Most senior Arizona lawyer spread July Aug 2013Is it just me, or does it seem ridiculous beyond words that August is about to expire? The summer just started about yesterday, it seems.

Well, before the month passes, I will pass on to you today and tomorrow some items from the current issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, in case you haven’t seen them. If you have already read them, read them again—it’s highly nutritious stuff.

The first item of note arose from a question posed by attorney Richard Bellah: I wonder who the oldest-living member of the State Bar of Arizona is? Or, more particularly, who alive has the lowest Bar number?

Easy squeezey, we both thought. We have databases that can answer that kind of query quicker than two shakes of a dog’s tale.

Of course, we were wrong, much to our surprise.

Here’s why:

  • The data only go back so far, and
  • When the first lawyers became members of the Bar, they weren’t given numbers, and
  • When the Bar began handing out numbers, they didn’t start at 1.Arizona Attorney logo

Much head-scratching later, we developed a way to determine a pretty serviceable answer to our question. The result is a great feature article slugged “Who’s Number 1?” It examines the four oldest-living members, and includes their own commentary on what’s right and not so right with law practice.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The four most senior living Arizona attorneys—each well into their 90s—seem a satisfied bunch. They are very bright and could, if they desired, competently represent clients today; in fact, one still does. They remember in detail their law school experiences, the bar exam and early career days. They remember their colleagues fondly, and they acknowledge how different the practice is today. More than one of them mentioned that when they were young lawyers, everyone in the legal profession knew each other. There was an atmosphere of community and camaraderie. And there was no such thing as a ‘billable hour.’”

Yes, you’ll have to click through to see who those four are, and to read their valuable lessons from a life of law practice.

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers who found the piece refreshing and a surprising snapshot of Arizona legal history.

Tomorrow, I share a briefer but just as compelling piece from the issue. Fair warning: I’ve been told it’s brought tears to readers’ eyes.