The gift permanently endows the Richard Grand Damages Argument Competition and the Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition
University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law students are getting a major boost toward participation in legal skills competitions, thanks to a gift from UA alumna Marcia Grand.
Grand’s late husband, Richard Grand, was a 1958 graduate of the college and a famously successful plaintiffs’ attorney who won more than 100 judgments of $1 million or more throughout his career.
The gift permanently endows the Richard Grand Damages Argument Competition (started at Arizona Law in 1995) and the Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition (started at Arizona Law in 2000), both of which award monetary prizes to finalists and are judged by distinguished panels of lawyers and judges.
In honor of the gift and the Grands’ long history of support, the college’s staircase connecting the first and second floors of the library has been named the Richard Grand Staircase. A display case celebrating Grand’s career now resides on the library’s lower level.
The college celebrated the gift with a ceremony Feb. 20. Guests included the Grand family, UA President Robert Robbins, UA Foundation President John-Paul Roczniak, many of Richard Grand’s friends and colleagues, and members of the Arizona Law community.
Two-time Grand Legal Writing Competition winner Kate Hollist (’16) says the competition allowed her to bring to life the skills she learned in the classroom.
“While my classes helped me learn the mechanics and nuances of legal writing, the Richard Grand Competition taught me to use those skills to tell my readers a story,” says Hollist, now an associate at Gallagher & Kennedy in Phoenix. “That is why one of my favorite parts of the competition was hearing selections from other students’ entries—every voice was unique!
“Now that I’m a practicing attorney, so much of what I do involves telling my client’s story. The competition helped me discover how to do that while employing the legal writing skills that are essential to day-to-day practice.”
Legal skills competitions like those endowed by the Grand gift are a crucial component of Arizona Law’s offerings in practical training, for which the college is ranked fourth in the nation.
“For decades, Marcia and Richard Grand’s generosity has allowed Arizona Law students to hone their writing and oral argument skills—areas in which Richard was exceedingly talented,” says Dean Marc Miller (below, with Marcia Grand). “We’re thrilled that for generations to come, our students will know who Richard Grand was and continue to have this important outlet that helps them become practice-ready.”
“The $7 Million Man”
Born in Poland in 1930, Richard Grand and his family fled the Nazi regime in 1939, and he arrived in the United States not knowing a word of English. He would later become a gifted voice in the courtroom who could sway juries to deliver multi-million-dollar settlements in wrongful death and personal injury cases.
In 1972, he won a case that resulted in a $3.5 million award, at that time the largest settlement ever in the U.S. for a single injury. That same year he founded the Inner Circle of Advocates, an invitation-only organization reserved for plaintiffs’ attorneys who earned at least one million-dollar verdict and who had completed at least 50 personal injury cases.
A 1980 National Law Journal article dubbed Grand “the $7 million man” after he won three settlements in one week for a total of more than $7 million.
He was known for his boldness and deep commitment to the law and was a generous supporter of higher education. In 2002, the University of Arizona Alumni Association presented him with the University of Arizona’s Professional Achievement Award. In 2001, Richard and Marcia Grand shared the College of Law’s Alumnus of the Year Award. Richard Grand passed away in 2013.
Marcia Grand studied business and public administration at the UA. She and Richard married in 1952. A strong proponent of the arts, Marcia is an avid art collector, and in 2000, a sculpture competition was established in her name at the College of Fine Arts. She has served as chair of the Board of Fellows for the UA Center for Creative Photography, was on the University Public Art Advisory Committee, and was on the UA Foundation Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1987.
Marcia Grand and family friend Richard Imwalle, former president of the UA foundation, unveil a bust of Richard Grand.