Law Practice


Canadian Bar Association CBA 2014 report titled Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in CanadaThis morning, if my plans don’t go awry, I’ll be attending the kickoff meeting of the new Arizona Supreme Court task force that will assess the management and governance of the State Bar of Arizona. I’ll report back on how it goes and what comes next.

Until then, you may want to skim some material about proposed changes to the Canadian legal system. True, the northerly report, if adopted, would make significant changes far beyond one bar association. But I was impressed by the Canadian task force’s willingness to look at all elements of the legal profession with a new eye.

I’m suspecting that the Arizona Supreme Court seeks a similarly clear-eyed look.

The entire report, titled “Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada,” is here.

Jordan Furlong

Jordan Furlong

And I agree: 106 pages is tough sledding on a Friday. But that’s why you should start with a Jordan Furlong column.

I have mentioned Jordan Furlong before (here and here). And I think his name is well associated with any assessment of what the future of law holds.

His concise and point-by-point analysis deconstructs the Canadian Bar Association report, which he admits he likes quite a bit. And, I’m pretty sure, his column and the related report are solid guideposts for what we may see coming to these United States in the not-so-distant future.

Here is Jordan’s post.

Have a wonderful—and transformative—weekend.

Considering a creative project? Time to greenlight it. (Photo by KUHT via Wikimedia Commons)

Considering a creative project? Time to greenlight it. (Photo by KUHT via Wikimedia Commons)

Next Monday, August 25, an “industry mixer” with an entertainment attorney and a film industry pro may offer some unique conversations—and opportunities.

Stephen Wade Nebgen

Stephen Wade Nebgen

Entertainment attorney Stephen Wade Nebgen will be available that evening. Perhaps you or a client have a project that would benefit from some thoughtful discussion. I met Stephen years ago (at an arts event, o‘ course), and I would agree with the event notice when it says, “This will be a great opportunity to have a valley-based contact to draw upon with any legal issue related to the film industry.” He will be there and answering questions about entertainment law.

The no-host happy hour is offered by Stephen and by Heather Holmberg, of The Film Capital. They each will be able to talk about the industry—and your project.

Here’s the skinny:

DATE: Monday, August 25, 2014

TIME: 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

PLACE: Christopher’s and Crush Lounge

ADDRESS: 2502 E Camelback Road, Ste. 102, Phoenix

Decades ago, when I toiled on a law review focused on entertainment law, I thought I spied a future in the practice area. Alas, the Directors Guild (and other potential employers) passed on my resume treatment. But there’s always chapter 2!

Here's how we covered the False Claims Act last March. (Get it? Whistleblower?)

Here’s how we covered the False Claims Act last March. (Get it? Whistleblower?)

Every now and then, the timeliness of a magazine article is brought home to you with great force. Yesterday’s Arizona Republic contained a piece that reminded me how valuable a magazine (even in print!) can be.

The subject of the Dennis Wagner story is a huge fraud settlement that a Tucson hospital must pay. As the article says, the Carondelet Health Network will pay $35 million, which is “the largest penalty of its kind in Arizona.” Just as fascinating, though, is the fact that “a whistle-blower who exposed the case will receive nearly $6 million of that sum.”

Read the whole story here.

The whistleblower is a Tucson woman named Jacqueline Bloink, “identified online as president of an agency that provides health-care compliance consulting and fraud investigations.”

Bloink sued Carondelet in 2011 in federal court. Then, “The Justice Department intervened and said Carondelet ‘knowingly and falsely billed’ the federal health agencies, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.”

Back in March, we published an article regarding the continuing vitality of the federal False Claims Act. In it, authors Barb Dawson and Daniel Huitink explained how a qui tam plaintiff may step in and sue when they see wrongdoing that affects the public purse. Or, as Dennis Wagner writes, “The False Claims Act contains provisions that allow private citizens to file fraud complaints on behalf of the government and to share in whatever funds are recovered. Under terms of the settlement, Bloink is to receive $5.95 million.”

His article includes commentary from Bloink’s attorney:

“‘This settlement is an extraordinary achievement and confirms once again the essential role that private whistle-blowers and their counsel play in helping our partners in the government to combat health-care fraud,’ David J. Caputo, one of Bloink’s attorneys, said in a written statement.”

Extra points, there, for managing to shoehorn in the value of the whistleblower’s lawyer!

I encourage you to go back and read the article by Barb and Daniel. They give a concise history of what was called “Lincoln’s Law” (named for Abraham Lincoln; you’ll have to read to see why).

More important for possible clients who are potential defendants, read the practice tips our authors provide on how to head off such a lawsuit before it happens. As I read their sage advice, I imagine Carondelet missed the boat in numerous areas.

Just another example of how heeding a good attorney—and purchasing a reasonably priced magazine subscription—can make a world of difference.

Arizona UA Law School logoYou may have wondered: What are the best reasons for an American university to launch a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree? This week, you got an answer.

I wrote before about the University of Arizona’s decision to be the first in the nation to offer such a degree. Time will tell whether the notion will catch on.

Yesterday, a UA Law professor took to the pages of The Chronicle of Higher Education to offer multiple reasons why the idea is overdue in the United States. In “The Case for Undergraduate Law Degrees,” Professor Brent T. White wrote, “Stepping back from the culturally embedded assumption in America that legal training should be provided in professional schools, the lack of an undergraduate route to legal education is perplexing.”

How perplexing? He suggests that the model has been successfully adopted in many other nations, and there’s no reason it wouldn’t work well here.

And when it comes to our evolving legal profession, “The question is not whether nonlawyers will provide legal services; it’s whether they will be well trained. Undergraduate law degrees offer the most cost-effective and broadly accessible way to offer such training.”

As always when opinionated people are engaged, the comments below the article offer some props to the writer as well as some pointed rejoinders.

Where do you stand on this experiment? Do you see the role of a B.A. in Law? Or do you see pitfalls on the path?

Letterpress BlogToday’s Change of Venue item is aimed at law students (sorry lawyers). But I’d sure appreciate your sharing it with worthy law student friends.

The sum of it is, there’s a blog post contest, and there is cash-money involved. Full stop.

(My blog title may have fanned the flames of your interest by mentioning “fame,” but who’s to say, really?)

The-Expert-Institute-square-logoThe Expert Institute is seeking great law student blog posts and decided a contest may be the best way to locate them (this is their first annual). You can read more details here.

There are a list of rules (it is a legal writing competition, after all), but note that the contest is (1) open to all law students in the United States and Canada and (2) open through December 31, so you have time to provide much valuable content for possible review.

And yes, as you might guess, posts must be related somehow to the use of expert witnesses in litigation.

Turn up, law students! If an Arizona blogger earns a prize in the contest, maybe we at Arizona Attorney Magazine will throw a little fame their way ourselves. (No promises; I’m just thinking out loud. Get writing.)

Have a marvelous—and blog-worthy—weekend.

Our July/August 2014 cover story (and now a video): Changes to the complaint process at the Ariz. Registrar of Contractors

Our July/August 2014 cover story (and now a video): Changes to the complaint process at the Ariz. Registrar of Contractors

Get ready to snippet. (snippet good)

No, this is not a Nip/Tuck episode (or a Devo song), but an opportunity to view an educational video (and maybe get a little CLE).

As I mentioned last month, Arizona Attorney Magazine is participating in a new venture with the State Bar of Arizona CLE folks. “CLE Snippets” are brief videos that let you hear from an author of an article in the coming month’s magazine.

In July, I had the chance to speak with Matt Meaker (right) about his terrific cover story. (This is just a screen-shot. Want to watch? Click the link below.)

In July, I had the chance to speak with Matt Meaker (right) about his terrific cover story. (This is just a screen-shot. Want to watch? Click the link below.)

When I wrote about this before, I promised (threatened) to provide a link to the teaser. So here it is. If you like it, please feel free to share it around. If you don’t, well, let’s pretend this never happened.

cle snippets teaser logo. This teaser signifies a new and innovative way to combine magazine content with online learning.Thank you again to Matt Meaker of Sacks Tierney for his contribution on changes at the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.

Yesterday, an author and I taped another snippet, which is on compliance (or not) with the Affordable Care Act. But more on that later.

azbar character_and_fitness_2014

The State Bar of Arizona has issued a call for new members of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness. As the Bar says, “This Committee is responsible for the investigation and recommendation of applicants for admission to the practice of law in Arizona.”

That new members will include a nonlawyer and a lawyer (though there are different application forms). So if this is a good fit for you, read on. And if you are an attorney and have a great nonlawyer candidate in mind, please share this post.

Here is more detail from the Bar:

Before applying, individuals should be aware of the significant responsibilities that correspond with this professional volunteer activity. Committee members need the time, skill and patience to review confidential detailed reports of background investigations into financial, criminal, civil, employment, disciplinary and academic matters. The Committee members review approximately 1,200 applications each year.

The Committee conducts at least one formal hearing monthly in Phoenix. Members are expected to participate in each formal hearing, and in one or more informal hearings per month held throughout the state on an as-needed basis. Between file review and hearings/business meetings, members devote an average of about 25 hours per month to Committee responsibilities.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorPeople who live outside Maricopa County would enhance the statewide makeup of the Committee and are encouraged to apply. Mileage is paid for any members residing outside Maricopa County, but there is no other compensation for service as a Committee member. Initial terms are four years.

While the committee is not a small commitment, its work is an important part of ensuring that Arizona attorneys meet the standards required in the legal profession.

More information, as well as interactive forms for both attorneys and non-attorneys, may be found here.

Application forms are due by Wednesday, August 27, 2014, and also may be obtained by contacting Carrie Sherman at the State Bar of Arizona at 602-340-7201 or at Carrie.Sherman@staff.azbar.org.

Interviews of selected candidates will occur in September.

Hispanic 40 Under 40 logo 2

Once again, Arizona lawyers will be recognized among those winning the prestigious 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 Award. The roster of honorees was released last week.

The lawyer-honorees are Ayensa Millan, of the CIMA Law Group; Ed Maldonado, of the Law Office of Edward Maldonado (and the current President of the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association); and Dulce Gonzales Rivas, of the Zavala Law Offices LLC.

As we get closer to the luncheon awards event on October 3, I will share more details. Be sure to come out to cheer on your colleagues!

The complete list of honorees is here.

Volunteers Roger Ferland and Kay Nehring at the 2013 Arizona StandDown. (photo: Alberto Rodriguez)

Volunteers Roger Ferland and Kay Nehring at the 2013 Arizona StandDown. (photo: Alberto Rodriguez)

Some great front-page news: How often can you say that?

But that’s exactly what we had in yesterday’s Arizona Republic, where we learned that attorney Roger Ferland had been honored as the Outstanding Disabled Vet of the Year by the National Disabled Veterans of America.

The story, aptly titled “Phoenix veteran keeps giving back,” is here.

ArmyOneSource logoYou may recall hearing Roger’s name before, often in regard to his massive efforts to assist vets who may need legal assistance.

I wrote about him here, as he played a key role in the Arizona StandDown.

He also was a force for good in the Bar’s participation in the initiative called Army One Source, a national program to recruit volunteer lawyers. Through the leadership of Roger, Arizona yielded the highest number of volunteer lawyers of any participating state. You can read more about that program here.

Congratulations to Roger Ferland, and thank you for your service.

And a hat-tip to John Phelps for alerting me to this great news.

AAABA members and past recipients Hon. Kenneth Lee and Hon. Paul Tang present AAABA’s newest recipient, Hon. Joan L. Wagener, with “The Book” at her investiture ceremony on July 11, 2014 at the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County. Fellow members Briana Chua, Amanda Chua and Shijie Feng attended. (Photo: AAABA)

AAABA members and past recipients Hon. Kenneth Lee and Hon. Paul Tang present AAABA’s newest recipient, Hon. Joan L. Wagener, with “The Book” at her investiture ceremony on July 11, 2014 at the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County. Fellow members Briana Chua, Amanda Chua and Shijie Feng attended. (Photo: AAABA)

This week, I read a news story that reminded me of one of the Arizona legal community’s most evocative honors: awarding a gift of a children’s book.

The Arizona Asian American Bar Association has been giving “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein since 1994. To merit the honor, you must be Asian American and be named a judge. The most recent honoree was Judge Joan L. Wagener.

You can read an Arizona Daily Star article on the recent event here.

As AAABA reports: “The Book was originally presented to Hon. Thomas Tang by the State Bar of Arizona Committee on Women and Minorities in the Law in 1994. The late Hon. Thomas Tang believed the story of The Giving Tree illustrated the duties and dedication of those that dedicated their lives to public service.”

“AAABA presents the book to its members who are appointed to a State or Federal bench. Judge Wagener will hold ‘The Book’ until the next Asian Pacific American Judge in Arizona is appointed.”

The organization listed its past recipients, including:

Judge Kenneth Lee (1997 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Judge Paul Tang (2001 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Judge Rosa Mroz (2004 to present), Maricopa County Superior Court

Judge Christopher Staring (2010 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Judge David Cunanan (2012 to present), Maricopa County Superior Court

Judge Joan Wagener (2014 to present), Pima County Superior Court

Four Asian Pacific American judges pre-date the tradition of passing down “The Book.”

Judge Thomas Tang (1963 to 1970), Maricopa County Superior Court; (1977 to 1993), Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals

Judge Harry Gin (1975 to 1994), Pima County Superior Court, Presiding Judge

Judge James Don (1978 to 2000), Pinal County Superior Court, Presiding Judge

Judge Brian Ishikawa (1995 to present), Maricopa County Superior Court

Follow the Arizona Asian American Bar Association on Facebook.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,384 other followers