Lawyer kudos


Royal Mail Coach, photo by DanieVDM, via Wikimedia Commons

What does a Royal Mail Coach have to do with the law? Our book reviewer tells all!
(Photo by DanieVDM, via Wikimedia Commons)

 

I was considering what takes a book review to a whole other level recently when an email arrived from Judge George Anagnost. And I was all, “Now I remember.”

Do Great Cases Make Bad Law? book by Leland Bllom Jr. The great book that was our reviewer's launching-pad.

The great book that was our reviewer’s launching-pad.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for book reviews (and of books). But too many reviewers think of their task as the same that confronted them in grade-school book reports: Tell what the book is about, in order, and then say if you’d recommend it (or not).

Drafted that way, the grade-school report is far superior, for at least it came with a hand-drawn cover.

Judge Anagnost’s approach is far more—and less—than that. He explains what the book is about, but not in enervating detail. More important, he sets the book in a context of others, and he sets the book’s subject in the context of its times, whether it is present day or the Revolutionary War.

Add to that his need to think discursively, wonderfully so. It is that narrative arc that yields magazine pages that are not a forced march from A to Z. No, his article is dotted with sidebars that illuminate and entertain (and give our Art Director the fun and sometimes difficult task of locating appropriate images that are high resolution and either in the public domain or reasonably priced!).

I post the pages below simply so you can see how his approach enlivens our magazine issues (though you can click to make them larger). But to read the Judge’s latest great review, go here.

And on Wednesday, September 17, Judge Anagnost again moderates one of his successful updates of the past Supreme Court Term. More detail is here. I plan to be there, and I hope you can make it, too.

 

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.

The Zanes law firm hosted a school-supply giveaway at its Tucson office on August 2.

The Zanes law firm hosted a school-supply giveaway at its Tucson office on August 2.

Those of us who recently packed some children off to school will appreciate this item, regarding a Tucson law firm that assisted teachers with a school-supply giveaway.

The Zanes law firm hosted its fourth annual giveaway on Saturday, August 2. That morning, the parking lot of its office at 3501 East Speedway Boulevard served as the sharing spot where 200 teachers gathered.

Below are some more photos from the event. And you can read more about the firm’s community efforts here.

Is your law firm or law office engaged in great community activity? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Zanes School Supply Giveaway_02

Zanes School Supply Giveaway_03

Zanes School Supply Giveaway_04

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.

Why do curse words trouble us so? And should government regulate them?

Why do curse words trouble us so? And should government regulate them?

Today’s brief item is custom-made for Change of Venue Friday. That’s when I locate some lighter piece of legal fare, a tasty morsel that has just a hint of the profession.

I point you to a law review article (No! Keep reading!) worth a few minutes of your time.

Before I tell you the article title, I do have to remind that this tends to be an adult-focused blog. OK? Have precocious youngsters been sent packing?

Here’s the title: “FUCK.”

No, I’m not shouting or being unnecessarily brief. The title is one word, and it is all caps.

It was written by Christopher M. Fairman, a professor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. His bio includes some background on this most perfectly named essay:

“The importance of protecting words—even the four-letter ones—is at the heart of Professor Fairman’s most recent scholarly work. Professor Fairman celebrates free speech with the publication of his first book: Fuck: Word Taboo and Protecting our First Amendment Liberties (Sourcebooks 2009). The book builds on his scholarship in taboo language found in his highly popular article, ‘Fuck,’ 28 Cardozo Law Review 1171 (2007). Professor Fairman is adamant that our government should keep out of the censorship business: ‘Words are ideas. If the government can control the words we say, it can also control what we think.’”

Christopher M Fairman

Christopher M Fairman

Oh, you’d like to read the article itself? It’s right here.

And yes, before you protest, it did indeed come out of a highly regarded law review, the one at Cardozo Law.

How would I come across such a thing? I swear (get it) that I’ve seen it before, but I was happily reminded of the inflammatory piece by (who else) a law student. Thank you to Tim Bourcet for brightening our day!

A line in a Wikipedia entry about the author tells me you may have already read the article: “Fairman’s article quickly became one of the most downloaded scholarly legal articles on the internet.”

Have a great—and colorful—weekend.

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.

Blog evangelism. Check. Professional engagement. Check. Surprising questions. Check, natch.

Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity logoYesterday, I had the privilege to present on the topic of lawyers and blogging to a national law society. As expected, I learned as much as I imparted.

The Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity held their annual conference in Scottsdale, and it was a pleasure to meet with many of its members as I presented on how to manage the multi-channel chaos that faces us (and use a blog to build your practice and secure your image).

You can see the list of rotating workshops here. I’m sure you’ll agree, there was some pretty serious content on offer—plus blogging, by me.

As is my custom, I took a photo of my two workshop audiences as they began to drift into the room.

My first audience at the Phi Alpha Delta conference: Much experience in practice, questions about functionality.

My first audience at the Phi Alpha Delta conference: Much experience in practice, questions about functionality.

My second audience at the Phi Alpha Delta conference: Younger attorneys and law students: Hard questions about blogging.

My second audience at the Phi Alpha Delta conference: Younger attorneys and law students: Hard questions about blogging.

Each group was attentive, slept only a little, and had engaging questions at the end.

As occurs at the best conferences, some of their questions took me by surprise. But the surprises are where we presenters learn.

One young attendee asked about the overall professional wisdom of blogging. She related a story about a hiring lawyer who reviewed submitted resumes. When he spotted an applicant who touted their blog, he threw the c.v. in the trash. His reasoning: He didn’t want to hire someone who spent their time blogging.

Another young questioner said that she most often got advice to eliminate as much of her electronic contributions as possible, rather than add to them with a blog. She feared that every online offering, including blog posts, could eventually be sifted and analyzed and held against her by employers and professional colleagues.

Meanwhile, the questions I received from older audience members were more expected ones and had to do with functionality: Do I recommend WordPress over Blogger? How often do I post? Where do I locate public-domain images?

The risk-averseness-ness among younger voices took me by surprise. But these folks face a shifting world, one in which the media portray the online world generally and social media (even blogging) in particular as dotted with pitfalls.

So I responded (as I recall) that our best professional judgment will keep most of us from serious error online, just as it always has in person. A sober—even if occasionally cheeky—assessment of a legal topic is unlikely to cause anyone long-term harm. In fact, people (lawyers and non-lawyers) are more likely to be impressed by what makes your voice unique than they are by how well you recede into the mass of your navy-suited colleagues.

And, I pointed out, a post that assesses a recent Supreme Court case, for instance, is unlikely to generate the kind of professional shame that may accompany a naked drunk tweet. Professional tip: Avoid those.

I added that if your blog is well done, potential employers will spot the bottom-line value as quickly as they spot the book of business you may bring. Each is a professional asset that may be touted and capitalized on.

Finally, I added that if electronically stored evidence has taught us anything, it is that (1) yes, all that data (including your drunk tweet) will “stay out there forever,” but (2) it is amazingly expensive to go back years and years and years to locate a single tweet or a single Facebook post or a single screen-shotted Snapchat. An employer may not care to do that with an associate attorney applicant. I believe the media stories are largely a bunch of scare-tactic B.S. Then again, your mileage may vary.

Aside from the occasional hiring partner who doesn’t have a clue how to read resumes and assess value.

But those audience questions linger in my mind. They lead me to re-assess the part of my presentations that explain the value prospect in blogging. For clearly, the challenges and media scare tactics faced by younger attorneys and law students require a new and different response.

Thank you again to Phi Alpha Delta and its Executive Director Andrew Sagan for the invite. I had a blast—and learned a lot.

Susie Salmon, UA Law School

Susie Salmon, UA Law School

Color me nostalgic, but this week I’m offering a few great pieces of content from the departing issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine—in case you missed it.

Today. I point you to our new-ish column on legal writing. Wisely enough, that column is written by an expert in the subject, a legal writing professor at the UA Law School, Susie Salmon.

I have been impressed by Susie’s work from the first time I spotted it. Concise, witty, salted with just enough pop-culture and other references to keep us coming back for more.

This was not the legal writing approach I got in law school, I can tell you that.

(Ironically, Susie and I attended the same law school. I have never asked her about her experience at UC-Hastings as a writing student. Perhaps it was a stellar one; someone had to get the good section.)

Susie’s column in the current issue is spot-on as usual. She takes something you think you can live without knowing—in the June issue it’s the comma spliceand demonstrates that no, no you cannot.

Like all great writing teachers (and writers), Susie shows; she does not just tell.

And sometimes, she’ll tell off—but with courtesy.

When I received her April column, for example, I laughed out loud. For there, right in her lede (don’t know what that is? She explains it here), Susie gently pointed out a point of disagreement between us. You may chuckle (or chortle, if you’re legal-word pundit Bryan Garner), but debates over the Oxford comma are serious business.

Here is how she handled it. (And a sample of her column lede is below.)

Commas may look innocent, but can they be unnecessary? (Sorry, Oxford.)

Commas may look innocent, but can they be unnecessary? (Sorry, Oxford.)

Well, unlike the musings of my own law school professor, I take to heart Susie’s suggestions. And so I am pleased to tell you that since reading her gentle remonstrance, I have (deep breath) … taken a less hardline view that the Oxford comma is a ridiculous relic of a stodgy past.

Yes, I still strive to follow the AP Stylebook, our particular bible. And yes, my skin does break out in a rash when I see that damned O.C. wheel around the corner of a paragraph, grinning the power-drunk grin of a self-satisfied colonial monoglot.

But now, at least, I do not obliterate it with relish, striking it out with a violent Sharpie slash. Instead, I read the sentence multiple times, slowly, over Port, as I imagine baffled O.C. lovers do, considering every possible way a comma’s omission may lead to confusion or a monarchy’s collapse. And then, every once in a while, I allow the comma to remain.

See. I can learn.

Well, so can you. So enjoy Susie’s column now and in the future. But go easy on adding the commas, would you?

 

 

Maricopa County Courthouse 1800sThis week, I’m sharing some Arizona Attorney content that may have slipped by you unnoticed. As we are about to launch the September issue, I wanted to be sure you saw a few items that I think are significant. (Yesterday, I mentioned a data list that may be of great help to attorneys wondering what’s on the minds of jurors.)

My second mention of the week for magazine content is a column that honors a special bar anniversary—not of the State Bar, but of the Maricopa County Bar Association.

Stan Watts is not only a lawyer but also a historian. And our back-page story by Stan is the result of a collaboration between Maricopa County Bar Association Executive Director Allen Kimbrough, Stan and me.

When I heard from Allen about the MCBA’s 100-year anniversary, I agreed it would be ideal for us at the State Bar to recognize the achievement. But how?

Fortunately, Allen suggested Stan could draft something evocative, as he has so many times in the past. And that he did, well in advance of the County Bar’s September 20 Centennial event.

You can read Stan’s great piece here. And then head over the MCBA to secure a seat at their centennial banquet.

(Of course, as we hurried toward the magazine deadline, I managed to miss the flawed headline touting the bar’s “decade of service.” I think readers understood that we meant a century. Here’s hoping the blog title above will make up for that.)

Tomorrow, on the final day of July, I take a grammatical turn in magazine content. I hope you join me.

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