While many law students come to law school after an uninterrupted 16 or more years of school, Gonzaga Law alumni Guy Testini, 2000, ( LinkedIn, Twitter ) took a different path. The unique challenges of working in the Workers’ Compensation field, running a small firm, and doing good while doing well have all added up to a career that has had a large, direct impact in the legal community.
Tell us about yourself and your work
Immediately following graduation I began working in the Workers’ Compensation field. I worked for a firm for two years and then started a firm with two partners. For the first 12 years I represented injured workers’ who were pursuing their benefits. Starting this month I am moving to Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP to help build their workers’ compensation defense team in their Scottsdale, AZ office. It will be a challenge, but I am looking forward to the challenge.
What do you most enjoy about your profession?
What I have enjoyed the most about working in the Workers’ Compensation field is the closeness of the attorneys on both sides of the aisle, as well as the expertise of the Administrative Law Judges that we practice before. Seeing the direct impact that you have on people’s lives is enjoyable.
What is the most challenging aspect of your profession?
The most challenging part of practicing Workers’ Compensation is having empathy for the injured workers. In the scheme of workers’ compensation the injured workers are often the only people who are going through the system for the first time, and that leaves them afraid, so being empathetic is challenging.
What else are you passionate about?
I remember being told that when we left Gonzaga it was just as important to do good as it was to do well. When I returned to Phoenix I became involved in Los Abogados, the Arizona affiliate of the National Hispanic Bar Association. After serving a couple years a director, I was approached by the then President to become involved with the State Bar of Arizona. Since that time I have served the State Bar as a member of the CLE Committee, Convention committee, Appointments Committee and as a member of a task force for ER8.4.
Currently I serve as the Chairperson for the Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law. I also currently serve as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Partners. Concurrently with my service to the State Bar, I continued with Los Abogados. Having served in many different roles on the Board, I am currently starting my second term as President. Being the President of Los Abogados has led to many exciting opportunities, and just last month we were able to secure the 2015 HNBA annual convention for Phoenix.
I also serve outside of the legal community. I am currently the president of the Integrated Medical Services Health foundation, an organization that provides medical relief both foreign and domestic, and scholarships for the medical field, and education on medical issues to the general public. I serve as an Assistant Den leader for my son’s Weebelos Den, and have coached youth sports like soccer and flag football.
Why did you choose to attend law school?
Prior to attending Gonzaga I was a corrections officer for the Arizona Department of Corrections. After I suffered some injuries that precluded me from returning to work at the prison I decided to return to ASU and finish my undergraduate degree in Justice Studies. Upon completion of my degree I chose law school because I felt it left me with the most options afterward.
How has your Gonzaga education influenced your career?
My time at Gonzaga has had a great influence on my career. First, because I had attended an undergraduate that was so large the attention received at Gonzaga from the faculty reshaped my image of higher education – I didn’t feel like a number there – I felt like the professors, staff and administration cared for the students. Second, at Gonzaga I took a chance and ran for the 1L representative position in the SBA – I followed that with the SBA VP and eventually SBA President position. As the SBA President I was introduced to the Deans’ Advisory Board, and several years after graduation I was asked to join the Board. I served for about 8 years, and currently hold an emeritus position on the Board. The exposure to the members of that board as a student enabled me to see how deep the devotion runs for Gonzaga alums.