|| Littler, Mendelson, Bacon and Dear PLLC
Range P. Shaw
F. William Sheppard
|Date submitted: April 4, 2008|
|Gift: Arch with Seating|
|Location on plaza map: A1|
|Areas of Achievement:
Activism, Adventure, Community Building, Law, Philanthropy, Self-Employed, Technology, Volunteer|
|Women Lawyers ~ Women Leaders Arch|
Born on the Fourth of July, Roxana C. Bacon (Roxie) is a true embodiment of the American spirit. She has a nationally respected reputation as one of the nation's best immigration lawyers and as one of the nation's most prominent women lawyers. As a volunteer in the Peace Corps serving in Chile, Roxana had a life-changing experience that fueled her lifelong commitment to assisting the less fortunate. She is devoted to public service and is exceedingly generous—with her time, money, legal knowledge, and incandescent presence.
Roxana completed her undergraduate degree in 1971 and entered the University of California at Berkley, Boalt Hall School of Law. In 1977, Roxana became the first woman partner at Jennings,Roxana C. Bacon; Toni M. Massaro; Pioneering Women in Law (Feb 1999); 2007 Margaret Brent Awards (www.abanet.org/women/bios/BaconBio.pdf); IMMLAW—The National Consortium of Immigration Law Firms (http://www.immlaw.com/attorneys/phoenix.html); Western Progress, http://www.westernprogress.org/roxana-ba Strouss & Salmon, then the biggest law firm in the state, and from that point on - she truly continued as a woman of "firsts." In 1979, she was the first woman visiting professor at Arizona State University College of Law, and has remained as an adjunct professor teaching immigration law and professional responsibility. She was the first woman to serve as General Counsel for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the first woman selected by Arizona's federal bench to serve as a lawyer representative to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the first person to serve a two-year term on the University of Arizona's College of Law National Board of Visitors. She was the first woman to serve as chair of the State Bar of Arizona's Admissions Committee on Character and Fitness, and in 1991 she became the first woman president of the State Bar of Arizona. Through her, women found employment in the bar association, support for seeking political office, and encouragement to participate in important bar committees.
She has selflessly devoted countless hours over several decades in volunteer service. She is a founder of the Arizona Women Lawyers Association and is known throughout the state for her extensive leadership and involvement in the State Bar Association. She established Arizona's first Gender Task Force, and successfully led efforts to amend Arizona’s constitution to include gender as one of the criteria for merit selection of judges. She has been a leader and a volunteer at the national level, serving the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association and its Foundation. Roxie has served our judicial system as a pro tem judge, as a member of the Appellate Court Appointments Commission, and as a member of the Arizona Women's Forum. She has served as an officer of Big Sisters of Arizona, as Co-Chair of the Phoenix Indian School Design Commission, and as Co-Chair of the Phoenix Citizen's Bond Commission. She has provided services as a pro bono lawyer, and as a consultant and coach to high school mock trial teams, as well as chairing numerous search committees for senior public positions in the state.
In 1997, Roxana was a founding partner of Bacon & Dear, PLC. As a woman-owned law firm, they developed a progressive business model emphasizing teamwork and relying on a technology to allow the firm's lawyers to work from anywhere in the world without compromising the quality of their work product or their client base. The resulting flexible schedules and diverse work environments addressed some of the key reasons women lawyers leave the profession too soon. As is her nature, Roxie saw a need, and was determined to find a solution. By 2006, this once-small firm of eight people had become a 150-person law firm with offices in three countries representing Fortune 100 clients.
Roxana has successfully represented clients in asylum, deportation, employer sanctions, and immigration-related discrimination cases all over the United States, building her national reputation as one of the premier lawyers in her field. She has generously endowed immigration law clinics at both of Arizona’s law schools, giving students the opportunity to serve countless immigrants each year and preventing their deportation in important instances where no other legal assistance was available.
Roxie was voted one of Arizona's top 100 Lawyers and Top 100 Women and Minority Lawyers. She has received distinguished service awards from both of the state's law schools, and has been honored for her distinguished service by Arizona Women Lawyers Association. In 2001, Roxana was the recipient of the Sarah Herring Sorin Award (the highest award give to a woman attorney in Arizona); in 2003, she became the third person ever to receive the State Bar Distinguished Service Award (the highest award given to an Arizona State Bar member); and in 2007, she was the recipient of the Margaret Brent Award (a national award honoring outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence within their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for other women lawyers).
One of the primary challenges Roxana has faced as a woman throughout her career has been her own uncertainty about what a woman attorney could do and should do. Instead of waiting for someone to give approval or directions, Roxana strives to resolve her uncertainties by moving forward – and each time has enjoyed the adventure and has been glad she took the risk. She urges women to follow her lead and "set up their own shops" enabling them to have more control over their own lives. "Trust that your own wings will help you reach new heights when you fly the coop."
Roxie is a brilliant writer, an engaging speaker, and a gifted teacher. ASU has benefited from her 25 years as an adjunct professor, and the University of Arizona College of Law has enjoyed Roxana’s classroom presence on multiple occasions. She writes an opinion column for the Arizona Attorney, the award winning state bar journal. Her columns, like her teaching and speaking, are captivating, witty, and consistently thought provoking.
Not only is Roxie creative and innovative, but she always pushes herself to new heights – literally! She has climbed Kilimanjaro (twice), walked across Spain with her sister, hiked thousands of miles, gone rim-to-rim of the Grand Canyon (several times), and explored nearly every corner of our globe.
Although she is retired from the practice of law, in 2007, Roxie became executive director of Western Progress, a new nonprofit think tank dedicated to issues affecting the eight Rocky Mountain states. This is yet another testament of her unique talent for building bridges and forming coalitions.
Her humble character, good-humored personality, and gracious heart provide the foundation for Roxie's many successes, distinguished awards, and legendary reputation. She values her family more than anything and recognizes the significance of having a generous, forgiving, and supportive network. She attributes everything she has done in life to her terrific base of family and friends. The same is true for her remarkable career; she emphasizes the team effort in everything she has accomplished and feels she is a product of the gifted and talented people who have come into her life.
Roxie is a most trusted advisor to her friends, family and colleagues, as well as a dedicated spouse and adoring mother. She serves as a sounding board, a reality check, and someone who helps others grow as leaders, as managers, and as human beings.
Roxana and her husband, Dean, have been married for over 41 years and together they have "two biological children and two international children." In addition to their two daughters, Roxie and her husband welcomed two more children into their family – a daughter from Japan, and a son from Russia.
While Roxana's professional career spans over three decades, her work is far from done. Although she is retried from the practice of law, she continues to dedicate herself for the betterment of others. Roxie and her husband are currently working on several fascinating philanthropic projects in a variety of countries. In a small village in Nicaragua, Roxie was one of the primary sponsors of the village's first structural building that will now house a woman's weaving co-op. Working with a non-profit organization in Vermont, by coincidence and with the help of the internet, a group of women in Nicaragua now have a well-lit building to do their work, a new weaving loom which will relieve many of the physical stresses, and the empowering support of Roxie and her fellow sponsors. Roxie is also funding a school in Laos, enabling 250 children to receive an education for the first time in their lives. Not only is Roxie providing financial support, but she will also travel to Laos to manually help put the finishing touches on the building and to welcome the students and teachers to their new school.
Roxana C. Bacon has consistently forged her own remarkable path, inspiring generations of women along the way – she is an extraordinary woman, an agent for change, and she truly personifies the honor of this Plaza.
Sources: Roxana C. Bacon; Toni M. Massaro; Pioneering Women in Law (Feb 1999);
2007 Margaret Brent Awards (www.abanet.org/women/bios/BaconBio.pdf); IMMLAW—The National Consortium of Immigration Law Firms (http://www.immlaw.com/attorneys/phoenix.html); Western Progress, http://www.westernprogress.org/roxana-bacon-executive-director
Prepared by: Robyn Joy Greenberg, University of Arizona Rogers College of Law (Class of 2010)
Submitted: April, 2008