If they existed for lawyer magazines, rack sales would skyrocket with celebrity covers. (Or celebrity-adjacent.)

If they existed for lawyer magazines, rack sales would skyrocket with celebrity covers. (Or celebrity-adjacent.)

Let’s step back in time, shall we? All the way to December 2013. That’s when California Lawyer Magazine ran a cover story on Jason Beckerman, a TMZ in-house counsel (and on-air commentator).

If any story was made for Change of Venue Friday, this has to be it, am I right? A touch of law, a dash of celebrity, a soupçon of journalism. You are most welcome.

And yes, this has been out there for a bit, but so what? I somehow managed to never write about it, and the story includes some of my favorite things: magazines+attorneys! So quit yer whining and enjoy today’s “content.”

Watching the video (below), I must say, I couldn’t help but chuckle as the TMZ correspondents praise their lawyer colleague while dissing the publication he fronted. The assumption being, of course, that lawyer magazines are likely to be dull, drowsy affairs. Hurtful, that. But how little those televised hipsters know about compelling content, beautifully delivered.

And today’s content comes to you courtesy of the West Coast legal eagles Kallie Donahoe and Sayre Happich Ribera, both at the Bar Association of San Francisco. Knowing my Google Alerts for TMZ–lawyer mashups may have failed, they alerted me to the news, and I wanted to get it out to you as soon as possible. Thank you, Kallie and Sayre, rock stars both in legal culture and the more pop variety!

To make things even easier, here is a brief video on the topic of Beckerman’s being the mag’s cover lawyer.

And because all legal education requires a written component (rules or something), here is the story itself in which Beckerman discusses the daily grind of lawyerly infotainment.

All kidding aside, the story was a very good one, and Beckerman’s insights and observations are worth reading. They include a discussion of media, the First Amendment, anti-SLAPP laws, and fair use.

I also appreciated getting some insight into the workplace and the job of a lawyer at TMZ. Here’s how show host and co-founder (and former journalist and lawyer) Harvey Levin describes the task set before their attorneys:

“Pondering doesn’t work,” Levin says. “You gotta have good instincts and if you don’t, there are consequences. It’s kind of a ten-second rule—someone hands you documents, and you have ten seconds to get to the heart of the matter.”

Sound like your law office? Probably not.

Here’s wishing you a great—and celebrity-filled—weekend.

Part of the opening spread in the profile of Bar President Bryan Chambers, Arizona Attorney Magazine, Sept. 2015.

Part of the opening spread in the profile of Bar President Bryan Chambers, Arizona Attorney Magazine, Sept. 2015.

Some organizational moves at the State Bar of Arizona:

As you probably know, the new President of the Bar took his leadership position at the close of the June Convention. At that time, we offered congratulations to Bryan Chambers, from Globe.

While all that was going on, Superior Court Judge Peter Cahill announced his retirement, mid-term, from the Gila County Superior Court. Bryan applied for the judgeship.

Recently, we learned that Bryan had, indeed, been appointed to the bench by Gov. Doug Ducey. You can read about that here.

Of course, that meant Bryan could not serve as a Bar officer, per State Bar bylaws. So at a meeting last week, the Board of Governors elected a new President, Geoff Trachtenberg, of Phoenix. Detail on that is here.

In that press release, we also learn that the board elected: Jeffrey Willis to fill the second vice president post vacated by Trachtenberg; and Steven Hirsch, to fill the secretary/treasurer seat vacated by Willis.

Meantime, I was working on the annual profile of new President Chambers. And he will have served for about 60 days by the time her steps down on August 31, so of course he deserves a profile. That’ll be in the September issue of Arizona Attorney. But now I suppose I’ll gear up to write one on Geoff Trachtenberg too. (That’s OK; it’s one of the perks of the job!)

Stephen L. Pevar, author of The Rights of Indians and Tribes.

Stephen L. Pevar, author of The Rights of Indians and Tribes.

Today I share some news about an upcoming event that touches on Indian law.

The author of a book that explains the complexities of federal Indian law and tribes’ and their members’ relationships with each other and with non-Indians will speak on current legal issues facing Native peoples Aug. 7 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Stephen L. Pevar, the author of the 2012 book The Rights of Indians and Tribes, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, in the Monte Vista Room at the museum, 2301 N. Central Ave. Pevar will sign copies of his book, available at $25 per copy following his presentation. Since Aug. 7 is First Friday, evening (6 to 10 p.m.) general admission to the museum—and to Pevar’s talk—is free; a $5 gate fee will be charged to visitors wishing to attend the exhibit Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!

Stephen L Pevar Rights of Indians and Tribes book coverFederal Indian law continues to be a complex subject for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. In his presentation at the Heard, Pevar will touch on several topics discussed in the book, which include the powers of Indian tribes; civil and criminal jurisdiction on Indian reservations; Indian hunting, fishing and water rights; taxation in Indian country; the Indian Civil Rights Act; the Indian Child Welfare Act; and tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

Pevar is senior staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. He taught a course in federal Indian law at the University of Denver School of Law for 16 years and has lectured extensively on the subject. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He had served for three years as staff attorney for South Dakota Legal Services on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. Since 1976, he has been a national staff counsel for the ACLU.

Pevar has litigated some 200 federal cases involving constitutional rights, including one case in the U.S. Supreme Court. His areas of specialty include free speech, Indian rights, prisoners’ rights and the separation of church and state.

When it comes to the ADA's 25th anniversary, should we celebrate? Do better? Or both?

When it comes to the ADA’s 25th anniversary, should we celebrate? Do better? Or both?

Yesterday, I pointed you toward a few news stories regarding the 25th anniversary of passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Today, I suggest some additional resources and reading.

Begin with an insightful op-ed by Erica McFadden. She’s an analyst at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU. As she opens her piece:

“Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and there is reason to celebrate the progress it ushered in over that quarter-century. But needed still is a call to action to affirm equality — especially in terms of employment.”

“Just one in three Arizonans with disabilities ages 16 to 64 were employed from 2008 to 2012, according to the census. That’s compared to more than two in three (71 percent) Arizonans with no disabilities who were employed during that time.”

“Perhaps even more sobering is the percentage of Arizonans with disabilities not even in the job market: 59 percent.”

And then follow it up with a My Turn column in the Arizona Republic by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi where she examines the sad statistics surrounding employment of people with disabilities.

Understanding-the-ADA-Goren ABA bookThird, for the law practice-minded among you, head over the ABA website to consider purchasing a new book titled “Understanding the ADA,” by William D. Goren and described by the publisher:

“This new edition of Understanding the ADA delves deeper into many of the complex topics of disability claims. The updates offer expanded guidance on remedies if the law is violated; advice on when you have a right to sue; the statute of limitations for ADA claims; when a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss; and whether a class-action is a viable thing to pursue. There are new areas of discussion regarding standing, when a complaint is sufficient, statute of limitations, and mixed-motive jury instructions, and additional information on disparate treatment cases, class actions, jury selection, and Batson challenges. Expanded and new topics include: ADA as it relates to sports including the Office of Civil Rights guidance on § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Utilizing negligence and negligence per se actions as an alternative to title III claims Highly detailed chapter on remedies and procedural issues Improved checklists and litigation forms.”

Finally, please enjoy the great article by Judge Randall Howe that we published in May. It reminds us how important advocacy is to progress. In the judge’s case, it was his mother who was driven for equity in her son’s education. For you? Well, everyone may have a different advocate.

Washington, DC, murals, courtesy of Google.org, commemorate the ADA's 30th anniversary. (And yes, they're on stairs.)

Washington, DC, murals, courtesy of Google.org, commemorate the ADA’s 30th anniversary. (And yes, they’re on stairs.)

Yesterday marked a significant anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Reaching 30 years is definitely momentous, so I’ll probably cover it a few times this week. Today, some positive news about the ADA, and a troubling sign of how far we have to go.

As the Washington Post reports:

“Take a walk around D.C. this weekend, and you may stumble across some newly installed murals honoring leaders in the fight for equality for people with disabilities. This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disability Act—landmark legislation signed into law in 1990 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of someone’s disability.”

“Google.org—the philanthropic arm of Google—is celebrating the anniversary and the start of the Special Olympics this weekend with these installations throughout the city. There are 10 temporary pieces at six locations in the city. The murals are stickers, illustrated by Darren Booth, and will be removed Sunday.”

You can read the whole story here. But as a friend, disability advocate Jennifer Longdon, mused, the ADA-celebration murals are on stairs? Really? Ya really do have to wonder.

And lest we get too high-falutin’ in our self-praise as a nation, you really should read a companion piece from the Post. It describes the ultimately unsuccessful efforts by another advocate to travel around Washington during the celebrations. Thirty years later, public accommodations are too often that in name only.

Here’s the story about Professor Dot Nary.

Professor Dot Nary in the Washington Post.

Professor Dot Nary in the Washington Post.

And as long as I’m mentioning self-praise, it’s worth noting, WaPo, that terms like “wheelchair-bound” are no longer acceptable, even in journo style guides.

In the September issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we cover facial hair on witnesses. It's not just for hipsters, y'know.

In the September issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we cover facial hair on witnesses. It’s not just for hipsters, y’know.

Short and sweet, just as a Change of Venue Friday should be.

As we were putting together our September issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, it occurred to me that our cover story could be a great candidate for a Vine video.

Don’t know Vine? Well, as Monsieur Wikipedia puts it so well:

“Vine is a short-form video sharing service where users can share six-second-long looping video clips. The service was founded in June 2012, and microblogging website Twitter acquired it in October 2012, just before its official launch. Users’ videos are published through Vine’s social network and can be shared on other services such as Facebook and Twitter. Vine’s app can also be used to browse through videos posted by other users, along with groups of videos by theme, and trending, or popular, videos.”

Anyhoo, our cover story examines the views people have about facial hair on witnesses. Who knew there was detailed research on the topic?

Along with sharing that research, we share great photos that could be illustrate the authors’ points. How else can a legal magazine find a way to feature Brad Pitt, Ashton Kutcher, David Beckham, and Adolph Hitler—all in the same story?

Vine logo v2Anyway, you can watch the Vine here. (C’mon, it’s 6 seconds! Click already!)

And yes, I’ll use a tripod next time.

The best way to view Vines is on your phone through the app. And once you’re there, feel free to follow me. Who knows what we’ll post next.

Have a great—and video-worthy—weekend.

National Hot Dog Day 2015 v1

Harvey Shinblock can’t be the first lawyer who wanted to open a hot-dog stand.

So today, Thursday, is National Hot Dog Day. Don’t believe me? Well, would the Des Moines Register lie to you?

Not legal enough a topic for your bloggish reading? Stick around. I’ll get to the legal in a moment.

In the meantime, here are a few places in the Phoenix area you might enjoy a hot dog.

Musing on the wonderment of wieners, I was curious about this, so I checked: In the five-plus years I’ve written my daily blog, I’m chagrined to note that the words “hot dog” appear more than a dozen times.

That seems high for a legal blog. Agreed? Well, maybe it’s a cry for help.

In any casing (see what I did there?), I thought I would share my first-ever documented blogular use of the phrase. It occurred in the prologue to a legal novel I wrote (detail about that endeavor is here.)

The book is titled The Supremes, and it involves a new law firm composed of former state supreme court justices. They thought clients would come knocking—which they did—but the law firm partners underestimated how much they disliked each other—and disliked hard work.

The hot dog reference came early, when the new firm’s administrator thinks about Harvey Shinblock, a colorful lawyer who is now disbarred (for numerous offenses, including a Circle K assault with a pocketknife). Harvey owns a hot-dog stand, and he carries quite a grudge against the legal profession. Here’s a portion:

Bernie Galvez liked hot dogs, and Harvey Shinblock sold the best in the city.

Galvez smiled as he recalled how Shinblock had managed to get 30 days in the county lockup for his “misunderstanding” at the convenience store—the best lawyering Shinblock had ever done, representing himself before old Judge Barnes. And after that 30 days, Shinblock woke up driven by a dream of opening his own hot-dog stand.

Human nature being the self-destructive little imp that it is, Shinblock drove his metaphoric stake in the ground on the sidewalk right outside the criminal courts complex. There, he gazed balefully as lawyers and judges streamed by him daily. If looks could kill—or wound with a pocketknife—those members of the bench and bar would have been a bloody mess on the Phoenix streets.

National Hot Dog Day 2015But maybe they got their comeuppance. For in the last three years since Shinblock opened “Court Wieners,” he had received the praise of every publication in town, from the “Best in Phoenix” to the “Best in the Southwest” to the “Best Nooner in a Casing.” Shinblock knew what he was doing as he steamed his hand-crafted dogs.

Nonetheless, no lawyer or judge was ever known to be brave enough to step up and purchase a meal. The history, the bad blood, and the fear of poisoning kept a significant portion of the suited sidewalk denizens from venturing forward and trying Shinblock’s bliss in a bun. They salivated and gnashed their teeth, but the gray and blue army marched past the stainless steel stand, thinking hungrily that they may have been a tad hard on good old Shinblock. Still, march by they did.

The complete prologue is here. Want to keep reading? Here’s Chapter 1.

And … do get out and eat a hot dog.

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