Convention


Westin 3 Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson

This is annual Convention week at the State Bar of Arizona. As always, a large selection of educational seminars (and fun activities) are packed into the three-day event held in Tucson at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa.

More detail about the Convention is here.

Later today, and in the next few days, I’ll share what seminar chairs have told me are the most valuable parts of their educational offerings.

Over the years, Arizona Attorney Magazine staff have covered the heck out of the annual event, and this year will be the same.

As in the past, we will not print a once-a-day hard-copy “Convention Daily.” Instead, we will cover Convention news closer to real time, via the editor’s blog. We will use multiple channels to communicate what’s going on. But the surest way to be sure you see everything is to follow us on Twitter. My name in Twitter is @azatty. You can view all the evolving content here (or at http://twitter.com/azatty, to be specific). I will be tagging everything with the hashtag #azbarcon – so be sure to search for that.

Want to participate? Send me brief stories or story suggestions. Or if you have convention photos, we’d be glad to share them with readers.

And don’t forget to tweet from convention. Use the hashtag #azbarcon.

Questions or suggestions? Reach the Editor, Tim Eigo, on-site at the Westin La Paloma, at 602-908-6991.

And always feel free to stroll up and say hello. I’ll be hiking all over the Westin to cover the goings-on. Or you may catch me at the Arizona Attorney table in the Exhibitor area. If you miss me there, leave your card or a note.

Good advice on World Environment Day: Raise your voice, not the sea level (I see what they did there!).

Good advice on World Environment Day: Raise your voice, not the sea level (I see what they did there!).

NOTE: This post was updated at 5:45 pm on June 5, 2014, to reflect the fact that the cell phone donation drive will no longer be held at the State Bar Convention. Instead, it has been postponed to later this year.

On World Environment Day (yes, today!), I’m happy to share something green from the upcoming State Bar of Arizona Convention.

Let’s start with the big news: The Task Force on Sustainability is holding a cell phone recycling drive later this year. Details are being finalized as we speak, but it appears that depending on the condition of the phone, they can be donated to local charities or, if not useable, then responsibly recycled. (Last I heard, the Task Force members were aiming to donate the usable phones to domestic violence shelters).

The State Bar of Arizona Convention green reminder

The State Bar of Arizona Convention green reminder

Will there be a great raffle with a great prize possibility to urge you to donate? … Perhaps, but no news as of press time. But you weren’t considering donating simply because an iPad might be a possibility, were you? Of course not!

If such a wonderful device were to be provided as a raffle prize, I know it would come from the generous folks at Jennings Strouss & Salmon, where Task Force member Shanna Orlich is an associate. (No pressure, Shanna!)

More big news: I have been told and have it on good account that there will be a model green law office set up at Convention. Come on in and view it. It’s like IKEA with pleading paper! Among other ideas the diorama may suggest to you is a visual demonstration of the amount of paper your law office may go through in a single year. (Get ready to feel reamed.)

Finally, because the Bar Convention is a place of active (not just passive) learning, be sure to attend the three (three!) seminars that touch on green topics:

Attorney Jennifer Mott: Helping to green the bar.

Attorney Jennifer Mott: Helping to green the bar.

Congratulations to the entire Task Force for impressive work. And a special kudo to Task Force Chair Jennifer Mott, whose passion and drive for this topic are global in scope. (Don’t you just love her delightfully unstuffy law firm headshot?—outside in the sunshine even there!)

Read the entire Convention brochure here.

In recent years, the Bar has made its own efforts at making the learning environment itself more sustainable. Click here to read a few Convention sustainability FAQs.

Green initiatives at SBA 2014 Convention

(Click to biggify.)

The Westin La Paloma Resort, site of the State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 11-13, 2014.

The Westin La Paloma Resort, site of the State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 11-13, 2014.

By now, you’ve received your State Bar Convention brochure. No? It’s also available online here.

I’ll be on-site in Tucson for the entire event, from Tuesday through Friday, June 10-13. If you can make it, look for me strolling among seminars and special events. But if you can’t attend, tell me which events or seminars you’d like me to cover—live and in-person. Tell me what you’re interested in, and I’ll try to cover it in my Convention Daily updates. Follow all of the updates and links to stories through Twitter. And follow the action via the Convention hashtag: #azbarcon

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAnd if you want to cover an event yourself as a bylined author or guest blogger, contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. Or if your skill is shooting photos, contact me too; we may be able to share them with Arizona’s legal community.

In the coming week, I’ll share some previews of the seminars that will be presented at Convention. Maybe that will spur your interest even more.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorSo would you like to know who won the State Bar of Arizona annual awards? Or would you rather be surprised when you settle into your luncheon seat at the annual Convention? (Don’t forget to register.)

Just in case: Spoiler alert! Stop reading if you’re in the second group.

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, to be honored with the 2014 James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award

Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, to be honored with the 2014 James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award

The State Bar of Arizona has announced the winners of its prestigious annual awards. Here is the news from the State Bar:

The State Bar of Arizona will recognize eight individuals and one state agency for their contributions to the legal profession at the 2014 State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, June 11-13.

  • Member of the Year Award – Amelia Craig Cramer
  • James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award – Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch
  • Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award – Stanton Bloom
  • Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award – Theodore Campagnolo
  • Sharon A. Fullmer Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award – Ellen Sue Katz
  • Award of Appreciation – John J. Sullivan
  • Award of Special Merit – William W. Owsley
  • Hon. John R. Sticht Excellence in Disabilities Accessibility Award – Arizona Attorney General’s Office
  • President’s Award – Patricia Lee Refo

Online bios and photographs, along with award descriptions, are available here.

Amelia Craig Cramer, to be honored with the 2014 Member of the Year Award

Amelia Craig Cramer, to be honored with the 2014 Member of the Year Award

A complete historic list of award winners is here.

Patricia Lee Refo, to be honored with the 2014 President's Award

Patricia Lee Refo, to be honored with the 2014 President’s Award

Former Justice Ruth McGregor speaks at the 2013 State Bar of Arizona Convention -- and now in the Washington Post.

Former Justice Ruth McGregor speaks at the 2013 State Bar of Arizona Convention — and now in the Washington Post.

On Sunday, readers of the Washington Post were treated to an opinion piece co-authored by Arizona’s own Ruth McGregor, a retired Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.

Titled “Keep politics out of the courthouse,” the essay was co-written by Randall Shepard, a fellow retired justice of the Indiana Supreme Court.

The news hook for their salvo against improper political influence was a recent awful occurrence in Oklahoma. As they describe it:

“The chaos surrounding the execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett was not just a wake-up call on capital punishment and how it is administered. The final hours also saw political efforts to bully and weaken Oklahoma’s courts. Similar battles are playing out around the country, threatening the ability of our courts to be fair and impartial.”

“When Lockett’s attorneys filed a lawsuit seeking information about the drug mixture that ultimately failed, the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a stay to grant more time for review. But the governor announced that she would disregard the court’s ruling. A legislator introduced a resolution to impeach the five justices who had voted for the stay, alleging ‘a willful neglect of duty and incompetence.’ The Supreme Court ultimately dissolved its stay and allowed Lockett’s execution to proceed.”

Did you get that? The governor looked at a court-issued stay and said, “Nope. Not gonna do it.

(You may recall reading that Lockett’s subsequent execution went terribly wrong.)

Justice at Stake logoWe cannot get into the Oklahoma justices’ heads. Perhaps they dissolved their own stay to avoid a continued head-to-head with the governor. Or perhaps they feared the impeachment resolution. But whatever their thinking, the ultimate decision did more harm to the independent judiciary than almost anything else, as it merely encouraged the further bullying of courts.

Justice McGregor and her co-author are board members of Justice at Stake, “a nonpartisan network working to keep courts fair and impartial.” You really should read their op-ed all the way to the end. Start here.

Reading the well-drafted opinion piece, I was reminded of an editor’s column I wrote back in 2009. In it, I commended to the consideration of the new U.S. President a jurist worthy of the United States Supreme Court. To my knowledge, President Obama never followed up and contacted Ruth McGregor (and he has not contacted me). But I thought you might enjoy what may be the one and only Arizona Attorney column that was also an open letter to the POTUS.

My SCOTUS recommendation opened Dear President Obama.” Keep reading here.

In the meantime, the retired justices suggest, if we needed more evidence of the real-life fallout that may come from the politicization of courts, an Oklahoma lethal injection provides it.

Below is an image of my 2009 column.

AzAt Editor's Letter May 2009 Ruth McGregor_opt

(click to biggify)

Bill Klain AZBAR member of the year 2013

Bill Klain, State Bar of Arizona 2013 Member of the Year

’Tis the season … to honor someone who deserves it.

I’m pleased to report that you still have a few days left to nominate an Arizona attorney for a prestigious award from the State Bar of Arizona. The awards will be given at this June’s Bar Convention in Tucson, and there may be no better way to recognize the highest commitment to the legal profession.

To give an idea of how moving the awards can be, here are the words of Bill Klain, who was the Bar’s 2013 member of the year:

“Receiving the Member of the Year award was both gratifying and humbling. While I greatly appreciate the Bar’s recognition of my work to improve civil practice and procedure through my committee service and involvement with continuing legal education, the award results from the collective efforts of a large number of people devoted to improving our justice system and with whom I have had the good fortune to collaborate. I am proud of the work we have accomplished and appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to these group efforts.”

In your own life and practice, you have likely come across an attorney or two worthy of recognition. Here is a description of what the Bar seeks:

“Each year the State Bar of Arizona honors members of the legal profession who go above and beyond. We want to know who you think should be recognized this year. Take a look at the awards listed below and think about lawyers you know who make a difference. There is even an award for a non-lawyer who helps the public understand justice and the legal profession.”

The deadline to submit nominations is March 26th at 5 p.m. That’s this Wednesday. Nominating is simplicity itself. Just write a letter telling the Bar about the person’s achievements and why they deserve the award. Send it to:

State Bar of Arizona

Awards Committee

c/o Nina Benham

4201 N. 24th St., Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85016-6266

Or email it to her at Nina.Benham@staff.azbar.org

The Bar has created a helpful page that provides detailed descriptions of the nine awards. It also includes a link to a list of previous winners.

Now the ball is in your court. You have two days to write a letter (brief or otherwise) nominating someone for an award. Get to drafting.

Larry Hammond speaks at the State Bar Board of Governors meeting, Oct. 25, 2013

Larry Hammond speaks at the State Bar Board of Governors meeting, Oct. 25, 2013

At the most recent meeting of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Arizona, attorney Larry Hammond rose to shed light on a vital issue: legal representation for those who cannot afford it.

He is the chair of the Indigent Defense Task Force, and on October 25, he asked the board to form a State Indigent Defense Commission. It would be charged with examining that intractable problem and suggesting solutions.

How intractable? Well, as Larry noted, we are in the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright and we’re still wrestling with it.

In fact, I wonder how much has changed since the issuance of noteworthy reports like Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice” (2003) and Gideon Undone: The Crisis in Indigent Defense Funding” (1982)?

(All of that, and more, are available on an ABA page dedicated to studies of the indigent defense system in the United States.)

Here is one of the things Larry said to the Governors in his appeal to create a commission:

“It is not just the duty of defense lawyers and victim advocates. We all must believe that competent, adequately funded representation is a part of all of our jobs.”

Do you agree?

I’ve invited Larry to write something for Arizona Attorney Magazine on the topic, both the crisis and the recommended response. I’ll keep you informed.

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