By: Ireland O’Connell, Legal Intern, VLP
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.
Robert Charles is the September 2021 Outstanding Volunteer of the Month Award Recipient.
Mr. Charles grew up in Phoenix and is a fourth generation Arizonan. He attended the University of Arizona for his undergraduate degree, studying Economics. He is a double-graduate of the University of Arizona, also receiving his Juris Doctor from the James E. Rogers College of Law. In law school, Mr. Charles was involved with the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, as well as moot court, helping to run the program in his third year.
Mr. Charles began considering a legal career in high school, after being exposed to law through forensic debate. His family is in sales and upon recognizing that he didn’t necessarily see himself in that career space, he considered his own unique personality and skillset. He realized that his strengths matched those of successful attorneys. Specifically, he recognized the elements of both hard work and intellect. Mr. Charles appreciates when attorneys display a high level of commitment and empathy for their clients, and it is clear he embodies those attributes himself.
Mr. Charles worked at Lewis and Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP in Phoenix for six years, becoming a partner, before he returned to Tucson. He focused his career on commercial litigation and this work led him to financial distress transactions and bankruptcy law. Currently, Mr. Charles is a partner at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, and also teaches bankruptcy at the James E. Rogers College of Law.
Mr. Charles is a regular volunteer for Southern Arizona Legal Aid. He lends his time to the Bankruptcy Reaffirmation Court Project, to legal-advice clinics in the areas of bankruptcy, consumer law, and debt, and to representing clients pro bono on VLP referrals. Mr. Charles enjoys helping clients, particularly when he can assist them with a good and quick result. He also appreciates the opportunity to help someone who would otherwise be looking at a difficult financial obligation and no means of resolution.
It is evident that Mr. Charles places a high-value on community work and volunteerism. He has done low or no-fee client work in both Phoenix and Tucson, throughout 37 years of bankruptcy, and appreciates that his firm has historically and consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to pro-bono work. He is also very involved with the State Bar of Arizona and does other volunteer work through forums such as seminars. A career high point for Mr. Charles was his invitation to join the American College of Bankruptcy.
In his free time, Mr. Charles enjoys bicycling and playing tennis. He also values spending time with his children, as well as his five grandchildren. Mr. Charles has been inspired by his coworkers, both past and present, but a huge source of inspiration for him is his wife Ann Charles. He describes his wife as extraordinary, empathetic, and a great mother.
We are grateful that Mr. Charles shares his kindhearted personality with not only those around him but his larger communities of Tucson and Arizona as well.
For questions or comments about this blog, please contact us at Connections@sazlegalaid.org