April 2013

Mccormick_Stillman_Railroad_Park YLD 1

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park was the site of the first annual YLD picnic.

You’ve got to love it when a plan comes together.

That must have been what the State Bar of Arizona Young Lawyers Division thought this past Sunday, when a large group of attorneys—and their families—gathered for a picnic and networking.

The venue was the McCormick–Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale, and all reports are that the kids (and those who are kids at heart) had a great time. For those for whom the evocative blast of a railroad horn is not a draw, here’s what else was available: food, games, bouncy houses, cotton candy, chair massages.

Yes, I said chair massages (which probably felt great after time inside the bouncy houses).

chair massage: A Bar event was never quite so soothing.The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a few corporate sponsors:

There are some more photos of the event (courtesy of my colleague Lisa Bormaster) at the Arizona Attorney Facebook page.

Picnic attendees chat with representatives from sponsor John Driscoll & Company.

Picnic attendees chat with representatives from sponsor John Driscoll & Company.

Joseph Feller

Joe Feller

This month, we received the sad news that esteemed law professor Joe Feller had died. He had been struck by a car.

The life of the professor from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will be honored at a public memorial service on this coming Saturday, May 4. It will be held in the Great Hall/Armstrong Hall on the Tempe campus.

In his honor, the College of Law has established a memorial scholarship to provide financial support to students who are interested in natural resources and environmental law.

To contribute to the scholarship fund, visit here.

More information about the service and the scholarship is available here.

Finally, you should read the touching tribute to Professor Feller, written by attorney Robert Glicksman, here. He kindly provides links to other tributes, as well as an aggregation of Feller’s own photography.

A few days ago, I happily related a recognition bestowed on two men, Paul Julien and Mark Meltzer, who serve justice in Arizona every day. Much to my delight, there is a cheery follow-up on this Change of Venue Friday.

In that post, I had noted an Arizona Attorney Magazine cover that featured Jeff Schrade, who heads up Education Services at the Supreme Court Administrative Office of the Courts (say that five times fast). At our prodding, Jeff had gamely agreed more than a decade ago to serve as a cover model for us. But this week Jeff also reminded me of another permutation of that cover, one that announced his son’s birth. (That was way back in 2001; Nathan is 12 years old now!)

In my haste, I completely forgot to locate that image and share it. But Jeff was generous once again, so here it is. In this post, you get to see the one and only payment Jeff ever received for being a patient and good-humored magazine model.

First, here is the cover we ran with:

Jeff Schrade, that handsome devil, graced the April 2001 cover of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Jeff Schrade on our April 2001 Arizona Attorney Magazine cover … .

And here is the altered cover announcing his son’s birth (now displayed in Jeff’s office):

Jeff Schrade baby born cover v2

… and a new cover is born.

Advancing age being what it is, I cannot recall exactly how we developed that cover. Someone with skills way beyond mine had to have done the work. The best Jeff and I can recall, Matt Silverman, the Bar’s former communications head, probably had his finger in the mix. Not to mention our former Art Director, Carl Bezuidenhout, and then-Production Manager (now lawyer) Leslie Ross.

In any case, enjoy your weekend. And know that assistance to a magazine editor may yield great rewards!

pro bono gavelHere is a challenge I offer to you today: Share a law-related item via social media or email.

Whoa, pretty easy, right? I bet you thought I was going to ask for some major heavy lifting. Instead, it is a simple click, share, send, done.

The item is connected to a topic I covered before: a State Bar of Arizona Law Day event that will offer free legal information to those who need it.

Really, truly, honestly free. The information will be provided by generous Arizona attorneys who know that the gap between legal services and people who need them is too, too wide. Those volunteers are offering their time pro bono to help shrink the gap just a bit.

All of the pertinent details are here. If you share nothing else, send this link to anyone you know who may be able to use it. As the State Bar says:

“The 2013 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics will serve as a free legal resource where members of communities from across the Valley and Tucson can attend information sessions on a variety of legal topics.”

“The information sessions will be conducted by volunteer lawyers and will last 90 minutes. Lawyers will provide guests with a presentation on a specific legal topic, as well as reserve time for a question and answer period. Guests can participate in one or more sessions at one of the five partner locations.”

Are you connected via social media or email to any groups that could benefit? Send it their way. Post it on your Facebook timeline. Share it on your neighborhood association listserv. Ask your firm administrator to post it prominently.

Your sharing news of Saturday’s event can help guarantee its success. Possible attendees have to be informed about the locations, the topics, the opportunity on offer. Success of the event, as measured by attendance and questions answered, will help ensure that it can be done—again and again.

For at least a part of the morning, I will be at the event staged at Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library. I want to hear some of the information offered, and I want to thank the lawyers who are offering it—and their Saturday.

I hope to see you and your friends there. And if you missed that link, here it is again.

This week I heard great news about some of my favorite people: Arizona Attorney Magazine authors.

Besides that admirable distinction, these two men are pretty remarkable in their own right. Paul Julien and Mark Meltzer both serve the Arizona justice system via their substantial positions at the Supreme Court.

Jeff Schrade (left) and Justice Scott Bales (right) present framed Arizona Attorney articles to lawyer-authors Paul Julien (center-left) and Mark Maltzer, April 2013.

Jeff Schrade (left) and Justice Scott Bales (right) present framed Arizona Attorney articles to lawyer-authors Paul Julien (center-left) and Mark Meltzer, April 2013.

As their humble and succinct bios say: “Paul Julien is the Judicial Education Officer for the Arizona Supreme Court, and was chair of the committee mentioned charged with reviewing and proposing changes to the Justice Court rules. Mark Meltzer is a specialist with the Administrative Office of the Courts, and served as committee staff.”

The news came my way from Jeff Schrade, once a colleague at the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, and now the Director of the Education Services Division at the Arizona Supreme Court AOC.

Jeff sent the accompanying photo and news about an event at which Court staff recognized the two men for their publication in Arizona Attorney. (I think that should be a tradition at every workplace!) The article they wrote for us provided valuable and timely information about changed rules applying to the much-misunderstood Justice Courts.

You can read the complete article here.

Justice Court Rules Julien Meltzer cropped

The opening to Paul and Mark’s Justice Court rules story, Jan. 2013.

Here is a bit about the award, in Jeff’s own words:

“Today I gave Paul Julien and Mark Meltzer framed copies of their Jan 2013 Arizona Attorney article about the Justice Court Civil Rules of Procedure. Vice Chief Justice Scott Bales made a special presentation to Paul and Mark at the conclusion of our Limited Jurisdiction New Judge Orientation, which took place this week at the Arizona Supreme Court Judicial Education Center in downtown.”

“The 20 new Limited Jurisdiction judges attending this three-week program gave Paul and Mark a standing ovation, recognizing not only their excellence on this particular project, but their daily efforts to train and provide assistance to limited jurisdiction judges across the state.”

“As you know, Mark and Paul not only wrote about the new rules in the Arizona Attorney, but they lead a committee with a wide representation of justice stakeholders through lengthy process to rewrite the rules. It was an extraordinary effort that produced more accessible and understandable rules, especially for the many pro se litigants appearing before justice courts.”

Jeff Schrade, that handsome devil, graced the April 2001 cover of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Jeff Schrade, that handsome devil, graced the April 2001 cover of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

The Court’s recognition is well deserved, but that January article is just the tip of the service iceberg for Paul and Mark. They have helped the state and the Court in countless ways. And here at the magazine, their involvement has gone beyond writing (as Mark also did in our March 2013 issue). They are both go-to people whom I count on for advice and insight on so many topics. Every editor I know has a kitchen cabinet, and I’m pleased to say these two men are reliable and wise members of mine.

A side note: Jeff Schrade, too, has been a part of the Arizona Attorney family, in a very personal way. Way back in our April 2001 issue, when I had helmed the magazine for just three months, we wanted to provide a great visual to front our deep coverage of lawyer marketing and advertising.

Always a great sport, Jeff donned a sandwich board and stood on First Avenue in downtown Phoenix for at least an hour while the photographer, art director and I all helped shepherd passersby around the generous photo-model.

(There were other heroes that day: Two Bar colleagues—Bonnie Lebeck and Natalie Burns— also assisted, by striding past quickly, over and over—backwards!to provide the necessary blur.)

Adding to the surreality experienced by commuters that morning was the fact that the sandwich board was blank; we would add the desired words to the image of the board at a later design stage. What a mensch!

Jeff recently told me, “For the record, I still proudly display the special cover you made for me welcoming the birth of my son Nathan (who is 12 now) back in 2001!”

We like the cover quite a bit ourselves!

Congratulations again to Mark Meltzer and Paul Julien. Here’s looking to years more collaboration!

A panel discussed the immigration proposal created by the “Gang of Eight” in the PBS studio Friday. Moderated by former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, the panel represented a variety of viewpoints. (Cydney McFarland/Downtown Devil)

A panel discussed the immigration proposal created by the “Gang of Eight” in the PBS studio Friday. Moderated by former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, the panel represented a variety of viewpoints. (Cydney McFarland/Downtown Devil)

This week, I may be fortunate to bring you two follow-ups to an immigration reform panel discussion held last week at the downtown Phoenix ASU Cronkite Journalism School.

The event, moderated by Sen. Jon Kyl, occurred in the studios of KAET, the PBS affiliate.

The first summary is ably done by reporter Zachary Hillenbrand of the Downtown Devil.

Don’t know the Downtown Devil? You should. It provides great reporting in a manner that news consumers increasingly want: In a hyperlocal variety. They cover downtown Phoenix and its environs in a compelling and occasionally cheeky way. They are an independent news center, populated by many grads of the ASU J School but unaffiliated with Arizona State University.

In any case, here is how the reporter opens his story:

“ASU participated in a nationwide discussion about immigration reform through forums held at various colleges and universities Friday. Experts at the ASU forum, held in the PBS television studio at the Walter Cronkite School, discussed a proposal created by a bipartisan group of eight senators, known as the “Gang of Eight,” and issues with the current immigration system.”

“Moderated by former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, the panel of experts provided a range of viewpoints on the issue. The panelists included Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Tamar Jacoby, president and CEO of ImmigrationWorks USA; Lisa Magana, ASU associate professor at the School of Transborder Studies; Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery; attorney Daniel R. Ortega; and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.”

Keep reading here.

Video of the event is here.

Later this week, I expect to provide another write-up, this one by a community organizer.

In the meantime, bookmark the Downtown Devil and start following them wherever you like to follow news sources.

Earth Day Phoenix 2013Here’s an easy and non-challenging way to get back into a new week: Think about celebrating Earth Day.

I’ve written about this event before, more than once, and luckily there are a few items that you can still add to your busy, Earth-loving schedule. (Sorry, Tucson; your city’s events largely occurred on Sunday the 21st.)

First, if you have the time, stop by the City of Phoenix’s festivities, beginning at 11 a.m. today. Organizers promise: “You’ll learn about recycling and sustainability, take home useful giveaways and share your enthusiasm with thousands of environmentally minded attendees.”

More information is here.

ASU School of Sustainability logoIf you’d prefer a more scholarly approach to the day, head over to ASU’s School of Sustainability, where a speaker asks (and answers, I suppose) the question, “Who is responsible for climate change?”

The 4 p.m. lecture will be delivered by Naomi Oreskes, a UC-San Diego professor.

Bidder 70 movie posterFinally, if the visual is more your cup of tea, then a movie on Monday evening may be just the ticket.

“Bidder 70” is a documentary about a young man (and former ASU student) who, “in an act of civil disobedience, derailed the outgoing Bush administration’s Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction. As bidder number 70, [Tim] DeChristopher bid $1.8 million and won 22,000 pristine acres surrounding Utah’s national parks. He had no intention to pay or drill.”

DeChristopher incurred the wrath of the federal government, which charged him with two felonies that could lead to a 10-year prison sentence.

The movie screening is free, but RSVP here.

All of the School of Sustainability’s activities and events are listed here.

Happy Earth Day.

Arizona Attorney Magazine February 2013 cover

Our February 2013 issue with Bob McWhirter’s pictorial feature on less-lawyerly writing.

This week, I was pleased to see the announcement of honorees recognized for their clear and plain writing. Here at Arizona Attorney Magazine, we enjoy good writing and like to publish articles on it whenever we can—as we did here. I hope you enjoy it too.

The Center for Plain Language (even the organization’s name is transparent) gives awards annually to the best (and worst) examples of, well, plain writing. Here is how they describe their mission:

“The Center for Plain Language is a D.C.-based nonprofit organization that wants government and business documents to be clear and understandable. We support those who use plain language, train those who should use plain language, and urge people to demand plain language in all the documents they receive, read, and use.”

You can read more about them here. (Lawyers, how can you not love an organization that states, “Plain language is a civil right”?!) But on this Change of Venue Friday, let me tell you about this week’s winners and “winners.” (You may be surprised—as I was—that no law firms made it into one of the categories.)

Center for Plain Language logo(All of the winners and their opposite are posted online, here and here, respectively.)

Their top winner captured the “Grand ClearMark Award” (that’s the good category). The best-in-show honoree is the March of Dimes, which published a brochure titled Thinking About Your Family Health History. Here’s what the Center’s judges said:

Center for Plain Language ClearMark Award logo“[T]he brochure is written and designed with its target audience, parents-to-be, in mind. The brochure is an excellent example of plain language with easy to understand medical terms, and a clear, concise, and appropriate writing style designed to appeal to the target audience. The brochure uses colors, font, white space, and graphics effectively to add to its clarity.”

Wouldn’t we all like our writing efforts to be described so glowingly?

Center for Plain Language march-of-dimes

Top winner of Center for Plain Language award: March of Dimes (first page of a multi-page brochure)

Meantime, what’s up at the other end of the spectrum (I know you all raced here first), in the category the Center calls the WonderMark Award? Before I reveal the “honoree,” I should let the Center explain why the award has the name it does:

“WonderMark Awards are given for the least usable documents. The sort of documents that make us shake our heads and say: ‘We wonder what they meant. We wonder what they were thinking.’”

Pretty funny folks.

Anyway, the bottom winner is Charles Schwab, for a New Yorker advertisement that, indeed, makes us shake our head.

Center for Plain Language Charles Schwab ad

Not their best effort? New Yorker ad by Charles Schwab

I must share the Center’s own description of why they “recognized” this ad:

“What made it a WonderMark Award recipient?

  • So hard to read and decipher, it’s hard to judge.
  • Contradictory and frankly intimidating to the reader.
  • Of the 768 words in this ad, 700 are legalese. That’s over 90%!
  • One WonderMark judge summarized: ‘Sigh … once again a financial institution that expects me to trust them with my money makes it impossible for me to know what they are going to do with my money.’”Center for Plain Language WonderMark Award logo

The website announcement unfortunately truncated that last quotation. In the press release I received, the quote continues, “My mattress is looking better and better all the time.”

Who writes their stuff? This is gold—gold, I tell you!

Follow them on Twitter here, and join their open group on Facebook here.

Enjoy your weekend, and keep on writing (well).

I will be unable to attend this immigration reform panel disucussion on Friday, April 19, but if you do, let me know what was said (guest blog post, anyone?).

All the information is at this link, and the bones of the matter are pasted in below:

Immigration Reform Panel at ASUImmigration Reform – Is It Time And What Should It Include?

Former Senator John Kyl to moderate panel on immigration reform – April 19 Political, business and non-profit leaders gather to propose and discuss practical solutions

WHAT: A panel discussion exploring the complexities surrounding immigration reform, including its timing, feasibility and potential scope. Border security, the path to citizenship, and visas for individuals working in STEM-related fields are among the topics to be addressed. This forum is part of Arizona State University’s The Challenges Before Us project, created to tackle some of the many challenges facing society today. These forums are designed to open a dialogue between experts, practitioners and the community at large.  Eight, Arizona PBS will broadcast the event live on Eight World, channel 8.3.  For more information visit: http://forum.asu.edu/forum/immigration-reform.

WHEN: Friday, April 19 from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.  (Light refreshments available at 10:45 a.m., all guests must be seated by 11:15 a.m., program begins promptly at 11:30 a.m., broadcast live on Eight World, channel 8.3.)

WHERE: Eight, Arizona PBS, Studio A (555 N Central Ave, Phoenix, 85004), 6th floor – on the Downtown Phoenix campus of ASU

Keep reading here.

Attorney Richard D. Grand, 1930-2013

Attorney Richard D. Grand, 1930-2013

I am sorry to report some very sad news: Tucson trial lawyer Richard Grand has died.

I have written about Richard before, both in print and online multiple times, including here. And I have always been equal parts impressed and amused by Richard’s approach to the law and to human interactions. He was a University of Arizona Law School graduate and a huge supporter of their subsequent efforts.

Over the years, I would hear from Richard regularly. But it was only in the past few years that I was able to meet him (and his wonderful wife Marcia) in person.

Richard Grand obituary list

Richard Grand: An Attorney until the end.

His death was sudden and unexpected. I expect I will write more about Richard later, but for now, I share his obituary, which opens thus:

“Attorney Richard D. Grand, 83, of Tucson, nationally recognized for his success as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer, died suddenly in San Francisco on April 7 of natural causes. Grand was the founder of The Inner Circle of Advocates, a group of plaintiffs’ attorneys called by The National Law Journal ‘the elite of the plaintiffs’ bar.’”

Attorney was so much a part of Richard’s DNA that the header for his obituary—which typically contains only the decedent’s name—included the word “Attorney.” Thus, even in the index of obituaries, he is listed as “Attorney Richard D. Grand.” Classic.

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