2017 Alumni Luncheon Outstanding Faculty and Alumni Award Recipients

Recognizing our outstanding faculty and alumni has been a long standing tradition of the ASU Alumni Association here at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Now in its 40th year, the association has recognized over 65 faculty and alumni that have exemplified what it means to be an outstanding faculty member and outstanding alumni. From mentoring students to engagement with the law school and the community, these recipients shine in their unwavering dedication and passion.

This year we will recognize Outstanding Faculty Member Charles Calleros and Outstanding Alumnus Tom Chauncey on March 1 at the Annual Alumni Luncheon. In advance of the event, we decided to ask them some questions about their time at the law school and what this award means to them.

Charles CallerosCharles Calleros
Professor of Law
2017 Outstanding Faculty Member Award Recipient

It is safe to say when you review Professor Charles Calleros resume it’s one of accolades and accomplishments. From the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence Award in 2011, the Mentoring Award from the Committee on Women and Minorities in the Law of the State Bar of Arizona to serving on the Minority Affairs Committee of the Law School Admission Council and participating in the ABA/LSAC Pipeline Diversity Conference in 2005, Calleros is a pillar not only at the law school but in the community.

A faculty member since 1981, prior to joining ASU Law he clerked for Circuit Judge Procter Hug Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals, and was a past-president of Region XIV of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

You have been teaching at ASU Law for almost 36 years, what was your most memorable professional moment?

CC: Nearly two decades ago, the Legal Writing Institute invited me to give the opening plenary presentation at the summer biennial conference at the Univ. of Michigan. The conference chair expressed the hope that I would address teaching techniques in an interesting, innovative way. By that time I had been studying and even performing flamenco percussion and dance for many years, so I came up with an idea that would be engaging and informative, but also so unconventional that it risked falling flat.

I sought to remind the hundreds of faculty in attendance how a law student feels on the first day of class, full of both excitement and trepidation. So I opened by announcing a surprise, I would spend the hour teaching them something about which they presumably knew nothing, a Spanish flamenco rhythm in 12/8 time, used to accompany dancers in a musical form known as bulerias. Enter stage right a flamenco guitarist from Basque country who had relocated to Dearborn, Michigan and was my co-teacher that day. He demonstrated the compelling rhythm on guitar while I accompanied on a traditional wooden drum called a cajon. I then announced to my “students” that they would be performing this musical form in their moot flamenco festival in the spring, but that we would begin with the basics that day. I invited them to assess the various teaching techniques that I would demonstrate.

We started simply, with familiar music in 4/4 time, and I moved from straight lecture, visual aids, and demonstrations to experiential learning. Together, we first clapped a simpler flamenco rhythm in 4/4 time, to a musical form known as tango flamenco. We then broke the 12/8 rhythm into two shorter patterns, put them together, and tried to accompany the guitarist in bulerias. The more advanced “students” succeeded, and others had a better idea what they needed to practice before their flamenco moot.

It was risky, but it succeeded beautifully! It encouraged me to experiment occasionally with innovative teaching techniques in the classroom. Just last year, the organizer of the annual Global Legal Skills Conference, who had attended the Michigan presentation, asked me to reprise the presentation at GLS, convening in May 2016 in Verona. After finding the only flamenco guitarist in Verona, we were off and running. It was great fun, but the first time in Michigan was the most memorable.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

CC: Certainly my biggest achievement in life is my family. My wife, Debbie, and I have raised two wonderful sons with lots of love.

Professionally, I am very proud of my textbooks on Contracts and on Legal Method and Writing, both of them big, multi-year projects. And after nearly four decades, my enthusiasm for teaching, my productivity in publishing, and my participation in mentoring students in middle school to law school has not waned but has increased with the passing years. At some point I’ll want to slow down, but I’m putting in more hours than ever now (perhaps because our kids are grown) and am still feeling challenged, inspired, and gratified. 

What advice would you give to the future generation of graduates?

CC: Be adaptable, and use your familiarity with technology to stay abreast of developments in the allocation of tasks between computers and humans. Then add value in ways that only the creative human mind can. Seek personal and professional fulfillment, which you can attain more easily by helping those in need than by earning the highest salary.

What does it mean to receive the Outstanding Faculty Member award?

CC: It means a great deal because of the dedication my colleagues have for teaching and producing great scholars. Over the years I have seen a new generation of talented faculty fill our ranks as well. It’s truly an honor to work alongside these colleagues and terrific adjunct faculty who contribute to our curriculum. The Alumni Association is very kind to notice my modest contributions to this team effort.

What is one thing people might not necessary know about you or would be surprised to know?

CC: I’m an open book, so I don’t think I have many surprises left. Most people know about my flamenco performing in a previous life; about my near addiction to very dark chocolate; about my continuing to play drums in an 11-piece soul band along with Debbie, who is a background singer; about our annual trek to Paris, where I teach a short course; and about our auctioning off salsa dance lessons each year at the law school fundraiser.

Perhaps some don’t know about my father’s humble beginnings crossing the border from Mexico while he was still safely in his mother’s womb and surviving extreme poverty as a youth during the Great Depression. But was still able to provide our family with middle class security through very hard work. He would be proud today, as would my sweet, loving mother, who passed away last June at age 94.

Tom ChaunceyTom Chauncey
JD 1973
2017 Outstanding Alumnus Award Recipient

Tom Chauncey brings unique experience in media law to Gust Rosenfeld, where he works with clients to resolve disputes involving libel, slander, access to records and privacy issues and frequently is involved in pre-publication issues for newspaper, television and radio clients.

A problem solver, Tom successfully addresses issues in multiple forums simultaneously, such as zoning procedures, litigation and legislative action. He has implemented compliance programs in a proactive manner to help clients avoid the cost and adverse publicity of litigation. Tom's practice also includes acquisition and disposal of assets; legislative relations; employment issues (contracts, non-compete agreements, sexual harassment, termination); and the difficult environmental issues involved in buying, selling and financing real estate, including homes, commercial property and ranches.

What is your fondest memory of your time at ASU Law?

TC: I enjoyed the jousting with Dean Pedrick’s questions during torts class.

Was there a professor that you admired or helped you the most?

TC: I was very fortunate to have had the benefit of teachers preeminent in their fields: Pedrick on Torts, Efland on Property, Cleary on Procedures, Rose on Contracts.

What advice would you give to the future generation of graduates?

TC: To graduate, join a good study group and after graduation, associate with quality lawyers and do what you love, never forgetting ours is a profession based on service to others.

And before starting your first job, I recommend you read Honorable Ann A. Scott Timmer’s article “Working Class: What Seasoned Attorneys Will Never Tell You.”

What does it mean to receive the Outstanding Alumni award?

TC: It reminds me I am indebted to ASU Law for outstanding teachers, to my brilliant friends in my study group, and the lawyers and staff of Gust Rosenfeld which is celebrating 95 years of service. My receiving this award was made possible because I am standing on the shoulders of truly great attorneys.

What is one thing people might not necessary know about you or would be surprised to know?

TC: I can bake a cake without messing up the kitchen.