Every month, Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) recognizes a legal professional for their legal voluntarism. 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.
Isaac Rothschild is the May 2020 Outstanding Volunteer of the Month Award recipient.
Isaac’s grandfather, Lowell, came to Tucson in the 1930s with his mother, who supported her family with her second-hand furniture store. He attended Tucson High School, served in the Navy, received his law degree from the University of Arizona law school, and went on to be one of the founders of Mesch, Clark, Rothschild. Isaac’s father, Jonathan, followed his father into practice at the firm, and into volunteering and serving the community including serving as mayor of Tucson from 2011-2019.
Although Isaac attended University of Denver and majored in economics and political science, he ultimately returned to Tucson and chose not to go into politics. After a year working at TMC, the example, the impact, and the mentorship of his family and fellow attorneys, and seeing how much his grandfather loved his clients, his work, and his community, inspired Isaac to attend University of Arizona law. He loved the culture, the experience, and the resources offered to students there. He was on law review and took advantage of the many clinical experiences offered including the child advocacy clinic, MLP clinic and referral clinics at Primavera, Bankruptcy Reaffirmation clinics through SALA VLP, and ethics with Paul Bennett.
By the end of law school, Isaac had figured out that he wanted to be in the business reorganization field. Working with a small group of professionals and dealing with a lot of different legal issues within the specialty field appealed to him. He has enjoyed working with different business and individuals. He initially spent two years working as a law clerk for Hon. Raner Collins at District Court and then in 2009 the opportunity and his passion aligned at that time to join Mesch Clark Rothschild, where he had experienced such mentorship and growth. He has been there since then, doing asset protection, estate planning, general commercial litigation, and debtor/creditor work. His brother Nathan also works at the firm and has also volunteered with SALA VLP.
Isaac’s family has a history of volunteering and community activities. He learned at a very early age that giving back to the community is a way of building a stronger community and strengthening one’s roots in the community. He had many mentors encourage community service, including his grandfather, his father, his mother (who is committed to volunteering to help people with special needs), and fellow leaders in the firm such as Frederick Petersen.
He started volunteering for Reaffirmation hearings at Bankruptcy Court in law school and has continued to this day. Even COVID has been no obstacle; Isaac volunteered for the first remote clinic of the crisis by assisting clients and making recommendation to the court by telephone. He has also taken thirteen direct representation pro bono cases since 2009 through SALA VLP. He volunteers through the Bankruptcy Court’s pro bono clinic once a month and he sees being part of the bankruptcy bar as being very rewarding. He enjoys how easy VLP makes volunteering and is committed to doing it as long as he can.
However, Isaac has many other important ways of assisting the community. He is the current Chair at Tucson Jewish Community center, which has provided $800,000 in scholarships in early childhood education, and other support to adults and youths with developmental disabilities. He is the current Chair of Arts for All, providing access to the arts to people of all abilities, especially those with developmental challenges. Additionally, he is one of founders of the Tucson Jazz Festival and was the person who got Dan Coleman involved with the Festival. Finally, Isaac volunteers with the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, assisting with the grant writing process and implementing best practices for those grants.
Isaac’s wife Tanya is an equally gifted and dedicated attorney for the public interest. She has been a public defender on the county level and is currently at the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. Isaac credits her with helping him keep his focus on service to the vulnerable people in our community. Along with her work, she is on the Board of the Tucson Symphony and a member of the Federal Bar Association. They have a precious two and a half year old son, who enjoys play time with his cousin. SALA VLP appreciates their service to our community and wish they and all our community members stay safe and healthy in these times.