Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Arizona lost a legend in the legal community and the Democratic Party this weekend. This guest opinion is by Tucson attorney Barry Kirschner.
Born into poverty, Chandler picked in the fields during the 1920s and early depression years. Willing to fight for the principled underdog, he and his younger brother Robert fought the remainder of his elementary school class when the 1928 Democratic nominee for President, Al Smith, was derided as a Catholic.
Chandler rose to prominence in the late 1940s after achieving his degree from the University of Arizona College of Law. Chandler became the consummate trial lawyer and political insider, advising Stewart and Morris Udall, and later enjoying a lengthy partnership with D.Burr Udall. I believe that every Democratic Governor of Arizona in the last 50 years sought and treasured his advice.
Stories abound of the legal batles of the titans, with Morris Udall for the Plaintiff and Tom Chandler for the defense. Chandler was influential in Democratic poltics including issues related to the Department of the Interior when Morris Udall chaired the relevant House of Representatives committee. Chandler was also a powerful force in the water law reforms which loosened an agriculture dominated common law when Bruce Babbitt was Governor of Arizona.
But Chandler will be remembered even more fondly for the things he did behind the scenes. A founding influence for what is now Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Chandler continued support for the poor and access to justice through generous contributions to the William E. Morris Foundation and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. He was a towering influence bending the ethics of the Pima County Bar for the better.