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Attorneys band together to create scholarship


December 30, 2007

Tony Lucia was passionate about practicing law, representing his clients to the fullest and winning over opposing counsel with kindness during a career in Arizona that spanned nearly three decades.

Now, a new scholarship in Lucia’s name at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law will encourage students to follow in his footsteps.

The Anthony R. Lucia Scholarship is being established through the efforts of Lucia’s former longtime partners at the Phoenix law firms of Lucia Stark Williamson, and Treon, Aguirre, Newman & Norris.

“Our goal is to raise $250,000, and the firms are extending an offer to match all contributions that are made through Dec. 31, up to a total match of $125,000,” says Linda Williamson, a partner of Lucia’s for more than 20 years.

Lucia died of cancer in May 2005 at the age of 54.

“As a lawyer in this community, Tony earned a reputation as a brilliant advocate, and I was frequently impressed with his creative legal arguments,” says Curt Clausen, a partner at Lucia Stark Williamson. “However, it was the manner in which he practiced law that I found most inspiring. Tony was able to be an advocate without being confrontational.”

Lucia received his law degree from Ohio State University, but he practiced law exclusively in Arizona and was an integral part of the legal community in Phoenix.

“We thought ASU would be an appropriate place to establish this scholarship because we want to keep Tony’s memory, and the spirit in which he practiced law, alive in this community,” Clausen says.

Jennifer Barnes, director of the Clinical Program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, says Lucia was a brilliant lawyer and all-around nice guy.

“He was a tremendous person, and a wonderful father, husband and friend who had a exceptional sense of humor,” says Barnes, who practiced law with Lucia for 10 years. “He loved the law, and he was really good at it. He was a great trial lawyer, and he knew all the rules. It would make him happy to know that students will benefit in this way in his honor.”

Lucia was one of the brightest and best lawyers Dick Treon had the pleasure of knowing. Treon, of Treon, Aguirre, Newman & Norris, was Lucia’s partner for nearly 25 years.

“In the area of civil procedure law, no one could hold a candle to Tony,” Treon says. “He understood multiparty, complex litigation, joint and several liability, Frey/Logerquist issues and the Revised Arizona Jury Instructions better than anyone.”

In all their years of working together, Treon never heard Lucia speak angrily to anyone, and he remained upbeat, even while fighting the ravages of his disease.

“Tony had an incredible gift for bringing peace and tranquility to anything and anyone he touched,” Treon says. “He was truly one of God’s – and the law’s – good guys.”

Whether working out at the downtown Phoenix YMCA or buckling down on lengthy, complex lawsuits, Lucia was the one you wanted on your team, says Phoenix attorney Ronald Warnicke, a friend for more than two decades and a partner in the law firm of Treon, Warnicke and Roush.

“He was extremely adversarial in terms of his toughness on the issues,” says Warnicke, of Warnicke & Littler. “But in terms of dealing with other counsel, he was unusually adroit in keeping the dialogue between and among the lawyers on a professional plane, rather than having it sink to animosity.”

Lucia was just coming into his own as a young partner when Warnicke asked him to help put together a big case involving improprieties at the Arizona Lottery.

“What I remember was the quality of his ‘lawyering’ in helping me with that case, and his coming of age as a lawyer in keeping the relations with lawyers on the other side highly professional,” Warnicke says. “And I saw that repeatedly, all through his career.”

When Lucia hired Clausen in 2000, Lucia already had been diagnosed with – and was being treated for – lung cancer. At that time, Lucia had many complex cases, including a groundwater contamination lawsuit in Phoenix and Scottsdale.

Clausen says Lucia possessed many qualities that more lawyers should aspire to have, and no matter the workload, his door was always open.

“Not one time, in the six years that I practiced with him, did Tony ever say, ‘I’m too busy for you,’ and as a young attorney working on Tony’s extremely complex cases, you often have that deer-in-the-headlights thing going that says, ‘I don’t understand this’,” Clausen says. “Tony always said, ‘Come on in and sit down.’ It was amazing to me that I could feel welcome every time I walked into his office.”

Lucia, who was a member of the State Bar of Arizona’s Civil Practice and Procedures Committee, enjoyed the most difficult and complex cases, Clausen says.

“He was extremely creative in his way of approaching issues,” he says. “As a mentor, Tony taught me how to be a better lawyer. As a friend, he made me want to be a better person.”

For more information about the scholarship or to contribute to it, e-mail Clausen at cwc@lswaz.com, or contact Terrence McManus, director of development at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, at (480) 727-0645 or tmcmanus@asu.edu.