Lawyer kudos


This past week, two lawyers contacted me, asking how to be included in the Arizona Attorney Blog Network.

Fortunately, they contacted the right guy. After a few questions and a quick view of what kind of content they were posting, they were listed on our site.

But then I wondered, as I often do: What do those lawyers and law firms get out of the blogging experience? What are their goals for using the medium? And do they feel they’ve been successful?

(I know; I could simply ask them those questions. Well, they really just wanted us to post their content without a lot of jibber-jabber. But maybe next time.)

I admire those lawyers who opt to blog. They not only carve time out of busy practices; they also weather the critique, overt and covert, of others, who insist that blogging is either a time-sink or an ethical minefield—or both.

If you’ve ever wondered about the same issues, and if you think the answer is to abandon blogging, take a look at an interesting post from the U.K. Titled “Are Blogs Any Use to Law Firms?” it examines some of the elements that may make a blog not worth a lawyer’s time.

But if you’re nodding in agreement, you should pause your head-bob to read Joe Reevy’s complete post carefully. No; he’s really not saying that blogging is a waste of time—quite the opposite. Instead, he makes concrete suggestions that may yield more positive results for your legal blog.

If you consider and implement Reevy’s three strategies for success, you will likely see a spike in engagement with your audience. And that—not just increased billings—is what it’s really all about.

Should the owner of this shower pay more for water? An efficient market might say yes.

Should the owner of this shower pay more for water? An efficient market might say yes.

If there is a crisis in water supply in the West, perhaps a solution lies in the market.

Or, as Robert Glennon says, “Quite simply, we need to price water appropriately: people who use more should pay more.”

That is the matter-of-fact position of the University of Arizona Professor. And on its face, the statement could not appear less controversial. After all, that’s how we Americans treat most every other commodity.

UA Law Professor Robert Glennon

UA Professor Robert Glennon

But there is something funny about people’s perceptions of water and water use, Glennon points out. For example, I was surprised to read in his recent New York Times op-ed about the numerous American cities that do not even meter water—the notion being, I guess, that metering is the first step toward taking away people’s water. But when meters are installed, water use and abuse declines.

Read Glennon’s entire piece here. (It is part of a NYT series on “The Water Crisis in the West.”)

Tucson, Ariz., in 1909 (Wikipedia)

Tucson, Ariz., in 1909 (Wikipedia) (click to enlarge)

Imagine a legal system in which your property rights could not be assured, and where your land holdings could be stripped of you based on your marital status.

That scenario is not beyond imagining. As you might surmise, that situation was faced by approximately half of the U.S. population at one time (and continues for many more globally today).

In the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we were privileged to feature a story that occurred right in Tucson not so very long ago.

It was titled Anna’s Story, and here is how author and attorney Marjorie Cunningham opened the real-life tale:

“Buying, selling and trading land has been a part of Arizona’s booms and busts since colonial times. One shrewd and successful land speculator during the 1800s was a French woman named Anna Charauleau. Ms. Charauleau also exhibited the strong will and relentless nature needed to pursue the protection of her legal rights. Those qualities became important in Arizona legal history, as she was a party to several landmark cases decided by Arizona’s Supreme Court in the 1870s and 1880s in which women’s property rights were at issue.”

Read the whole article here.

And be sure to read carefully the excerpts from the Supreme Court opinion regarding the land matters. Here is how a wise justice analyzed things:

“Before her marriage, the law presumes [a woman] competent to buy and sell and convey property, and supposes she acts in such matters as intelligently as if she were the opposite sex; but during the existence of the marriage relation somehow this condition of ignorance and stupidity is supposed to settle down upon her, to benumb her faculties, to cast a cloud upon her intelligence, to be lifted only by the death of her spouse or other severance of the marriage. … ”

“We are certain that the presumption contended for by the counsel, that a woman of mature years, and an American wife, ceases from the day of her marriage to know what she is doing in the execution of a conveyance until advised … should no longer obtain in a court of justice.”

Thank you to our author for sharing such a compelling piece of Arizona history.

Are there other historic stories that are evocative to you? Contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Chief Justice Scott Bales on the Arizona PBS program Horizon, July 9, 2014.

Chief Justice Scott Bales on the Arizona PBS program Horizon, July 9, 2014.

A brief mention on this Change of Venue Friday.Arizona Supreme Court Strategic Plan 2014-19 cover_opt

In case you missed it: On Wednesday, July 9, Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales spoke with PBS Horizon host Ted Simons about the Court’s five goals, as described in the judicial branch’s strategic plan.

In the interview, Justice Bales touched on multiple subjects, including access to justice, specialty courts (such as drug courts and veterans courts), evidence-based practices, and lawyer discipline.

To see the whole video, go here (the interview with Justice Bales begins at about 10:17).

Download your own copy of the report here.

Have a great—and strategic—weekend.

Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales, left, speaks with Horizon host Ted Simons, July 9, 2014.

Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales, left, speaks with Horizon host Ted Simons, July 9, 2014.

The complaint process for Arizona contractors has changed. ROC Contractor complaint process button_opt

Continuing legal education may never be the same again. After an event yesterday, W.E.B. DuBois, Temple Grandin, Ann Sullivan and every other famous educator may have spun in their graves. Why is that? Well, I participated in a CLE program.

What? You ask. You’ve never been a presenter or panelist on a Bar program? Alas, it’s true. (Well, there was one time I played a bumbling and confused attorney for a Solo Section program at the 2004-or-so Convention. But that was hardly acting, and barely educational.)

But then a few months ago, the Bar launched CLE Snippets, and I still wasn’t sure I’d have a part to play.

cle snippets teaser logo. This teaser signifies a new and innovative way to combine magazine content with online learning.Do you remember my discussing the Snippets? They are 15- to 30-minute CLE videos. There will be one a month, each based on an article in the upcoming month’s Arizona Attorney Magazine. The inaugural video covered a topic from the Eye on Ethics column. So it made sense that columnist Dave Dodge and Bar Ethics Counsel Patricia Sallen illustrated the points in the video Q&A.

Our second Snippet, though, covers significant changes being launched to the complaint process regarding contractors. So the story affects lawyers who represent a whole raft of professionals. It’s good stuff.

Much to my surprise, I got to frame and ask questions of the author, Matt Meaker of Sacks Tierney. The questions covered everything from an explanation of what specifically changed, to asking which lawyers and other professionals will be most affected, and whether this is or could be a good thing (or not) for contractors and consumers.

As this is my inaugural CLE, I decided we should be as un-CLE-like as possible. So here is a selfie of me and Matt before the heated (not) conversation. What followed the photo was a casual but substantial Q&A (Matt provided the substantial portion!).

Matt Meaker and Tim Eigo clearly have no game face, as they prepare for a Q&A on changes to the Arizona contractor-complaint process.

Matt Meaker and Tim Eigo clearly have no game face, as they prepare for a Q&A on changes to the Arizona contractor-complaint process.

While the camera rolled, I also had the great pleasure to reveal—to viewers and to Matt himself—that his article was to be our cover story in the July/August 2014 magazine. So not only were we providing excellent practice pointers—we were breaking news!

Matt Meaker headshot

A better, more professional headshot of Matt Meaker of Sacks Tierney.

Matt and I may have similar non-reverential approaches to legal matters. Serious stuff, yes, but why can’t it be delivered in punchy and enjoyable ways?

Of course, I may never be asked back, so that would spell the end of that little experiment.

I’ll share a link of the preview once I have it. And here’s hoping I’ve got a future in legal education! (In this day and age, we all need a back-up plan.)

Gallagher & Kennedy attorney Laura Antonuccio reads to Phoenix Day schoolchildren, May 28, 2014.

Gallagher & Kennedy attorney Laura Antonuccio reads to Phoenix Day schoolchildren, May 28, 2014.

At a school in south Phoenix, dozens of children smile as a group from a law firm enters the room. They’ve come to know these women—each one a woman professional from law firm Gallagher & Kennedy—over the course of many months. And this day—May 28, 2014—is the culmination of the nearly year-long relationship.

If your eyes grow large at the notion that children would be pleased to see attorneys, you really need to understand what these women accomplished at Phoenix Day, an early education and youth development center serving underprivileged children.

The 18 women from Gallagher & Kennedy sought a way to make a difference in their community. The result was their participation in the Million Minutes Reading Challenge of the United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Seeing the need, the G&K folks formed their own “Team Right to Read.” They also sought out a participating school, landing at Phoenix Day. Since last September, the women have volunteered more than 7,300 minutes (and counting) reading to 86 students.

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group who donated hundreds of books to children at Phoenix Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, as part of their role in the Valley of the Sun United Way's Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. L to R: Jodi Bohr, Jennifer Cranston, Lori Stinson (Phoenix Day), Laura Antonuccio, Meg Smeck, Alana Hake. (Photo: PatrickCorley.com)

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group who donated hundreds of books to children at Phoenix Day on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, as part of their role in the Valley of the Sun United Way’s Million Minutes Volunteer Reading Challenge. L to R: Jodi Bohr, Jennifer Cranston, Lori Stinson (Phoenix Day), Laura Antonuccio, Meg Smeck, Alana Hake. (Photo: PatrickCorley.com)

May 28 was a reading day like many others. But it also was an opportunity to give the children another present—a large box of books (and other items) for each to take home. The materials had been gathered and assembled over multiple weeks by the G&K women.

As the school’s Education Director Lori Stinson looks on with a smile, attorney Laura Antonuccio leads the kids in a rousing rendition of “Clap Your Hands.”

“Reach for the sky, wiggle your toes, Stick out your tongue and touch your nose.”

Antonuccio originated the idea of a reading support group, and she is adept at firing the children up with the excitement of reading.

She suddenly exclaims, “On the count of three, everybody tell me how old you are!” The joyful cacophony of “3,” “5,” “4” fills the room, while a sotto voce (and slightly Eeyore-ish) voice adds from the back of the room, “30.”

After the festivities, lawyer Jennifer Cranston tells a visitor why the women are committed to this effort.

“Of course, we are all a part of the community,” she begins. And if listeners need a better reason to offer children the gift of reading, she adds, “And we’ll certainly reduce the need for lawyers if the entire population can become better educated.”

(Yes, she meant reducing the need for lawyers is a good thing.)

Members of the Gallagher & Kennedy women’s group may continue their work at Phoenix Day. But the group also seeks a new initiative for the coming year. Congratulations and thank you to each of them for their remarkable commitment.

Here are some more photos from the May 28 event.

Gallagher & Kennedy's Meg Smeck with children of Phoenix Day.

Gallagher & Kennedy’s Meg Smeck with children of Phoenix Day.

One of the many boxes of donated items gathered by the Gallagher & Kennedy women as gifts to the children of Phoenix Day.

One of the many boxes of donated items gathered by the Gallagher & Kennedy women as gifts to the children of Phoenix Day.

Gallagher and Kennedy attorney Jodi Bohr reads to a Phoenix Day student.

Gallagher and Kennedy attorney Jodi Bohr reads to a Phoenix Day student.

Phoenix Day students and Gallagher and Kennedy women professionals at the May 28, 2014, event.

Phoenix Day students and Gallagher and Kennedy women professionals at the May 28, 2014, event.

Estate Planning wills trusts

I often communicate the results of the State Bar’s Lawyers on Call events after they occur. But as I looked at the topic for tomorrow’s pro bono lawyer event, I thought that many of us may have family or friends who could benefit from calling in. Please feel free to share this with them.

Tomorrow’s topic is estate planning (wills, trusts, more). The number to call is (602) 258-1212 (note: lawyers are only available at that phone number from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the days when Lawyers on Call is featured). Here is Bar news about the upcoming Lawyers on Call.

“If you should pass away unexpectedly, will your children be cared for by someone you love and trust? If you become incapacitated, will your business continue to thrive and grow? Will your family have to deal with bureaucracy during a time of sadness? Ease the stress associated with untimely death or accidents by seeking advice from an estate planning attorney for free on Tuesday, July 1.”

“Volunteer estate planning attorneys will answer your questions on the State Bar of Arizona, 12 News, and azcentral.com’s Lawyers on Call public service program. You can discuss your wills, trust, and estate planning issues with them for free from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1.”

Ak Chin Justice Center, whose ribbon-cutting occurred June 6, 2014. Maricopa, Ariz.

Ak Chin Justice Center, whose ribbon-cutting occurred June 6, 2014. Maricopa, Ariz.

Maricopa, Arizona, was the site of a June 6 community gathering that marked the opening of the Ak-Chin Indian Community Justice Center. The 56,000-square-foot building houses the tribal police department, court and detention center, as well as offices for public defenders, prosecutors and probation staff.

That’s the opening to my news story that will be published in the July/August Arizona Attorney Magazine. That’s also where we’ll include a smattering of photos.

But who doesn’t like more photos? So here are a few in this post. And you can see the whole set on our Facebook page here.

Have a great—and justice-filled—weekend.

Basket-weaving, an important component of the Ak-Chin culture, is apparent in the Ak-Chin Justice Center's design and appointments. The photo shows how the design influences the light fixtures.

Basket-weaving, an important component of the Ak-Chin culture, is apparent in the Ak-Chin Justice Center’s design and appointments. The photo shows how the design influences the light fixtures.

Tribal Judge Brian Burke describes features of the new courtroom space at the Ak-Chin Justice Center, June 5, 2014.

Tribal Judge Brian Burke describes features of the new courtroom space at the Ak-Chin Justice Center, June 5, 2014.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 President Johnson signs

President Lyndon Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Beginning Friday and continuing through next week, a series of Arizona events marks the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Phoenix events are covered in some detail on a dedicated Facebook page. They include:

  • The unveiling of a commemorative mural, Burton Barr Library, Friday, 10 a.m.
  • Voter registration/civic engagement event, State Capitol lawn, Saturday, 9 a.m.
  • Celebration dinner, First Institutional Baptist Church, Saturday, 5 p.m.
  • Community celebration, Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 newspaper headlineAs the site describes the legislation:

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as ‘public accommodations’).”

“Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 at the White House.”

How about a law office in an old cigar buidling? Puff on that idea! NHBAR historic building 1

How about housing your law office in an old cigar building? Puff on that idea!

How do we tell the story of law offices in historic buildings?

That’s something we’ve considered and attempted over the years at Arizona Attorney Magazine. I think (hope) that many of our readers agree with me that the life of the law may be illuminated by exploring the spaces we use for attorneys’ work. And when those spaces are vintage ones, we also manage to tell the story of our state.

Over the years, a lawyer I respect has urged me (a few times) to do such a story in the magazine. A history buff myself, I’m on board. But our challenge continues: There is no statewide inventory of historic structures that are now used as law offices.

So I keep beating the drum, urging lawyers to contact me with their buildings’ stories. (Send your information and photos to arizona.attorney@azbar.org.)

Meantime, I checked my mail this week and was greeted by a bar publication whose own exploration has yielded great fruit. Congratulations to the New Hampshire Bar Association for this month’s feature on historic law offices.

I spoke previously in praise of the NHBA’s premier publication. And now they’ve done it again. (Enough with the talent, already.)

In “Preserving the Past,” NH Bar News Managing Editor Kristen Senz and staff showed the results of scouring the highways and byways to find the best offices representing the topic.

Here is how their hard-copy pages came out. Note the great photos paired with the well-researched and detailed copy.

NHBAR historic law offices 1_opt

NHBAR historic law offices 2_opt

But this is 2014. So even if they’re writing about a 1700’s-era Colonial, publishers know they have to meet readers online too.

So if you don’t happen to have a print version of NH Bar News sitting around your office, you can go online to see the featured structures—and even more that wouldn’t fit in the publication.

You can view and read about all the historic buildings here. Well done (once again), New Hampshire Bar!

And now, you Arizona lawyers can help us tell the stories of your own vintage law offices. We’d love to hear from you.

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