November 2011


Some timely news from the State Bar of Arizona:

This Thursday, join the Young Lawyers Division and Mentor Committee of the State Bar, Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Section, Arizona Black Bar Association, the Committee on Minorities & Women in the Law and Arizona Jewish Lawyers Association for happy hour and networking at The Capital Grille in North Scottsdale. Free hors d’oeuvres will be served. This is a great opportunity to network and get to know other lawyers.

A special thank you to The Capital Grille for generously contributing hors d’oeuvres for this event.

Here are the details:

Who: The State Bar of Arizona’s Young Lawyer Division, Sole Practitioner & Small Firm Section, and Mentor Committee;  Arizona Black Bar Association; Committee on Minorities & Women in the Law; and Arizona Jewish Lawyers Association

What: Networking and free appetizers

When: Thursday, November 17, 2011, 6:00-8:30 pm

Where: The Capital Grille, 16489 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale 85254

Sponsors:

Click here or here for a map of The Capital Grille’s location.

On Friday, Maricopa County dedicated its new court tower, officially taking ownership of the 16-story structure at Second Avenue and Madison Street in downtown Phoenix.

Though operations will not commence in the building until Arizona Centennial Day in February 2012, county staff and supervisors decided to formally mark the delivery of the certificate of occupancy.

As workers made tweaks and final adjustments, dignitaries gathered Friday morning in the building’s lobby for brief remarks by those who played a large part in the building’s completion.

“On time and under budget” was repeated by numerous speakers, clearly pleased to be able to report the fact.

Supervisor Don Stapley said that the county had saved $198 million in financing costs by building when it did—rather than delaying, as detractors had recommended. The building is now debt-free, he said.

“This building is a testament to the courage and tenacity of the board and staff in the face of their challengers,” he said. “The citizens of the county for the next 100 years will be the winners.”

Supervisor Fulton Brock said that the building’s inscription—“The first duty of society is justice”—is what the board and the county stand for.

“This building is the envy of every judicial district in the nation,” Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox said. “When Maricopa County sets its mind to something, there’s no stopping it.”

Also speaking was County Manager David Smith, who thanked all of the contractors and vendors.

“Today we celebrate the success of a great team in what will be a 100-year building.”

Smith described some of the many unique elements of the new structure, such as separate waiting areas for victims and defendants, holding cells that will accommodate more than 1,000 inmates, and a variety of courtroom designs made to address varying needs. Smith also noted that there were more than 2 million work hours on the project with no lost-time accidents.

Assistant County Manager for Public Works Kenny Harris praised the three construction and design teams that led the operation: HDR, Parsons and Arcadis.

Event attendees stood atop one of the building’s featured elements: a terrazzo tile floor depicting the flow of the Salt River.

Representing the court (for Presiding Judge Norm Davis, who was unable to attend the Veterans Day event) was Judge Eddward Ballinger. He said, “This project represents an example of the prudent and wise leadership by supervisors and county staff. Of all the bickering we see today, this is an example of efficient bipartisanship.”

Here is another story on the opening. And the Court Tower has its own web page here.

More photos are below. And more are available on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

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Vietnam Memorial (photo by David Selden, winner of our May 2010 Creative Arts Competition for Photography)

Happy Change of Venue Friday. More important, Happy Veterans Day.

I offer two brief items for your review on this significant holiday.

First, in case you missed it, go back and read this essay by Marcy Karin and Carissa Hessick from Thursday’s Arizona Republic. Both authors are educators at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

They open their op-ed by detailing the employment challenge that vets face:

“This week, we honor Arizona’s 600,000 veterans, many who proudly served our country in Middle East war zones during the past decade. With more troops set to return home, Veterans Day provides us with an opportunity to recognize the difficulties service members face reintegrating into civilian life through changes to employment resources and the criminal-justice system.

Carissa Hessick

“Combat service takes a heavy toll. Physical impairments like hearing loss and traumatic brain and spinal-cord injuries are common. Studies also indicate almost 35 percent of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. These ailments many times lead to homelessness and substance abuse. Work is hard to find, and keeping a job is difficult.

“Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have a national unemployment rate of 11.7 percent. Locally, a recently returned Army National Guard unit had a 50 percent unemployment rate. Veterans are returning home to a tight job market, and weary employers may not understand the skills these job-seekers developed in the military.”

Marcy Karin

Karin and Hessick explain the good that has flowed from federal legislation that protects veterans’ jobs, and from the institution of veterans courts in some jurisdictions (we covered one example in Arizona Attorney Magazine here).

But they urge further legal changes, including considering military service as a mitigating factor in all crimes, not just low-level ones. What do you think?

A second item worth your attention this weekend is the presence in Arizona of a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The revered structure in Washington, DC, designed by architect Maya Lin, is an emotional testament to what was sacrificed by so many. Though millions visit the Memorial, many more are unable to travel to Washington—which makes a replica a pretty compelling idea.

This will be erected in Tempe through the weekend. Read more about it here.

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall travels down Mill Avenue on its way to Tempe Beach Park for display. (David Kadlubowski/The Arizona Republic)

Have a great weekend.

Sara Lofland (left) and Tally Kingsnorth of the Florence Project at the State Bar of Arizona, Nov. 10, 2011

This morning, representatives from the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project presented at the State Bar of Arizona on pro bono opportunities (I wrote about the event earlier this week). The comments were insightful, and speakers indicated that the need for legal representation is constant.

Thanks to Florence Project lawyers Tally Kingsnorth and Sara Lofland for their presentation.

So let’s get right to the point. If you’re an Arizona lawyer and are interested in offering your time, or if you have questions about the Project, write to Tally Kingsnorth. She is the Pro Bono Coordinator and a Senior Staff Attorney there. Her email is tkingsnorth@firrp.org.

Not sure you’re quite up to sending that email yet? No problem; there is another path. Click here to read more about the Project and the work they do. You’ll get some insight into their needs in immigration and dependency, and their mission to help adults and children. It may answer many of your questions.

And then you should contact Tally. Did I mention her email? It’s tkingsnorth@firrp.org.

Finally, if you’re still not sure about dipping your toe into this initiative, then maybe it’s time to get your toes tappin‘. That’s where Music for Justice comes in.

Music for Justice is a benefit concert on November 19. But given the great venue and the act, most of the benefit will accrue to the attendees. It will be held at The Rhythm Room in Phoenix (1019 E. Indian School Road, 602-265-4842), and the headliners are KT and the Repeat Offenders (don’t you love lawyer-band names?).

As the promotional material says, KT and the Repeat Offenders “is a 12-piece, high-energy rhythm and blues band that plays blues, 60s R&B, Santana, rock, and Motown music.” Among the players will be former Judge (and current Florence Project President) Noel Fidel on trumpet.

Want to see more about the band? Click here, and go to Youtube to search for more of their work.

Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. Proceeds from Music for Justice will benefit the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. (The Project is also on Facebook. Why don’t you go ahead and Like them? Arizona Attorney Magazine has.)

You may purchase tickets to the blues-y event here. Or you could mail a check (yup, that still works) to Florence Project, P.O. Box 654, Florence, AZ 85132 with “Nov. 19 fundraiser” in the memo line. They will mail your tickets to you.

Finally, in case I failed to provide it, here is Tally’s email: tkingsnorth@firrp.org.

And remember: There’s no groove like the Justice groove. Let’s get moving.

Here are a few more photos from today’s great CLE.

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Ariz. Senate President Russell Pearce

As I write this, Election Day is ticking away its last minutes. Among all the results, both surprises and their opposite, it’s looking very much like we won’t have Russell Pearce to kick around anymore.

As the Arizona Daily Star reported late last night:

“Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce—architect of some of the nation’s toughest state laws against illegal immigration—was ousted by voters Tuesday in an unprecedented recall.

“Results late Tuesday showed challenger Jerry Lewis, a political newcomer, with a 53-to-45 percent margin over Pearce in his east Mesa district. Both are Republicans. A small percentage also cast ballots for Olivia Cortes, although she withdrew from the race.

“Pearce conceded defeat, saying he is disappointed and will spend some time ‘with my family and my God’ before deciding what to do next. He has not ruled out another run—including to get his seat back.”

God wasn’t available for comment. But you can read the whole story here.

There were many twists and turns in this race, but at its heart, there was no more “legal” election battle this year. The Senate President may have disputed it, but SB1070 and its fellow immigration laws were all over this race.

The ouster of Russell Pearce likely pleases or dismays many Arizona lawyers, whose opinions on immigration and a great many other things are very diverse. But for me, the surprise in the race was farther down the tote board.

252 votes for Olivia Cortes.

Who? Oh, yes, that Olivia Cortes. The one caught up in allegations that she was a sham candidate whose sole purpose was to draw votes away from Jerry Lewis and therefore to help Russell Pearce.

The tale of the tape

Well, if that was the plan, it didn’t work very well. But her inclusion on the ballot still garnered some support, long after interminable news stories documented her lack of genuine commitment to public service and to this race.

Who are those 252 people, you have to wonder?

I will grant her this: Her family probably supported her with their votes. I mean, even if my mom were a sham candidate running for town council back in Poughquag, N.Y., I’d still be inclined to cast my vote her way. Sham or not, family’s family.

So let’s give Olivia the credit of 10, no, 20, hell, let’s say 50 family votes.

Given that, who are those 202 other people who voted for a woman who had formally withdrawn after having barely been in the race to start with? A woman with no positions, no record, no political accomplishments? Someone whose withdrawal opportunely came immediately before a scheduled candidate debate and a court hearing that would have put her “supporters” on record under oath?

I am inclined to search out those 200 or so voters and to ask them to leave the state. Just leave.

At the very least, those voters should be included in a list of potential jurors who are unaware of and unswayed by news stories.

Happy Election Day-after.

This Thursday, Arizona lawyers have the chance to help others—and to gain valuable experience in the process.

That day, the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar of Arizona presents an educational program by the staff of the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project, the nationally known initiative that provides a wide variety of immigration services.

Last October, I wrote about the Florence Project (here and here and other places too). They deserve your support, and Thursday is all about making that happen.

Note: An RSVP is required. Read farther down for more information.

Pro Bono Opportunities to Serve Immigrants Detained in Arizona

Tally Kingsnorth and Sara Lofland are excited to introduce the Young Lawyers to the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project’s (Florence Project) Pro Bono Program. Their presentation will cover the deportation process, defenses and relief from removal, typical immigration cases selected for pro bono placement, and the level of mentoring support provided by the Florence Project’s program. In addition, Tally and Sara will give an overview of the organization’s current projects and a short history of the Florence Project, which is unique nationally in the services it provides.

Speakers:

Sara Lofland, The Florence Project

Thalassa Kingsnorth, The Florence Project

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. 

Registration begins at 7:45 a.m.

Location: State Bar of Arizona, Boardroom, 3rd Floor

4201 N. 24th St., Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85016

Cost (wait for it …): FREE

RSVP by Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You can RSVP by:

Mail: State Bar of Arizona, Attn: Teri Yeates, 4201 N. 24th St., Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85016-6288

Phone: 602-340-7312

Fax: 602-416-7512

Email: Teri.Yeates@staff.azbar.org

Like a thief in the night (or some other overly dramatic metaphor), November slipped into our lives, carrying with it an important event.

November 1 was the opening of the annual Arizona Attorney Magazine Creative Arts Competition. That is the event that results in our amazing May issue featuring the work of some talented lawyers.

But May is a ways away. Before we get there, we have the application and review process, which I hope you consider if you’ve got some creative chops.

Here are the categories: Fiction; Nonfiction; Poetry; Humor; Photography; Painting/Drawing; Sculpture; Music (original compositions and classical/jazz); Video

All submissions must be e-mailed to ArtsContest@azbar.org. (Or send them via regular mail, if you must.)

Some of our 2011 winners

Questions? Click here to read the complete rules, or contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

To see the great work that took the prize last year, go here.

Here’s looking to another great competition.

Veterans Day got an early celebration at the State Bar of Arizona Tuesday, when special guest speakers talked about those who sacrifice for their country.

Two representatives from the Pat Tillman Foundation described efforts to ease and improve the stateside return of those who have served in the armed forces. The presentation was part of the Bar’s focus on diversity and inclusion.

Suzanne Reddie and Cara Hammer provided statistics that reveal the challenges faced by the returning vets. To respond, the organization established initiatives such as the Tillman Military Scholars Program:

“The Tillman Military Scholars program supports our nation’s active and veteran servicemembers and their spouses by removing financial barriers to completing a degree program of choice. The scholarships cover not only direct study-related expenses such as tuition and fees, but also other needs, including housing and child care.

Suzanne Reddie

“Since the program’s inception, the Pat Tillman Foundation has invested over $2.2 million in financial support. These scholarship funds are just a portion of the Tillman Military Scholar experience which also focuses on guiding an engaged community and providing essential resources that enable Scholars to serve and lead in their local communities.”

Veterans may apply for a scholarship to attend virtually any college, but some schools apply to be selected as “University Partners,” those who have demonstrated specific elements they have put in place to assist their veteran scholars. Among those partners is the University of Arizona.

Cara Hammer

David Sandweiss, Senior Bar Counsel, described the well-known “Pat’s Run,” the signature fund-raising event of the Foundation. It is held at Arizona State University, and last year more than 30,000 people participated. For more information, click here.

Among the lighter moments of the event was the creation of two posters filled with photos of vets related to Bar staff. Many participated in a competition to decipher whom the photographed military personnel were related to at the Bar.

Congratulations to all the Bar staff who organized this event, and especially to Patricia Giallanza of the Communications Department.

These and other photos are posted on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

Pat Tillman

The Arizona Journal of Environmental Law & Policy at the University of Arizona Law School is hosting a Saturday discussion of the complex intersection of two matters of public policy: the way we generate energy and the way we harm the environment as little as possible.

Titled “Energy, Natural Resources, and the Environment: Three Perspectives,” the panel discussion features comments from Dinah Bear, an attorney whose work focuses on matters dealing with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to conference organizers, she represents clients opposing the Rosemont mine. Ms. Bear served for almost 25 years as the General Counsel of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality.

Other panelists include UA Law Professor Robert Glennon and Dr. Sheldon Trubatch. (I wrote about Professor Glennon and his great book “Unquenchable” here.)

Here is information on the morning’s topics:

“This forward-looking panel discussion examines the convergences between concerns over energy, natural resources, and the environment. Ms. Bear will begin the discussion with an overview of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and a critique of the slew of environmental legislation pending before Congress, as well as an update on Rosemont mine. Professor Glennon will pick up with an analysis of the natural resource constraints on renewable energies, focusing especially on the vast land and water requirements of solar plants. With these limitations in mind, Mr. Turbatch will turn to the viability of nuclear energy, considering its licensing requirements, natural resource demands and environmental impacts. Whether you are interested in the legal, scientific, or political aspects of these topics, this panel discussion will surely have something for you.”

Saturday, November 5th

10:00 a.m. to Noon

James E. Rogers College of Law

Room 160 (no longer in Room 164)

Register by clicking here.

Arizona Vice Chief Justice Andrew Hurwitz

This afternoon, Arizona Vice Chief Justice Andrew Hurwitz was nominated to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama. 

President Obama said, “Justice Hurwitz has proven himself to be not only a first-rate legal mind but a faithful public servant.  It is with full confidence in his ability, integrity, and independence that I nominate him to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals.”

Here is the full story from the White House. Congratulations to a great Arizona lawyer and jurist!

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