Canadian Bar Association CBA 2014 report titled Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in CanadaThis morning, if my plans don’t go awry, I’ll be attending the kickoff meeting of the new Arizona Supreme Court task force that will assess the management and governance of the State Bar of Arizona. I’ll report back on how it goes and what comes next.

Until then, you may want to skim some material about proposed changes to the Canadian legal system. True, the northerly report, if adopted, would make significant changes far beyond one bar association. But I was impressed by the Canadian task force’s willingness to look at all elements of the legal profession with a new eye.

I’m suspecting that the Arizona Supreme Court seeks a similarly clear-eyed look.

The entire report, titled “Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada,” is here.

Jordan Furlong

Jordan Furlong

And I agree: 106 pages is tough sledding on a Friday. But that’s why you should start with a Jordan Furlong column.

I have mentioned Jordan Furlong before (here and here). And I think his name is well associated with any assessment of what the future of law holds.

His concise and point-by-point analysis deconstructs the Canadian Bar Association report, which he admits he likes quite a bit. And, I’m pretty sure, his column and the related report are solid guideposts for what we may see coming to these United States in the not-so-distant future.

Here is Jordan’s post.

Have a wonderful—and transformative—weekend.

azbar character_and_fitness_2014

The State Bar of Arizona has issued a call for new members of the Arizona Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness. As the Bar says, “This Committee is responsible for the investigation and recommendation of applicants for admission to the practice of law in Arizona.”

That new members will include a nonlawyer and a lawyer (though there are different application forms). So if this is a good fit for you, read on. And if you are an attorney and have a great nonlawyer candidate in mind, please share this post.

Here is more detail from the Bar:

Before applying, individuals should be aware of the significant responsibilities that correspond with this professional volunteer activity. Committee members need the time, skill and patience to review confidential detailed reports of background investigations into financial, criminal, civil, employment, disciplinary and academic matters. The Committee members review approximately 1,200 applications each year.

The Committee conducts at least one formal hearing monthly in Phoenix. Members are expected to participate in each formal hearing, and in one or more informal hearings per month held throughout the state on an as-needed basis. Between file review and hearings/business meetings, members devote an average of about 25 hours per month to Committee responsibilities.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorPeople who live outside Maricopa County would enhance the statewide makeup of the Committee and are encouraged to apply. Mileage is paid for any members residing outside Maricopa County, but there is no other compensation for service as a Committee member. Initial terms are four years.

While the committee is not a small commitment, its work is an important part of ensuring that Arizona attorneys meet the standards required in the legal profession.

More information, as well as interactive forms for both attorneys and non-attorneys, may be found here.

Application forms are due by Wednesday, August 27, 2014, and also may be obtained by contacting Carrie Sherman at the State Bar of Arizona at 602-340-7201 or at Carrie.Sherman@staff.azbar.org.

Interviews of selected candidates will occur in September.

Lodestar Day Resource Center Thirst_Aid_Logo

To the uninformed, the State Bar of Arizona offices may look like we’re getting ready for the next big disaster. But in fact, Bar staff are working hard to address a disaster that strikes unfortunate people every day.

A water drive to assist the Lodestar Day Resource Center and its Thirst Aid initiative has definitely caught the attention of staff. Here’s how Lodestar describes the summer water drive to serve homeless individuals:

“The Human Services Campus is asking the community to participate in the Thirst-Aid campaign by donating bottled water and/or monetary donations to help hydrate those experiencing homelessness. With support from the community, the Human Services Campus hopes to raise 500,000 bottles of water (approximately 20,000 cases) between May 1 to September 30.”

More information about the Center—and what you can do—is here.

Bar staff’s competitive side was roused by the Community Service Committee , which wisely decided a battle between colleagues on the first floor and on the third floor could result in a flood (get it?) of liquid submissions.

That appears to have worked wonders, for staff recently received an email reading, “There have been concerns about the amount of water being stored on the 3rd floor.”

Boom! When staff must be cautioned about a building’s very structural integrity, they have clearly brought it!

In truth, water is everywhere. It’s in the CLE Department’s classroom, multiple people’s offices, hallways, spare cubicles. I get thirsty just seeing it.

Water and tote boards collect on the State Bar's third floor.

Water and tote boards collect on the State Bar’s third floor.

At last count, here’s the tally: 1st floor, 128 cases; 3rd floor, 159 cases.

The drive continues through July 9, so it’s more neck-and-neck than it may appear. (And I have been officed on both floors, so I feel conflicting loyalties. But I guess I’m a 1st-floor person.)

Donated water sits amidst desks in the Bar's CLE Center.

Donated water sits amidst desks in the Bar’s CLE Center.

Besides the water, staff are also donating sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts.

In case you wondered, the prize is a pizza party. But honestly, no one I’ve spoken with is primarily driven by the saucy prize; they just want to roll like a river across the finish line.

One of the many State Bar of Arizona offices and cubicles you'll find donated water stored.

One of the many State Bar of Arizona offices and cubicles you’ll find donated water stored.

To help them cross that line, let’s enjoy some river music, as Tina Turner belts out a little Proud Mary. And then, go get more water.

The complaint process for Arizona contractors has changed. ROC Contractor complaint process button_opt

Continuing legal education may never be the same again. After an event yesterday, W.E.B. DuBois, Temple Grandin, Ann Sullivan and every other famous educator may have spun in their graves. Why is that? Well, I participated in a CLE program.

What? You ask. You’ve never been a presenter or panelist on a Bar program? Alas, it’s true. (Well, there was one time I played a bumbling and confused attorney for a Solo Section program at the 2004-or-so Convention. But that was hardly acting, and barely educational.)

But then a few months ago, the Bar launched CLE Snippets, and I still wasn’t sure I’d have a part to play.

cle snippets teaser logo. This teaser signifies a new and innovative way to combine magazine content with online learning.Do you remember my discussing the Snippets? They are 15- to 30-minute CLE videos. There will be one a month, each based on an article in the upcoming month’s Arizona Attorney Magazine. The inaugural video covered a topic from the Eye on Ethics column. So it made sense that columnist Dave Dodge and Bar Ethics Counsel Patricia Sallen illustrated the points in the video Q&A.

Our second Snippet, though, covers significant changes being launched to the complaint process regarding contractors. So the story affects lawyers who represent a whole raft of professionals. It’s good stuff.

Much to my surprise, I got to frame and ask questions of the author, Matt Meaker of Sacks Tierney. The questions covered everything from an explanation of what specifically changed, to asking which lawyers and other professionals will be most affected, and whether this is or could be a good thing (or not) for contractors and consumers.

As this is my inaugural CLE, I decided we should be as un-CLE-like as possible. So here is a selfie of me and Matt before the heated (not) conversation. What followed the photo was a casual but substantial Q&A (Matt provided the substantial portion!).

Matt Meaker and Tim Eigo clearly have no game face, as they prepare for a Q&A on changes to the Arizona contractor-complaint process.

Matt Meaker and Tim Eigo clearly have no game face, as they prepare for a Q&A on changes to the Arizona contractor-complaint process.

While the camera rolled, I also had the great pleasure to reveal—to viewers and to Matt himself—that his article was to be our cover story in the July/August 2014 magazine. So not only were we providing excellent practice pointers—we were breaking news!

Matt Meaker headshot

A better, more professional headshot of Matt Meaker of Sacks Tierney.

Matt and I may have similar non-reverential approaches to legal matters. Serious stuff, yes, but why can’t it be delivered in punchy and enjoyable ways?

Of course, I may never be asked back, so that would spell the end of that little experiment.

I’ll share a link of the preview once I have it. And here’s hoping I’ve got a future in legal education! (In this day and age, we all need a back-up plan.)

Estate Planning wills trusts

I often communicate the results of the State Bar’s Lawyers on Call events after they occur. But as I looked at the topic for tomorrow’s pro bono lawyer event, I thought that many of us may have family or friends who could benefit from calling in. Please feel free to share this with them.

Tomorrow’s topic is estate planning (wills, trusts, more). The number to call is (602) 258-1212 (note: lawyers are only available at that phone number from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the days when Lawyers on Call is featured). Here is Bar news about the upcoming Lawyers on Call.

“If you should pass away unexpectedly, will your children be cared for by someone you love and trust? If you become incapacitated, will your business continue to thrive and grow? Will your family have to deal with bureaucracy during a time of sadness? Ease the stress associated with untimely death or accidents by seeking advice from an estate planning attorney for free on Tuesday, July 1.”

“Volunteer estate planning attorneys will answer your questions on the State Bar of Arizona, 12 News, and azcentral.com’s Lawyers on Call public service program. You can discuss your wills, trust, and estate planning issues with them for free from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1.”

Whitney Cunningham, Richard Platt, John Phelps

Whitney Cunningham, Richard Platt, John Phelps

Was it only a week ago that I was at the State Bar Convention, and where I (unwisely?) launched a photo-caption contest?

No matter about my poor judgment: I promised to announce the winner today—Change of Venue Friday—and so I shall.

You can see the photo at the top of this post. As a reminder, this captures what has become an annual tradition as the Bar’s leadership changes. The photo includes the departing President, the incoming President, and the Bar’s CEO/ED. The train is leaving the station, you could say.

Here is the winning entry:

“Is there a choreographer in the house? Please tell me this doesn’t involve twerking.”

As I said in my initial post, the winner receives a Starbucks gift card. As if those in the legal profession need to be caffeinated any more.

I am obliged to disappoint interested readers, though, by saying that the winner must remain anonymous. Due to his or her workplace situation, she or he prefers it that way, and I acquiesce to that request.

I can assure you, though, that the winner is not a State Bar employee, me, or any member of my family.

Besides that, read my original blog post to see where you should file your complaints.

Have a wonderful—and caption-filled—weekend.

(Note: Some may wonder why I included the word “twerking” in the post title. Honestly, I’m simply curious what unique Twitter interactions that may create. We’ll see!)

Next week: A few brief follow-ups to some noteworthy Convention events. (And then we’ll be Convention-free until 2015!)

State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute bannerHere’s where the rubber hits the road: You know an attorney whom you think is going to tear up the profession (in a good way). Or you suspect you’ve got the leadership DNA within yourself. But how to channel it?

An ideal development tool is on offer by the State Bar of Arizona, which is seeking applicants for its 2014-15 Bar Leadership Institute class.

For my money, this has been one of the Bar’s programs that has had the most impact on ensuring the profession’s future.

But get off the stick, leaders: The application deadline is tomorrow, June 20.

No worries: The Bar makes the process pretty easy. Here’s some more background.

As the Bar describes it, the Bar Leadership Institute is an award-winning nine-month professional development program. Since its inception in 2007 the BLI has prepared more than 100 attorneys for leadership positions within the Bar and the community-at-large. Program sessions cover a variety topics ranging from leadership, ethics and career development, to conversations with judges, government attorneys, in-house counsel and executives. Sessions occur monthly starting with a weekend retreat in September.

Attorneys selected to participate receive:

  • Up to two years of CLE credit
  • Leadership and related education and training in an experiential and mentoring learning environment
  • Opportunities to foster relationships with the State Bar of Arizona, partner bar associations, government and community leaders

Applications—available online here—will be accepted through June 20, 2014.

For questions or additional information, contact Elena Nethers, the State Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Advisor: Elena.Nethers@staff.azbar.org

It’s been my pleasure to work with BLI students and graduates, and I’ve always been impressed. Here’s hoping you offer up a name (maybe yours!) to participate.

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