dues, fees and other revenues, are allocated going forward.

ACCESS TO JUSTICE AND LEGAL SERVICES
If elected, I commit to a comprehensive review of access to legal services and justice issues with all stakeholders. This includes reaching out to legal service providers from the public, private, pro bono and non-profit legal organizations to develop a strategic plan to be executed over the long-, mid- and short-term.

I humbly ask for your vote.

SERVICE with Professional and Community Service Organizations, include:

  • Arizona Supreme Court, Character and Fitness Committee – past Member and Chairman
  • American Red Cross, Grand Canyon Chapter – past Board Member
  • Phoenix Museum of History – past Board Member
  • Luke Air Force Base, Honorary Commander Program - Alumni

EDUCATION:

  • Thunderbird School of Global Management – Certificate in Global Leadership
  • University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law – J.D.
  • Arizona State University, W.P. Carey School of Business – B.S. (Accounting)
This page is managed by Carrie Sherman