May 2012


This past fall, we ran a wealth of information in Arizona Attorney Magazine on the topic of law office management—software, hardware and more.

One tool I considered (but left aside) for our content-review was a social media tool that has gotten a fair amount of ink lately: Google+.

I am curious how many lawyers have made the shift into Google+, and whether that meant giving up on another channel? For myself, I opted in, but I have done little with my presence in the past six months (sorry, My Circles).

Today, I’m pleased to offer a guest post that explores the upsides to Google+ for lawyers. It comes from Denver-based Colleen Harding (her complete bio follows her post below). You can reach Colleen at colleenaharding@gmail.com.

After reading her post, please let me (and her) know about your own experience with Google+. And now, Colleen:

How Attorneys Can Benefit the Most from Using Google+

6 helpful tips for optimizing your online, professional connections

Since the inception of Google+ in 2011, the fastest social networking platform community in history consists of approximately 25 million users—and continues to grow by about one million users per day. Similar to Facebook, the Google+ platform lets users share information to optimize each individual’s personalized search results.

What does Google+ mean for well-known U.S. law firms? This platform offers direct interaction with a target community of individuals who actually have interest in the products, services, and information provided by legal firms—as noted via Google places as well as their specific Google search results.

Google+ offers attorneys the following six benefits:

1. Real customer profiles

Like Facebook, the focus of Google+ is individual user profiles—in other words your online brand or presence. Well the great thing about Google+ is that it’s mandatory to register for your user profile using your real name—which means you know you are interacting with a true-to-life human being and not some made up pseudonym.

2. Managing Google+ Circles

Another great aspect of Google+ is that you can build your customized social network community via Circles or common relationship restrictions that allow you to add a contact, like on Facebook, without their acceptance of any requests. You can add a new contact to the following circles—Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and Work—and then manage those relationships more precisely via preferences (i.e., so work colleagues can’t see everything you post). This means Google+ is more versatile than other social networking communities so you simply drag contacts into one Circle or multiple Circles and you don’t have to worry about them seeing your personal interactions if you don’t want them to.

3. Information targeting

Again, similar to Facebook, with Google+ you can share status updates, photos, videos are more. However, you can set preferences so only certain circles can see certain content. For legal firms, you can share an article, for example, and precisely select the distribution Circle for your information, which means you specifically target only relevant users so your posts appears in their Google+ Stream for them to read, comment on, and share.

4. Custom news feeds

Google+ offers users the ability to bookmark custom news feeds on a particular individual, business, geographical location, or keyword topic—similar to preferences in Google News. The custom feeds, known as Sparks allows users to find interesting and relevant stories on their interest areas, for example, law, and the potential for viral sharing is a plus too.

5. Profile recommendations

Attorneys can recommend their own lawyer profiles, websites, or blogs by simply installing the Google+1 Button extension for the Google Chrome browser to help them grow their professional network

6. It’s easy to grow your professional Circles

Finding other lawyers and legal professionals to grow your Circles is extremely easy with Google+. The platform uses the powerful search capabilities of the larger search engine to help you connect with like-minded folks in your industry, collaborate, and share resources and professional recommendations.

About The Author

Colleen Harding is a staff writer for Bachus and Schanker in Denver on topics relating to employment, labor and state law. Her passion for the legal realm started with a job as a Legal Aid and continued when she accepted a role as a Human Resources Coordinator for a mid-sized U.S. manufacturing company. She is also a member of Amnesty International as well as an active volunteer in her community.

News from the State Bar of Arizona:

PHOENIX – May 29, 2012 – The State Bar of Arizona today announced the addition of two new members to its Board of Governors.

David G. Derickson

David G. Derickson has been elected by State Bar members to serve on the Board of Governors for two years. A special election was held to fill the remainder of a four-year term in District 6 that will be vacated by Joe Kanefield after he completes his term as President.

Derickson is currently the principal of the Law Offices of David G. Derickson, where he practices criminal defense, civil litigation, professional malpractice and personal injury law. He served as Deputy Public Defender from 1970 through 1973 and then transitioned into private practice. He also served as Superior Court Judge for Maricopa County from 1979 to 1983, Presiding Criminal Judge from 1979 to 1983 and Judge Pro Tempore from 1983 to1996.

He is authorized to practice before the United States Supreme Court and has been an AV-rated lawyer by Martindale Hubbell for more than 20 years. Derickson is a charter member, past president and government liaison of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice non-profit organization. He received his undergraduate degree from Occidental College and his law degree from the University of Arizona.

Jennifer Rebholz

The other seat on the Board of Governors was filled by Jennifer Rebholz of Farley Seletos Choate, newly elected President of the Young Lawyers Division (YLD). YLD presidents garner an automatic seat on the Board of Governors during their one-year tenure.

The Board of Governors is expected to certify the election results at its June 19 meeting.

Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery

Last week, I reposted a video created by the Maricopa County Superior Court. It highlighted a terrific event: the one-year anniversary of a court dedicated to veterans issues.

You can view that video at the bottom of this post.

But on Memorial Day, I was pleased to come across another MCSC video from February. It featured the activities surrounding the recent Arizona StandDown. At the event, veterans who have a variety of legal issues are able to have them addressed and resolved, all in a setting that is less intimidating than a courthouse visit.

Here is the video.

And as we watch the next video, regarding the Veterans Court one-year anniversary, it’s hard not to consider the Memorial Day that slipped by yesterday. How heartening it is to see so many members of the legal profession stepping up to create solutions to help those who have served.

Happy Memorial Day. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful and thanks-filled day.

Zeke doesn’t even know he’s a trending breed.

Years ago, when I started writing this blog, I decided that Fridays would be something different. Generally, I thought, casual Friday should exist, even in a legal blog.

Sure, there have been exceptions, especially when there is a significant law story to report. But most Fridays, I’ve shared some pretty non-lawyerly stuff.

Today’s post must have been the pinnacle I had in mind when I created Change of Venue Friday.

Briefly, it’s time to enjoy the Corgi-lawyer meme.

What’s that you ask? A digitally trending topic that combines attorneys and the short-legged dog favored by British monarchs?

Yep. And, by the way, the dog favored by my family.

We have two (do Corgis ever travel alone?), and I’ve included a shot of one of them (above). His name is Zeke.

But today is about a photo-set that has swept the Internet. Here is one in the series.

 

Laughing yet? You may see the entire series here.

Like all legal topics, though, this one has pushback. Apparently, not everyone is swept up in corgi-fever. This hilarious Atlantic piece by writer Jen Doll is titled “Seriously, What’s So Great About Corgis.” It opens:

“Is there anything the Internet loves more than a corgi? … Clearly, the Internet desperately wants us to accept the viralization of the corgi, feeding it as they are to us bit by bit, like so many pieces of kibble. What we are about to say is a matter of much controversy, but it must be asked nonetheless: Are corgis even that cute? Briefly, let’s examine the corgi.”

I encourage you to take a few minutes on this Change of Venue Friday to read her entire piece.

Most striking, I think, was that her satirical piece got more than 100 comments—most from readers who wouldn’t know satire if it smacked them in the gob (as the Queen would say).

One of those commenters (a commenter who does get satire, I should add) was even Edward Adams, the former editor of the ABA Journal. His brief comment pointed me to a great video about this very corgi meme. (So even when a magazine editor is just commenting on some buzzworthy topic, we provide value. Hoo-ahh!)

I leave you with that video by Bloomberg Law, and encourage you to pat your own lawyer-pet on the head when you get home.

Have a great weekend.

Tonight is another in a series of successful State Bar of Arizona mixers. These networking events allow members to mingle in a relaxed atmosphere. Here is the information.

Networking Event at The Lodge To Support Eve’s Place

Please join us at The Lodge for an attorney networking event on Thursday, May 24, 2012 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. to support Eve’s Place, a nonprofit domestic violence shelter.  Free appetizers will be served.

Please bring paper goods to donate to Eve’s Place. The shelter needs paper towels, facial tissues, and toilet paper.

This networking event is being brought to you by the State Bar of Arizona’s Young Lawyer Division, Sole Practitioner & Small Firm Section, Tax Law Section, and Antitrust Law Section; Arizona Association of Defense Counsel Young Lawyer Division; and Defense Research Institute Young Lawyer Division.

The Lodge is located in Old Town Scottsdale at:

4422 N. 75th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Here is a map:

Does The Lodge have a moose? You won’t know if you don’t go!

Thank you to our sponsors:

Perez Law Group

Vocational Diagnostics, Inc.

One Neck IT Services

CBRE, Inc.

LexisNexis Web Marketing Services

www.LawLinks.com

Other Donation items:

Eve’s Place will gladly accept your donation of gently used clothes, house wares and collectibles at their thrift shop, Eve’s Treasures, located at 10765 West Peoria Avenue, in the Sun Bowl Plaza Shopping Center.

For donations of furniture and other large items, call 623-583-1434 to schedule a pickup. Or you can bring them to Eve’s Place offices, at: 8101 N 35th Ave # D10, Phoenix, AZ 85051. 602-995-7450.

Items may also be brought to the Perez Law Group offices:

Glendale Office (Main Office):

5622 West Glendale Avenue

Glendale, AZ 85301

office: 602-252-9937, ext. 13

fax: 623-939-3214

Phoenix Office:

2415 E. Camelback Rd., Suite 700

Phoenix, AZ 85016

Office:  602-553-1004

Fax:  623-939-3214

“Not just a book but a bit of a project” was the understatement that Daniel Rothenberg brought to his reading at Changing Hands Bookstore on April 25.

In the long effort to ferret out what had occurred during a horrific time in Guatemala’s history, Rothenberg had served as an assistant to the chief commissioner on a truth commission—in Guatemala, it was officially titled the “Commission for Historical Clarification.”

Rothenberg is a Professor at the ASU Law School, as well as the Executive Director of the Center for Law & Global Affairs.

I wrote about Rothenberg’s new book “Memory of Silence” in the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. As I pointed out, the book is a welcome version of what had been a 12-volume commission report, all in Spanish. That longer report is available online here.

In his talk at the Tempe bookstore, Professor Rothenberg described the “iconic elements” of Guatemala’s state repression:

  1. Hundreds of massacres, typically in rural areas.
  2. The display of mutilated bodies as a deterrent to dissent.
  3. The use of civil patrols, which often pitted neighbors against neighbors.

That last element—forcing civilians to become a part of the terror apparatus—was one of the most striking findings. And it is an element that is used time and again by despotic regimes.

Daniel Rothenberg at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., April 25, 2012

Rothenberg went on to describe recent efforts to bring some of the worst offenders to justice. Those efforts include a prosecution of Efrain Rios Montt, who now faces a second genocide trial.

I am pleased to report that Professor Rothenberg will be on a panel at the upcoming Convention of the State Bar of Arizona. It will be titled “Lawyers in the Aftermath of War and Human Rights Abuses.” The panel is sponsored by the Bar’s World Peace Through Law Section. Convention registration is available here.

Here is my column from the June magazine:

Lawyers without borders is the shorthand I used this month as we were developing this issue, specifically the part that features the global journeys of Arizona attorneys. What took them overseas, we wondered? And what experiences awaited them?

To my surprise, attorneys and the service they perform abroad arose again in April, when I attended a moving bookstore presentation. The writer was Daniel Rothenberg, a law professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. His newly released book is Memory of Silence: The Guatemalan Truth Commission Report.

Rothenberg had worked as the assistant to the lead commissioner charged with examining the large-scale atrocities in that country. The result was a 12-volume report, in Spanish. He has written a compelling book that, happily, is more concise than the report’s 4,400 pages. Ultimately, he said, the Commission found that the horrors inflicted by the state were “so severe and so focused on the indigenous population that they met the legal standard of genocide.”

Packed house at Changing Hands Bookstore, April 25, 2012

The best estimate is that more than 200,000 were killed—mostly civilians—and 50,000 more were “disappeared.” There were thousands of extrajudicial executions, torture, rape and forced displacement.

Listeners at Changing Hands Bookstore leaned forward in their seats as Rothenberg described death on a large scale in a poor country: “Massacres like this are intimate and physically difficult and protracted. They forced civilians to become part of the terror apparatus, to become implicated.”

As the packed room listened to the remarkable narratives of so many survivors, I was reminded of words written by another great writer, Philip Gourevitch. In his breathtaking book detailing the genocide in Rwanda in which Hutu people sought to eradicate the entire Tutsi population, the New Yorker writer explained that a story of atrocities is unbreakably linked to a story of power and the narratives that feed it:

Power largely consists in the ability to make others inhabit your story of their reality, even if you have to kill a lot of them to make that happen. … Hutu Power leaders understood this perfectly. If you could swing the people who would swing the machetes, technological underdevelopment was no obstacle to genocide. The people were the weapon, and that meant everybody. … This arrangement eliminated any questions of accountability that might arise. If everybody is implicated, then implication becomes meaningless. Implication in what?

Congratulations to Professor Rothenberg on his work in Guatemala and on his book.

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