Arizona Attorney Nicole Stanton Discusses Her Successful and Rewarding Career

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Arizona Attorney Nicole Stanton
Professional Overview

Nicole Stanton serves as the office managing partner of Quarles & Brady, LLP, in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the firm's assistant general counsel. Ms. Stanton also maintains her own clients and practice in addition to her leadership roles within the firm.



She was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Business Court Advisory Committee. I asked her how it felt to be appointed to the committee. Ms. Stanton explained:
"This is a newly established committee, by order of Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, and is an important role that I take very seriously. We will be dedicated and steadfast in our examination of current processes for resolving business cases in the Superior Court of Arizona, as well as reviewing business court models, processes, rules, and procedures in other jurisdictions. I consider it a very high honor and it is my pleasure to serve."
Ms. Stanton was also recently selected as one of the Valley's Most Admired Leaders for 2014 by the Phoenix Business Journal. Was this one of her proudest moments in her career? She noted:
"It was such an honor. I was humbled to share the stage with fellow honorees from so many of our state's most respected organizations including the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Board of Regents, Arizona Summit Law School, Tallwave, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Microchip Technology, Colliers International, Valley Metro, Delta Dental Arizona, McCarthy Building Company, Arizona Community Foundation, Phoenix Art Museum, Barrow Neurological Institute, Mayo Clinic and so many more."
Ms. Stanton specializes in commercial litigation with a focus on defending professionals lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers and others in malpractice lawsuits. She also works on bid protest matters and she is currently working to learn the area of franchise law, which has always been of interest to her. Additionally, Ms. Stanton serves as Quarles & Brady's claims and ethics counsel for the Phoenix office.

What made her specialize in this area of the law? "With regard to the professional liability work that I do, I had the honor of working on a very significant accounting malpractice lawsuit my first year in private practice. That case was fascinating and allowed me to build upon my interest in tort law torts was my favorite subject in law school. Professional liability matters allowed me to work on tort matters on a very sophisticated and intellectual level."

Over the years, Ms. Stanton has been awarded several distinctions. Since 2012, she has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation / legal malpractice law defendants). Ms. Stanton was selected for inclusion in the 2013 - 2014 Southwest Super Lawyers regarding professional liability defense. During that time, she was also named among the Top 25 Female lawyers in the Southwest. In 2013, AZ Business Magazine listed Ms. Stanton as one of the "50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business," she was named in the "Outstanding Service by a Woman" category in Echo Magazine Readers' Choice Awards, the Phoenix Business Journal named her a Dynamic Woman in Business, and the American Jewish Committee, Arizona Chapter, presented her with the Judge Learned Hand Emerging Leader Award. In 2012, she received the Mayor Phil Gordon Spirit Award from Phoenix Pride, the "Emerging Star" award from Emerge Arizona, and she was the recipient of the Ally for Equality Award from the Arizona Chapter of the Human Rights Campaign ("HRC"). Echo Magazine also selected Mr. and Ms. Stanton as "Man and Woman of the Year" and Ms. Stanton was recognized by AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute for her work on anti-bullying in 2012. In 2011, she earned YWCA of Maricopa County's Tribute to Women Honoree in the Business Leader Category. Ms. Stanton received the "Al" Brooks Community Leadership Award from the Anti-Defamation League (Arizona Chapter) and was the recipient of The Business Journal's Class of 2005 "Forty Under 40." She was also an Honoree and "Top Woman" Award Recipient for AZ's Finest Competition, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Arizona in 2004.

Ms. Stanton was born and raised in Coalville, Utah. Ms. Stanton received her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from the University of Utah. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree magna cum laude from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, where she was an Articles Editor for the Arizona Law Review and was awarded the Order of the Coif.

When asked about her family, Ms. Stanton stated:
"My husband, Greg, is the Mayor of Phoenix. During his term, he has worked tirelessly to build a modern economy that works for every Phoenix family. By boosting trade with Mexico, investing in biosciences, and lifting up local small business, Greg is leading the way to create an innovation based, export economy built to last. He is also committed to making our community a welcoming place for military veterans and their families. Under his leadership, Phoenix became the first U.S. city to end chronic homelessness among veterans. And his H.E.R.O. initiative is emerging as an example for how to match veterans especially post-9/11 vets with local employers and good jobs. He will be up for re-election in 2015 and we look forward to that campaign.

We have two young children, Trevor (7) and Violet (4)."
Ms. Stanton just finished Dr. Brené Brown's Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

Ms. Stanton's Memories and Motivations

Did Ms. Stanton receive any awards, participate in any internship or have other experiences influential in her decision to go into the law? "It was my professor in my communications law class in college that really inspired me to pursue law school."

Does she have a most memorable law school experience? "My most memorable law school experience was representing clients in criminal defense matters as part of a legal clinic that I participated in. I actually handled one DUI trial where the defendant was unfortunately convicted."

What year did Ms. Stanton start practicing law? "I graduated from law school in 2000. Upon graduation, I had a clerkship with the Arizona Supreme Court for Justice Charles E. Jones. I began private practice in 2001."

Why did she decide to become an attorney? "Throughout my life, I've been very justice driven. I have an internal passion for what's right and what's wrong."

What is the best part of Ms. Stanton's job? "When I get to solve problems for people be it my internal constituents or our clients. I love to be a problem solver."

What is she known for professionally? What does Ms. Stanton have a knack for? She asserted:
"Taking on the role of Quarles & Brady's office managing partner was not something I actively sought. However, in addition to my community engagement, I had served as the loss prevention partner and ethics chair for the office since 2009. As you can imagine, that role means taking on sensitive subjects with co-workers and requires a great deal of trust. I took great pride in my 'knack' for handling each issue in a discreet and professional manner. This internal trust from my fellow team members, coupled with my external work in the community, organically led to a discussion of the managing partner role last summer. As I revisited the issue over and over, it became clear that all of my work, both inside and outside the organization, put me in a unique position to help our firm grow at this particular time."
Ms. Stanton obtained an early dismissal of ten out of ten claims against a financial institution, in a lender liability issue, which developed out of a defaulted loan attained by a limited liability company established by two real estate joint ventures. The claims included unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. What did this case mean to her? "The outcome in that particular case meant a great deal to me because the other side was engaged in some abusive discovery tactics. It is one of the few cases for which I have sought sanctions against the lawyer and the client. We did prevail on that request. That type of discovery gamesmanship does a disservice to our profession."

Does she have a case that stands out? "The case I take the most pride in is our work on behalf of a global accounting firm against allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and failure to comply with GAAS and GAAP. The case involved multiple, simultaneous proceedings in federal and state court involving both civil and criminal litigation."

What are Ms. Stanton's strengths and one weakness as an attorney? She acknowledged:
"I would count my reputation among my biggest strengths. I've focused on building a reputation for thinking and living outside of one's traditional comfort zone as well as for taking on challenges and extra work. I've zealously guarded that reputation. Once the die is cast on your reputation, it is hard to change another's mind. I also think I have an unwavering dedication to continuously improving my knowledge and skills as an attorney while staying committed to the clients' needs. I focus on remaining pro-actively engaged, thereby being able to anticipate the wants and needs of our clients. And, I would also count my ability to collaborate yet assert my own ideas as well as problem solve among my strengths.

As far as weaknesses, separating personal feelings from business is an ongoing challenge I think we all face. When you are in a leadership role, you are bound to make decisions that not everyone will agree with. You just have to remember that you can't please everyone, and not everyone will always please or be pleased with you."
What area of the law is she most passionate about? "Professional ethics. I teach a class at ASU on this topic."

Is there an area of practice that Ms. Stanton would like to develop further into? She said:
"I am currently studying the area of franchise law. Our firm has a significant franchise law practice and it has always been an area that has interested me. Here in Phoenix, in fact, partner Jeffrey H. Wolf was just recently named to The International Who's Who Legal: Franchise 2014 by Who's Who Legal. Wolf is one of 400 attorneys worldwide to receive this recognition. Who's Who Legal identifies the foremost legal practitioners in several areas of business law around the world, and nominees are selected based upon comprehensive, independent surveys with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed."
If she were not a lawyer, what would she most probably be doing? "I would probably be a nurse, which is the other profession I wanted to pursue. Or a journalist…."

Where does Ms. Stanton see herself in five years' time? "Hopefully at Quarles & Brady, continuing to lead the Phoenix office and working on exciting matters for our clients."

What motivates her to be an attorney every day? "As I noted, throughout my life, I've been very justice driven. I have a strong internal passion for what's right and what's wrong."

How does Ms. Stanton want to be remembered? "For never being afraid of challenges and for being the type of leader who creates more leaders, not more followers."

Pro Bono Work, Non-Profit Organizations, Ms. Stanton's Goals and Final Thoughts

Does Ms. Stanton handle pro bono work? "Yes. In fact, Quarles & Brady was named Arizona's Large Firm of the Year for three consecutive years in the area of pro bono work as well as Children's Rights Firm of the Year. The pro bono work that I handle is primarily in the area of the work I do for an organization I founded in 2012, Stop Bullying AZ (www.stopbullyingaz.org)."

Is she involved with any non-profit organizations? Ms. Stanton revealed:
"I am the founder of the nonprofit organization StopBullingAZ. Our mission is to end bullying in all its forms by increasing awareness and promoting the tools needed by educators, care givers and students. One in four students is being bullied right now. It affects everyone, but few people know what to do about it. With the community's support, we intend to change that because every child deserves to be safe.

In addition, I am a member of Charter 100 Women; serve as a founding board member and past president of the Women's Metropolitan Arts Council of the Phoenix Art Museum; am an adjunct professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, teaching professional responsibility; and a graduate of Valley Leadership Class XXIX."
Does Ms. Stanton have goals?"I have so many in so many different areas."

Is there anything else you care to share professionally or personally? "Professionally, I am pleased to announce that we've just learned that Quarles & Brady's Phoenix office will be named among the 'Most Admired Companies' in Arizona by AZ Business Magazine. In addition, we are consistently ranked among the 'Best Places to Work' in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal. I am obviously very proud of our Firm."

Attorneys looking for law firm partner jobs in Arizona can apply here.

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