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Arizona Women Lawyers Association promotes and encourages the success of women lawyers throughout Arizona by providing members with information and support, fostering connections among women lawyers, and monitoring and celebrating the successes of our members.


Rose Silver - First Pima County Woman Attorney

From The Tucson Jewish Museum and Holocaust Center 

Here at Our Sunset Gates: The Life and Legacy of Rose Silver

Daughter, mother, grandmother, attorney, mentor, immigrant, educator. The legacy of Rose Silver extends into the present through her many identities. Across these many endeavors, Rose remains known in Southern Arizona for her tremendous integrity, innovation, and dedication.

Rose (née Sosnowski) Silver was born in Vienna, Austria, on June 10, 1907. In 1910, as pogroms were occurring throughout Europe, Rose was hidden under blankets in a chest to evade capture by threatening soldiers. Her family escaped to Paris, France, then traveled on to Canada, and immigrated to America where they lived in Detroit, Michigan, in the early 1910s.

In high school, Rose earned high scores in debate and assisted her father with his own legal challenges. Following high school, she moved to Tucson with her soon-to-be husband, James Jacob Silver. James suffered from symptoms related to tuberculosis that required a desert climate to maintain his health. In Tucson, Rose applied to the College of Law at the University of Arizona. Despite a prior year of law study at the University of Detroit, she was initially rejected because the dean of the college believed she would be “taking the place of a man.” She was later accepted into the program and completed her degree with high honors and distinction in 1930, the second woman to graduate from the University of Arizona College of Law.

Initially unable to find work at local law firms because of her gender, Rose taught bar review courses for those who wished to independently pursue law outside of a university setting. James, who had been in real estate and wanted to change careers, was one of her first students. Evo DeConcini, who later became the Attorney General of Arizona, was another of Rose’s students. Rose and James opened their own private practice in 1935, while beginning a family of their own, which eventually grew to include five children. Rose’s earliest work as an attorney was representing “unfavorable” clients, including African American soldiers at Ft. Huachuca who were typically unable to find legal representation,

as well as bootleggers and gangsters. Her most famous early assignment was in defense of John Dillinger after his arrest and capture in Tucson in 1932.

Rose ran her practice with James competitively but in 1944 decided to go back to school for a degree in history. After receiving her degree from the University of Arizona, she taught at Roskruge Elementary while maintaining a full schedule of motherhood. Her last three children were born during these years.

Rose returned to the law practice after it had grown significantly. In 1954, Rose and James’ son-in-law Jack Ettinger joined their practice, and in 1961 their son-in-law Gene Karp also joined. In 1962, Norman Green, the county attorney, asked Rose to lead the civil division, and she left the family practice. In 1969, she was appointed Pima County Attorney. She was the first female county attorney in the state of Arizona, a position that she held until 1972.

As Pima County Attorney, Rose paved the way for innovative work, including the aspiration to create a Victims Fund. She wondered, “Who worries for the victims of crimes? A fine citizen gets hurt, but who helps him?” She voiced her concern for this issue loudly throughout the county government and referenced histories of law in England, where there was a tradition of funds to help victims. Pima County did not have the finances to support such a groundbreaking idea during Rose’s tenure. A victim’s fund was eventually put into action by one of Rose’s successors to the county attorney seat.

Following her tenure as county attorney, Rose went on to become the legal advisor to the Board of Supervisors, a position she considered the most intriguing and challenging within her time in the civil division. She held the advisor role until retirement in 1987, having mentored many of the young attorneys in the county attorney's office who sought her guidance because of her innovation, generosity and intellect.

Rose’s commitment to law and her practice did not waiver, but her desire to work until her final days was abbreviated by the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which she lived with until her death in 1994. Her legacy of law and justice has been carried forward by hundreds of students and two generations of her own family.

Honorable Chua received the Arizona State Bar 2023 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award: for advancing diversity and inclusion in the Arizona legal community through creative, strategic, or innovative efforts.

Amanda Chua is a Commissioner for the Maricopa County Superior Court. She currently presides over requests for Title 14 guardianships and immigration dependency cases in juvenile court.

Amanda was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She attended Johns Hopkins University and Washington and Lee Law School. In 2004, Amanda served as a Public Defender for the City of Tucson, and in 2007, she moved to the Phoenix area to practice in various areas of civil litigation.

Amanda has worked tirelessly to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Amanda was a founding liaison that formed the Arizona Collaborative Bar, a professional friendship amongst 10 sister bars that has lasted since 2015 that received this same award in 2017.

Amanda is the current chair of the Maricopa County Bar Association Equity Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Amanda also currently serves on the boards of both the Arizona Asian American Bar Association (AAABA) and the Maricopa Chapter of Arizona Women Lawyers Association (AWLA).

When Amanda isn’t engaged with professional legal activities, she has volunteered her time for over 15 years playing violin with the Tempe Symphony Orchestra which is one of the few community orchestras that still provides free concerts to the public. Amanda enjoys most of all spending time with her family being the “fun Auntie” to her three nephews and niece.