Just last month, I took a moment to wish Dan McAuliffe a happy birthday. Though he passed away a year ago, he is still on the minds of many in the Arizona legal community.
That was clear yesterday, as a remarkable CLE commemorated his life—and his love for the intersection of media and ethics.
Throughout the morning, a packed audience sat in the State Bar of Arizona CLE Center—named in honor of McAuliffe—and watched selections of the man’s favorite legal movies and TV shows. All of the clips were taken from his own collection, some of which, the moderator told us, appear to have been videotaped with a handheld device while the TV broadcast a show.
Peppered among the clips, of course, was discussion about what was professional or, more likely, unprofessional, in the clips.
Panelists were selected for their knowledge of ethics and of Dan.
Larry Cohen recalled how he had offered his own version of ethical lessons from the movies, only to be heckled by a fellow he later came to know was Dan. They met and “agreed it would be a lot more fun to do the programs together.” All that Dan required, Larry said, was that programs had to contain clips from “My Cousin Vinny” and the opening statement from “And Justice for All.”
“Dan made ethics accessible to people by making it fun,” Larry added.
Also on the panel were lawyers Lynda Shely, Ed Novak and Jim Lee. It was moderated by the State Bar’s Ethics Counsel, Pat Sallen. Each was adept at seasoning their ethical lessons with stories of Dan and his influence on the profession.
The event opened with clips from McAuliffe’s favorite lawyer movie: “My Cousin Vinny.” As Dan’s widow Shirley Wahl McAuliffe said, “Any movie that can take a pro hac vice application and turn it into a running joke” would earn Dan McAuliffe’s love.
If you haven’t seen it, get out there and rent it. But until then, enjoy this clip from a courtroom scene.