On Friday, I will be heading over to an event at the Phoenix law firm Snell & Wilmer. The gathering is a two-day conference titled “In-House Counsel Global Symposium.” It promises to give some fascinating insights into international practice, and I’ll report back on what I hear.
But sitting in the Snell conference room will be odd, for I have always thought of it as an important part of Dan McAuliffe’s house. Let me explain.
Dan was a legendary lawyer, who practiced the bulk of his career at Snell. He was always everywhere that lawyers needed his assistance. He served as State Bar President, and wrote books and treatises on professionalism, and ethics, and civil practice.
That’s the nutshell version. But it doesn’t explain why he’s still on my mind a year after he’s shuffled off this mortal coil.
To do that, I point you to a few things I wrote. A few are long-winded, but one won’t take you more than a few moments. I’d start with that one.
In another conference room—this one at the State Bar of Arizona—Dan’s picture smiles over a room dedicated to legal education. He’d like that. And next to it is a plaque that I am pleased to say I was asked to write. The call was for something brief and less bio-awful than many such plaques that we all have read a hundred times. So here’s what I wrote:
“Dan McAuliffe wrote numerous books and articles on ethics and professionalism, including the Arizona Legal Ethics Handbook. Those works have been and will continue to be invaluable guides to Arizona lawyers. But Dan’s accomplishments run far beyond those works.”
“Dan was a leader in every group in which he sat. He was smart, perhaps smarter than anyone you’re likely to come across in a career of law practice. He was generous of his time and of his opinion, even when you’d rather decline the offer. He was a friend to lawyers, especially those new to practice. He was an advocate for the unfortunate and a tireless champion of justice. His legacy is commemorated every time an Arizona lawyer chooses the path of ethics, education and professionalism.”
I knew Dan, and I suspect he would smirk at those words, roll his eyes, and say, “Eigo, that’s too much.” But he was all that, and more.
Besides that plaque, I got the chance to write about Dan a few other times. One of the first was as he was about to become the new State Bar of Arizona President. One of the last was after he had passed away on March 12, 2010.
I thought about Dan on the anniversary of his death. But writing something that day felt misguided, somehow. Instead, I think of him now, on the day he was born in 1945, a Bronx baby who would grow up to become a respected attorney.
RIP, Dan. We think of you still.