Longtime supporter of ASU Law a positive force in the community

7th annual Gold 'n Gavel event to be held with support of Phoenix firm Beus Gilbert McGroder

November 6, 2019

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is hosting its seventh annual Gold ‘n Gavel event on Nov. 15, with the help of some of its top supporters. Chief among them is the Phoenix law firm Beus Gilbert McGroder, a longtime supporter of ASU and the law school.

Founded in 1982 by longtime friends Leo Beus and Paul Gilbert, the firm has risen to international acclaim and recently added a third named partner, Pat McGroder. The strong relationship with both ASU Law and ASU in general was borne out of Beus Gilbert McGroder’s commitment to character, which is reflected in both the firm’s personnel and clientele. photo of Beus Gilbert McGroder The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is hosting its seventh annual Gold ‘n Gavel event on Nov. 15 with the help of some of its top supporters. Chief among them is the Phoenix law firm Beus Gilbert McGroder, a longtime supporter of ASU and the law school. Download Full Image

“We're a firm that originally broke off from a larger firm, and we made a commitment early on to give very high-quality service and good bang for the buck,” Gilbert said. “We have a policy of only hiring the very best lawyers, and we're very careful about not only who we hire but also who we represent. We are thrilled with the recent addition of Pat, who is the premier personal-injury lawyer in probably all of the United States.”

McGroder says he is honored to join a firm whose “reputation is unmatched” and has set “the standard of care” in commercial litigation, along with Beus and Gilbert’s expertise in zoning, real estate transactions and development, and now catastrophic injury and wrongful death.

“And those aren’t just buzzwords,” McGroder said. “The historic results achieved by Paul and Leo speak to a practice of law that is highly respected. Other lawyers seek to emulate the type of quality, integrity, character and competence that Paul and Leo have exemplified for over four decades.”

Relationship with ASU

Gilbert describes the firm’s relationship with ASU as extremely close and says it extends to all facets of the university.

photo of 2018 scholarship luncheon

Leo Beus (at center) with ASU Law alumnus Eric Cardenas (left) and ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester at the fifth annual Scholarship Luncheon in October 2018.

“We have tremendous respect for both ASU in general, the law school and for President Crow in particular,” Gilbert said. “We are thrilled with his leadership and consider him to be the most dynamic, resourceful and creative college president in the United States.”

A deep relationship with ASU Law involves support for a wide range of activities, serving on various panels, and working closely with Dean Douglas Sylvester. And in 2016, the law school moved from its longtime home on the Tempe campus to a new, state-of-the-art facility in downtown Phoenix, which is named the Beus Center for Law and Society in honor of a generous donation from Leo Beus and his wife, Annette.

The firm hosts a meeting of the ASU deans every six weeks called the ASU Leaders Lunch and is actively involved in supporting the university with everything from fundraising to athletics. McGroder, who has been with the firm for just over a year, says the affinity and affection for ASU is evident throughout the firm.

“Between Paul, Leo and myself, what adorns our walls are diplomas from BYU, Michigan, California, Notre Dame — none of us attended ASU,” he said. “But what has struck me is the enormity of respect and commitment that Paul, Leo and the firm have shown to ASU. And why? Because they believe that education, quality education, is really the key to the future of our country. So what has impressed me has been their commitment to ASU, which is not just philanthropic nor just hosting meetings, but their genuine commitment to this fabulous institution.”

Gilbert says ASU is a major component of the metro Phoenix community and has played a significant role in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix.

photo of asu law official groundbreaking

Leo and Annette Beus speak at the official groundbreaking for ASU’s law school building in downtown Phoenix in 2014.

“And an integral part of that is, of course, the law school,” he said. “The law school provides a great deal of stability, resources and credibility to the legal community. Having a first-rate law school helps in a myriad of ways. It helps attract first-rate law students from all over the nation, as well as ASU. Having the strong ASU faculty to provide leadership and guidance in the legal community is a significant asset. And ASU Law does a tremendous job of reaching out and working with the bar and the legal community. There's a very symbiotic relationship between the legal community and the law school. So the law school contributes in a significant and major way to the quality of the legal community in Arizona.”

With a notable record of success, the firm receives many solicitations for financial support. But support for ASU remains a top priority.

“There are many good causes out there,” Gilbert said. “We get bombarded with them every day. But our firm has decided to prioritize ASU. That's a cause we deeply believe in and champion, and we make it our first priority as far as doing work outside the technical practicing of law.”

Making a positive impact

The partners at Beus Gilbert McGroder have enjoyed gratifying careers, helping clients achieve justice and bring visions to life. But the legal world is not without its challenges, and they see opportunity for improvements throughout the industry and judicial system.

Gilbert notes the imbalances in the scales of justice, both in terms of access and the criminal justice system as a whole.

photo of Leo Beus at ASP

Leo Beus sits down with admitted students at ASU Law's Admitted Students Program in December 2018.

“I think a real challenge is making legal services affordable and making legal services available to the population in general, and not just those that are wealthy and can afford to hire lawyers,” he said. “Another challenge is that we don't have a criminal system that works. Right now, the whole system is broken, and I think the legal profession needs to help lead the way in mending the many problems that exist.”

And the ability to bring about change, to help people, has made their careers so rewarding. McGroder says achieving justice for clients goes beyond financial compensation — it restores dignity. And individual victories can play a role in strengthening the social architecture.

“We have the ability to make sure that there are changes, remedial changes, that these types of things don't happen again,” he said. “And we're able to do that in a way that reflects the best of us as human beings, but equally important, have a tremendous impact on our fellow citizens to ensure that safety, health and dignity are all in the forefront of what we do. We have the ability to do the right thing, and in doing the right thing, we change lives and ensure that lives are better moving forward. And to me, I couldn't ask for a better calling.”

McGroder says the impact of the firm, “the footprint of Paul and Leo,” is evident throughout the Valley and state, whether it be through the practice of law, philanthropy or volunteer work.

“In any of those facets, the volunteer commitment of Paul, Leo, and hopefully myself is unmatched in the legal community, whether it be sitting on boards, philanthropy, pro bono work, whatever the case may be,” he said. “I think that this firm stands for all the best that can be said about our profession.”

Tickets for the seventh annual Gold ’n Gavel Auction and Reception are available here. All proceeds support ASU Law student programs and scholarships.

Nicole Almond Anderson

Director of Communications, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law


ASU team accepts the NSF Quantum Leap challenge

November 6, 2019

Nobel laureate and physicist Richard Feynman wrote in 1965, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” Quantum mechanics is now much better understood, and recently in the news the race is on for researchers and companies to develop new technology with quantum mechanics that have potential to revolutionize computing and sensing devices.

A team from Arizona State University has been awarded a Conceptualization Grant from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Quantum Leap Challenge Institute (QLCI) program to study using one of the more unusual properties of an electron — its spin — as a medium for information storage and sensing. Vladimiro Mujica, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences, is lead principal investigator of the project. Download Full Image

Through a competitive grant process, the NSF has assembled 18 research teams from around the country to tackle national strategic needs in quantum information systems and quantum sensing.

"The increasing sophistication and miniaturization of electronic technologies,” states William Petuskey, director of ASU’s Advanced Materials Initiatives, “has now advanced to the stage of manipulating and controlling matter at the scales of individual atoms and molecules. This enables designing and building complex physical devices that takes advantage of the properties of matter that are often quite different than we are familiar with at the human scales. It is a most exciting time for science and technology.” 

The ASU team has proposed a general approach for controlling and manipulating electron spin for building new fundamental operational components of quantum computers and in designing chemical and physical properties in materials with extraordinary sensitivity. Of all the physical properties of an electron, spin is perhaps the most difficult to understand, since it does not have an analogy to anything in the human-scaled world. Nevertheless, it is crucially important for the stability of matter and for the existence of magnetism.

Electron spin has only one value (½) but exists in either of two orientations, “up” or “down”. When a group of electrons has more of one of these orientations than the other, they are said to be spin "polarized."

One way to control spin polarization is by transferring them across a “chiral” medium in a phenomenon known as chirality-induced spin selectivity (CISS). The ASU team’s approach involves coupling specially designed chiral molecules to specific atomic sites on solid surfaces to take advantage of the CISS effect to revolutionize the storage of information required for the next-generation quantum computers. 

Chirality, also called handedness, is the key molecular feature to make this all work. Just like your left and right hands are mirror images of each other, chiral molecules can also exist in left-handed and right-handed versions that are made up of the same atoms but are mirror images of each other. In the CISS effect, electrons that transfer across a right-handed molecule generates spin polarization in the direction of electron movement, whereas transfer across left-handed molecules generates spin polarization in the opposite direction.

Transfer of an electron through molecular structures of opposite chirality generates spin polarization of opposite values

Many important biomolecules, including DNA and proteins, are chiral. Depositing oriented layers of chiral molecules on the surfaces of materials forms special interfaces with unique properties, where spins can be manipulated in a controlled way and transferred from electrons to nuclei to create novel structures for the strategically important fields of quantum storage and quantum information.

“We will study how to use chirality as a basic molecular design strategy to control the generation and transfer of spin at molecule-solid interfaces,” said Vladimiro Mujica, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and lead principal investigator of the project.  

The QLCI program is part of the NSF's Quantum Leap "Big Idea" project. The funding will be used to conceptualize the Institute for Chiral-Quantum Materials Interfaces (ICQMI) at ASU and is meant to create a national community focused on innovations for quantum computing and quantum communication. A high priority will also be given to addressing strategic national needs for workforce training in this emergent field. 

Controlling spin makes possible the generation of qubits, which are the basic units of quantum computing and have important potential applications in quantum information, quantum sensing and quantum storage applications. Other potential real-world applications of this research are in the information, pharmacological and sensing industries.

"We are especially excited by the opportunity that this grant gives us to build a network of researchers who come from different disciplines from across the country. We expect to get a lot of new ideas coming from getting everyone together and talking to each other,” said Qing Hua Wang, assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, and a co-principal investigator on the project.

The initial team includes researchers from ASU’s School of Molecular Sciences, Department of Physics, the Biodesign Institute and the Ira Fulton Schools of Engineering, and the University of California at Davis, and it is anticipated to grow as the project advances.

  • Vladimiro Mujica, School of Molecular Sciences (PI).
  • Christian Dwyer, Department of Physics (Co-PI).
  • Nongjian Tao, Biodesign Institute and the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering (Co-PI).
  • Sefaattin Tongay, School of Engineering for Matter, Transport and Energy (Co-PI).
  • Qing Hua Wang, School of Engineering for Matter, Transport and Energy (Co-PI).
  • Robert Culbertson, Department of Physics.
  • Giovanna Ghirlanda, School of Molecular Sciences
  • Stephen Goodnick, School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering.
  • William Graves, Department of Physics.
  • William Petuskey, School of Molecular Sciences and the Advanced Material Initiatives.
  • Antia Sanchez Botana, Department of Physics.
  • Jeffery Yarger, School of Molecular Sciences.
  • Hao Yan, Biodesign Institute and the School of Molecular Sciences.
  • Petr Sulc, Biodesign Institute and the School of Molecular Sciences.
  • Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Biodesign Institute and the School of Molecular Sciences.
  • Josh Hihath, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California, Davis.

Professor Ian Gould contributed to this story.

Alumni and Special Events Coordinator, School of Earth & Space Exploration