The desire to become a lawyer and a priest came to The Rev. Canon Richard N. Morrison, Esq. when he was in high school. He had to push himself to reach his goals because he did not have a mentor or guide who followed his unique path. He studied agricultural economics in the University of Arizona honors program before graduating with honors and high distinction from Northern Arizona University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in 1970. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Mr. Morrison served in the U.S. Navy as a naval aviator and ROTC instructor at Rice University from 1970 to 1976. He later received a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston in 1977. After obtaining his law degree, he was admitted to practice in the state of Arizona, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Later in his career, Mr. Morrison was also admitted to practice in the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. District Court of Arizona. In addition, while working full time as a lawyer, he became an ordained deacon and priest through of the Episcopal Church and an honorary canon through the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona.
With expertise in water law, agribusiness, and environmental ethics, Mr. Morrison began his law career as an associate at Jones, Teilborg, Sanders, Haga and Parks from 1979 to 1983. He then served as a partner at Ryley Carlock and Applewhite in Phoenix, AZ, from 1983 to 1994. During this time, he also served as vice president of
the executive committee and as a trustee at the School of Theology in Claremont, CA. He was also chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona from 1993 to 1997. Mr. Morrison later became a partner at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon P.L.C. from 1994 to 2000. After this, he was appointed to his last position as member and of counsel for Salmon, Lewis & Weldon, P.L.C. While with Salmon, Lewis & Weldon, he served as special water counsel to the town of Gilbert, AZ, and was able to negotiate water leases with Native American tribes. In July of 2018, Mr. Morrison retired as an attorney and a priest, and is currently a trustee for the Marvin R. Morrison Family Trust. He also continues to extend his law expertise at Arizona State University, where he co-founded the Morrison Institute for Public Policy and is currently an adjunct professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
As a civic leader, Mr. Morrison has always been interested in public policy and planning for Arizona’s water future. He has extended his varied professional knowledge and time to the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the C.W. and Modene Neely Charitable Foundation, the Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, the Arizona Republican Caucus, the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, the Maricopa County Arizona Pollution Control Corporation, the USDA National Advisory Council for Rural Development, and the Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona. Throughout his career, Mr. Morrison has also contributed articles to professional journals as a respected member of his field. For example, while working as a lawyer,
he was a negotiator in four completed Indian water rights settlements in Arizona, which were all very important to him because he had to work very hard to achieve success in these cases. As a clergyman, he was most proud to be appointed chairman of the diocesan Board of Ordained Ministry. During that time, he was also asked by his bishop to give an important sermon, which proved to Mr. Morrison that his bishop believed he had something significant to say as a priest.
Contact Mr. Morrison: