Dan Baldwin 2014-02-27 23:02:53
What Would Atticus Finch Do? “I find the practice of law very rewarding. I like having the opportunity to help people and to make a difference in people’s lives and to help solve their problems. I have a passion for justice – compassion for my clients,” says Eileen Sullivan of the Sullivan Law Firm, P.C. Her practice is focused primarily on criminal defense, but she also handles family law cases under certain circumstances. She is an Avvo rated attorney who has been licensed to practice in Arizona since 2000. Sullivan attended Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. her freshman year and Texas Christian University her sophomore year. She then transferred to Arizona State University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a minor in sociology. Sullivan attended the night program at John Marshal Law School in Chicago. She worked full time as a law clerk during the day. She earned her Juris Doctor in 1999. Mentors played a significant role in her development as an attorney. Among them were professors Leonard Schrager, William Carroll, Timothy O’Neill, Ralph Ruebner and Diane Kaplan. Whitman Brisky, the managing partner where she clerked, was a mentor and taught her about small firm practice. “More importantly he was professional, ethical and a great attorney,” Sullivan says. Prior to forming her own firm, Sullivan sought the advice and counsel of professionals in the legal field. “There have been other attorneys who went into private practice first and were mentors who helped me get started in my practice. Caroline Aeed encouraged me to enter into private practice, helped me start that practice, and continues to be a mentor,” she says. During her college years, Sullivan began looking at a career in either government or law. Upon graduation she explored the former. After attaining her undergraduate degree, she worked as a house page at the Arizona House of Representatives. Later she served an internship in the U.S. Department of State and as an intern in the Department’s Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs. At that moment in her career, she saw her two fields of interest merge, altering her career path toward the second option available to her. “I became involved in a project with legal research and I decided to I wanted to go to law school.” she says. Sullivan began her law career as a deputy public defender with the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. She transferred to the Legal Advocate’s Office and was appointed as guardian ad litem in dependency and severance cases. The experience inspired a move from government to private practice. “I wanted to practice criminal defense again, so I started my own practice in 2007,” she says. Sullivan notes that a disproportionately large number of women attorneys are employed in government work and are more likely than men to be solo practitioners. In her eyes a good day as a criminal attorney is when she earns an acquittal after a trial or when she wins an important motion. In her family law practice, Sullivan knows a good resolution – that is in the child or children’s best interest – is essential to getting her client out of limbo and on with their life. Inspired by the integrity and professionalism of many of her colleagues, she finds dishonesty and the lack of integrity, ethics and justice challenging. “Atticus Finch, from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is one of my favorite characters because of his moral courage, integrity and personal commitment to justice,” she says. Outside of her work, she invests time with her family and is involved in her community. She serves on a number of boards such as the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the Child Crisis Center. She is a kindergarten catechist. She is currently serving as southwest regional governor for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She served as community service chair for the Arizona Women’s Lawyer’s Association for many years. Sullivan has served on the Arizona Asian American Bar Association board of directors for many years. She is also a mentor for Boys Hope and Girls Hope. “I am able to change lives, my own and others through work and community service. I try to do my part in the community. It’s a big part of my life. It is important to give back,” she says. Sullivan’s awards and honors include Phoenix Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, the Sandra Day O’Connor Community Service Award from the Junior League of Phoenix, AZ’s Finest from Arizona Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Best Lawyers Under 40 by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Special Recognition and the Outstanding Service Award from the Arizona Asian American Bar Association. Her philosophy is basic and at the core of her personality. “I have a passion for justice and compassion for my clients.”
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