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

Access to justice can be golden: Arizona Attorney Magazine opening image for a story on the topic by former State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, Oct. 2012.

Access to justice can be golden: Arizona Attorney Magazine opening image for a story on the topic by former State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, Oct. 2012.

As has been reported numerous times (even in Arizona Attorney Magazine), access to justice is in a pretty sorry state in Arizona and the United States.

It’s worth noting that the problem extends beyond borders.

Thanks to a lawyer and former State Bar colleague Nedra Brown, I’m reading a report out of the Canadian Bar Association on their own challenges.

Canadian Bar Association equal justice cover 2013Titled “Reaching Equal Justice: An Invitation To Envision and Act,” the 59-page report paints a bleak picture of the country’s legal access situation. Ultimately, though, the report authors provide a solid roadmap that could rectify the situation.

As a news story from Canadian Lawyer Magazine opens:

“The ‘abysmal’ state of access to justice in Canada can be turned around by 2030, according to a Canadian Bar Association report published today. But the report says hitting the deadline will require ‘dramatic’ change, and sets out 31 recommendations for the legal industry, regulators, and government. These include establishing national benchmarks for legal aid coverage, increasing federal justice spending, and drawing up clearer guidelines on alternative billing structures.”

Canadian Bar Association logoRead that story here.

The complete report is here in PDF format. (The “solutions” portion begins on page 15.)

What lessons do you think we can learn here in Arizona? Do attorneys (especially those who have been in the legal access trenches for years) see a similar positive path to a better system for delivering justice?

Do you think a similar Arizona report could cast needed light onto the problem and possible solutions?

Here is a graphic from the excellent report. How do you picture access?

Canadian Bar Association graphic from its 2013 report on access to justice

Canadian Bar Association graphic from its 2013 report on access to justice

 

Amelia Craig Cramer opens her gift of a bound volume of Arizona Attorney Magazine, while State Bar CEO John Phelps looks on, June 18, 2013.

Amelia Craig Cramer opens her gift of a bound volume of Arizona Attorney Magazine, while State Bar CEO John Phelps looks on, June 18, 2013.

On the Tuesday before the State Bar Convention begins, the Board of Governors holds its June board meeting. It takes most of the afternoon (OK, the whole afternoon), but it does have its charms.

First of all, it’s the last board meeting over which the outgoing President presides. That means Tuesday was Amelia Craig Cramer’s last meeting. She was a pleasure to work with, and we were lucky to have her lead the Bar in the past year.

Others, too, cycle off the board at that meeting. And it is always great to hear the warm best wishes uttered among people who work hard together and often do not have a free minute to commiserate and visit as friends. The June meeting provides that opportunity.

The passing of the gavel includes a few gifts to the outgoing President. Amelia wanted the Bar to donate to the Foundation the money they would have spent on her gift—and so they will. But she still receives (whether she likes it or not) a gift of a leather-bound year of Arizona Attorney Magazine. She opened the gift, smiled, and then mentioned that with the Bar’s green and paperless initiative, this may be the last year the gift will be possible. Gulp. I’ll take that as being part of her great sense of humor!

Another tradition that’s arisen is the oh-so-brief crowning of the Incoming President. And so we got to view the already-tall Whitney Cunningham achieve a truly regal height. He generously allowed a photo or three as Amelia placed the velvet and ermine piece on his head, but then declined to wear it further—being a man of the people, I suppose (me, I would have worn that around the Biltmore throughout the Convention’s duration!).

Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer crowns her successor, Whitney Cunningham, June 18, 2013.

Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer crowns her successor, Whitney Cunningham, June 18, 2013.

The reveal: Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer displays her crowned successor, Whitney Cunningham, June 18, 2013.

Congratulations and thanks to Amelia, Whitney and all those others who offer their time and more in service to Arizona’s lawyers.

State Bar of Arizona BLI graduates 2013

2013 BLI Graduates—Back row, L to R: Brad Martin, Blair Moses, Elizabeth Kruschek, Buck Rocker, Doreen McPaul, Ray Ybarra Maldonado. Front row, L to R: Chris Tozzo, Tabatha LaVoie, Nicole Ong, Laura Huff, Annamarie Frank, Cid Kallen, Jessica Sanchez. Not pictured: Heather Baker.

The newest class of the State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute graduated last Friday. As always, it was a noteworthy event marking the accomplishments of a talented group of lawyers.

You may already know about the BLI, but here is a description of the program:

BLI graduation 2013 1 sign“The Bar Leadership Institute is a nine-month program designed to foster the professional growth and enhance the leadership skills of a diverse group of Arizona attorneys. The purpose is to increase participation and visibility in the State Bar and the community-at-large among historically under-represented groups, with an emphasis on racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability and geographic diversity. In 2009 the Bar Leadership Institute was selected by the American Bar Association to receive its prestigious Partnership Award.”

More detail is here.

Speakers at the graduation stressed the qualities of leadership exemplified by the attorney graduates.

State Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer praised the attorneys, and she thanked them for their continued participation in the work of the Bar.

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, May 10, 2013

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, May 10, 2013

CEO John Phelps urged the graduates to value the friendships and connections they forged through the BLI program.

“That network of leaders is something special,” he said. “Take advantage of that friendship; nurture it. You’ve had the opportunity to connect with others in this special program.”

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, May 10, 2013

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, May 10, 2013

With a laugh, he concluded, “You’re part of the club now. Be sure to use your club membership.”

Elena Nethers, the Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Advisor, reminded graduates, their families and supporters that the BLI is designed to “enable people to attain their full potential.”

This year, she reported, the 14 graduates arose from a pool of 60 applicants.

Bar Governor Lisa Loo praised the program and the attorneys, taking the time to introduce audience member Henry Ong, a Bar member since 1972. He has been an active participant in the activities of multiple bars, Lisa pointed out. And for good measure, he is the father of Nicole Ong, one of this year’s BLI grads.

Also attending the event was BLI chair and attorney Booker Evans, Jr.

If you are interested in being part of this successful initiative (for yourself or someone else), be sure to share and complete the Bar Leadership Institite application for the coming year’s class. The application is due by June 28.

State Bar Governor Lisa Loo and BLI chair Booker Evans, Jr., at the 2013 BLI graduation

State Bar Governor Lisa Loo and BLI chair Booker Evans, Jr., at the 2013 BLI graduation

Mark Hummels with his children at the Grand Canyon

Mark Hummels with his children at the Grand Canyon

I did not intend this week’s posts to focus entirely on violence against lawyers and in the legal profession (and they won’t). But I could not let a heartfelt tribute to lawyer Mark Hummels pass without comment.

A few days after Mark was gunned down along with a client, I wrote about the tragedy. And then, yesterday, I wrote about an Arizona Republic op-ed by John Phelps, State Bar of Arizona CEO.

And even as I write this, we are learning more about a tragic shooting at a courthouse in Wilmington, Delaware. Violence related to the legal profession is an ongoing story.

Today, I urge you to read a moving article by reporter Jenna Greene. As the essay indicates, she attended journalism school with Mark Hummels, and so her insights even precede his work as a lawyer. For the article, Greene interviewed State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer.

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer

(I wrote just last Thursday about more coverage by Jenna Greene.)

Here is how she opens her article:

“In my journalism school class at the University of California, Berkeley, there were a few in-your-face, abrasive people, the type who seemed to enjoy confrontation.”

“Mark Hummels was not one of them. I remember him as unflappable, sunny and kind, someone who listened more than he spoke. He rode a unicycle and played the ukulele.”

“He was possibly the last person I would expect to be the victim of a murderous rampage.”

Read her complete tribute here.

Follow all Jenna Greene’s updates here.

State Bar of Arizona BLI Reunion 1

Reunion of graduates of the State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute, Jan. 24, 2013, Phoenix, Ariz.

Last evening, the State Bar of Arizona hosted its first BLI Reunion. It’s the first such event since the Bar Leadership Institute was launched five years ago.

Since then, those five graduating classes of lawyers have become embedded in significant leadership positions within the Bar. More information on the BLI is here.

Last night’s mingling event was at the downtown Phoenix Sheraton, and it was a success from start to finish. Noteworthy is the camaraderie felt among all of the graduates, who clearly benefit from and enjoy the fellowship of their colleagues.

The event also featured a few (brief) speakers. They were BLI grads who shared a little about the exciting projects in which they are involved. More on that later, but for now, let me mention Ann-Marie Alameddin, who discussed a pro bono legal information clinic she manages; we may cover her work, and that of others, in an upcoming issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Have a great weekend. Here are a few more photos.

News from the State Bar of Arizona:

Contact: Alberto Rodriguez, Communications Department

Phone: 602.340.7293

E-Mail: alberto.rodriguez@staff.azbar.org

State Bar Convention Celebrates 100 Years of Service by Arizona Attorneys

Event will provide forum for attorneys to reflect on advancements, discuss current issues, and plan for the future.

PHOENIX – June 19, 2012 – The State Bar of Arizona will host the 2012 Annual Convention at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix, June 20-22. More than 1,600 attorneys from across the state will convene and participate in the 79th annual convention.

This year, the convention will offer more than 40 seminars, nationally recognized speakers, unique social and networking opportunities, along with a silent auction benefiting Defenders of Children. Many seminar chairs have incorporated this year’s theme of “Celebrating 100 Years of Lawyer Serving Arizona” into their programs that will better educate and enhance the legal profession.

Incorporating State Bar President Joe Kanefield’s commitment to technology, several cutting edge advances will be used to present this year’s convention, including a mobile app, and downloadable materials. All while maintaining the Bar’s commitment to “going green.”

Other convention highlights:

  • Alison Levine, the first American to complete a 600-mile journey from west Antarctica to the South Pole and who was featured in the PBS documentary Living Courageously, will deliver an inspiring keynote address at the State Bar Luncheon on Friday, June 22.
  • Honorable Medhat al-Mahmoud, the Chief Justice of Iraq and President of the Iraqi Higher Judicial Council will speak about the state of the country’s judiciary nearly a decade after the U.S. led invasion brought about regime change at a FREE CLE seminar on Friday, June 22.
  • The Bar will launch its first-ever convention mobile app that provides convenient and time-saving information including registration information, seminar schedules and presenters, sponsor and exhibitor listings, a sitemap to help guide registrants and direct access to news and social media.
  • Amelia Craig Cramer of Tucson will be introduced as incoming president of the State Bar of Arizona.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,519 other followers