February 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Happy Leap Day!

One way I remember what year has a Leap Day is to think, Is this a Presidential election year?

Well, it is, so what could be more appropriate today than to post some images from last week’s Arizona Republican Party debate, put on by CNN?

I was pleased to be able to attend and cover the debate. (Well, “attend” may be putting it strongly: Media were all corralled into a tent outside, but we did get to mingle with and inquire of the candidates and newsmakers after the debate.)

Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer

Want to see some of what I said about the debate, as it occurred? Search for the hashtag #GOPDebate on Twitter. And while you’re there, feel free to follow me (@azatty).

So now that Arizona’s Republican primary is over, and there is no way my poorly shot photos could accidentally influence the election’s outcome (which we discovered last night was won by Mitt Romney), here are a few of my pics. The complete set is online at the magazine’s Facebook page.

Debate sign directing media

How’s your law practice these days? Or, as an earlier age may have asked, “Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

I speak to many lawyers about just that issue, and more and more are cautiously optimistic that the economy is turning around. Of course, it turns like a container ship laden with now-obsolete goods. But still, brighter days may be ahead.

Many other lawyers, though, face one of the worst times of their careers. They reach for any answers that may help them weather this storm.

Still, though, lawyers like to put a bright face on it. How many of us, for example, are willing to call our part in the economy “stagnant”?

A bit depressing, don’t you think? Or maybe that’s just another way of being honest.

Ari Kaplan

Hats off, then, to Ari Kaplan, for that if for nothing else. Today at about noon, he addresses students at the ASU Law School—and other lawyers free in the middle of the day—to explore “How to Stand Out in Today’s Stagnant Economy.”

There’s that word again. But who is going to argue the fact?

Here is how the event is described:

Nationally recognized author Ari Kaplan presents “How to Stand Out in Today’s Stagnant Economy”

Learn how to reach the people you want to meet and successfully develop long-term professional relationships for job leads and future business. After attending this 1-hour program, you will be able to:

  • Use technology to more effectively raise your profile
  • Build stronger connections to leading professionals
  • More successfully reach out to prospective employers

In addition to teaching you proven techniques for establishing a strong reputation, becoming a more dynamic networker and honing your potential for career development, Mr. Kaplan is providing each student with a full-length audio version of his book (a $26 gift).

More information on Ari Kaplan is here and here.

Among other things, Kaplan is the author of Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace and  The Opportunity Maker, Strategies for Inspiring Your Legal Career Through Creative Networking and Business Development

I’ll be there, and I’ll be happy to report back what his strategies are. A one-hour session may not unearth us from a stagnant economy, but every little bit helps.

An announcement regarding the selection of judges, from the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review:

Commission Invites Public To Comment on Performance of Justices and Judges on 2012 General Election Ballot

The Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review will hold public hearings at the following times and locations to take comments from the public about the judges on the 2012 retention election ballot:

March 7, 2012 – Phoenix

4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Arizona State Courts Building

1501 W. Washington Street

Conference Room 345

March 14, 2012 – Tucson

4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

West Side Police Service Center

1310 West Miracle Mile

Rillito Room

March 21, 2012 – Florence

4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Pinal County Justice Center

971 Jason Lopez Circle

Building A

Established in 1992 by a constitutional amendment passed by voters, the 30-member Commission is charged with conducting performance reviews of judges. It sets performance standards for judges, decides whether or not a judge meets those standards, and publishes its findings for voters.

In addition to holding the public hearings, the Commission surveyed litigants, witnesses, jurors, people who represented themselves in court, staff and attorneys who appeared before Superior Court judges from August 29 through December 30, 2011. Surveys on appellate court justices and judges are distributed throughout their term. More than 57,000 surveys on Arizona judges were distributed in 2011.

The Commission’s findings will be released to the public before the 2012 general election in the Secretary of State’s Voter Pamphlet. The findings will also be available on the Commission’s website. Voters will decide whether judges remain in office on November 6.

Any citizen may appear at a public hearing or send written comments by April 15, 2012, to the Commission on Judicial Performance Review, 1501 West Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, AZ 85007-3231. Comments can also be sent through the Commission’s web page.

Comments are invited on the following judges:

Arizona Supreme Court:

Andrew D. Hurwitz

A John Pelander III

Court of Appeals, Division I:

Margaret H. Downie

Donn G. Kessler

Patricia K. Norris

Maurice Portley

Peter Swann

Court of Appeals, Division II:

Peter J. Eckerstrom

Philip G. Espinosa

Joseph W. Howard

Virginia Kelly

Superior Court in Maricopa County:

Helene F. Abrams

Eddward P. Ballinger

James P. Beene

A. Craig Blakey, II

Susan M. Brnovich

John A. Buttrick

Bruce R. Cohen

Connie Contes

Christopher A. Coury

Glenn Davis

John R. Ditsworth

Lisa Daniel Flores

Jeanne M. Garcia

David B. Gass

Pamela Gates

Jo Lynn Gentry-Lewis

Douglas Gerlach

Michael D. Gordon

John R. Hannah, Jr.

Cari A. Harrison

Kristin Hoffman

Michael W. Kemp

Daniel J. Kiley

Andrew G. Klein

Thomas L. LeClaire

Margaret R. Mahoney

Crane McClennen

M. Scott McCoy

Paul J. McMurdie

Colleen A. McNally

Michael R. McVey

Linda H. Miles

Robert E. Miles

Robert H. Oberbillig

Jose S. Padilla

David J. Palmer

Karen A. Potts

Timothy J. Ryan

Teresa A. Sanders

Roland J. Steinle, III

Sherry K. Stephens

Peter A. Thompson

David K. Udall

Christopher T. Whitten

Superior Court in Pima County:

Karen S. Adam

Gus Aragón

Deborah Bernini

Kyle A. Bryson

Carmine Cornelio

Jane L. Eikleberry

Richard S. Fields

Richard Gordon

Howard Hantman

Jan E. Kearney

Kenneth Lee

John S. Leonardo

Leslie B. Miller

Michael Miller

Clark W. Munger

Scott H. Rash

Sarah R. Simmons

Christopher P. Staring

Paul E. Tang

Stephen C. Villarreal

Superior Court in Pinal County:

J. Rudy Georgini

Boyd T. Johnson

Stephen F. McCarville

Robert Carter Olson

Janna L. Vanderpool

Chief Justice Berch and one of the happy couples

Last Friday, I reported on a mass wedding held on the steps of the Arizona Supreme Court.

It was a cool and pretty trippy event, seeing almost 200 people joined in matrimony en masse. I recall a few friends who got married at San Francisco City Hall, and, like last week’s event, it was both romantic and blissfully brief. (They ended up on the rocks, but that’s a different story.)

(For more photos of the wedding, go to the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.)

I promised before to try to obtain the remarks uttered by the Chief Justice as she bound the couples together legally. Her crack Court staff obliged, and so we end our week with some words of love and commitment. Have a great weekend.


(Celebrating Arizona’s 100th Anniversary of Statehood)

Location: Arizona State Courts Building (Northwest Steps and Lawn)

1501 West Washington Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85007

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 4:00 p.m.

Wedding Official: The Hon. Rebecca White Berch

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Arizona

Good afternoon and thank you for being here. And thank you to all of our couples for inviting us to share in their special day.

How lucky to be able to do this on Valentine’s Day, a day that is all about love. And this Valentine’s Day is more special even than most, since it marks the 100th anniversary of our beloved state. We thank Michael Jeanes and the Clerks of the Courts for making this happen, along with many people from my court, and scores of volunteers.

It’s always an honor to do a wedding, but to do so many and be surrounded by so much love is truly special.

You come from many backgrounds and have traveled here from many parts of the state. But you share at least two things in common: First, you are in love and wish to formalize your relationships, and second, you are Arizonans and are celebrating the 100th anniversary of our statehood in this truly unique way.

I envy you your future anniversaries on Valentine’s Day. It’s such a romantic day. And Gentlemen, you now have no excuse to ever forget your anniversary!

Poets, authors, and others throughout history have striven to define love. Here are some of my thoughts. Love magnifies things—feelings, such as happiness, colors, our enjoyment of life. It enriches our lives, forms the foundation for families, and helps ease the burdens life can hand out. But it also gives each of you powerful information about the other that can be used as ammunition to create joy or to wound. It gives you special power to make the other happy, but also to hurt—you will know where the vulnerabilities are. Be careful to use the tools that you have been given to strengthen your marriage and build a strong relationship and a strong, warm, welcoming home.

Your marriage makes you a team, bringing strength, and giving you a friend who is always there and always on your side. But marriage also brings responsibility. This person is your best friend, your safety net. Do not take it for granted. For an untended net will fray, and once it does, it cannot contain all that’s within it. Do not take advantage. Tend this garden carefully so that its yield will be generous.

Marriage is a covenant, or contract, or agreement between two people that each will always be there for the other. You will make promises to one another today, promises that must last for a lifetime: To be faithful to one another, and to be faithful to yourself.

Though you become a team, it is a team made up of two fully developed individuals. So take care of yourself in this relationship, too. It cannot be a one-way thing.

Love moves beyond the excitement of romance and being “in love.” It becomes about thoughtful, committed decisions, made after consultation. Love not only talks, but listens. It requires you to care for your spouse, regardless of whether they deserve it at the moment. There will be times when you need caring when you might not deserve it.

It is part of the bargain you make today.

Now let’s get down to the business at hand. Would each of you please turn to the other.

Gentlemen, please take your lady’s hand, and look at her, really look at her. Listen to these statements, and then please affirm your agreement by saying “I do.”

Do you take this woman to be your wife, to love, to comfort, and to honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, though sadness and joy, for as long as you both shall live?

Now ladies, please look at your intended, if you agree with these statements, please affirm them by saying “I do.”

Do you take this man to be your husband, to love, to comfort, and to honor, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse, though sadness and joy, for as long as you both shall live?

Now if you intend to exchange rings –

Men, place the ring on her finger and repeat after me: I give you this ring as a pledge of my love, as a symbol of unity, and with this ring, I thee wed.

Now the ladies, do the same. Place the ring on his finger and repeat after me: I give you this ring as a pledge of my love, as a symbol of unity, and with this ring, I thee wed.

May you always share with each other the gifts of love.

And now, by the power vested in me by the State of Arizona, on this Valentine’s Day and 100th Anniversary of our State, I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may now kiss your new spouse.

Will everyone please join me in congratulating the happy couples.

From the State Bar of Arizona:

A special election will be held this spring in District 6 (Maricopa County) to elect an attorney who will complete the last two years of Joe Kanefield’s term. For a candidate nomination package for the 2012 Board of Governors election, click here.

Elections will be conducted online.

Requirements to run:

  • You must be an active member in good standing with the State Bar of Arizona who has been admitted to practice law before the Arizona Supreme Court for not less than five years;
  • You must submit a nominating petition, a brief biographical sketch or candidate’s statement, a discipline disclosure statement, and a photograph;
  • Your nominating petition and materials must be received no later than 5 p.m., Monday, March 5, 2012, at either of the State Bar’s offices:

4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 200

Phoenix, Arizona 85016-6288

270 N. Church Avenue

Tucson, Arizona 85701-1113

To see who is currently on the State Bar Board of Governors, click here.

Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor

Yesterday, I shared some photos of a great Centennial event. Today, I have a few more, from another historic gathering.

Last Tuesday, the Superior Court for Maricopa County dedicated its new Court Tower. Few government buildings have risen amidst more controversy. Ultimately, though, the structure was completed on time, with no debt, and with an enviable construction-safety record. The dedication ceremony included remarks from retired Associate Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

You may read more about the building here. And to learn even more about the building and its unique features, watch the video created by court staff.

Below are some of my photos from the event.

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Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, Feb. 14, 2012 (photo by David Sanders, courtesy Arizona State University College of Law)

Last week, I mentioned a program put on by the Law Journal at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. It examined the Arizona Constitution and the role the state’s Supreme Court has played in shaping it.

It was well attended, so perhaps a few readers managed to be there in person. (I still am waiting on an answer about whether the video taken at the event will be available to one and all.)

The panel discussion was terrific and ably moderated by Professor Paul Bender. In an upcoming issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we will publish an article by him that examines a number of the issues discussed on the panel.

But time’s a-wastin’. Today and tomorrow, let me provide some event photos. Today, the Constitution panel. Tomorrow, the Maricopa County Courthouse Tower dedication.

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News from the State Bar of Arizona:


Contact: Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer

Phone: (602) 340-7335, Mobile: (602) 513-6385

E-Mail: rick.debruhl@staff.azbar.org

State Bar of Arizona Informs Minnesota of Disbarred Member’s

Continued Practice of Law

PHOENIX – Feb. 16, 2012 – The Minnesota Supreme Court has disbarred Erin Marie Wolff from the practice of law, after learning that she was disbarred in Arizona in 2009.

The State Bar of Arizona informed the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility of Wolff’s original disbarment that resulted from their investigation that found she had violated various provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Arizona Supreme Court issued an order, disbarring her from the practice of law on March 17, 2009.

While in Arizona, Wolff practiced under her married name, Erin M. Alavez.

Upon her disbarment in Arizona, she returned to Minnesota – where she was admitted to practice law in 1998 – and practiced law under her maiden name, Erin Marie Wolff. Wolff did not inform the Director of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility of her disbarment in Arizona.

The Minnesota Supreme Court disbarred Wolff on Feb. 15, 2012, abiding to Rule 12(d), which calls for warranted reciprocal discipline.

Read the Minnesota Supreme Court Opinion.

Read the Arizona Supreme Court Order.

About the State Bar

The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 16,775 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.

Chief Justice Berch and one of the happy couples

On Change of Venue Friday, it’s my custom to share something a bit far afield from law practice. It’s the digital version of casual Friday.

But this week, Change of Venue takes you from law practice all the way to … the Arizona Supreme Court.

Hmmm? What? What could be more, well, legal than the state’s highest court?

True, I admit. And yet this week the Court plunged into an endeavor so wild that I couldn’t ignore it, especially on a Friday.

The unique occurrence, you may have heard, was simply this: Chief Justice Berch married, en masse, approximately 90 couples.

Who are those people? They are the couples who found a Centennial/Valentine’s Day mashup irresistible, who braved an almost-rainy day to gather and pledge their troth with 178 strangers.

The machinations that had to occur to allow this to happen must have been significant. Marriage licenses had to be obtained, and multiple public agencies had to coordinate. If a step in the process was missed, a couple could find themselves bound together by good feelings only, rather than by the power of the state.

Given those challenges, attendees agreed that the marital operation came off nearly flawlessly. (I suppose you could say the marital was carried out with martial precision.)

To add to the grace with which Chief Justice Berch and Superior Court Clerk Michael Jeanes (and their terrific staff) carried out their task, the Chief’s warm and well-written remarks were perfectly pitched to an outdoor occasion of joy and mirth. Well done. (I’ve asked to get a copy of the Chief’s remarks; I’ll share them when I get a copy.)

(For a less romantic take on Valentine’s Day, you should see the ad that 99 Cents Stores puts out on the loving occasion. Want to see it, don’t you? Then stumble on over to my Tumblr page.)

I’ve placed a few photos from the Court’s wedding here. But to see all of them—and there are a bunch—head over to the Facebook page of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Have a great—and romantic—weekend.

Judge Alex Kozinski

Next Tuesday, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski, will speak with members of the legal community when he visits Tucson. His stop is being hosted by Los Abogados, the state’s Hispanic bar association.

The event will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, in the Jury Assembly Room of the Evo A. DeConcini United States Courthouse. The address is 405 W. Congress, Tucson 85701.

Years ago, I had the opportunity to interview the then-Ninth Circuit Chief Judge, Arizona’s own Mary Schroeder. The judge in that position always is able to provide insights from one of the nation’s most influential circuits, and I expect Tuesday’s event will be the same.

Admission to the Judge Kozinski event is free, but seats may go fast. I hope to see you there. (Click on the flier below for more detail.)

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