By Lila Sol, Esq., Director of the Volunteer Lawyers Program
Every month, Southern Arizona Legal Aid’s (SALA) Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) recognizes a legal professional for their legal volunteerism. The award is a distinct honor and highlights the dedication and commitment of 12 individuals each year who give their valuable time and expertise to the community. This month, VLP awards Mr. Nathan Parkey, Esq., with a posthumous honor as the July 2023 Outstanding Volunteer of the Month.
Mr. Parkey passed away in February 2023 after a 44-year law career spent primarily in private practice focusing on family law. During this long career, he believed that everyone should be entitled to access to legal representation and he exemplified his beliefs with action. He began volunteering for SALA through the Volunteer Lawyers Program in 2000. During his time volunteering, he litigated 8 direct representation pro bono cases for a total of 210 hours and helped 1,479 clients in 263 advice-only clinics (totally 734 hours). This is a grand total of 944 volunteer hours! The average hourly rate for an attorney in Arizona is $300. That means over the course of his volunteering, he contributed $283,200 to our low-income clients. This is nothing short of amazing. Further, Mr. Parkey also volunteered for Step Up to Justice, another legal non-profit in Tucson. He made a lasting, positive impact to this world and our profession.
Mr. Parkey served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War and returned to earn his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in Public Administration. He earned his juris doctor from Pepperdine College of Law in 1978 and was in practice until his retirement in 2022. He attended Christ Presbyterian Church and was a Freemason. He was a former American Youth Soccer Association coach and an avid reader. He enjoyed playing cards and sitting outside watching the hummingbirds that graced the feeders in his yard.
A staff attorney at SALA happened to be a volunteer with Mr. Parkey previously and he had this to share: “I am saddened to hear of Nathan’s passing. Nathan and I worked together as SALA VLP attorneys beginning Summer of 2010 as I started my career as an attorney. Nathan was a really nice, kind good person and a good attorney. He was always willing to help me with a VLP client and equally willing to assist me with private client issues away from VLP as I built my law practice. He was a tremendous help to me early on in my career. Nathan always gave me the sense that he was one of those really rare truly good human beings.” (Christopher W. Cain, Esq.) Several other staff attorneys shared the same sentiment – that he was simply an exceptional human being.
Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Inc., its Volunteer Lawyers Program, the legal community and Tucson community are all saddened by the loss of Mr. Parkey, but honored and grateful for his lifelong dedicated commitment to access to justice.