AZ Summit Law School Phoenix Law logo

A new logo and name for what was Phoenix School of Law.

Today, we read a news story announcing the renaming of Arizona’s only private law school. Phoenix School of Law officially became Arizona Summit Law School.

That change was in the works for awhile, and it may have been the best-known secret in the state (or is that the worst-kept secret?). Despite that, you never really know what’s true until the big reveal, so it appears to be a fact.

Here’s a late October photo of the school’s entrance doors tweeted by Associate Professor Ilya Iussa:

Entrance at @phxlaw downtown Phoenix campus introduces school’s name change. Welcome Arizona Summit Law School. pic.twitter.com/PwsI7N7Odc

— Ilya Iussa (@IlyaIussa) October 28, 2013

AZ Summit Law School Phoenix Law entrance

Good luck on the school’s rebranding. Those marketing-and-mission efforts are complex affairs that may spring from many causes. But one of them, I’ve been told by many at the school, is that they were concerned that their name led to confusion with another private entity of higher learning—the University of Phoenix.

The law school knows better than I if that was true. But I’ve never heard anyone else say that. And I’ve got to say I tend to like the city name Phoenix, even as others flee from it.

One of the most striking absences of the city’s name is visible in our professional sports teams. The Diamondbacks, the Cardinals—even the soon-to-be-rebranded Coyotes—opt for “Arizona” rather than the evocative bird name.

But OK, people tend to run from what I think is one of the more memorable names in the country (nobody’s paying me for rebranding services). And yes, I’m from New York, where everything and their mother have the words “New York” in it, and confusion still does not reign. But besides selecting the general rather than the particular, this law school renaming also endangers a prime piece of real estate—a supercool Twitter handle.

Phoenix School of Law logo

The school’s original name and logo

In the ongoing battle for name recognition and short, smart Twitter names, the Phoenix School of Law had them all beat. I leave bigger questions to U.S. News & World Reports and the many other ranking agencies. But look at the names @ArizonaLaw and @ArizonaCollegeofLaw—character-sucking handles eating up 10 and 19 precious spaces, respectively. And then turn to the simple and concise @phxlaw. A six-character breath of fresh air. The school’s distinct three “pillars,” I always thought, could add a fourth—social media spunk.

When I sought that handle on Twitter this morning, though, I was told it didn’t exist. Tell me it won’t be a 22-character @ArizonaSummitLawSchool.

And though the old website (and its old logo of a bird in flight) is still up, it may not be for long. A new page—clearly still in development—is revealed via Google search.

The name of the game in strategy is to distinguish yourself, and the law school has always done that well. They’ve entered a new endeavor with a new name. I wish them great (continued) success.

technology and law elawyerLast week, I previewed an event featuring experts on elawyering (or virtual law—I’m in the process of learning the distinction).

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the panel discussion and then to interview two of the speakers afterward. Thank you to Marc Lauritsen and Richard Granat. (The third panelist, Stephanie Kimbro, had child care issues, Granat said, and so she could not participate.)

Later on, either here or in Arizona Attorney Magazine, I’ll report back to you how they responded to my questions, which included:

  • What are the biggest myths you face about elawyering?
  • You present to lawyers regularly, but today’s audience had many law students. How does that change your presentation? How does that change the quality and tenor of the questions you receive?
  • How are the expectations for practice different for the newest lawyers you encounter? Does elawyering make immediate sense to them, or is there still resistance?
  • Where are state bars and the ABA when it comes to elawyering ethics issues?
  • Have you ever seen elawyering work in a criminal law practice context? Could that be helpful, especially when a client is in custody?
  • Is elawyering primarily about tools, or is it about outlook? Is entering that realm as simple as refocusing your practice area? Or is it something else entirely?
  • Does elawyering have the potential to broaden access to justice? Might it help keep the profession relevant, amidst an explosion of online law portals?
  • In 10 years, will elawyering still occupy just a niche of lawyers, or will it have grown and become more mainstream?

In the meantime, at the bottom of the post are a few photos from their panel discussion.

Have a great—and virtual—weekend.

Marc Lauritsen, left, and Richard Granat, Phoenix School of Law, Oct. 10, 2013, present on e-lawyering

Marc Lauritsen, left, and Richard Granat, Phoenix School of Law, Oct. 10, 2013

Florida attorney Michael Chadwick presents on Elawyering, Phoenix School of Law, Oct. 10, 2013

Florida attorney Michael Chadwick presents on Elawyering, Phoenix School of Law, Oct. 10, 2013.

ELawyering 1 10-10-13

technology and law elawyerTypically I reserve Fridays for Change of Venue Day, when I locate a less law-ish topic that we all can enjoy. But then I recalled a great free event next Thursday that deserves a little sharing love. I’m hoping you agree.

Mark your calendar for Thursday, October 10, when a talented panel will address the topic “eLawyering and the Future of Legal Work.” It will run from noon to 1:00 (e-lawyers are very efficient), at the Phoenix School of Law.

The panelists are national experts on virtual law (see below). I’m doubly pleased that it appears I’ll get to interview them after the panel is complete (OK, OK, they haven’t all weighed in, but I’m confident.). READ the event description below and TELL ME what questions you’d like me to put to them.

Phoenix School of Law logoThe event comes courtesy of the American Bar Association eLawyering Task Force (Law Practice Management Section).

Here’s how organizers describe the discussion:

“eLawyering is doing legal work—not just marketing it—over the Web. Pioneering practitioners have found dramatic new ways to communicate and collaborate with clients and other lawyers, produce documents, settle disputes, interact with courts, and manage legal knowledge. There are exciting initiatives underway now that deserve attention by all lawyers—present and future.”

“The legal profession is being disrupted from without and from within. To be successful in the coming era, lawyers will need to know how to practice over the Web, manage client relationships in cyberspace, and offer ‘virtual’ legal services. Come hear about the knowledge and skills you need to prosper in the years ahead.”

“eLawyering also offers major opportunities to improve access to justice by those who can’t afford or don’t like traditional commercial modes of service delivery.”

“This free program is open to all area law students and lawyers with an interest in the innovative use of technology. Refreshments will be served.”

Panelists will include:

  • Marc Lauritsen, President and Founder, Capstone Practice Systems—Helping Lawyers Work Smarter—Harvard MA; and former director of clinical programs at Harvard Law School; presently Adjunct Faculty, Suffolk Law School
  • Richard Granat, CEO and Founder, DirectLaw, a virtual law firm platform provider; and Co-Director, Center for Law Practice Technology, Digital-Lawyer.com

Go on; don’t be a noob. Follow each of them on Twitter, at @marclauritsen, @rgranat and @StephKimbro.

Want to attend? RSVP to, the Joe P. Perez, Asst. Dean of Professional Development, either by email at jperez@phoenixlaw.edu or by telephone at 602-682-6841.

In 2014, we plan to cover what’s cutting-edge in law practice in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Will that involve e-lawyering? Probably. Will those changes affect your law practice? Let me know if you have a law practice story to share.

Have a great e-weekend.

business man sitting on a chair on the beach with laptop

No, in fact. This is NOT the State’s Bar’s Summer Law Camp.

If you have school-aged kids at home, they likely had their last day of school about a week ago. And they got bored around the house about half a week ago.

The State Bar of Arizona hears you. That’s why I point out that you still have a few days left for them to enroll in the Bar’s Summer Law Camp.

Why not? Except (if you’re lucky) for a few blissful weeks, your own summer will be occupied by legal matters. What better bonding experience than for your youngster to learn firsthand about the law.

And the Bar will even make it easier for the kids. The one-day camp will involve no document prep or writing memos to the file! But the application deadline is June 12.

Here is the news from Elena Nethers, the Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Coordinator. Be sure you send her the complete application at elena.nethers@staff.azbar.org

“The State Bar of Arizona is offering a free Law Camp for high school students on June 14 at the Phoenix School of Law and June 28 at the University of Arizona School of Law. Lawyers and law students will lead campers through fun and interactive activities that expose students to the law. Campers will also hear from law school staff about what they need to do now to prepare for law school and career options for lawyers.”

“If you have high school-age children who are interested in law or if you know kids in your church or community groups that might be interested, this is the perfect camp. The flyer (below) has more information. The registration form is on the second page and can be faxed or emailed to me at elena.nethers@staff.azbar.org by Wednesday, June 12.”

Summer Law Camp SBA 2013-page-1

Summer Law Camp SBA 2013-page-2

law-schoolIf you want to examine responses to a crisis, you really need to look at law schools. They are facing what will be, for some of them, an existential calamity.

In recent months, the three Arizona law schools have issued announcements that bolster their offerings. The approaches vary, and they are aimed at two significant subsets of their products’ consumers: potential law school applicants, and soon-to-be and recent graduates.

Both of those categories are increasingly skeptical of the ability of law schools to provide a degree with value commensurate to the purchasers’ outlay.

I am curious what you think about the three most recent announcements. As you consider them, view them through the eyes of those two categories of people, and ask: Would this changed policy or additional program have been a deal-maker in my choice of schools? Does this new initiative make me look differently at the law school?

Here are the approaches and initiatives:

And then, just to make your choice more complex, is the elephant in the room: an Arizona pilot program that would allow certain law students to take the Bar exam during the third year of law school.

Which of these, if any, would have affected your decision to attend a school (or attend law school at all)?

Does pricing trump all? Or does saving a few thousand dollars mean not that much when amortized over a career? Would having a schedule that allows students to work (and maybe graduate sooner) help attract them? Or does the possibility of the school itself employing you as a lawyer sweeten the pot sufficiently?

Let me know what you think. Who, if anyone, is on the right track?

Phoenix School of Law - ©Kevin_Korczyk

Phoenix School of Law (©Kevin_Korczyk)

This week, it seems that all the news is coming out of the law schools.

No, I’m not going to cover the revelation of this year’s US News & World Report law school rankings (otherwise known as the one element that keeps people reading US News & World Report). Instead, I point to another effort of a law school to transform itself to meet the shifting demands of possible students.

The story is a mild one, referring to the Phoenix School of Law’s alteration of its semester structure. As the article opens:

“Phoenix School of Law (PSL) announced that it is expanding its current schedule from two academic terms to three academic terms beginning in the fall of 2013. The academic terms will start in the fall, spring and summer. Students have the option of attending either two or three terms during the academic year. The new structure offers significant advantages to students and is responsive to challenges currently facing legal education and the legal industry.”

The whole story is here.

In an economic downturn, every change—even a “mild” one—is a potential game-changer. As more and more college graduates nationwide decide to forego a legal education that appears to be only tangentially related to the possibility of landing an actual law job, maybe changes like the semester structure could be persuasive.

What do you think?

In an upcoming post, I’ll examine the newest (and boldest) effort of the ASU College of Law to enhance its offerings—by opening a for-profit law firm to employ some of its grads.

Phoenix School of Law Lawyers as Peacemakers conferenceYou are: Planning to attend a noteworthy legal conference, but would like the opportunity to use your writing and reporting skills to share a follow-up with Arizona’s legal community.

We are: Arizona’s legal community, eager to share your story on the magazine blog.

The Phoenix School of Law Lawyers as Peacemakers and Healers Conference runs this Friday night through Sunday. Currently, it appears no one here at the magazine will be able to attend this remarkable gathering. But if you’re planning to be there and would like to write a story, with attribution, we would like to talk with you.

Ideally, likely writers will be unaffiliated with the conference except as an attendee. Lawyers and law students who have an interest should contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Here is the website for the Lawyers as Peacemakers and Healers Conference, which runs February 22 through 24. And you can Like it on Facebook here.

For background, click here for last year’s program.

And as a great service to the legal community, event organizers have posted video recordings of all presentations from last year.

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