David West, July 2021 Outstanding Volunteer of the Month

By: Ireland O’Connell,  Legal Intern, Volunteer Lawyers Program

Every month, Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) recognizes a legal professional for their legal volunteerism. The award is a distinct honor. Of the 533 attorneys and paralegals who volunteer their time, twelve are recognized annually for their dedication to access to justice.


David West is the July 2021 Outstanding Volunteer of the Month Award Recipient.


David is originally from Muncie, Indiana but moved to Tucson with his family as a child. He is a double graduate of the University of Arizona. He first received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting. However, he decided against accounting and on the advice of his father, decided to attend law school. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, where he was on the Arizona Law Review.


David began his legal career in general practice which evolved into business legal issues. Currently, he focuses on estate planning and related matters. He has been in private practice for over fifty years. He is presently of counsel at West, Longenbaugh, Spanier & Zickerman PLLC, moving towards retirement. His career high point was working with attorney Leonard Karp in Van Loan v. Van Loan, the Arizona Supreme Court decision which first established a community property right in military retirement benefits prior to the time the right to receive payments became certain.


David has been a dedicated volunteer in the community, and a time-honored volunteer with Southern Arizona Legal Aid. He has also volunteered for Step Up to Justice. He regularly volunteers with Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s Minor Guardianship clinics, and has been a much-valued volunteer with the Adult Guardianship clinic. He has taken on many direct referral cases for clients of the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP). He furthermore serves as a member of the VLP Advisory Board.


David sees three components surrounding his motivation to volunteer. As a Christian, he believes in a responsibility to assist others, a moral responsibility to be of service to others and, as an attorney, an ethical responsibility to be of assistance to others.


The qualities he admires most in an attorney are integrity, candor, and a willingness to compromise. If he had to choose a different career, he would be an accountant or a trust officer with a bank or trust company. A different practice area that interests him is constitutional law, particularly in recent years. If he could meet any Supreme Court Justices, they would be Justice Stephen Breyer and the now deceased Chief Justice Earl Warren and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


David has two daughters, and four grandchildren. He is also involved with his church, playing guitar and electric bass in their praise band. He enjoys recreational bicycling, and has long participated in various tours ranging from 50+ to 80+ miles with the Tour de Tucson. He likes to read, particularly novels from James A. Michener, who notably wrote geographic novels. He seeks inspiration from historical figures such as Mother Teresa and Abraham Lincoln, but also familial members such as his father and grandfather.


For questions or comments about this bog, please contact us at:  Connections@sazlegalaid.org