In seventh grade Christy Martinez Arguello (Edu’77) decided she wanted to be a lawyer. Nearly four decades later she says she reached the pinnacle of her career when former President George W. Bush named her judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in July.
“I loved to argue and usually won so I thought I would make a good lawyer,” she says.
After becoming the first Latina from Colorado to attend Harvard Law School, she served as a partner in one of the state’s pre-eminent law firms, Holland & Hart. But teaching called her, and she joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Law School where she again achieved her goals — tenure and promotion to full professorship.
“I loved the academic environment where I could train and mentor young people,” she recalls. “I got paid to research issues I thought were important.”
Always looking for a new challenge, she wrote a casebook, Evidence: The Objection Method (Michie), which is used in numerous law schools nationwide.
In 1999, then Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar invited her to join his new administration, which she quickly accepted. After four years with Salazar, including two as chief deputy attorney general, it was time to move on. Reflecting on her academic, government and private law practice career moves, Christy notes, “I’ve done so many different types of jobs, but they are all law-related. They differ in experience but the thought process is similar.”
Three years ago her deep love of CU called her back to the Boulder campus as managing senior associate counsel. Christy met her husband, Ron Arguello (Edu’75, MS’77), at CU during her first week of classes in 1973.
“CU helped me be successful at school and helped prepare me for Harvard,” she says. “Advising the chancellor and cabinet let me give back in some little way. It was a privilege and an honor to serve as legal counsel.”
Inspired by her CU mentors Cleo Estrada, now with the Center for Multicultural Affairs, and education professors Stan Ratliff, Steve Hodge and Bobbi Flexer, Christy enjoys giving back to others. Young lawyers and women are her favorites.
“Even today, women still have to overcome more cultural and societal obstacles than men in order to achieve success in the business world,” she comments.
Her advice: dream big, take risks and work hard.