Rebecca White Berch

Areas of Achievement: 
Community Building
Higher Education

Honored By

Honored by: Friends & Colleagues
Date submitted: February 19, 2008
Gift: Arch with Seating

Women Lawyers ~ Women Leaders Arch

Rebecca White Berch was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1955. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Sociology and graduated summa cumma laude from Arizona State University in 1976. Justice Berch continued her legal education in Arizona, earning her J.D. from Arizona State University College of Law in 1979, and her M.A. in English in 1990.

After graduating from law school, Justice Berch worked as an associate and partner at the Phoenix firm of McGroder, Tryon, Heller, Rayes & Berch from 1979-1985. Justice Berch returned to Arizona State University again from 1986-1991, and 1994-1995, serving as the Director of the Legal Writing Program at Arizona State University College of Law. During her tenure as Director of the Legal Writing Program, Justice Berch authored several law review articles, magazine articles, two books and chapters in two other books, including the textbook she co-authored, Introduction to Legal Method and Process, which is used in law schools throughout the nation. Justice Berch has a long history of public service, serving as Arizona's Solicitor General from 1991-1994, Special Counsel to the Attorney General from 1995-1996, and First Assistant Attorney General from 1996-1998.

Justice Berch was appointed to the Arizona Court of Appeals in April 1998 by Governor Jane Dee Hull, and served on the Court until March 2002. In 2002, Justice Berch was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court, again by Governor Jane Dee Hull, and became only the third woman to serve on the Court. Justice Berch has served as Vice Chief Justice for the Arizona Supreme Court since June 2005.

Throughout her legal career, Justice Berch has contributed to her profession and community through service in various organizations including the Judicial College of Arizona, Valley Leadership, Valley Youth Leadership's Planning Committee, and the editorial board of the Legal Writing Institute. Justice Berch also served as chair for both the Commission on Technology and for Maricopa County Trial Court Appointments.

Justice Berch's distinguished service to the legal profession and to her native Arizona community has earned her numerous honors and awards, including several "Outstanding Alumnus of the Year" awards from her alma mater, Arizona State University. Not only has Justice Berch given back to her school through teaching, but Justice Berch and her husband, Michael, a professor at the College of Law, fund a scholarship for the school. Justice Berch has also been recognized for her significant contributions to promoting women in the law, and received the Arizona Women Lawyers' Association Professional Achievement and Contribution Award in 2002. Justice Berch still regularly interacts with students, and often judges high school, college and law school mock trials and moot court competitions, in an effort to educate students about the courts and American justice system.