Arizona Law to Honor Six Distinguished Alumni at 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards

Award ceremony is Friday, Aug. 25

Alejandra Cardenas Cuestas

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law will honor six alumni for their contributions to the college and the profession with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Honorees are selected by the law faculty for their distinguished and exemplary careers, contributions to the legal profession, support for public causes and law reform, and commitment to the pursuit of justice.

Lifetime Achievement Awards Reception

When: Friday, Aug. 25, 2017
Time: 5 – 7 p.m.
Where: James E. Rogers College of Law, Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie Lobby. Location and Parking info
RSVP: Mary Steed at marywsteed@email.arizona.edu, by Monday, Aug. 21, 2017

2017 Honorees

Anthony B. Ching, Class of 1965

Anthony B. Ching, a true citizen of the world, has devoted his legal career to the ideals of justice and equality. 

Educated in France and England before attending St. John’s College in New York, Ching earned a bachelor of science degree in geology from the University of Arizona. Ching graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1965 and received his L.L.M. from Harvard in 1971.

Committed to using his legal education for the public good, he served as Director of Litigation for the Legal Aid Society of Pima County. Litigating on behalf of marginalized groups, Ching achieved landmark rulings such as Graham v. Richardson, a decision from the United States Supreme Court that confirmed constitutional protection for resident aliens under the Equal Protection Clause, and Perez v. Campbell, a decision invalidating a driver license suspension statute under federal bankruptcy law.  

After serving as a clinical fellow at Harvard, Ching joined the faculty at Loyola University of Los Angeles School of Law, where he taught constitutional law, among other subjects. He took a leave from teaching to work as Director of Litigation for Legal Services in Hawaii.

Ching was recruited by then Attorney General Bruce Babbitt to return to Arizona to serve as Chief Counsel of the Economic Protection Division and was then appointed as Solicitor General for Arizona, were he oversaw major litigation and appellate matters involving the State of Arizona as a party.

Among other highlights of his diverse and distinguished career, Ching served as President of the Board of the National Consumer Law Center, a consumer advocacy organization.  He continues to maintain private practice in Arizona.

University of Arizona Law alumni Isabel GarciaIsabel Garcia, Class of 1978

A passionate advocate for immigrant and refugee rights, Isabel Garcia has been at the forefront of border justice throughout her legal career. 

Garcia earned her bachelor of arts degree at the University of Arizona in 1975 and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1978. 

She began her career of public service with a Reginald Heber Smith Community Fellowship, working with Texas Rural Legal Assistance in Del Rio, Texas. She returned to Tucson and joined the Pima County Public Defender’s Office as an Assistant Public Defender, later serving in the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Following a period in private practice, Garcia was appointed as Director of the Pima County Legal Defender’s Office and remained in that position for over two decades, before retiring in 2015. 

Garcia has urged lawmakers to reform border policies and worked tirelessly to promote respect for all migrants, regardless of immigration status. 

Garcia is the founder and Co-Chair of Coalicion de Derechos Humanos/Human Rights Coalition, a grassroots organization devoted to achieving social justice and ending discrimination and human rights abuses. In 1990, the United States Civil Rights Commission in Washington, D.C., appointed Garcia as Vice President of the Commission’s Arizona Advisory Committee.  

She has been honored for her advocacy by numerous organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Catholic Conferences.  She received the prestigious National Human Rights Award from the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos de Mexico.

J. Michael Hennigan University of Arizona Law alumniJ. Michael Hennigan, Class of 1970

In more than four decades of practicing law, J. Michael Hennigan has established himself as a leader in the litigation of nationwide consumer class actions and commercial fraud cases. 

Hennigan graduated with academic distinction from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1970. While in law school, he served as Note and Comment Editor of the Arizona Law Review and earned recognition from the faculty as the Ralph Aigler Outstanding Student of the Class of 1970.

After graduating, Hennigan worked as a trial attorney with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He was founding partner of Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman in California and later a founding principal of McKool Smith Hennigan, a national law firm headquartered in Texas, specializing in complex business litigation. As lead counsel in more than 45 major jury trials in state and federal court, he has litigated price fixing claims, securities fraud, bankruptcy, and complex contract disputes.

Hennigan has been recognized as one of the nation’s top trial lawyers by prominent legal publications and professional groups, including The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Who’s Who in American Law. 

He has been a member of the American Law Institute since 1993, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member of the University of Arizona Board of Visitors. Hennigan has served in leadership positions in numerous state and national professional organizations, including the Judicial Council Task Force on Complex Civil Litigation, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. 

A consummate public servant, Hennigan regularly shares his expertise and wisdom at seminars on class action litigation and other aspects of group representation within our civil justice system.

University of Arizona Law Alumni Wing OngWing F. Ong, Class of 1943 (posthumous)

Born in 1904 in China, Wing F. Ong was a member of a proud Chinese family that traces its roots back to the Han dynasty. Driven from China by poverty, Ong immigrated to the United States at the age of 14 and spoke no English. Until that point, his education had consisted of learning by rote from a master in his native village. Excluded by law from public schools in California, he joined a family member in Phoenix to begin his formal education. He enrolled in first grade at the age of 15 and completed his elementary and high school education in six years.

Ong graduated from Phoenix College in 1939 and initially joined his uncle and cousins in the family grocery business. With encouragement and financial assistance from Governor Thomas Campbell, Ong earned a law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law in 1943, graduating at the top of his class. 

Upon admission to the Arizona State Bar, he was one of only eight Asian-American lawyers practicing in the United States at that time. He set up a storefront office next to the Wing F. Ong grocery store in downtown Phoenix. As a lawyer, he represented the poor of Phoenix and challenged immigration laws on behalf of Chinese immigrants in San Francisco. His law office was known as a place for constituents who had nowhere else to go. 

Ong ran for the Arizona House of Representatives in 1946 and became the first Chinese-American person to be elected to a state legislature in the United States. He served two terms in the House and one term in the Arizona Senate, where he championed social welfare, education, and job-security measures.

In 1965, Arizona Governor Samuel Goddard appointed Ong as goodwill Ambassador to the Republic of China. Ong died in 1977.

University of Arizona Law Lowell RothschildLowell Rothschild, Class of 1952

Lowell E. Rothschild, a national leader in business reorganization law, is known for excellence, professionalism, and commitment to the community. 

He received his Juris Doctor in 1952 from the University of Arizona College of Law and went on to found Mesch Clark Rothschild, a prominent Tucson law firm. In more than 60 years of practice, Rothschild has gained national recognition as an expert in bankruptcy, business reorganization, and estate planning. He has lectured within Arizona and nationally in those fields as well as law practice management.

Rothschild has been elected to membership in key professional groups, including the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American Bar Association Foundation, the American College of Bankruptcy, the College of Law Office Management, and the Arizona Bar Foundation.

He has chaired the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association and served as the lawyer representative from the State of Arizona for the United States Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He has served as Judge Pro Tempore, Special Master and Mediator for the Pima County Superior Court for the State of Arizona and as a Hearing Officer for the State Bar of Arizona’s Disciplinary Committee. Rothschild was a member and Chairman of the Bankruptcy Specialization Committee of the State Bar of Arizona from 1986 to 1995. 

An engaged citizen of his community, Rothschild is past president and current board member of the Tucson Airport Authority and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Arizona College of Law.

He has received numerous honors, including the Alumni Professional Achievement Award from the University of Arizona in 2006 and the Distinguished Alumnus Convocation Award from Arizona Law in 2007. Together with his late wife, Anne, Rothschild has been a generous supporter of the arts and regularly provides artists with gallery space in his law firm.

Emory SekaquaptewaEmory Sekaquaptewa, Class of 1970 (posthumous)

Emory Sekaquaptewa was a Hopi educator, judge, artist, and noted research anthropologist.

Born in Hotevilla on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona in 1928. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1953 and then served in the United States Air Force. He returned to Arizona, where he taught high school and opened a shop specializing in silver Hopi crafts. In 1970, Sekaquaptewa became the first member of the Hopi Tribe to earn a law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.

He joined the faculty at the University of Arizona’s Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology and became a key liaison with American Indian students and their families. Sekaquaptewa devoted his long academic career to the study and preservation of his native Hopi language and culture.

Deeply bound to his Hopi origins, he conducted workshops with Hopi teachers and held numerous leadership positions within the Hopi Tribe, including membership on the Hopi Land Negotiating Committee and service as executive director on the Hopi Tribal Council. Sekaquaptewa’s influence on the Hopi tribal court system was profound. He was an associate judge on the Hopi Tribal Court and founded and served as chief judge of the Hopi Appellate court. As a tribal judge, Sekaquaptewa melded federal and state law with Hopi traditional principles in resolving disputes.

Sekaquaptewa, known as the “Noah Webster of the Hopi Nation,” produced the first written dictionary of the Hopi language. The project spanned thirty years and was completed in 1998. At the time of his death in 2007, he was working on a Hopi children’s word book. Among the many honors and awards that Sekaquaptewa received was the Heard Museum’s Spirit of the Heard Award.