Is there anything cooler than wishing a friend well, high-five-style? (A: No.)

Is there anything cooler than wishing a friend well, high-five-style? (A: No.)

Every now and then, there’s a topic that is made for Change of Venue Friday. And so here we are.

I may be a day late, but I am happy to spread the word that yesterday was National High-Five Day.

What does that mean? Well, does everything have to mean something? Can’t we just live?

But if you insist on actual information, then read more about it here. And perhaps that day explains why folks were “going high” yesterday as they passed you in the hall.

No one did? How sad. To be less-than-high-five-worthy, I mean.

I leave you, tired after a hard week, with a few pop-culture high-fives (the best kind, right?). I even include one that was a sorry #fail. What more could you ask?

high five met your mother tumblr_mour8uCIXU1r1rq39o1_500

conan-up-high five

When-George-Costanza-Seinfeld-Has-High-Five-Fail

Have a wonderful—and affirming—weekend.

A hat-tip to the ever-alert Bar Association of San Francisco for the news about High-Five Day!

Among those featured in tonight's Bill of Rights Comedy Concert will be (L to R) Chris Bliss, Dick Gregory, Lewis Black, Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, Tom Smothers, and John Fugelsang.

Among those featured in tonight’s Bill of Rights Comedy Concert will be (L to R) Chris Bliss, Dick Gregory, Lewis Black, Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, Tom Smothers, and John Fugelsang.

A quick item today urging you to enjoy some free expression to its most hilarious extent. “Let Freedom Laugh!” Bill of Rights Comedy Concert debuts tonight. It is headlined by Lewis Black, who will be accompanied by Dick Gregory and Tom Smothers; rising stars Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, and John Fugelsang; and special appearances by Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, and Penn Jillette. The event will be telecast on AXS TV (more detail below), and it is the brainchild of Chris Bliss and MyBillofRights.org. Yes, the same people who brought that stunning Bill of Rights Monument to downtown Phoenix. Not only did Arizona get the first monument (slated to be installed in every one of the 50 state capitals). We also witnessed the organization’s first comedy event, held at Phoenix Symphony Hall back in May 2012. The newest and most recent concert was shot at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Interested in how and when to watch it on your own TV or device tonight? Go here for more information for your location. Celebrating the Bill of Rights may never have been as hilarious as this.

Sixth Amendment monolith unveiled by then-Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, December 15, 2012.

Sixth Amendment monolith unveiled by then-Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, December 15, 2012.

LawyersWithoutRights logo cover Holocaust

A few days ago, I wrote about a State Bar program that will be held on Thursday, April 16—National Holocaust Remembrance Day. You can read about it here.

In that post, I also mentioned a related exhibit that is worth your time. Since then, I read even more deeply about it, and saw what’s been installed, and I urge you all over again to stop by the Bar building in Phoenix if you can. It will be displayed until 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 16.

Here is some background from the Bar:

“In addition to offering the ‘Lessons from the Holocaust’ CLE program, the State Bar has partnered with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the German Federal Bar to showcase the highly acclaimed international exhibit ‘Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich,’ from April 13 through 16, 2015.”

“According to the ABA and the German Federal Bar, ‘Lawyers Without Rights is an exhibition that speaks for itself. Its message resonates with all persons who understand and appreciate the concepts and ideals of a just role of law. It is a commentary and a lesson for all people everywhere about the dangers when lawyers or minorities are attacked or the law itself is unjustly applied.’ The exhibit showcases a series of stories that illustrate the Nazi mistreatment of German lawyers who happened to be Jewish.”

“The exhibit at the State Bar of Arizona is an exact replica of the full exhibit that has been shown in several cities in Germany and throughout the world. It will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 13-16, 2015.”

“Both the CLE and exhibition will be held at the State Bar of Arizona located at 4201 N. 24th St. in Phoenix. For more information contact Sarah Fluke at 602.340.7317.”

The exhibit wisely and hauntingly tells particular, personal stories of German lawyers who were Jewish and whose lives were irrevocably altered—or ended—by the Holocaust.

Also to be displayed, in the Bar lobby, will be 10 six-foot banners with pictures and text. They will be displayed from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon. Below is a photo of those posters when they were at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

Lawyers Without Rights display in Los Angeles

Lawyers Without Rights display in Los Angeles.

If you can’t make it, that’s OK. The website dedicated to those stories is terrific and offers a similar yet even deeper experience.

Here is a video about Lawyers Without Rights:

Hardly giving the exhibit justice, here is my Vine scanning the room it’s in.

And in case you were wondering:

“The German Federal Bar, known as the Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, is the national bar of the Republic of Germany and based in Berlin. Membership is approximately 166,000 lawyers and is required of all licensed lawyers in Germany.”

Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

An event this Saturday, April 18, brings together legal leaders and others to assess the experiences of the most recent Arizona county to use the judicial merit-selection system.

Pinal County is the place, and the event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The speakers will include retired Ariz. Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and State Bar President Richard Platt. Lunchtime remarks will be delivered by Vice Chief Justice John Pelander.

The event runs from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, and it’s free. Breakfast and lunch will be served. But registration is required, which you can do here.

That page also includes the complete program and list of speakers.

It is sponsored by numerous groups, including the State Bar of ArizonaArizona Advocacy Network and Justice at Stake. The organizers clearly want the conversation to range beyond the county line; they indicate the day’s dialogue will include “Pinal County’s judicial system, AZ’s Merit Selection System and national cases impacting Fair and Impartial Courts.”

My understanding is that the Court and the State Bar have had a difficult time encouraging attorneys to forward their names to be considered for the judicial nominating commission in Pinal County. The system has been used in other counties for a long time, but it may be getting its sea legs in Pinal. Perhaps forums like this will spread the word about merit selection’s value.

Drone unmanned aerial device These little devices are increasingly airborne. But what questions do they raise?

These little devices are increasingly airborne. But what questions do they raise?

We have covered drones before, in print and online. And a recent event I attended in which the skies above contained a whirring sound renewed my interest in them.

I was attending the groundbreaking for a condo project called Portland on the Park near downtown Phoenix. A downtown booster, I was there to applaud the creation of what looks to be a terrific structure.

Soon after the speeches were done, though, I gazed upward at what sounded like a lawnmower above our heads. But what I saw was a drone, hovering, zigging, and zagging. I realized we were being taped.

Just yesterday, via Facebook and Youtube, I got to view the fruits of the drone’s labors. You can see it below.

The view is great (even if the song choice is odd). I have to admit it gives you a new way to see things. But I wondered: Were there permits? Flight plans? Local or regional officials alerted?

Don’t misunderstand: I don’t insist all of that should be required if someone wants to view a simple groundbreaking or their kid’s T-ball game. But I had to wonder.

And so I wonder again, do any of our readers’ practice area involve the laws surrounding unmanned aerial devices? Do drones affect your day job? If so, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org

No. Just no. End stop. 2 spaces after a period. make it stop_opt

No. Just no. End stop.

Today I share a tale of periods, questions marks and other punctuation poorly served by those who come after.

If you are tired of the national dialogue about the number of spaces that must follow an end punctuation, I urge you to walk away from today’s Change of Venue Friday post. But I warn you: You may be part of the problem.

Others have spoken far more eloquently than I about the evils inherent in a two-space world. I heartily advocate that you read the essays on the topic by Jennifer Gonzalez and by Farhad Manjoo.

What brought the topic to my front burner was our own writing-columnist, Susie Salmon, penning a piece on the space issue in the March 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Susie’s piece, as always, was well written and in need of zero editing (o’ course). And I was pleased to see she was attacking the scourge afflicting our nation.

Until I got to her second graf. That’s where she reported:

“I remain agnostic … when it comes to what may be the biggest punctuation controversy of the modern era: how many spaces to insert after the punctuation at the end of the sentence. When I present to groups of attorneys, paralegals, or secretaries, I can be certain that at least one person will ask about the issue and that several people in the audience will have strong opinions one way or the other. Because I do not believe that the number of spaces after a period materially affects the accuracy or clarity of my written work, my personal rule is simple: Pick one option and be consistent.”

I must admit: I gulped deeply when I read that. Had my unfettered support for the First Amendment run its course? Could I—would I—strike the offending language and urge a better course of action upon readers?

Well, if you read the published magazine, you’ll see that I did not impose my own position on Susie’s column. But I was nervous: Were we encouraging a randomness among readers that would lead to sentential chaos? (Yes, I made up that word.)

This week, I saw that my worries were well grounded.

Outside the work space of a Bar colleague, a page from the magazine was posted proudly. Always pleased to see magazine content shared and touted, I strolled over to Sarah Fluke’s desk—and promptly gulped again. You can see it posted below (click to biggify.)

March 2015 Legal Word spaces after commas_opt

There, in the upper-right corner, Sarah had encouraged a vote on the 1-space/2-space question. Look at it; I mean, LOOK at it!

March 2015 Legal Word spaces after commas cropped_opt

Friends don’t let friends vote for 2 spaces. Just sayin’.

Dangerous democracy, I thought. But then I spied the emerging ballot results. As of yesterday, I am sorry to report, the votes rested at 9 to 7—in favor of two spaces.

Sarah is a wonderful colleague and is adept at delivering terrific continuing legal education. But here, in black and white, I thought I spied an abdication of her educative goals.

She, of course, is having none of my 21st-century nonsense and believes two spaces are absolutely fine. As I expressed my dismay, the conversation devolved into something along the lines of “Go away.   Move away from my desk.   Stop looking at my things.” (Vast and ridiculous amounts of space added in Sarah’s honor.)

My CLE colleagues may disappoint, and so I turn to you, my progressive readers. Please put aside your past experiences and your memory of my sad but true interactions at the Bar. Read the simple query below, and vote. The future of our nation hangs in the balance.

Have a wonderful—and space-conserving—weekend.

Attorney-author Gary Fry (photo by Karen Shell)

Attorney-author Gary Fry (photo by Karen Shell)

What appears on the back page of your favorite magazines?

The reason I ask is that a publication’s final page is routinely ranked as one of the “most-read” pages of a magazine. So editor-types tend to put a lot of thought into that content.

Our own last page has included written columns, photos, and even quizzes. Over the past few years we have engaged readers with “The Last Word,” columns by regularly recurring authors.

After a while, though, it occurred to us that someone may have an idea or two that they want to share, even if they do not commit to a nearly monthly writing regimen. And so we devised “My Last Word,” for those more sporadic and yet still compelling notions.

The April issue of Arizona Attorney contains one of my favorites.

I have always enjoyed the writing of attorney Gary Fry, and you may agree. He prevailed in our Poetry category for our arts competitions in 2007 and 2013.

And here he is again writing, this time on the life of a retired, rural lawyer. His essay opens:

“I am a shepherd tending his flocks, four rescue mutts and two elfin Cornish Rex kittens in one, seven medicinals in the other—hawked on TV with taglines like, ‘Ask your doctor if Cymbalta is right for you.’ One flock is messy but brings me joy. The other protects me from messes I am prey to in my eighth decade.”

 “I am also a retired lawyer: Bar number 001880 (circa 1966). After a brief go as a courtroom lawyer—going nowhere fast—I turned to real estate law, paid to mine dense legal text and define ‘acts of god’ in elegant stacks of paper. But the emotional return on documenting a complex financial transaction could never match helping some poor soul out of a jam.”

Please read his whole piece here. (And the image of his back-page column is below.)

My Last Word by Gary Fry, Arizona Attorney Magazine, April 2015

My Last Word by Gary Fry, Arizona Attorney Magazine, April 2015

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