Steven Russo ('78) and his family have established an endowment supporting intellectual property (IP) education at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law in honor of celebrated Tucson attorney Russell Russo, who started the prominent law firm Russo, Russo and Slania P.C. 60 years ago.
The Russell Russo Endowment in Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship was created in recognition of Russell Russo’s sixtieth year as a member of the Arizona Bar. Steven Russo and his father, Russell Russo, have practiced law together for nearly 40 years at the law firm Russo, Russo and Slania P.C. Having retired in 1989, Russell Russo remains of counsel to the firm. The firm combines a business law and litigation practice with a personal injury practice.
“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had Russ as my father, my mentor and my law firm partner over a lifetime,” says Steven Russo. “From him I learned how to respect and service clients, how to solve complex issues and, most important, how to serve my community. We look forward to helping develop not only the next generations of Arizona law-trained intellectual property practitioners, but also helping shape the next visionaries and community pillars.”
In the spirit of Russell Russo’s entrepreneurial skills, the family chose to support Arizona Law’s Intellectual Property program, home to the IP Clinic, a nationally competitive moot court team, law journal and the Arizona Public Patent Program, a collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that connects Arizona inventors with pro bono legal assitance.
“This new gift builds on the significant momentum underway in the IP program,” said Professor of Intellectual Property and co-director of the IP program Allan Sternstein. “Thanks to the Russos’ endowment, we have significantly expanded our ability to prepare and send students to annual skills competitions. This endowment is invaluable to fostering academic excellence at the James E. Rogers College of Law.”
This academic year, for example, thanks to the endowment, Arizona Law plans to have two teams, rather than one, compete in the Giles S. Rich Moot Court Competition, the oldest and most prestigious moot court completion in the field of intellectual property and the only national competition specifically directed to the area of patent law. Also, a brand new team will be able to compete in the Saul Lefkowitz Competiton, which deals with trademark and unfair competition matters.
About the Russo Family
Brooklyn-born Russell (“Russ”) Russo received his law degree from Ohio State Law School and then entered the Air Force in 1953 as a judge advocate. He started his private practice in Tucson in 1956.
During his time as an Air Force judge advocate, Russo obtained the rank of first lieutenant and was instrumental in conducting courts-martial and legal matters for the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. He also represented clients in complex business matters, family law cases and other legal matters. He took great pride in being a problem solver for his clients, and building his firm’s reputation as the top business law and litigation practice in the region.
Steve Russo is a double Wildcat (BS '75, JD '78). His son Michael Russo ('09) also earned his JD at Arizona Law.