Russell Russo obtained his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University in 1951. He graduated from Ohio State Law School and became a member of the Ohio Bar in 1953. In October of 1956, he became a member of the Arizona State Bar. From 1953 to 1956, Mr. Russo was stationed at Davis Monthan Air Force Base as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. In addition, he served as the liaison between Davis Monthan Air Force Base, the City of Tucson and Pima County.
Mr. Russo started the Firm in 1956 and has practiced for over fifty years here in Tucson, Arizona. He was appointed counsel to The Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima in 1974. He practiced general law with an emphasis in probate and estate planning, prior to becoming “of counsel” in 2000. He is still a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the Ohio State Bar, but now spends most of his time traveling.
Practice Makes Perfect
by Katy Smith and the James
E. Rogers College of Law
A new endowment in the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law honors Russel Russo’s 60-year law career and his entrepreneurial ventures. Both have always been important priorities for him and are avenues for community service, said his son Steven Russo, who has practiced law with his father at Russo, Russo and Slania P.C. for 40 years.In addition to establishing the law firm in 1958, the senior Russo owned several small businesses around Tucson. They included an arcade near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, a fish market and one of the UA’s earliest student apartment buildings. Russel Russo retired in 1989, but remains of counsel to the firm.In celebration of Russo’s entrepreneurial spirit and his 60th anniversary as a member of the Arizona Bar, Steven Russo and his family recently established the Russell Russo Endowment in Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship.
“It feels good to know that somebody who contributed so much to this community will be recognized beyond his lifetime,” said Steven Russo.
The Russo endowment enriches the college’s intellectual property program. It expands capacity to prepare and send students to annual skills competitions, said Allan Sternstein, professor and co-director of IP programs. This year Arizona Law will send additional teams to competitions related to intellectual property, trademark and unfair competition, he said.
These competitions give students opportunities to apply learning outside the classroom. They receive a case, prep extensively and compete in mock trials against students from other law schools. Students advance through rounds until a national winner is chosen.
“In my experience, anything that allows law students to have a better sense of what happens once they get out of school is a good educational experience,” Steven Russo said.
“It’s called practice for a reason.”
Steven Russo completed his second UA degree in 1978, but he never truly left his alma mater.
He became an avid supporter, particularly of Arizona Athletics. His love of UA sports started when he was 7 and attended games in the knothole section for kids, Steven Russo said. It grew as he enjoyed games throughout the years with his dad and his son and daughter.
“You become a Wildcat and you just stay a Wildcat.”