Lawyer kudos


Lawyer networking? This way, to The Duce in Phoenix.

Lawyer networking? This way, to The Duce in Phoenix.

Did you ever hesitate to attend a networking event, unsure if there will be even one person there you know?

An event tonight was organized in a way that minimizes that possibility. If the number of sponsoring groups is any preview, you’re likely to run into some familiar faces. (I’m sorry to say I’ll be unable to attend myself. If you go, take a few photos and send them my way: arizona.attorney@azbar.org)

Staged by the Arizona Small Business Administration, the event will be at The Duce in south-central Phoenix, from 5:30 until 8. If you’ve never wandered through the cool complex, it’s worth the drive for that alone.

ASBA Collaborative Mixer 04-24-14 flier

And here is the list of sponsoring organizations:

  • Arizona Asian American Bar Association
  • Arizona Jewish Lawyers Association
  • Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Arizona Black Bar
  • Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Arizona
  • Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association
  • Phoenix Black Chamber
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital Emerging Business Leaders
  • State Bar of Arizona Young Lawyers Division

Organizers say, “Attendees will enjoy complimentary appetizers and quality networking in a fun, fresh environment. A cash bar will be available.”

That phrase “Attendees will” is pretty demanding, but maybe the ASBA is just an optimistic bunch. (And remember: The “quality networking” depends on you!)

And, yes, The Duce has an open-to-all boxing ring, but remember: It’s a collaborative event.

Boxing at The Duce: Two enter, hopefully closer colleagues exit.

Boxing at The Duce: Two enter, hopefully closer colleagues exit.

  • Date: Thursday, April 24
  • Time: 5:30pm – 8:00pm
  • Location: The Duce, 525 S Central Ave, Phoenix

More information, and registration, are here.

Creative ideas and those who protect them are recognized on World Intellectual Property Day. Bring the popcorn. patent illustration

Creative ideas and those who protect them are recognized on World Intellectual Property Day. Bring the popcorn.

Time flies: It’s already World Intellectual Property Day.

I may be the last to know; you’ve probably been preparing for weeks for today’s celebration. But if you’re still unsure what all the hubbub is about, the Library of Congress has you covered. It has announced a program today in honor of all things IP:

“The U.S. Copyright Office will host a Copyright Matters program in connection with World Intellectual Property Day at 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23,in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, located on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, SE, Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; tickets are not required.”

“The theme of World Intellectual Property Day this year, as announced by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), is ‘Movies: A Global Passion.’ World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated around the globe annually to mark the date the convention establishing WIPO came into force.”

All the day’s details are here.

Movies are a global passion, and so I was pleased to see that, yes, they are planning to screen a film. This year, it will be an award-winning movie called Rhythm Thief, and its director Matthew Harrison will be a speaker.

Here is a trailer for the film.

The trailer is delightfully uninformative (that’s a compliment), which is another way of saying it draws you in without believing we need mundane plot points to be attracted to a visual artwork. (We don’t.) Plus, a critic compared it to the incomparable Breathless, so it must be pretty remarkable.

As I said in a previous year, enjoy your day recognizing IP. If you get a chance, kiss a patent lawyer. After all, any attorneys who use terms like “deceptively misdescriptive” and “Auslegeschrift” deserve one.

Here is a flier describing the event.

World Intellectual Property Day 2014

SB 1062 open for business sign_optIn March, I had the opportunity to present at the American Bar Association on the topic of association presidents’ messages—typically magazine or newsletter columns penned by the attorney who helms the bar association for a year.

Since then, however, I’ve come across a message that I wish I could have shared in Chicago. It was drafted by Whitney Cunningham, the State Bar of Arizona President.

Whitney Cunnigham is an attorney at Aspey, Watkins & Diesel in Flagstaff, and I had the privilege of writing a profile of him last summer.

So here was Whitney’s challenge in the April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine: how to explore a delicate topic made even more controversial by a high-profile and breaking piece of state legislation, without crossing any lines into inappropriate legislative advocacy.

State Bar of Arizona President Whitney Cunningham (photo by John Hall)

State Bar of Arizona President Whitney Cunningham (photo by John Hall)

The topic was a bill called SB1062. I’ll let Wikipedia tell you more about the law here.

Of course, the State Bar of Arizona is a member organization. Among members, there may be many views of this and other laws. And if you cross a line, they let you know.

So how can a Bar President convey the mission and values of the organization, but do so without taking an overt stand on a pending law?

The answer was: Quite well, thank you.

Top to bottom, Whitney never discusses the bill itself, but instead focuses on the value of diversity that runs through the Bar association. He wisely titled his column “Getting Rich,” and then delineates the scores of ways diversity aids the association and the State of Arizona. And then he ends, “As a bar, we are rich and getting richer.”

Read Whitney’s entire column here. And let me know what you think by writing to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Volunteer attorneys participate in the Lawyers on Call phone program, April 8, 2014, on the topic of family law.

Volunteer attorneys participate in the Lawyers on Call phone program, April 8, 2014, on the topic of family law.

Here is a follow-up to a State Bar event, by my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

The State Bar of Arizona, azcentral.com and 12 News hosted the Lawyers on Call public service program on Tuesday, April 8.

The following is a recap of the program, which focused on family law—divorce, child support, and paternity issues

The volunteer attorneys were: Christa Banfield, Michael Clancy, Tali Collins, Michael Cordrey, DeeAn Gillespie Strub, Wendy Hernandez, Kris Leonhardt, Nancy Khiel, Londa Rivera and Patrick Sampair

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorVolunteer attorneys answered 148 calls on family law issues. An additional 41 consumers were assisted via social media, which gave us an impressive total of 189 people who were helped.

Here is a sample of consumer questions:

  • How do I modify current child support payments?
  • How do I request/establish child support?
  • How do I modify custody and parenting time?
  • How can I request grandparent’s rights? What are my rights as a grandparent?
  • Can I travel outside of the country with my children?
  • What are the differences between a legal separation and a divorce? Pros/cons?
  • How do we divide assets?
  • Do I qualify for spousal maintenance?
  • Do I need to hire an attorney to file for divorce?

Social media continues to be a successful element of Lawyers on Call.  41 consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page and attorney Kris Leonhardt responded with her recommendations/advice.

All 10 attorneys were first-time volunteers.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ bankruptcy and foreclosure questions on Tuesday, May 6.

Letterpress BlogAttorneys looking for a strategic edge in a tough economy should take a few minutes to read how some New Hampshire lawyers are enhancing their practices and raising their profile.

Their solution? Blogging. And the lawyers interviewed by the talented Dan Wise of the New Hampshire Bar Association share the reasons that a law blog makes the difference. Here’s part of the story opening:

“‘I thought [blogging] was a great idea, but I figured other people must already be doing it,’” says [attorney Kysa] Crusco. ‘When I went home and did a web search, it turned out that there weren’t many, if any, family law blogs. The nhfamilylawblog.com URL was available, so I reserved it and contacted Lexblog. They got my blog up and running, and I started writing. I was able to see an immediate effect in articles that I posted and the potential clients that were calling for a consultation.’”

Kysa touches on what continues to be a surprise to me, 15 years after the first law blog was launched (though there’s debate on who was first): The surprise that, all these years later, relatively few lawyers write a blog. And that is a missed opportunity.

Let’s examine the necessary elements:

  1. There are 26 tools—if you count every letter of the alphabet.
  2. There is some modicum of writing ability.
  3. There is some practice knowledge.
  4. There is a small (and shrinking) technology aspect.

We already know that lawyers avoid math, not words, and every lawyer I know possesses a large amount of practice knowledge. So … what’s the boggle?

Typically, it comes down to a misunderstanding of strategy or—more particularly—differentiation. Here’s what I mean.

You probably think that potential clients can distinguish you from other lawyers in your practice area because, um, you went to a good law school. Or because you were in the Order of the Coif. Or served as Assistant Managing Editor on your law journal.

Of course, none of that distinguishes you (except to your mom, who always asks what was up with that “Assistant” in your title).

What does distinguish you is something that is wholly unique. No, not your fingerprint or hair whorl. I mean—writing.

The “creating content is hard” worry may be a significant one to you. But remember that more and more people will gauge your abilities not by your resume, but by a smidgen of content on your website. And they will devour that content; if it’s helpful stuff, they will come to you for more.

New Hampshire Bar Association logoThose who want to buy legal services are not seeking a terrific writer, so don’t let that put you off. But they do seek a person behind the website. They want to hear how you think.

A blog can do that. Sure, it takes a commitment of time. But at least it’s not math.

I was particularly intrigued by some of the findings of the New Hampshire Bar:

“To research this article, Bar News reached out to Bar members to submit information about their blogs and we have compiled a selective list. We also have conducted numerous searches on Google—just as many potential clients do—to find New Hampshire lawyers’ articles and blogs. The results were disappointing. There are only a few freestanding blogs offering timely advice that showcase the ability of lawyers to plainly explain current questions of law. Unfortunately, many blogs or articles on law firm websites are either out of date or populated by content designed not for readers, but for search-engine robots.”

blogging cartoon via AMP

Blogging: It’s just not that hard. (click to enlarge.)

I wonder what my results would be if I were to search for Arizona lawyer blogs. This past year, we did start a Blog Network on which any Arizona lawyer may add their link (and where we currently have more than 60). But there must be more out there.

And before you abandon blogging plans as a fad or idea that doesn’t gel with the profession, remember, as Dan Wise writes, “While SEO techniques are helpful in the 21st century world of digital marketing, certain old-fashioned values still apply: Success comes to those who prepare carefully and commit themselves to a strategy for the long haul.”

Sound like you? I thought so. Now, go back and finish that New Hampshire story.

Please contact me if you ever want to talk about blogging. I’m curious how it affects your practice.

civil rights attorney and Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier

civil rights attorney and Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier speaks at ASU on Wednesday, April 16.

In year 19, ASU continues to invite great people to deliver its A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations. Tonight’s offering, by civil rights attorney and Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier, promises to keep in that tradition.

The event is free, open to the public, and requires no RSVP. But seats are often at a premium.

Guinier’s remarks are titled “Rethinking Race and Class.” She will speak tonight at 7:00 pm, in the Carson Ballroom of Old Main on the Tempe campus.

As ASU says,

“Guinier challenges conventional thinking on the issues of race and class. This lecture focuses on the ways that those who have been excluded (based on race or class) are like canaries in coal mines: their vulnerability signals problems with the larger atmosphere affecting us all.”

More information on the Lecture and Guinier is here.

And here is background on the Lecture’s namesake:

“The A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations was created in 1995 to perpetuate the work of a man who had devoted his life to the idea of racial parity. As professor and chair of sociology at Arizona State University, A. Wade Smith worked tirelessly to improve race relations on the ASU campus and within the greater community.”

I never had the opportunity to know Wade Smith, but I know and think very highly of his family. I am so pleased to see the Lecture continue and thrive.

pro bono gavelFans of lawyers and the service they provide (count me in) always look forward to Law Day. Traditionally close to early May, Law Day helps cement the important connection between members of the public, attorneys, judges and the rule of law.

Searching for “law day” in my blog leads to a surprising number of hits over the years. Clearly, I am taken by the pro bono value attorneys provide (here is last year’s post). And this year is no exception.

Like last year, the State Bar of Arizona’s approach will be to offer free legal advice clinics, in the Valley and in Tucson. The clinics will cover a wide variety of legal topics, including landlord and tenant; bankruptcy and foreclosure; immigration; and divorce, child support and paternity.

Volunteer lawyers will conduct the 90-minute “information sessions.”

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color“Guests can participate in one or more sessions at one of the five partner locations.”

The events will be held on Saturday, April 26. Please spread the word and share this post with anyone you think might benefit from some free legal advice.

All the detail, including times and specific locations, can be found here.

Later this week I will share another Law Day event, hosted by an independent legal organization. The more the merrier.

Today’s post is really not simply a ruse to feature one of the cuter bunny-lawyer combos available on the Interwebs. But I will not pass up the moment. Here you go.

Bunny lawyer (even keeping time!) by LilithImmaculate

Bunny lawyer (even keeping time!) by LilithImmaculate

You’re welcome.

Instead, today I share news of an event this Saturday, April 12, at which another bunny relative—Jeremy Jackrabbit, to be precise—will make an appearance.

Rodney and Sasha Glassman, co-authors of the Jeremy Jackrabbit series.

Rodney and Sasha Glassman, co-authors of the Jeremy Jackrabbit series.

Jeremy is a character in a book co-written by two married Arizona lawyers, Sasha and Rodney Glassman. They and their book will participate in an event Saturday at the Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix.

Here is how the Phoenix Public Library press release opens:

“Phoenix Public Library, in partnership with the Arizona Science Center, will host a celebration to launch Sasha and Rodney Glassman’s newest book in their Jeremy Jackrabbit series, ‘Jeremy Jackrabbit Captures the Sun,’ 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Arizona Science Center, located at 600 E. Washington.”

“Illustrated by children from throughout the metropolitan area, including Scottsdale, Laveen, Chandler and Phoenix, more than 52,000 copies of the book will be distributed free of charge to every kindergarten student in Maricopa County.  Councilwoman Laura Pastor and Councilwoman Kate Gallego will read the book at the event after which the young artists will be available to sign the pages in the book which they illustrated.”

“Sasha Glassman is an attorney and member of the Madison Elementary School District Governing Board. Rodney Glassman, PhD, in arid land resource sciences and a former Tucson city councilman, is an attorney with Ryley Carlock & Applewhite.”

Jeremy Jackrabbit Glassman 1

Jeremy Jackrabbit, himself.

Congratulations to Sasha and Rodney on the continued success of their resourceful jackrabbit.

For more information, call 602-262-4636 or visit here.

And here is a list of the talented children who helped illustrate the book.

Jeremy Jackrabbit invitation

Let's start the lawyer-love by foreswearing attorney jokes, for one day at least. Be Kind to Lawyers Day no jokes. Snoopy Peanuts cartoon.

Let’s start the lawyer-love by forswearing attorney jokes, for one day at least

Yesterday, I am slightly bemused to note, was Be Kind to Lawyers Day.

Understand, I am not in favor of the opposite. I tend to like lawyers in the aggregate, and many in particular. But there are a few reasons I’m a day late (and a dollar short, as my dad used to say) with my attorney affection.

1. I’m in a vortex in which I miss significant dates by exactly one day. For example, April Fools’ Day came a day late in my mind (and blog). I’m sure it’s some kind of cry for help, but let’s move on.

2. Upon hearing of this “holiday,” my first thought was that the day exists for one reason only: To help blog writers. After all, we have a news hole to fill. And how many of us are willing to muse on the nexus between lawyers and kindness? (OK, not that many.) (And did I just use “nexus” and “kindness” in the same sentence? Someone cite me for contempt.)

3. Finally, yesterday was also Equal Pay Day. Before you start telling me it’s not official or nationally sanctioned, let’s remember that (a) you’re reading a blog and not the Federal Register and (b) you’re rising up in defense of something called Be Kind to Lawyers Day. We really must get over ourselves, mustn’t we?

So yes, it irked just a bit to advocate embracing advocates as others were advocating for equal pay for women and men. As a woman I respect stated, “Annoyed that we even have to have a day about this, so I’ll defer to Queen Bey: ‘smart enough to make the millions, strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.’ Yep, we run the world.”

But today is another day, and the more I think about it, the more the idea grows on me.

So I’m (semi)officially extending the festivities another day. (And won’t attorneys be surprised to be hugged the day after the holiday!? Brilliant, right?)

In case you missed it, here’s how the State Bar’s CLE Department reminded us on Facebook. Good job!

Be Kind to Lawyers Day hug

Bring it in here, buddy.

And if you’d like a reminder of how others celebrate a joyous lawyer holiday, read how I described the festivities surrounding World Intellectual Property Day. As I recall, I recommended you all hug a patent lawyer that day. How many did that? Uh-huh, I thought so.

To encourage the lawyer love, I will happily post a photo of you hugging a lawyer you love (or at least like quite a bit), plus a brief (100 words, tops) explanation of the non-billing-based foundation for your affection.

Let’s get this hugapalooza started.

[This article was edited 4/8/14 to reflect the fact that the dancers represented a lion, not a dragon. There is a traditional lion dance and a traditional dragon dance. Here is some information on the lion dance, performed at the APALSA event.]

Yes, that is a dragon at a legal event. Why do you ask? APALSA banquet dragon 1 04-05-14

Yes, that is a lion at a legal event. Why do you ask?

It never fails to amaze how often those new to a profession lead the way.

That’s what occurred to me last Saturday evening, as I attended the first-ever banquet of the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA) of Arizona Summit Law School.

Out of the box, the talented law students took to heart a few of the most important lessons of professional event planning. Experienced (long in the tooth) planners, take note.

Here are three of those lessons, gleaned from Saturday’s gathering:

1. Food: Good, easy, relevant

Your legal event need not have food and drink. But if you go down that road, bring it, would you, please?

APALSA Asian Pacific American Law Students Assn logoAPALSA brought it, indulging its guests with terrific dishes from the Curry Corner. (Would it kill you to Like them on Facebook?)

This is how terrific their combination of various Asian foods was: I had planned to snack lightly at the event, as I had promised my younger daughter that we would get a bite together afterward. As I strolled the buffet line, though, that plan went out the window. Yes, I did get my daughter dinner later; but all my senses insisted that I eat a full meal at the APALSA banquet. And so I did.

A special shout out to law student Mary Tran, who hand-crafted a Thai iced tea that was the perfect complement to the meal. As I sit here Tuesday, I know my morning would be improved mightily by a glass of that!

All of the food and drink (plus the open bar) contributed to an evening of celebration and cultural identity. Nicely done.

2. Speaker: Smart, funny, brief

Let me be the first to say it: More Jared Leung, please.

Jared Leung

Jared Leung

The evening’s keynote was the Fennemore Craig lawyer, and he caught our attention in two ways.

First, he opened by admiring and critiquing the bathrooms in Fennemore Craig’s new-ish space. Restroom-talk is not the typical go-to intro for legal keynotes, but it got our attention as he described the difficulty some have mastering the motion-activated sinks. Leung’s message was about the importance of finding the sweet spot in our professional lives.

And that’s why Leung carried a tennis racquet (his second unique approach) up to the microphone.

“What are you comfortable doing as a lawyer?” he asked the assembled law students. “What is your thing?”

“If we just all stick with what we’re comfortable with,” he continued, “our growth will be limited.”

Punctuating his point with a tennis swing, he offered a story about a Queen Creek high school football player, Carson Jones, who, with some teammates, opted to stand up for a bullied special-needs classmate. (Read the story here.)

“Here we have a 16-year-old showing us how it should be done,” Leung said, explaining how Jones’s actions required courage. He reminded the students that law school and the legal profession offer ongoing opportunities to decide how and when to do the right thing.

Jared Leung delivers the keynote address (with tennis racquet) at the APALSA banquet, April 5, 2014.

Jared Leung delivers the keynote address (with tennis racquet) at the APALSA banquet, April 5, 2014.

“Get out of your comfort zone, and find the sweet spot. Someday I’ll learn from you.”

With a smile, Leung noted that he (like the rest of us) already was doing just that.

3. Lions: Yes, please

No, I suppose you’re right. Every legal event need not have a Chinese lion and a traditional lion dance. It might be odd to spring that on Bar Convention attendees.

But the APALSA banquet had one, and the articulated, two-man operation teaches us volumes about connecting with your audience.

First, it had obvious relevance to the association, and its presence was certainly evocative for many at the banquet.

APALSA President Vic Reid speaks at annual banquet, April 5, 2014.

APALSA President Vic Reid speaks at annual banquet, April 5, 2014.

But more important, it provided a lift in spirits—aurally and visually—that far too many bar events overlook. I’ve heard for too many years that legal affairs must be serious business—and then watched as attendees nodded off or checked their email during sonorous speeches.

No one checked email as the dragon marched about the room, demanding attention and collecting donations to the ASU Asian LEAD Academy. No one nodded off as the terrific DJ filled the room with music.

After all, the spirit is not fed only by footnotes and legal speeches. For your next event, consider a lion. Or maybe learn from TED talks. Or at least (please!) have some Thai iced tea.

Congratulations to APALSA and its president, Vicente Reid Y Lugto, and the whole board. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

Spot the lawyer: I also got the oportunity to pose with Asian community leaders and a talented Chinese dragon.

Spot the lawyer: I also got the opportunity to pose with Asian American community leaders and a talented Chinese lion.

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