The remarkable journey and lessons of Lisa Loo, ASU General Counsel

Arizona State University is a public institution that has a total undergrad enrollment of 41,828, exists in the urban setting of Tempe, Arizona on a campus of 661 acres. U.S. News & World Report named ASU the #1 university for innovation in the country, ahead of both MIT and Stanford. Arizona State University is ranked #507 in ethnic diversity nationwide with a student body composition that is above the national average. (Source). Lisa Loo is its Vice President of Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel. On June 10, she will receive the Social Justice Award at the Positively Powerful Woman Awards.

Given the size, diversity, business interests and complexity of Arizona State University, the legal responsibilities that Lisa Loo must manage as Vice President of Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel would be daunting if she had not already faced significant trials and tribulations in her journey to the corporate offices of this great American university.

Public institutions of higher education manifest legal and operational characteristics that make them different from private institutions….Given the size and complexity of the typical college and the litigious environment in which they operate, virtually every college in the United States regularly uses the services of a lawyer.  (Source).

Persisting despite adversity, Lisa immigrated to the United States with her family as a young child where they lived in New York City. She faced the educational trauma of being told not to speak Chinese in school and overcame this to advance from the remedial to the advanced level in grade school. When her father died, she helped her widowed mother raise her fellow siblings. After putting herself through college, she attended law school and became a leader in a profession where women and people of color are woefully underrepresented. On the way, she acquired a NYC journalism background which was to shape her commitment to social justice and commitment to social causes. 

az bar

President Lisa Loo, center, and the other State Bar of Arizona officers, 2016-17. L to R: President-Elect Alex Vakula, Second Vice President Steve Hirsch, President Lisa Loo, First Vice President Jeff Willis, and Secretary-Treasurer Brian Furuya.

She served as Vice President of Victory Together, the coalition that primarily and successfully advocated for the Arizona statewide MLK Jr./Civil Rights Day.  She also served on the board of Harmony, Inc., a coalition of business, civic, and political leaders working to remove barriers to advancement in businesses and governmental institutions, and on the State Advisory Council to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  She has also served on numerous advisory councils to various Arizona governors and attorney generals and on numerous governmental and law-related committees. She has been recognized by the State Bar of Arizona for advancing equal opportunity in the legal profession and also as the 1993 Outstanding Young Lawyer. In 2016, Lisa was elected the President of the Bar Association that regulates Arizona’s more than 24,000 attorneys.  She is a founding board member of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association and a founding planning member of the Arizona Minority Bar Conference. 

Lisa Loo is a mentor to others and a support to the students of Arizona State University. She is a proud mother and has received her black belt in tae kwon do. 

Lessons from Lisa Loo:

  • What is social justice?  Everyone has a right to justice. Everyone should have the right to full opportunity. A person can make an impact when they are part of the conversation when laws and policies were made.
  • Things aren’t challenges, things are what you have in front of you.
  • Coming to America meant hope and opportunity. Some opportunities are easy to accomplish, some are harder. When you have an opportunity, say “yes” and the decide what to do with that choice.
  • You must be disciplined and that takes energy

Powerful Woman Awards (PPWA) to be held at the Desert Botanical Garden beginning with the reception at 5 p.m., followed by the 2017 awards presentations. The mission of the Awards is to “celebrate the accomplishments of women in ways that empower all people to live their dreams”. Register now and prepare to be informed and inspired.

dr joel martin

Dr. Joel P. Martin

The Positively Powerful Awards and Programs are hosted by Founder and Executive Producer, Dr. Joel P. Martin, President of Triad West, Inc. which provides corporations with specialist support in executive coaching, leadership development, diversity, inclusion and cultural competency.

2017 Positively Powerful Woman Awards Sponsors

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