January 2012


Justice Michael Ryan

The State Bar of Arizona issued the following statement this morning in regard to the death of retired Arizona Justice Michael Ryan, who passed away on Monday from an apparent heart attack. He was 66 years old.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 31, 2012

Contact: Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer

Phone: (602) 340-7335, Mobile: (602) 513-6385

E-Mail: rick.debruhl@staff.azbar.org 

State Bar Mourns the Passing of Arizona Supreme Court Justice Ryan (Ret.)

PHOENIX – Jan. 31, 2012 – The Board of Governors, along with the staff of the State Bar of Arizona, mourn the passing of retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Ryan.

According to Board President, Joe Kanefield, “Justice Ryan was a legal giant whose kind demeanor made all who appeared before him feel at ease.  He presided over some of the most important cases in our State’s history and set an example of courage and perseverance.  His wit and sense of humor are legendary.  He has earned his place in Arizona history and as one of our finest jurists.  He will be dearly missed by the legal community.”

Bar CEO John Phelps added, “The work and accomplishments of our true heroes are often lost in the noise and commotion of a world that too often honors celebrity, rather than service.  Mike Ryan, pure and simple, was a true hero in every sense of the word.”

Justice Ryan was an active member of the Bar, serving on the Disabilities Task Force. While serving on the Supreme Court, he helped to create the current lawyer regulation system.

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This week, I will be attending a conference in New Orleans. There, the National Association of Bar Executives gathers to share best practices and find new ways to do recurring things. You can read more about the conference and its diverse sessions here.

And yes, I assume I’ll fit in the time to have a few oysters and listen to some Blues (after each day’s sessions, of course!).

I wrote before about The Big Easy, a city that provides unique experiences at every turn. And later in the week, I’ll write a few words about the legal and other topics covered at the NABE conference.

Today, though, you read this as I sail through the skies via Southwest, first to Houston and then to New Orleans. So to prepare both of us Blues Travelers, let me point you to a few NOLA stories that caught my eye. Each comes from the delightfully titled Times-Picayune, and is part of a series the newspaper did on the 175th birthday of the Crescent City.

The paper did a remarkable job of telling multiple tales. On Thursday, I’ll pass on some about judges and laws. But today? How about dunces?

That’s right. The paper wisely covered the topic of the phenomenal New Orleans novel A Confederacy of Dunces, written by John Kennedy Toole. Haven’t yet read the book that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981? Then start here with some well-written background.

Cafe du Monde

And let’s end with a sweet, sweet part of New Orleans: the beignet. This fried treat is perhaps most famously served at the city’s Café du Monde. As the Times-Picayune reporter noted humorously:

“[Café du Monde] now has a number of other locations in the New Orleans area, and in addition to Cafe du Monde and Morning Call, a few other places feature beignets on the menu. One is at Louis Armstrong International Airport. Twice during the mail-borne anthrax scare of 2001, the airport’s hazmat team was called out to inspect a powdery residue reported by travelers. Both times that white residue proved to be leftover powdered sugar from someone’s beignet.”

Read the whole story here. And I’ll see you tomorrow.

There may be no more divisive issue today than reproductive rights and abortion. A speaker series begins this Thursday that aims to say some things about the topic we may not have heard—not an easy task.

The Liberty Project is an advocacy organization. As they describe themselves:

“The Liberty Project is a think tank made up of law students, young lawyers and other interested professionals dedicated to the preservation of reproductive rights and sexual health.”

So, yes, the group comes down strongly on one side of the issue. I share news of this Thursday’s panel because it proposes to explain something about the time that preceded Roe v. Wade—not something often done.

In fact, on the panel—to be held at ASU Law School—will be Sherri Chessen. She may be best known to Arizonans as an actress who worked on the state’s version of Romper Room. Her own story about being unwillingly thrust into the spotlight due to her seeking an abortion is told here. (I’ve never met Ms. Chessen, but I should note that I attended law school with one of her daughters.)

Thursday’s panel is the first of three panels, and it’s called “Then, Then and Now: Reproductive Rights Before and After Roe and into Our Future.” It will occur noon on Thursday, February 2 at the ASU College of Law Great Hall. After the panel discussion, lawyer Leon Silver will moderate a discussion with the audience.

Lunch will be provided by Carolina’s Mexican Food. No RSVP needed.

Rex M. Anderson tunes his guitar at the Arizona Attorney Magazine photo shoot, March 5, 2012, Tempe Center for the Arts

Our 2012 Creative Arts Competition at Arizona Attorney Magazine yielded another bumper crop of phenomenal work by the state’s lawyer-artists. Among that work is the music of Rex M. Anderson

In our May issue, we have included Rex’s photo and bio, along with all the other winners. Of course, Rex’s work is the only art that is not displayed easily in a print magazine. Therefore, here are his three winning songs—along with a casual photo of Rex between shots at the issue’s photo shoot. Here is Rex’s bio:

“Rex M. Anderson practices in the area of estate planning and has extensive experience working in Trust, Investment Management and Private Banking with The Federal Land Bank, Brenton Banks, Security Pacific and Bank of America. In addition to his law practice, Rex is active in film, music and podcast production through his company Rexomatic Productions. He was one of the executive producers of the award-winning film Jesus the Driver. He has numerous music production credits as a songwriter/musician and performs with his band ‘Big For His Age.’”

Congratulations to Rex and all our winners.

Here are Rex’s pieces, along with detail on each one (click on the titles to listen):

Rex Anderson 1: Anderson – You Take What You Want

You Take What You Want is from an album I released a few years back. It is available here and here.

Written by Rex M. Anderson
Lead Vocals – Rex M. Anderson
Background vocals – Kerry Jackson
Drums – Dan Tomlinson
Guitars – Kerry Jackson
Guitar – Rex Anderson
Bass – Gregg Anderson
Copyright 2002 Rexomatic Productions
Produced by Rex M. Anderson, Kerry Jackson and David Nichols
Recorded at Livinghead Audio, David Nichols – Engineer

Rex Anderson 2: Anderson – Golden Boy

Golden Boy is a song from an unreleased album.
Written by Rex M. Anderson
Lead Vocals – Rex M. Anderson
Drums – Dan Tomlinson
Guitar – Darin Mahoney
Guitar – Rex M. Anderson
Bass – Mark Anderson
Keys – Andy Kern
Copyright 2006 Rexomatic Productions
Produced by Rex M. Anderson, David Nichols and Andy Kern
Recorded at D. Nichols Studio, David Nichols Engineer
Mixed at A. Kern Studio, Andy Kern – Engineer

Rex Anderson 3: Anderson – What Would You Do

What Would You Do is a demo of a newer song awaiting production.
Written by Rex M. Anderson
Guitar and Vocal – Rex Anderson
Copyright 2010 Rexomatic Productions
Demo recorded at R. Anderson Studio
Mixed at A. Kern Studio, Andy Kern – Engineer

Godzilla, Gojira, either way pretty scary

Happy Change of Venue Friday, the day we take a deserved amble down a path that’s not strictly legal—but a path I’d guess lawyers would enjoy.

Today, I take note of a new release of an old classic film: Gojira, the precursor to what most of us know as Godzilla.

It turns out there’s a lot more to the Gojira story than we would have guessed—so much so that the storied Criterion Collection is re-releasing the original. As the news story notes:

“The highbrow Criterion Collection, which usually traffics in the world of Hitchcock, Truffaut and Japan’s Akira Kurosawa, will add digitally restored editions of Toho Studios’ ‘Gojira’ and the watered-down American version from 1956, ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters,’ with Raymond Burr, to its prestigious DVD and Blu-ray catalog.

“‘For viewers who grew up on the campy, silly ‘Godzilla’ movies that came later, this 1954 original is going to seem like a shock,’ says film scholar David Kalat, author of ‘A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series.’

“‘It’s like the difference between the Adam West ‘Batman’ and ‘The Dark Knight’—the basic premise is the same, but it’s so much darker and more horrific.’”

Yes, Godzilla got its own Hollywood star.

“Horrific”? Well, yes. For it is “a fearful atomic fable from expert filmmakers, a metaphor for the bombing of Hiroshima that ended World War II just nine years earlier.”

Read the whole story here. And have a great weekend.

Today I point you to some content that examines recent patent law changes.

Not grabby enough? Well, what if you knew that it covers a law—the Leahy–Smith America Invents Act—that altered our patent law system more than at any time since the early 1950s?

The law has not been without controversy. Opponents had said that it would disadvantage small and startup companies—where innovation often arises—and that its approach could make the U.S. patent system irrelevant.

In any case, here is the article by Sheri Qualters titled “Top 10 Things You Should Know About the New Patent Law.” For the article, she contacted practitioners to ask what people need to know about the law enacted on Sept. 16, 2011.

She opens with the top piece of guidance: File Early and Often:

“When first-to-file takes effect on March 16, 2013, it’s critical for inventors to race to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with high-quality provisional filings, which can be turned into full applications within a year.

“‘They should make sure their initial filing provides good support for all of those features that they’re later going to claim,’ said Steven Koffs, a partner and senior patent attorney at Philadelphia’s Duane Morris. Making additional provisional filings when there’s a significant improvement is also key for important inventions, Koffs said. Speedy filing is equally critical for lawyers concerned about potential liability. ‘The AIA has greatly increased the possibility of malpractice or even just malpractice allegations,’ said William Dippert, a White Plains, N.Y., partner at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott.”

Keep reading here.

Before January slips away, I must remind Arizona lawyers about an important article featured in the current issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. It involves rules of practice that you really want to get right.

The article, titled “Fees and Client-Trust Accounts: Rule Changes for 2012,” was written by Patricia Sallen, the Ethics Counsel for the State Bar of Arizona. In the piece, Pat gets directly to the point and informs lawyers exactly what they need to know about changes to:

  • ER 1.5(b), regarding written fee agreements
  • Rule 43, regarding client-trust accounts

Her entire article is online and is worth bookmarking.

Want to be drawn in a little more? Here is Pat’s article opening:

“Charging fees properly. Keeping client property safe. Managing client-trust accounts to the penny.

“Did your palms get sweaty as you read those words?

“For lawyers, those issues are always sources of concern (Am I charging fees ethically?) and anxiety (Am I managing my client-trust account properly?). In 2010, they comprised the fifth most commonly alleged misconduct against lawyers and are typically among the top 10 subjects of calls to the State Bar’s ethics hotline.

“You also may be among the lawyers who in summer 2009 received word they might have to move—on short notice—their client-trust accounts to a different financial institution. You ultimately didn’t have to … but talk about sweat that wasn’t related to summer heat.

“As a result of petitions filed by the State Bar—in part to try to reduce the sweat-inducing factors—the Arizona Supreme Court has amended and clarified rules related to fees and client-trust accounts. The changes take effect in 2012.”

Keep reading here.

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