Fennemore Craig, founded in 1885, has helped shape the legal landscape of Arizona and its economy for more than a century. Founded more than a quarter-century before Arizona attained statehood, the firm has both helped the state grow and grown within the state.
What started as a frontier town law office has grown to more than 180 attorneys concentrated in Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Las Vegas, and Nogales, with 440 total employees firm-wide. In the beginning, it was known as Sloan & Chalmers at what is now First Avenue and Washington Street in Phoenix. Even then, long before moving into swanky downtown offices, the law firm was contributing to the quality of life for Arizonans.
A Fennemore Craig spokesperson identified some significant milestones from the past 100 years:
1. In 1910, Edward Kent, who served on the Arizona Territorial Supreme Court and later became a firm partner, authored the Kent’s Decree. It established and governed water rights in Arizona for decades. The decree is still referred to today. The firm also authored the Arizona Workmen’s Compensation Act and Arizona Sales Tax Act in 1912.
2. In 1927, the firm helped organize the State Bar.
3. From 1954-1962, Fennemore Craig partner Cal Udall was a member of the legal team that represented Arizona in its battle with California for control of Colorado River water. Fennemore Craig’s efforts here spurred development of Arizona’s major cities.
4. The Arizona Groundwater Management Act. Jim Johnson, a Fennemore Craig water, natural resources and environmental lawyer, was a principal negotiator and draftsman of the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act. As special counsel to the state’s newly created Arizona Department of Water Resources, he successfully defended the Act’s constitutionality. The Act marked a critical benchmark in Arizona’s efforts to manage and preserve its groundwater. It established comprehensive and effective approaches to groundwater management and allocation.
5. Arizona Telecommunications Deregulation, 1995-96. Tim Berg and Theresa Dwyer-Federhar, Fennemore Craig utilities and appellate lawyers, served as Arizona primary outside counsel to US West, the predecessor to Qwest, now CenturyLink, when Congress mandated telecommunications deregulation with the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. They represented US West, which had commenced working with other communications companies and stakeholders and the Arizona Corporation Commission on telecommunications deregulation issues in 1995. When Congress passed the Telecommunications Deregulation in 1996, a competitive telecommunications framework for residential and business customers emerged in Arizona that provided a regulatory regime for multiple providers, competitive pricing and use of a company’s infrastructure by other providers.
6. Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority. Fennemore Craig lawyer Sarah Strunk, who practices in the area of business and finance, served as general counsel (and continues to do so) to the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority in connection with the siting, development, construction, and ongoing operation and maintenance of University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals and an anchor of Glendale’s sports complex. The development of University of Phoenix stadium, also home of the Fiesta Bowl and site of Super Bowl XLII, marked a shift in the economic landscape of the West Valley and Arizona sports.
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