At the time of this article’s publication, Peter Galindez, Theresa Rosier and Justine Jimmie were just three students at the ILP, studying and working together. Now, 21 years after graduation, the three were able to reflect on their path from law school to their current careers. You can read the full Q&A below, or check out the summary in our latest newsletter.
What is your current occupation/title?
Peter Galindez: Legal Department Division Chair, Mayo Clinic Arizona.
Theresa Rosier: Deputy General Counsel, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (“SRPMIC”).
Justine Jimmie: Deputy Attorney General, San Carlos Apache Tribe.
What has your journey been like since you graduated?
Peter Galindez: Unexpected! After I graduated I joined the Phoenix office for Kutak Rock. I did litigation and health law. My wife, Brenda, was in the Air Force at the time and she retired in 1999. In 2000 I decided to return to the Air Force as a JAG. (Prior to attending law school I was a hospital administrator in the Air Force). My wife and I loved the life style and we missed it after she retired. My first assignment as a JAG was at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, which was where I was when 9/11 happened. The following year I was reassigned to Minot AFB in North Dakota. While there I became the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, which was the #2 attorney in the office. I deployed to the UAE on three days’ notice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I returned after six months, and then we moved to Keesler AFB in Mississippi to become the Senior Medical Law Consultant for the Southeastern United States, Air Force Medical Treatment Facilities. Basically, I and another JAG answered the difficult medical law questions for 16 bases scattered around the Southeast. It was fun challenging work! I then deployed to Afghanistan for another six months. This time I had five days’ notice. I returned to Keesler and then Hurricane Katrina hit. Keesler is on the Gulf Coast and took a direct hit. Our hospital, base and community were wiped out. My wife and kids moved to Minnesota and lived with my wife’s grandmother for six months. I stayed at Keesler and helped restore operations and rehabilitate our home. Things eventually came back online, but the community wasn’t the same. During this time I realized that our two sons were getting to the point where they were going to want to stay put. Middle school and beyond is tough to move kids. Our oldest son had been to six schools and was in the fifth grade. Too much. I decided it was time to transition to the Reserves. I sent Mayo Clinic’s General Counsel a letter explaining why I wanted to work for Mayo and how I thought our interest aligned. He eventually called me and after several months they had a new position open up in their Arizona office. I applied, but came in second. Still, the General Counsel liked me and he gave me a call a few months later asking if I would be interested in moving to Rochester. My wife grew up in Minnesota, and so I jumped at it. I left the Air Force in July 2007, and we stayed in Rochester until July 2017. We then moved back to Arizona and I became the managing attorney in the office that turned me down back in 2006. Small irony. In any event, I retired from the Air Force Reserves last fall. In my career at Mayo, I started out doing health law and litigation, but transitioned to intellectual property law primarily and have worked with Mayo’s tech transfer office, Mayo Clinic Ventures. I’ve done that for the past 10 years. I work on IP licenses, start-ups, and joint venture deals. I also lead a team that handles regulatory questions relating to drugs and medical devices.
Theresa Rosier: For the first seven years after law school I practiced law in Washington DC as Legal Counsel at the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate; and then as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs, at the Department of the Interior. Then I moved back to Phoenix in 2005 where I have worked at for the SRPMIC as in-house legal counsel for almost 15 years, now.
Justine Jimmie: I worked for Ak-Chin for a few months then worked as a prosecutor at Mesa City for three years, then continued in private practice for 10 years. She joined the San Carlos Apache Tribe Department of Justice (then the Attorney General’s Office) five years ago.
What is the most valuable lesson you learned in the classroom that has helped you in your career?
Peter Galindez: Be humble, work hard, and use your common sense. I remember meeting lots of great, smart people at ASU Law and feeling a bit intimidated. Turned out, that was okay. People were friendly, supportive, and I made some great friends! They were wonderful stressful times, but we made it through. It was one of those things that when you’re on the other side of it you feel more confident moving forward knowing that you actually did it. I’ve reached back to that courage I learned there many times in life, knowing if I could survive that, chances are I could endure whatever was facing me at the moment.
Theresa Rosier: Start with the law. What does the statute, policy or regulation require? You would be surprised at how many practicing attorneys skip to the conclusion without knowing the legal foundation of the issue. Take your time, and start from the beginning of the issue. That is how to be a good attorney.
Justine Jimmie: Collaboration. A lot of people think that law school is all a cut throat competition, but in the Indian Legal Program, we really helped each other out. I was talking to Peter and Theresa about our cases, and that really stands out to me because we would work together often. You learn a different way of thinking in law school, but what stands out most for me is the support from and collaboration with fellow ILP students.
Is there anything you’ve learned after graduating that you wished you learned in class?
Peter Galindez: Given where I’m at now, I wish I’d paid attention to Intellectual Property and took a class or two! I had a friend, Tyson Wynarski, who was very excited about intellectual property and he took the Patent Bar during our second year. I had no idea what that was about and wasn’t really concerned about my ignorance! ASU had nothing to do with my oversight; it was all on me. But ASU taught me how to learn and educate myself, which I did and I’m grateful to learn that self-resilience skill.
Theresa Rosier: Always be professional and respectful, even when you disagree with a person. Too many people think a good attorney is one who pounds on the table and makes demands. Good attorneys are prepared, make sure their point is heard, and try to make it easier for a judge or a decision maker to agree with their position.
Justine Jimmie: There’s nothing that really stands out. The experience of working in the law profession is something you gain over time. Law school takes you onto the path of critical thinking and studying the law, but you gain lessons through real experiences. I have no regrets in the legal education I received.
What originally made you choose ASU Law?
Peter Galindez: To be honest, I fell in love with Arizona and knew I wanted to go to law school. The Air Force stationed me at Williams AFB, which is out by Gilbert in the East Valley (I’m from New York). Williams closed and it is now Mesa Gateway Airport and ASU has a campus out there. In any event, I didn’t know a whole lot about ASU when I applied, but I remember feeling a very good vibe with everyone connected to the school when I applied. I ended up not applying anywhere else and was very grateful when they accepted me!
Theresa Rosier: I came to ASU because of the Indian Legal Program, and because my brother graduated from the law school in 1995. Go Devils!
Justine Jimmie: ASU was the local school for me. When I visited, I was welcomed, and I really liked that openness I received. I met Professor Matheson (he may have been dean at the time) on that visit, and he saw me in the halls and asked if he could help me. I felt that if I was going to get the support and welcome on my first visit, I wanted to be there.
What is your advice for current students?
Peter Galindez: Stay on top of those Con Law cases! Waaaaay too many! JK! Seriously, study hard, make friends, and appreciate this opportunity. Going to law school really unlocked a lot of opportunities, and I’m deeply indebted to the people who took a chance on me. Law school is an opportunity to achieve new heights, discover new areas and learn a new dimension for how our world works. And it sets you up to help people. Never forget that last part. My thought about practicing law hasn’t changed since when my son was 6 and asked me what I did. I told him I help people with their problems. I still do that, and ASU and the ILP program made that possible. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Theresa Rosier: Enjoy fall, winter and spring break. Take a trip, go see the world. After you start working, you will miss having those breaks!!!!
Justine Jimmie: You just need to persevere. Sometimes you feel like you’re falling behind or you’re not cut out for law school. You made it here. You’re definitely cut out for it. You’ll eventually meet your goal. There’s a great need for Native American lawyers in Indian Country, and you can meet that need.
What do you want people to know about you? (This can be a fun fact or anything about yourself that you’d like to share!)
Peter Galindez: I’m not sure what to say here, maybe that I like hiking in the Scottsdale mountains. I try to get out just about every weekend. I love walking, listening to podcasts, and just being with nature. I think that’s my connection back through my Mom and our Native American heritage.
Theresa Rosier: I am married to Peter Larson (ILP graduate from 2002) and we have twin boys, Alex and Noah, who are 8 years old. We spend our weekends at basketball, soccer, and lacrosse games with our kids, and we love it.
Justine Jimmie: I have three wonderful daughters who are all musically inclined (unlike me). I’m enriched through them every day.
Anything else you’d like to add and please send any pictures you have of you or your family or your job if you can:)
Peter Galindez: I’ve attached a photo of the family from last month. Our oldest son, Peter III (aka 3Pete) just graduated from Air Force pilot training. He went to Duke University and has an assignment to fly the F-22 fighter jet. It’s a pretty cool plane and my wife, who was a flight nurse in the Air Force had just pinned his wings on him. (She too had wings). Jonathan, our other son, is standing next to me. He’s a Junior at Boston University studying Computer Engineering. Brenda is now a nurse at Mayo on the Phoenix campus.
Justine Jimmie: I’m really grateful for the experience I’ve received through the Indian Legal Program. I’ve often thought about how I can give back for the education and support I received.
Disclaimer: Jimmie’s responses were summarized from a phone interview. Quotes are not all direct.