Our Shared Journey
Angelina Tsu, J.
Just over a decade ago, someone went out on a limb and took a chance on me. He gave me my first legal job and changed my life. Looking back, I do not know why Judge Benson picked me to be a judicial clerk. I do know that I was unlike most of the other clerks whose parents include legal legends like Rex Lee, name partners at prestigious law firms, and prominent businessmen and women. The other clerks had perfect resumes and offers from fancy multinational law firms. They were charming, well mannered, and well traveled. I was enamored of their perfection.
Judge Benson did not just give me a chance. He included and mentored me. During the third week of my clerkship, Judge Benson was asked to open the 2003 Legislative Session. He brought me and my co-clerk Scott along when he arrived early to meet with House leadership. After Judge Benson introduced us, the Speaker motioned him towards a conference room at the back of the office. Scott and I followed, but we were immediately (and politely) asked to remain in the hallway. When Judge Benson saw us sitting outside, he simply said, “They’re with me” and led us into the meeting.
This pattern continued for the rest of the year. Whether it was lunch with Senator Hatch, Judge Benson’s heartwarming tribute to Rex Lee at the BYU homecoming celebration, or a long, long bike ride, Judge Benson included us in his life and his world. We did skits for his evidence class, attended his daughters’ weddings, and looked at plans for the new federal courthouse.
In so many ways, my year as bar president has been like my year as a Benson clerk. Like Judge Benson, you took a chance on me. Demographically, I am not a typical bar president. In the eighty-five-year history of the bar, I am the fifth woman lawyer and the second attorney of color to serve in this capacity. I am the first woman lawyer of color to hold this office. I am told that I am the youngest person to undertake this endeavor. I cannot say that I have attempted to verify this, but I can say that I understand that it is a...