J. Reuben Clark Law Society

These are the People in Your Neighborhood: A Conversation with Sections Chair Don Fletcher

Well, at least your international JRCLS neighborhood.  The JRCLS Newsletter is pleased to begin a series of articles dedicated to learning more about some of the international positions in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society and the attorneys who occupy them.  As a kickoff to the series, the Newsletter thanks Don Fletcher, who is currently Sections Chair for the JRCLS, for his time.  
JRCLS Newsletter:  So tell us a little about yourself—your family, hobbies, schooling, and professional career.  
Fletcher:  My wife Christine and I have four children, ages 20 to 27.  We live in Arizona.  I love to hike.  For my fiftieth birthday, some members of my family, friends, and I hiked Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.  We were in Africa for two weeks.  One week we did a safari, and then one week we were on the mountain.  I also rappel and hike in Zion’s National park, where I took my adult children through “the Subway,” a famous reclusive hike. 
I graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1987 where I was the Managing Editor of the Journal of Public Law and also Chairman of the Natural Resources Law Forum.  I clerked for the Arizona Court of Appeals upon graduation.  After my clerkship, I was accepted into the honor’s program with the United States Justice Department.  I was assigned to the United States Trustee's Office where I worked for eight years handling a variety of complex Chapter 11 business reorganizations and Chapter 7 consumer matters.  I also prosecuted white collar bankruptcy crimes.  In 1996, I went into private practice doing bankruptcy and commercial landlord/tenant law.  For the past five years, I have been a partner at the law firm of Lake & Cobb practicing real estate, litigation, commercial landlord/tenant, and bankruptcy law.  Currently, I am a member of the International Conference of Shopping Centers and serve on their Bankruptcy Task Force.
JRCLS Newsletter:  How long have you been a member of the Law Society, and why did you join?  Can you describe a particularly rewarding experience that you have had as a member of the Law Society?
Fletcher:  Well technically I became a member upon graduation in 1987.  Through the Law Society I have been able to meet lots of fascinating people and remain connected with my class and other members throughout the United States. 
JRCLS Newsletter:  Did you hold any other positions in the JRCLS before becoming Sections Chair?
Fletcher:  I was a Conference Co-Chair for the 2008 International Conference in Arizona.  I was also the Phoenix Chapter Chair before I was asked to be Sections Chair.  I currently am one of two Pro Bono Coordinators for the Phoenix Chapter. I assist in placement of individuals referred by their Bishops and Stake Presidents, and handle several pro bono cases myself.  
JRCLS Newsletter:  What is a Sections Chair, and how long have you had this position? 
Fletcher: I just started as Sections Chair.  It is a position that is held for two years.  The Society is trying to diversify and recognize that there are different people in different areas that want to network and get to know one another.   The purpose of the Sections is to provide a mechanism to network.  In my area, bankruptcy for example, sometimes I need a bankruptcy attorney in Baltimore or California.  Through the bankruptcy section I can find people to help meet my clients’ needs in specific areas in different parts of the country. 
JRCLS Newsletter:  What do you do as Sections Chair?
Fletcher:  I work with the chairpersons of the different practice areas and encourage them to find others in their practice area and to network through LinkedIn, Facebook and other ways. 
JRCLS Newsletter:  What are the practice areas?
Fletcher: There are some 20 sections including litigation (which is very active), bankruptcy, intellectual property, judges, and many others.  Two new ones being formed include health law and national security law.  One of the more interesting sections is the Biblical and Ancient Law Section, which Jack Welch works with and will be doing a presentation at our upcoming Law Conference at ASU.
JRCLS Newsletter:  What are the responsibilities of the chairpersons?
Fletcher:  At the international and leadership conferences, the chairpersons and I will meet together and discuss ways that we can help raise awareness of their particular sections.  Their main interaction is networking and to figure out what they can do to help when someone needs a referral or has a question. 
JRCLS Newsletter:  How do you feel like Sections Chair benefits the general membership?
Fletcher:  It allows the general membership to contact other attorneys when needed.  A lot of us have clients in multiple states; if you need a transactional attorney in Wyoming or need a domestic relations attorney in Albuquerque, through the Society and sections we can network and help one another.  But also, we can stay in contact with each other and help one another see what our practice is and what’s going on. 
JRCLS Newsletter:  Are attorneys outside the United States also welcome to join the practice groups?
Fletcher:  Yes, we encourage everyone to join. 
JRCLS Newsletter:  But is the law governing these practice areas specific to jurisprudence within the United States?
Fletcher:  Yes for the most part, but I believe that international members would find the judiciary and real estate sections relevant to their practice even though they are living outside the United States.
JRCLS Newsletter:  So what do you want the JRCLS membership to know about your Committee?  Anything you would like them to do to make it more rewarding for them and for the Law Society? 
Fletcher:  I would encourage JRCLS members to join the sections and then support the different section chairpersons.  I would also encourage the section chairpersons to attend the International Conference coming up in February in Phoenix, and the Leadership Conference in October.
By Julie Smith
If you would like to join a section, please contact Don Fletcher at dfletcher@lakeandcobb.com.    

Posted: January 20, 2015