Gold 'n Gavel 2015
Justice Rebecca White Berch (ret.)
Justice Berch practiced law in Phoenix from 1979 to 1986, following graduation from law school, she joined the faculty at Arizona State University College of Law. During her years at the law school, Justice Berch earned a master’s degree in English. She has authored more than a dozen law review articles, two books, and two chapters for books, many newspaper and magazine articles, and, of course, many opinions. The law school textbook she co-authored, Introduction to Legal Method and Process, is now in preparation for its sixth edition and is used in law schools throughout the nation.
An active participant in the legal and social communities, Justice Berch has served on the Board of Governors of the United States Conference of Chief Justices, the Board of Trustees of the National Conference of Bar Examiners, the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the Board of Advisors for the Green Bag Almanac and Reader, among other Boards, Committees, and Commissions. She is currently the Chair-Elect of the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. She maintains several other public service positions and speaks regularly on law-related topics to students, civic groups, and legal organizations.
A strong proponent of pro bono work, Justice Berch participates in and strongly encourages all lawyers to engage in volunteer work. The Pro Bono Suite at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is named in her honor.
John J. Bouma
John J. Bouma has served as president of the Phoenix Association of Defense Counsel, the Maricopa County Bar, the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Bar Foundation, the Western States Bar, and the National Conference of Bar Presidents. He has served the American Bar Association as a member of the Board of Governors and as a member of the ABA House of Delegates since 1989.
John has served as president of the Phoenix Art Museum and the Arizona Opera. He is currently a member of the board of directors of the Phoenix Art Museum, Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Valley of the Sun United Way. He has served on the board of directors of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. John is a co-founder of the Arizona Equal Justice Campaign, Wildlife For Tomorrow, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Chapter.
John earned his J.D. and B.A. at University of Iowa. He has served as president of the ASU Law Society and vice president of the Iowa Law School Foundation. John has received the ASU College of Law’s Distinguished Achievement Medal and the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
His support of Access to Justice (pro bono) has been recognized by Community Legal Services’ Decade of Dedication Award, and most recently by the Arizona Supreme Court’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.
John has been blessed with a dedicated, patient and tolerant wife of 50 years, Bonnie. They are the parents of children Jeffrey, Wendy, Laura and Jennifer, and the grandparents to 12 loving grandchildren.
John Bouma has been described as the “gentle giant of the litigation Bar.” Contemporaries marvel at his “incredible ability to manage cases” … while more junior lawyers cite him as a tremendous influence, particularly for his strategic skills and effective, low-key style. (Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2006)
Racheal White Hawk
Racheal White Hawk
For Racheal White Hawk, law school would have been nearly impossible without scholarships.
“My mom was born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She raised me as a single mom working two jobs—one at a meatpacking plant and one as a janitor at a church. My dad was a butcher,” she said. “Neither of them went to college or professional school and they couldn’t help pay for my expenses at college or law school.”
One of this year’s Gold ’n Gavel Scholars, Racheal has thrived at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. She was a summer associate at Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, and a judicial extern at the Arizona Court of Appeals and the United States District Court. A student with the Indian Legal Program, Racheal was also a Sidley Fellow at the Indian Law Resource Center. She graduates in May 2016.
“I’m eternally grateful to donors for helping me pursue my dream of using my legal education to work on behalf of tribal communities.”
Mario Vasta, one of this year’s Gold ’n Gavel Scholars, finds himself in a very fortunate position—great job prospects and manageable student debt.
“I think scholarships like these allow students to participate or be employed in things that they are more passionate about,” he said. “The case for me is that I will be doing something that I like. I won’t have to be pigeonholed into a job I’m not enthusiastic about in order to pay that student debt off as fast as I can.”
Mario has been making the most of his law school career. Currently, he is a summer associate for Fennemore Craig P.C., and has worked as a legal extern for the Arizona Court of Appeals and the Office of General Counsel for Arizona State University. He graduates from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in May 2016.
“Scholarship support has allowed me to capitalize on ASU Law opportunities and be happily employed at a Phoenix firm. I couldn’t have done it otherwise!”