FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2010
Contact: Tim Eigo, Arizona Attorney Editor
Phone: (602) 340-7310, Mobile: (602) 908-6991
Arizona Attorney Chronicles the Legacy of Valdemar A. Cordova
PHOENIX - The story of legal legend Valdemar A. Cordova is told colorfully in the December edition of Arizona Attorney magazine. It relates how a quiet and intelligent individual transformed from a young man known as "Baldy" into the first Hispanic federal district court judge in Arizona.
James P. Beene, Judge of the Arizona Superior Court for Maricopa County, wrote "Valdemar A. Cordova: Gentleman Judge."
In the story, Beene reveals how Cordova played a key role in Beene's own personal journey and chronicles Cordova's modest beginnings, admirable reputation and long legacy.
Cordova was born and raised in the humble Central Phoenix neighborhood known as Grant Park. His father, a boilermaker for the Southern Pacific Railroad, helped fight against prejudice in the Latino community and helped campaign for, and consulted with, many Arizona politicians. The younger man knew he would continue his father's tradition of public service.
In 1940, Cordova enlisted in the United States Army and later served in the Army Air Corps as a First Lieutenant in World War II. After several years of service, he was captured and was a prisoner of war for 18 months. In 1945, Cordova returned to Phoenix, started a family and began his college career.
Cordova earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and graduated from the College of Law in 1950. He placed second in the Arizona bar examination that same year.
"Over the years we have been privileged to feature stories about many of those acknowledged to be legal legends," said Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo. "And the absence of Val Cordova from our proud legacy has now been corrected, thanks to Judge Beene's feature story."
Cordova began practicing law and gained an unparalleled reputation. He continued to follow his father's tradition of political involvement and public service and was later appointed as the first Mexican-American Superior Court Judge for Maricopa County in 1965 by Gov. Samuel P. Goddard.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to serve as a federal district court judge on the United State District Court, District of Arizona. Cordova described the journey from the Grant Park neighborhood to the nearby federal court bench as "a long mile." He died in 1988 from complications of a stroke four years before.
Today, his legacy is remembered by many, including Arizona Attorney magazine. A scholarship in his name continues to provide college opportunities to students; recipients have included the article's author, Judge James Beene.
Arizona Attorney magazine is published 11 times per year by the State Bar of Arizona. It provides articles on substantive legal issues, professional trends and feature profiles.
The full article is available at www.azbar.org/azattorney/.
About the State Bar
The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 16,000 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.
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