Since 2015, the Arizona State Bar Association presents the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award to an attorney, judge, employer, organization, or bar association that significantly advances diversity and inclusion in the Arizona legal community through creative, strategic, or innovative efforts. This year, the Honorable Randall M. Howe became the first judge to receive this honor for his outstanding commitment to Arizona’s disability community. 

Howe is a singularly accomplished judge, having represented Arizona in hundreds of appeals and argued on behalf of Arizona in the United States Supreme Court. Howe was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals on May 2012. Before his appointment, he served for nineteen years with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and three years with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona. The State Bar awarded him the Distinguished Public Lawyer Award in 2007 and the Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award in 2013.

Growing up in the 1960s, Howe faced the typical stigmatization that people with disabilities were laden with at the time. His cerebral palsy diagnosis impacted his fine motor control, making walking and speaking a difficulty. Yet despite no intellectual impairments, schools in his home state of Colorado were reluctant to enroll him. Thanks to his mother’s tenacity, Howe eventually found a school that would accommodate his needs, ultimately graduating from Arizona State University College of Business, Summa Cum Laude, in 1985 and Arizona State University College of Law, Cum Laude, in 1988.

“I am honored to receive the Diversity and Inclusion Award. I was born in a time when people with disabilities were not included in society, often hidden away, not expected to contribute to the community,” said Howe. “My success is due to my parents’ hard work and their belief in my abilities, and I have tried to repay them by doing all I can to see that people with disabilities are included and counted as contributing members of society. That is why I have been involved in the disability community and the State Bar of Arizona for 30 years. It is why I joined the UCP Board of Directors; UCP’s motto “Life Without Limits” has been my life-long guiding principle, and I am honored to part of an organization that works so hard to instill that principle in all people with disabilities.”

Understanding firsthand the marginalization people with disabilities face, Howe has committed himself to furthering the interests of the disability community. Beyond his position on the Board of Directors at UCP of Central Arizona, Judge Howe has also served as Chair of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, President of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, and Chair of the Board of Directors of Arizona Bridge to Independent Living.

“We’re so blessed to count Judge Howe among our Board members,” says Brenda Hanserd, CEO of UCP of Central Arizona. “His determination to improve the lives of people with disabilities coupled with his unique insights into the wide variety of circumstances we face at UCP has been invaluable to both our board and the people we serve.”