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Top Phoenix law firm draws ASU grads with culture of commitment

By

Julie Tenney

When ASU Law graduate Bahar A. Schippel first walked into the lobby of prominent Phoenix law firm Snell & Wilmer, she knew she was home.

“I always wanted to do something great with my life, and after a wonderful experience at ASU Law school, I knew Snell & Wilmer was where I wanted to practice,” said Schippel, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law JD 1996 and a partner at Snell & Wilmer. “The culture of commitment at Snell & Wilmer was felt immediately when I joined the firm. It is a special place that enables and encourages people to have a very fulfilling personal and professional life.”

Since its founding more than 80 years ago, Snell & Wilmer has combined and nurtured timeless ingredients of success — hard work, patience and consistency — to form that culture of commitment, something the firm views as perhaps its strongest asset.

“Our firm credo, which serves as our cultural compass, has perhaps never been more important than it is right now,” said Matthew P. Feeney, chair of Snell & Wilmer. “It has been said that we are living in a new normal. Time will be the ultimate arbiter of that proposition. Yet regardless of what our current or eventual ‘normal’ looks like, the same focus that led to our decades of success still applies — to deliver value to our clients, which means listening to them, understanding their businesses, determining what they want and where they are going, providing proactive solutions to their problems and building relationships.”

A regional law firm with a national and international reach, Snell & Wilmer leverages its relationship-based philosophy to provide services that are delivered seamlessly and with the personal feel of a much smaller firm. That approach has attracted the nearly 50 ASU Law graduates who are currently practicing at Snell & Wilmer today, with more than 25 of them hired in the past three years.

Embracing change is an example of what distinguishes Snell & Wilmer, Feeney said. “As in any industry, we expect change. But within the context of that change, we stay true to a set of values, passed down from one generation of Snell & Wilmer attorneys and staff to the next, that guide our interactions and commitments to our clients, to our communities and to each other.”

Feeney also noted that “with the recent unrest across the nation and world following the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others, many of us, along with our families, friends and colleagues, continue to navigate the range of emotions that accompanied these incomprehensible acts. The resulting protests and social upheaval spotlighted the critical issues of bias, systemic racism and racial injustice, along with their impact on our communities of color.

“These events also captured the importance and power of listening and learning, and bolstered the need for and importance of a more diverse and inclusive workforce across the corporate landscape, including the legal profession,” added Feeney, indicating that these priorities will greatly influence the firm’s ongoing recruiting and operational strategies.

For graduates of ASU Law — which Snell & Wilmer regards as its hometown law school and an even closer ally since the college moved to downtown Phoenix — that means bringing diverse perspectives and backgrounds to resolving new and exciting legal challenges.

“In addition to our top-quality legal talent, our firm is known for being social, energetic, unique, genuine, motivated, community-minded and especially for having a sense of humor,” Feeney said. “And we are always looking for diversity in our candidates. We work as a team at Snell & Wilmer — it’s an integral part of our culture — and we are looking for candidates who can do the same. In other words, we want great people who will become great lawyers and have great legal careers at the firm.”

Video of Snell & Wilmer – ASU Law Gold ‘n Gavel 2019 Law Firm Honoree

Video by ASU Law with more from Feeney and Schippel of Snell & Wilmer, a 2019 Gold ‘N Gavel honoree.