I was in Phoenix, Arizona recently for a security clearance hearing. While there, I thought I would re-connect with an old fraternity brother, attorney Joel Robbins who practices throughout Arizona with the law firm of Robbins and Curtin.
Joel was a year or two ahead of me at the University of Arizona. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity where I was fortunate enough to pledge. Sigma Chi at the University of Arizona had a lasting, life-long effect on me. The older guys that I met at Sigma Chi, of which Joel figured prominently, were so accomplished and driven that I found it hard to believe that I was among this group. If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, then I found myself simply following along with what these guys were doing.
This also goes for members of my pledge class. As a group, not only were these guys accomplished but they also drove themselves to do well academically and in everything else they did. On top of this, a good amount of time was spent in the “party yard” at the old house. Though I am sure that I never relayed this to them (what 18 year old male would?!), I hope that any members of Sigma Chi, Beta Phi, who were there when I was and read this, please know that I am sincerely grateful and appreciative for their friendship and guidance, whether they knew they were giving it or not!
In any event, enough about Sigma Chi!
I recall Joel as a whirlwind on campus, doing everything and doing it well. He was president of the college Republicans for a good period of time and I, not knowing anything about politics but thinking that this guy was someone to follow, fell into that group. As you’ll hear, both Joel and I have veered away for various reasons. Joel practices in the area of personal injury with a concentration on civil rights litigation. These are just some of the news items that have mentioned Joel and his work in Arizona here, here and here. The one distinct thing that I remember about Joel, and it came back to me right away when I saw him, was his sunny and warm disposition. That is really all the more remarkable when I learned very recently that Joel’s dad was an American hero and Joel did not have the benefit of having his dad around while he grew up.
It was great to catch up with Joel and it was even more poignant since my middle son, Tom, was with me serving as my 2nd chair and assistant due to my recent rotator cuff surgery. Tom will start law school this fall and I was quite happy that he was able to meet such an accomplished attorney such as Joel. By the way, to any of my Sigma Chi brothers from Arizona who make their way to Alabama, please look me up for a place to stay! In hoc!