Southern Arizona Legal Aid Attorney Christine Trueblood was chosen as one of the 2021 Women Achievers of Arizona. This award recognizes top women achievers in seven different category areas. Christine was one of three legal professionals who was recognized at this year’s awards event.
Christine is a staff attorney in SALA’s domestic relations unit, based in Tucson. She represents vulnerable low-income clients with their divorce and custody cases and order of protection hearings. This can include people with language-barriers, who have disabilities, and/or who are survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. She also represents parents of children who have suffered abuse.
Christine is a former social worker who decided to go to law school in order to use civil law to help the kinds of people she had assisted as a social worker. While in law school, she did an internship with SALA. After graduation, Christine worked at SALA for a couple of years before deciding to open her own family law private practice. She returned to SALA in the fall of 2019.
“She is one of the most patient lawyers I have met and she carefully explains everything to clients, using examples so they are able to understand what is going on in their case,” says Kristin Fitzharris, Christine’s supervisor. Christine also is an effective lawyer in court, who clearly lays all her legal arguments and the facts out for the judge. This is successful in an area of law where judges have more leeway in making decisions. Christine’s process enables a judge to picture a couple’s entire relationship, parenting, and financial situation in a short amount of time in court.
Practicing law during the pandemic has been challenging. Pivoting to telephone and video conference hearings and client appointments while also having in-person appointments using masks and social distancing as needed, has made legal work more difficult. Christine has also been dealing with the reality that a lot of domestic violence survivors are stuck at home with abusers and are less able to gain financial independence from these abusers. This has made communication difficult and has also increased the severity of the abuse her clients have suffered. Christine keeps this in mind and works to help abuse survivors get through the court system without further trauma.
Recently Christine fought to restrict a father’s access to a young child the psychologist described as having been “tortured” by the father. Thanks to Christine’s work, he now has to have supervised virtual meetings with the child and no in-person contact. She has also helped clients with serious mental illness obtain divorce from abusive spouses. This is not easy, as these spouses had the means to hire private lawyers who raised numerous obstacles which would have been impossible for these women to navigate on their own. Christine handles complicated jurisdictional arguments and opposing parties who file multiple cases against her clients at once with ease and determination. She always does her best for her clients who are often navigating mental and emotional struggles. Christine has done all of this while dealing with the pandemic herself and she has made sure to be aware of the secondary trauma that can arise from working with traumatized people who often act out of stress and fear.
Christine is an excellent role mode for interns and other staff members. She teaches how to lay out a strong case and she uses her cases as a way to work towards continuing to educate judges over time about domestic violence and sexual assault. Christine also sets a good example in the office on how to be independent, supportive, and kind. She never asks for recognition and is not one to trumpet her own achievements however she is rightly proud in private of achieving positive outcomes for her clients.
She has a great sense of dry humor we enjoy around the office, and she is also very kind and supportive of her fellow employees. She shows great compassion to clients. Christine is also a strong support to her parents, her sister, and her nephew, who live here in Tucson, and she is a loving dog mom.
The 2021 Women Achievers of Arizona awards event was on October 26th and a congratulations ad from SALA will be published sometime in the next couple of weeks. For more information click here.