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.

What is it about eDiscovery that packs the education halls?

I wonder this as I prepare to head out to yet another offering on the esoteric topic, this one at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU. It is a three-day affair, which starts today, and it features what appear to be terrific panels and a noteworthy keynote. More on all that in a minute.

First, though, I return to my question: Why am I—and many other lawyers—eager to hear about eDiscovery? After all these years of sessions and panels and speakers on the subject, don’t we have eDiscovery fatigue?

Part of the answer, I think, goes back to Marketing 101. Other areas of law manage to get along by labeling their elements with workaday words: Will. Contract. Crime.

But long ago, a few trial lawyers sat in a room and thought: What should we call that period of time in which we wrestle over documents and files? A generation later, associates worldwide deem it “drudgery” or “document hell.” But around that original table of esquires, a light bulb lit up: How about … “Discovery”!

A regular Ponce de Leon, those lawyers. So forever after, stacks of Bankers Boxes are not merely a felled forest made rectangle. They represent a journey, a quest—discovery.

Of course, the D word may enliven law practice, but it doesn’t put keisters in the seats at a CLE. For that, you need something else. And in regard to eDiscovery, it’s the old standby: fear.

Fear? Well, yes.

What I mean is, once you’ve been in law practice for a fair amount of time, you develop an expertise. You can spot issues, recall seminal law and trust your judgment and experience to make educated calculations. That is true among all lawyers, even trial lawyers when it comes to discovery.

But eDiscovery? That is a wiggly little creature. We think we’ve got it pinned down, but then a new development arises, as we can see in this scenario featuring an associate and a partner:

A: “Whew, I’ve gathered and indexed all of the files off the server. Done!”

P: “Did you remember to do the same with the emails?”

A: “Yep.”

P: “Including the deleted emails, and those residing on the secondary and tertiary servers?”

Less sure now.

A: “Um, yes.”

P: “And the applications that our client may have in the cloud. Did you index those?”

Panic in the eyes.

A: “I think so.”

P: “How about the thumb drives that our client handed out at four national conferences? And the transcripts and video from their 19 podcasts? The newsletters they distributed on Skype? The tweets that the summer interns may have foisted on the world? And don’t forget the company CEO’s holographic message to shareholders. You did capture all that data using the most recently accepted technological methods, haven’t you? Hey, why are you weeping?

(No associates were harmed in the making of this scenario.)

Judge John Facciola

The ASU Law School’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation knows your pain. And that is why their keynote speaker is ideally chosen. And why that speaker knows precisely what to talk about: the risks of being uneducated on the topic of eDiscovery.

That’s right. Judge John M. Facciola understands that the keynote’s job is not to provide the nuts and bolts that other panelists will offer up. Instead, his keynote topic hits lawyers right where they are most cringeworthy: competency. And, of course, the risks inherent in not being fully competent in this rapidly changing area of law practice.

The speaker is a Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and his keynote title is “Competency in eDiscovery: An Ethical Dilemma and Cooperation Among Litigants.”

Here is the school’s description of Judge Facciola and his presentation:

The Honorable John M. Facciola, one of the foremost jurists and educators in eDiscovery and the author of several heralded opinions including Peskoff v. Faber, United States v. O’Keefe, and Equity Analytics, LLC v. Lundin, will start the program with a fascinating keynote address that explores the ethical implications involved in violating perhaps the most basic rule of professional responsibility—competency.

Judge Facciola’s address on competency will be discussed in relation to the:

  • Developing law of sanctions with a focus on the present state of the law prospects of rule changes
  • Judicial involvement and movement of government agencies toward transparency and cooperation
  • New developments in the criminal law re eDiscovery
  • New federal judicial regime of enforcing the obligation to meet and confer
  • Whether the adversarial model of discovery is giving way to a new cooperative process

    Josh Abbott

Time to refresh your competence. You may read more about the conference and register here.

More on the Center for Law, Science & Innovation is here.

And congratulations to Josh Abbott, Executive Director at the Center, for staging what looks to be a great event. I’ll report back later on the judge’s address to attendees.

News from the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar’s Bar Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 class.

The Bar Leadership Institute is a nine-month educational program that each year prepares participants for leadership positions within the Bar and our community at large. Applicants from historically under-represented groups (racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and disability) who are active in community service and have demonstrated leadership ability are encouraged to apply. The Bar Leadership Institute was selected by the American Bar Association to receive its prestigious partnership award in 2009. Since its inception in 2007, the BLI has fostered the professional growth and enhanced the leadership skills of more than 75 diverse attorneys. These graduates have gone on to assume leadership positions within the Bar, the legal community and their local communities.

If you are interested in applying, more information about the program and the online application form are available here. If you know of an attorney who would be a good candidate for this program, please refer him ore her to the Bar’s website as well. Applications must be submitted online before the June 27, 2012, deadline.

If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to contact Elena Nethers, the Bar’s Diversity & Outreach Advisor, at Elena.Nethers@staff.azbar.org.

Does the legal system do enough to protect bicyclists?

The answer is a resounding no, at least according to a crowd of cyclists at the State Capitol last Saturday, May 19. As a news story opens:

“Brent Holderman is lucky to be alive. Six weeks ago he was on a bike ride with a couple of friends, training for a triathlon in East Mesa.

“Twenty miles into their ride, their group of three was hit by a car. The driver was distracted after reaching for her GPS. Holderman ended up with 11 fractures and is in a wheelchair.

“‘There’s just too many people on the road not paying attention,’ he said. ‘They hit people like me.’

On Saturday, Holderman joined about a thousand bicyclists at the State Capitol Lawn. It was part of the ‘Ride of Honor.’ Cyclists peddled in from different parts of the valley to send a message on awareness.

The event was put on by the non-profit group Not One More Foundation. They’re calling on legislatures to create laws with stiffer penalties and fines for distracted drivers.”

The whole story is here.

I suspect many of us have known a cyclist who has had a close shave, or worse. A decade ago, I worked with a young woman on a few initiatives in our community. A month later, the University of Arizona undergrad was struck by a car and killed as she pedaled through Tucson. The driver never stopped and was never found.

The cyclist–protestors at the Capitol seek changes at the legislative level. But another recent story involving a cyclist makes you wonder: Is there an inadequate sense of dismay even at the policing level? Are injured cyclists too often chalked up as the occasional and unavoidable result of people on bikes insisting that they may use the roads? The nerve of them!

The story involved one of the most fraught interactions: a driver who turns at an intersection, oblivious to the cyclist in the crosswalk. In this instance, the bike-rider had even gotten off his bike and was pushing it through the intersection.

Given that the driver struck the man after “not paying attention” to her right side, and that the collision left the man with “tire prints on his abdomen,” the police response was underwhelming. According to Chandler police:

“‘It’s hard to say what they will do. She might be given a citation,’ [Chandler Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Favazzo] said. ‘This was really and truly an accident. It was a tragic event, and a good reminder to look both ways and always be vigilant.’”

The story doesn’t make clear whether he was talking about the driver or the cyclist. But the notion that it was “truly an accident” means the police take no action is an odd one.

Understand, nearly all of these injuries or deaths come about through an accident. Rare is the instance in which a psychopathic driver targets cyclists (though it does happen). But if “it was an accident” means “No harm, no foul,” bike-riders are in a worse position than I would have imagined.

More information on making cycling safer in Arizona is here, from the Not One More Foundation.

Tell me about your experience on a bike in Arizona. Are legal changes necessary?

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