Bianchi Brandt & Hale expands practice

Scottsdale business law firm Bianchi Brandt & Hale has expanded its cannabis practice group with the addition of Senior Attorney Nicholas J. Scavio and Paralegal Diana Johnson Wacholz. 

Scavio has been named a “Rising Star,” by Southwest Super Lawyers every year since 2016. Throughout his professional career, he has been involved in litigating a wide variety of disputes in courts across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. 

Wacholz previously served as project manager at medical cannabis operator Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., and will focus on business and real estate litigation at the firm.

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Bianchi Brandt & Hale is led by shareholders and law partners Laura A. Bianchi, Esq., and Justin M. Brandt, Esq., who have been advising individuals and businesses in the cannabis industry since 2010. The practice holds professional memberships with State Bars in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and New York, as well as the International Cannabis Bar Association, National Cannabis Industry Association, and California Cannabis Industry Association.

Jennings Strouss welcomes Alexandra Hicks LeClair

Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C., a leading Phoenix-based law firm, announced that Alexandra Hicks LeClair has joined the firm’s family law practice as an Associate. 

“We are excited to have Alexandra bring her years of experience as a litigator and trial attorney to the firm.” said Norma C. Izzo, Chair of the firm’s Family Law department. “She is going to be a great asset to our team and to our clients.” 

LeClair will focus her practice on family law. She graduated from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut with a B.A. in English and a minor in Classics. She attended Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law where she earned her J.D with high pro bono distinction and was inducted into the National Order of the Barristers. LeClair recently worked as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Arizona Office of the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Prior to that she worked for the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. She is a board member of the Phoenix Country Day School Alumni Board. 

“I am pleased to be working with all of the attorneys here at Jennings Strouss,” said LeClair. “I look forward to furthering my legal skills and providing excellent services to the firm and its clients.”

Karen Thomas takes position at Ronald McDonald House Charities

Karen Thomas brings more than 20 years experience developing long-term sustainable resources through fund raising for a range of nonprofit organizations to her new role as Chief Development and Marketing Officer at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central and Northern Arizona (RMHC-CNAZ).

Most recently the CEO of Support My Club, an innovative technology-based nonprofit supporting the tangible needs of Arizona high school clubs and teams, Thomas previously handled responsibilities for Mercy Housing, Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish Arizona, Saint Mary’s Scholarship and Benefit Fund, the Phoenix Rescue Mission, Childhelp and the Arizona Lost Boys Center.

“We’re thrilled to have Karen join the Ronald McDonald House team,” said RMHC-CNAZ Chief Executive Officer Kerry Schulman.  “Her extensive experience will be critical in taking the organization to the next level of success.”

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, her family moved to the Valley in 1994.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Women’s Studies from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas before returning to Arizona in 1999 to pursue a career in development and marketing.

Her experience includes raising funds through direct mail, online giving, grants, sponsorships, special events, major and planned gifts as well as organizational and board management.

Graduates, Instructors and other Southwest Behavioral & Health Services staff with Cepand Alizadeh, Director of Community Relations for Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego.

Southwest Behavioral & Health Services celebrates Recovery College graduates

Southwest Behavioral & Health Services (SB&H) celebrated recent graduates of the 200 and 300 level courses of Recovery College in a ceremony on Jan. 9. Recovery College offers educational courses about mental health and recovery which are designed to teach positive psychology strategies for their own personal and professional growth at SB&H and to support their work with the organization’s members.

“Everything we do is focused on inspiring people to feel better and reach their potential,” said Southwest Behavioral & Health Services CEO Steven Sheets. “When we help people discover their strengths and give them the tools to be their best, we improve the community around us. I congratulate all of the graduates on a job well done. It’s a rigorous course and they did it!”

The goal of the Recovery College is to provide increased educational opportunities to enhance learning, as well as meet the demands for continuing education. Currently, Recovery College provides ongoing continuing education and training services in the behavioral health field for clients and staff.

Mayor Kate Gallego’s community relations director Cepand Alizadeh attended the event and presented a congratulatory letter praising the organization’s efforts to make Phoenix a mental health friendly city. Added Sheets, “We appreciate the Mayor’s recognition of our tireless effort to make Phoenix a leader in mental health advocacy. Our organization will continue to deliver innovative approaches to care and champion the behavioral health needs of our community.”

The recent graduates of the Recovery College are all SB&H staff members. In order to complete the program, the graduates participated in classroom and online engagement – in addition to their regular duties as employees of Southwest Behavioral & Health Services.

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