2024 Election Candidates

The Board of Governors online elections launch on Wednesday, March 20 and will close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.

Questions?  Contact Carrie Sherman at Carrie.Sherman@staff.azbar.org or at 602.340.7201.

Meet the Candidates

District 2: Yavapai County
Henry Whitmer (Incumbent)
Signature Law Group

I am a private practitioner in Yavapai County, focusing on criminal defense and federal litigation. I have practiced in Yavapai for over a decade, as both a prosecutor and defense attorney. I have served on the Yavapai County Board Association, the State Bar Criminal Rules Committee, and the State Bar Board of Governors. I am a native Arizonian and attended Arizona State for both undergrad and law school.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

I have had the privilege to see our State grow and evolve over several decades. Growing up, Tempe Town Lake was a bed of dirt with only concrete bridges dissecting it; bridges that would wash out when the monsoons loosed torrents in another attempt at The Flood. The 101 freeway was cotton fields; the road to Prescott free from stop lights.

Arizona has given my family the educational opportunities to chase the American Dream. After WWII, my grandfather utilized the G.I. Bill to attend Arizona State University. This tradition continued when my mother received her nursing degree from ASU and my father his degree in accounting. I attended ASU for both undergraduate and law school, where I met my wife.

I have served on the Board of Governors and have seen the positive changes the role can bring to our Bar. My goal is to help the membership become more aware of the programs the Bar offers to help us. The majority of attorneys I deal with seem to view the Bar as a boogeyman waiting to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them. It’s my fervent goal to help change that image and foster an environment of support amongst the membership.

District 5: Pima and Santa Cruz Counties
Louis Fidel
Piccarreta Davis Keenan Fidel PC

My name is Louis Fidel. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, attended Dartmouth College for my undergraduate education, then went to law school at the University of Arizona, and have lived in Tucson ever since. I decided to go to law school because I wanted to help people, and I have been proud to spend my career working as a criminal defense attorney. Outside of the courtroom, I have served as president of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, on the board of the Arizona Justice Project, and on the State Bar’s Criminal Practice and Procedure Committee. I am applying to serve on the Board of Governors because I want to have a statewide impact on the leadership of our profession.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

I work in a small law firm, and my practice involves extensive work in the courtroom representing individuals going through very difficult circumstances. I am interested in serving on the Board of Governors because it is important that small firm practitioners have a voice at the State Bar. I have developed strong working relationships with opposing counsel throughout my career, and I am eager to take on a statewide leadership role in our organization. Improving collegiality within the profession is an important issue that the Bar must work hard to achieve. We must also continue to strive to improve access to justice, so that members of all communities in our state have equal, effective access to the courts. Another issue that impacts lawyers is keeping abreast of ever-changing technology. In the past few years we have seen unprecedented changes in the ways we work at the office, interact with clients, and appear in court. Technologies will continue to evolve, and the Bar must be prepared to help its members keep abreast of these new developments. I hope to have an opportunity to work hard to represent Pima and Santa Cruz Counties on the Board of Governors.

Leticia Marquez (Incumbent)
Federal Public Defender's Office

I received both my undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Arizona.

I am a supervising attorney with the Federal Public Defender's Office. I have represented individuals in Arizona, Utah, the Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, as well as in the United States Supreme Court. My practice has included all stages of criminal appeals, however currently I represent capital petitioners in their federal habeas. Some of my State Bar service includes: current chair of the Rules Review Committee, past chair of the Bar Leadership Institute Selection Committee, chair, 2011 State Bar Convention, past member, Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct and current treasurer of AMBA.

With your support, I would like to continue serving as your District 5 Representative.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

After two terms as a District 5 Representative, I am seeking reelection to the State Bar Board of Governors. My time on the Board has highlighted for me the need for Pima and Santa Cruz County input in the State Bar decision-making process. I am heartened and inspired by the progress the State Bar has made in terms of its commitment to diversity and its embrace of an evolving legal landscape, that prioritizes a virtual practice and lawyer wellness. These changes can be frightening, but with effective leadership and communication, I am confident the State Bar can shuttle our members through these uncertain times.

The issues facing the State Bar are as varied as our membership. Among these issues is the need for substantial and effective mentoring of young lawyers. In addition, the State Bar must enhance and support the participation of private practitioners and ensure that each member is aware of, and able to take advantage of its resources.

As a member of the Board of Governors, I strive to be a liaison between the State Bar members in District 5 and the State Bar, and to understand and present the varied views of the members in this district.

District 6: Maricopa County
Lawrence Koplow
Koplow Law Firm

Lawrence Koplow is in private practice focusing in the area of criminal defense. His practice primarily involves litigating constitutional challenges and the use of forensic science. He is a proud graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Lawrence is a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and has been practicing in Arizona for over 20 years. In 2015 Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice presented him with the "Outstanding Contribution to DUI Defense Award." He previously served as Of Counsel to the ASU Alumni Law Group. For several years he has also served on Maricopa County’s Felony Defense Review Committee.

Lawrence is currently completing his final term on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Association for Criminal Justice.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

WE CAN DO BETTER. There are too many of us only connected to the State Bar by a dues statement; or a mandatory CLE submission form. For too many of us, reading the last pages of the State Bar’s magazine, is the only product we see our State bar producing. We can do better.

I don't know how we got here. A time when so many people feel the State Bar is like an exclusive club. Regardless of whether these feelings match the reality of what actually happens at the State Bar, too many of us feel this way. Too many of us feel we are not part of their club. We can do better. We need to do better.

However, you have the power to change the status quo. We are self-governing. We choose what we are. We have the freedom to elect who we want. If you feel the same as I do…then let's do better…together.

I respectfully ask for your vote, to the Board of Governors, of OUR State Bar.

Samuel Saks (Incumbent)
Guidant Law PLC

Sam Saks has served the Bar for over fifteen years, as a member of the Board of Governors, the Rules Committee, and chair of the Technology Committee. He has been active in the MCBA, the Thurgood Marshall Inn of Court, and the Solo and Small Firm section. Sam practices commercial and civil litigation at Guidant Law, PLC. Before co-founding the firm, Sam clerked for the Chief Judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals. Sam graduated from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, where he was the executive articles editor of the law review. Sam believes the Bar should make the lives of attorneys easier so they can focus on serving their clients and practicing law, not Bar regulations.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

If re-elected, I will continue working to increase the Bar’s value to all of its members. Among other things, I will work to:

• Keep dues low
• Simplify lawyer reporting requirements
• Protect clients, lawyers, and the courts from the inappropriate use of AI
• Increase free networking and referral opportunities
• Support the independence of the sections and voluntary bar organizations
• Control the Bar’s expenses

With good leadership, the Bar can help improve every member’s practice—without instituting unnecessary regulations. I will push to reform the rules governing our practice to make them more sensible while assuring the public is protected from unscrupulous lawyers as well as non-lawyers.

The Bar can do more to enhance professional development. If re-elected, I will ensure the Bar provides meaningful networking and referral opportunities. I will also work to revamp CLE to make it easier to earn and track credits. Finally, I will continue to advocate for controlling the Bar’s expenses rather than increasing dues.

I have the passion and experience to achieve these objectives. I have served the Bar for over fifteen years in various leadership positions. For more information, go to guidant.law/sam-saks.

Elizabeth Schmitt
Arizona Corporation Commission Securities Division

I was born and raised in Arizona, graduating from the UofA with a double major, B.A. in Anthropology and Spanish & Portuguese and B.S. in Environmental and Water Resource Economics. I attended law school at Lewis & Clark in Portland, OR. During law school, I was the Editor-in-Chief of Lewis & Clark Law Review, VP of Programming for the SBA, and a law clerk at the Washington County DA’s Office. After graduation, I came back to Phoenix and worked as a DCA at MCAO until 2020, when I moved to my current position in the Securities Division of the Arizona Corporation Commission. I have been on the YLD Executive Board since 2020, serving as a District Rep, President-Elect, and my current role as President.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

Every year, hundreds of new law school graduates join the ranks of Arizona attorneys; however, the composition of the Board of Governors does not reflect the proportion of new and young lawyers in Arizona. This year, I had the opportunity to serve on the BOG as the President of the Young Lawyers Division and provide my fellow Board members with the perspective of a young attorney. Lawyers entering the legal field today face a completely different environment than the legal community 20 years ago, and an increase in young and new attorney voices on the Board gives the Bar the opportunity to address the issues faced by the new generation of lawyers.

As the President of the YLD, I worked with the Senior Lawyers Division to build relationships and mentorships between law students, young attorneys, and more tenured members of the bar. Our Bar is strongest when it supports all its members; in order to provide that support, all of the members need to have an opportunity to be heard. As a representative for District 6, I will continue to work to foster these cross-generational relationships and advocate for a Bar that supports all its attorneys: past, present, and future.

Chloé Woods
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

Chloé Woods is an attorney, USAF veteran, and training facilitator with experience providing legal counsel to government and private organizations. As Delegation Agreement Coordinator for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Chloé oversees the administration of the State's groundwater programs as delegated to the fifteen counties.

Woods attended Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Arizona State University (Masters), and Columbia University in the City of New York (BA). Chloé is a 2020 graduate of the State Bar's Bar Leadership Institute; selected by the National Bar Association for the 40 Under 40: Nation’s Best Advocates Award; the Arizona Black Bar "Rising Star" Award; the American Bar Association “On The Rise” Award; Greater Phoenix Urban League "YP Rising" Award; and Missouri Lawyers Association “Leader of Tomorrow.”

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

Access to justice, epitomized by the justice gap, stands as the paramount challenge confronting the legal profession. A substantial segment of the population faces insurmountable barriers in obtaining affordable legal services, creating a pervasive inequality in the application of the law. This justice gap exacerbates societal disparities, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities who lack resources to navigate complex legal systems.

The repercussions extend beyond individual grievances, permeating the legal fabric by undermining the very principles of fairness and equal protection. The legal profession's efficacy hinges on its capacity to provide equitable access to justice, fostering public trust in the legal system. Failure to address this profound imbalance jeopardizes the profession's integrity, compromising the rule of law itself.

Ameliorating the justice gap requires innovative solutions, including leveraging technology, reevaluating legal education, and promoting pro bono initiatives. Bridging this divide is not only an ethical imperative for the legal profession but also a crucial step toward cultivating a society where justice is accessible to all, reinforcing the profession's foundational commitment to serving the public good.

Scott Zwillinger
Zwillinger Wulkan, PLC

After graduating from Brooklyn Law School with honors, I moved to Arizona to take a job at a mid-size Phoenix firm. In 2000, I became a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge, Hon. Mary Murguia. After my clerkship, I joined a mid-size firm focusing on municipality defense. I then joined a group forming a new firm that practiced securities and real estate law. I also began to represent plaintiffs asserting civil right claims. Today, my practice continues to focus on complex commercial litigation and civil rights work. In August 2021, I had the privilege of jointly founding Zwillinger & Wulkan which prides itself on providing effective representation in complex matters. In addition, I make time to provide pro bono representation to those in need.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

Rapid advancements in technology, changes in acceptable business practices, and unprecedented world events have all contributed to affecting the way each of us practices law. The State Bar must respond to these changes in a way that benefits the members and the public we serve. I am running for a seat on the Board of Governors to help guide and modernize the Bar by sharing the perspective and sense of pragmatism I have developed over the past 25 years. I have been fortunate to practice law in varied settings and roles. I have been a law clerk, a solo practitioner, worked in established firms, started new firms, and devoted time to pro bono work. It is my intent to share the pragmatism and perspective that my career has afforded me to help guide the Bar’s response to these tumultuous times. Each of us has encountered arcane rules/practices that desperately need to be updated. Doing so benefits each of us and the public we serve. I ask for your vote for a seat on the Board of Governors to share what I have learned and play a role in modernizing and making more efficient the practice of law for us all.

District 7: La Paz and Yuma Counties
Jimmie Dee Smith (Incumbent)
Attorney at Law

Education: Associates Degree, Arizona Western College; B.S. Degree, Northern Arizona University; J.D. Degree, Arizona State University College of Law.

Professional Background: Private practice of law (solo) in Yuma since 1970; branch office in Parker 1971-1975.

Professional Certification: Certified Bankruptcy Law Specialist by the State Bar of Arizona

I have been an elected member of the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors for more than 20 years. If reelected I will continue to voice the views and concerns of rural Arizona lawyers in Yuma and La Paz Counties.

Why are you interested in running for election to the Board of Governors? What do you believe are the significant issues facing the members today? If elected, how would you hope to address these issues?

Over the past several years the private practice of law in rural Arizona has changed. There are fewer lawyers in solo and small firm practice because of the high overhead and the difficulty in having sufficient business to earn a reasonable living. Most of the lawyers in southwest Arizona are employed by the federal, state, county and local governments. Many of the low-cost legal services previously provided by private practice lawyers are now available to the public at low cost or no cost. Examples: defense of felony and misdemeanor cases and self-help centers for (pro per) dissolution of marriage cases and pro per bankruptcy cases.

These changes are good for the public but a large investment of time and money in a legal education will rarely be a good long-term investment for a lawyer who practices or intends to practice in a rural community.

These are some of the issues. I do not claim to have the answers, but I will listen.

I will speak on issues that come before the State Bar Board of Governors which impact rural Arizona lawyers.

This page is managed by Carrie Sherman