December 2013


Hot and Not 2013 law practice areasHappy last day of 2013. What better day to offer some predictions of hot law practice areas?

That is what the talented Bob Denney has done, and I share his thoughts here.

You may recall that I did the same about a year ago. Because I did that, you can go back in time to see if he nailed it or missed a hot area. Read that post here.

For 2014, Bob spots a few very hot areas: energy, health care and regulatory (“particularly in health care, energy and financial services”).

You can read the complete article here.

To see his more surprising predictions, scroll down to his section titled “Other Trends and Issues.” That is where you’ll see his thoughts on non-lawyer competition, mergers, virtual law firms, hourly rates, lawyer training and more.

His overall take on the legal profession as we head into a new year?

“Much better than the pessimistic pundits are predicting. Between retirements and reduced hiring of law school graduates, the oversupply of lawyers will work its way down. But if you look at the total market for legal services and not just the number of lawyers, there will be further growth as new laws and regulations are passed and more non-lawyers and entities exist to provide them.”

I hope you enjoy his article as much as I did.

But now here’s my question: Where is the Arizona version of this article? Is there an Arizona attorney with her or his finger on the pulse of what’s happening who could offer insights as Bob does so well?

You’d better believe I’d like to hear from you. New Year’s Resolution: Promise to contact the Arizona Attorney Editor at arizona.attorney@azbar.org to discuss story and blog post ideas. There’s a byline in it for you (and at least a coffee and good convo!).

Happy New Year; I’ll be back on Thursday.

AZ CLE family_law_institute

A short post this morning, just to point you toward what looks to be a useful CLE program, addressing family law.

The two-day event occurs Thursday and Friday, January 9 and 10.

The Family Law Institute will be held at the Chaparral Suites Scottsdale, located at 5001 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale.

More information, including the faculty and registration, is here.

Merry Christmas holiday from your lawyer

Mrs. Claus, take a letter …

Happy Change of Venue Friday. Aiming to keep the holiday season clear of unwelcome clutter, I am keeping today’s post almost purely visual.

Up above is a pretty funny holiday greeting, as redlined by your attorney.

And, in keeping with the overlawyered New Year’s theme, here is a cartoon that garnered many chuckles last year, so I’ve dusted it off for 2013.

Happy New Year cartoonHave a great—and unlawerly—holiday weekend.

law-librarians-of-congress-blog-banner

After taking Christmas Day off (a holiday miracle), I continue the Christmas theme today by pointing you to some film reviews from an unlikely source—law librarians.

Specifically, today I point you to the blog of the Law Librarians of Congress. Titled In Custodio Legis, the blog ranges far afield on topics that the librarians think may be engaging to legal readers. And so we get movie reviews.

What makes this post oh-so-timely is that the author decides to provide reviews of Christmas movies. And these are not reviews like many other folks would do them. You know, “If there’s any movie I’d suggest curling up with this season, it’s Miracle on 34th Street.” Not even close.

To get what I mean, here is how the assembled librarians examined that film:

“The film concerns a man named Kris Kringle, who works as a Santa Claus for Macy’s and who, by his shining example, inspires even Mr. Macy and his chief competitor to embrace the spirit of giving during the season. Kris, due to an unfortunate event, ends up being the subject of a competency hearing because he believes he is the real St. Nick!”

“New York State at the time of the movie (immediately after World War II) had several methods for committing individuals who were thought to be a danger to themselves or others. One such procedure was upon the finding of ‘… a judge of a court of record of the city or county, or a justice of the supreme court of the judicial district in which the alleged mentally ill person resides or may be …’. Kris is tried in New York City by a Supreme Court judge (in New York the Supreme Court is not a court of appeals). The local prosecutor represents the State and Kris is represented by his friend, Fred Gayley. The procedures followed in court are not very accurate. Fred is able to convince the court, in part through the sage advice of the judge’s political advisor, to accept the existence of Santa Claus. The issue in dispute then shifts to the validity of Kris’ assertion.”

Do you get the idea? These are reviews that lawyers and judges can sink their teeth into.

Library of Congress logo

Here’s some more:

“The Blog Team suggested Home Alone and Love Actually as other possible candidates. For Home Alone the legal issue would be at what age, if any, does Illinois state law allow children to be home alone. I checked the Illinois code on this point and found that Illinois defined a neglected minor as any child under the age of 14 who is left at home alone unsupervised by a parent or guardian for an unreasonable period of time. However this specific section of the Illinois code, 705 ILCS 405/2-3(1)(d) was not passed until 2009—almost 20 years after the movie originally occurred.”

I’ll leave you to discover what they said about Love Actually, and how they remind us that a viewing of Gremlins could be aided by a close reading of The Restatement of Torts.

Read the entire post here.

After you do that, be sure to bookmark the blog, because these are some brilliantly messed up individuals—exactly like many of my favorite people in the law! Merry Christmas Redux.

clueless Santa

This holiday season, you may not be the only one who is clueless about great gifts.

Last year as we approached Christmas, I linked to the talented Washington State Bar Association, which recommended some holiday gifts for lawyers.

I’ll do the same this year, but there is a reason I’m posting this on Christmas Eve, giving you virtually no shopping time:

This year, the WSBA’s shopping list is tongue in cheek. That is, you can’t actually buy these presents anywhere (and the links they provide are fake, so don’t try clicking them).

I suspect those who are still desperately trying to finish their shopping will not think the joke is too funny. But for those who are done—or beyond caring—enjoy the funny column here. And then have a wonderful Christmas.

trend spotting imageThis past week, I tried to catch up on the mini-avalanche of “new trends for a new year” blog posts that spring up as New Year’s approaches. I’ll share one today—regarding technology—and probably follow up with a few more general ones later.

Attorney at Work spoke with a few experts nationwide on what law practice technology is most noteworthy right now. Their experts each identified a key development as well as a favorite tool.

They are all worth reading, but the ever-educational Jim Calloway of the Oklahoma Bar pointed to a key development that involves law schools:

“A few law schools are starting to focus on teaching technology and innovation, from Professors Katz and Knake organizing ReInvent Law Laboratory at Michigan State to LoyolaLawTech to Prof. Bill Henderson at Indiana University giving a class assignment to profile legal disruption companies. We are going to see more new lawyers who ‘get it.’”

I’m sure local boosters would love to have seen some Arizona law schools included in his list. Do you know of local examples of law schools using technology in striking ways?

Meantime, I was struck when I compared the expert’s views with some of Arizona Attorney’s own “Visions From the Law Office,” which we published in our October 2013 issue. Read the views of Arizona lawyers here.

State Bar of Arizona staffer Patricia Seguin, foreground, answers viewer questions regarding about consumer protection, Dec. 12, 2013.

State Bar of Arizona staffer Patricia Seguin, foreground, answers viewer questions regarding about consumer protection, Dec. 12, 2013.

For this Friday before the I-can’t-believe-it’s-already-Christmas-next-week, I had considered writing about last-minute lawyer gifts. You know, pens, software, the hottest new color in Post-It Notes, Helvetica perfume (“the scent of nothing”). But then I realized I should report on a holiday-season generosity offered by some State Bar of Arizona staff.

(And in case you were wondering, the hottest new color in Post-It Notes? Probably orchid.)

I routinely report out on the success of State Bar lawyer call-in shows, where attorneys offer their time and expertise to answer legal questions in specific topic areas.

But last Thursday, December 12, State Bar of Arizona staff took the load off holiday-and-work-stressed attorneys and manned the phones themselves. No legal advice was provided, of course, but volumes of legal information were shared with callers on consumer protection topics. The program is called A Su Lado, or At Your Service. (When lawyers volunteer, its name is Abogados a Su Lado.)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe four staff worked out of the studio of Univision Arizona KTVW 33. The phone bank team was Sulema Bucio, Ayde Gutierrez, Patricia Seguin and Alberto Rodriguez, who worked together to answer 104 calls, in Spanish, during the two-hour phone bank.

Congratulations and thanks to all, and special shout-out to my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, who spearheads these call-in program efforts.

Alberto kindly provided a sample of the questions that were received by the team:

  • Where and how do I report attorney misconduct?
  • Where and how do I report Notario fraud?
  • How can I confirm if the person I’m dealing with is an attorney?
  • I’ve given my attorney several payments but haven’t seen any progress on my case. What can I do?
  • The law firm I hired won’t handle my case anymore—they say the lawyer handling my case no longer works there. What can I do?
  • Can I get my money back and hire a different attorney?
  • Where can I get free or low cost legal advice?

Well done, all!

Venue Projects Beef Eaters sign

Longtime lawyer eatery Beef Eaters Restaurant, about to be reborn via Venue Projects.

Yesterday, I shared a story about historic preservation in Phoenix. And today, via the power of Craigslist, you may own an upholstered and cushy part of that history. You deserve it; take a well-earned seat.

Before I get to that, let me take you back to 1961, when the Beef Eaters Restaurant opened in Phoenix. From then until 2006, it was one of the go-to locations for prominent attorneys and their clients.

Today, it is being refurbished in a great collaborative effort. I wrote about that here.

Last night, scanning my Facebook stream, I saw a post by Modern Phoenix and by Lorenzo Perez of developer Venue Projects. Alerting those of us who like our history combined with comfort, they posted a photo of dusty but sumptuous Beef Eaters booths and suggested they could be in your own space.

*Like*

*Click*

Much to my pleasure, that click took me to Craigslist, where the following post appears:

“The iconic Beef Eaters Restaurant booths need to go asap! Some are in great shape and some are in need of repair. These booths are black high back leather 60’s style. 6’6″ Long x 4’6″ Wide. By appointment only to review the booths for purchase. Price is negotiable per booth.”

View the post for yourself here.

What settlement conference wouldn't go better when parties are seated around a Beef Eaters booth?

What settlement conference wouldn’t go better when parties are seated around a Beef Eaters booth?

Not to be competitive or anything, but which lawyer or law firm will be the first to purchase a booth? Who in town will be the bravest and coolest law firm? Which law office will possess the hippest collaborative work space, the one the Mad Men themselves only wish they could claim as their own?

Over at my house, I’m taking a tape measure to our walls to see if we can shoehorn in a booth of our own. It may or may not work for us. But if I still worked in a law office, I’d draft a purchase contract fast enough to make your head spin.

Who’s with me?

historic home Louis Emerson House

Louis Emerson House, Phoenix.

This past month, the Arizona Republic has been engaged in a noble bit of historic preservation: highlighting the most-endangered historic buildings in Phoenix.

Yesterday, the Republic staff featured the Louis Emerson House. As they note, “The Queen Anne/Eastlake style home is one of the few remaining residences in the Evans Churchill neighborhood. The Louis Emerson House has been relocated before to make way for the Arizona Center retail development. It is listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register.”

I was pleased to see that an attorney, Robert Young, owns the home.

“He believes two occupants lived in the house before 1902, but that is the year Louis Emerson and his wife Clara moved in.”

Young says, “Louis Emerson was a meat cutter for the Palace Meat Market. He used to advertise ‘Meat fit for a king.’” Young said he believes Emerson died in the 1920s. Clara remained in the house until the early 1930s.

That recurring feature got me thinking about other historic structures occupied by lawyers and law firms. Downtowns throughout Arizona are dotted with them, but they may be a declining resource, if the Republic series is to be understood.

Seeing the Emerson House reminded me of a feature story we published in Arizona Attorney back in 2001. It was a pictorial spread of great law offices housed in unique spaces. In that article, we covered and photographed a law office housed just up the street from the Emerson House. It is called the Oldaker House, at 649 North Third Avenue.

You can see the whole story here.

What do you think? Should we revive that feature and locate a new great list of attorney spaces?

Meanwhile, I point out that my Editor’s column that’s about to be mailed includes a contest of sorts. Send me a photo of your law office and/or desk, and I may send you a prize (read the column to find out what). (The whole thing is in the spirit of a previous blog post.)

Looking forward to seeing your space!

Dave Byers, Director, Administrative Office of the Arizona Courts

Dave Byers, Director, Administrative Office of the Arizona Courts

Yesterday, the Arizona Supreme Court and Administrative Office of the Courts announced the following about Director David K. Byers. Congratulations, Dave!

“The National Center for State Courts (NCSC.org) announced last week that David K. Byers, Director of the Administrative Office of the Arizona Supreme Court, has been named the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Warren E. Burger Award for excellence in court administration, one of the highest awards presented by NCSC. Named for the late Chief Justice of the United States, the Warren E. Burger award honors ‘a state court system administrative official who demonstrates professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness, and sound judgment,’ according to the Center’s award criteria.”

“‘The award honors court administrative officials who have taken decisive steps to improve the operations of courts at the state or local level that may have application to courts nationwide,’ states the NCSC’s website.”

“‘We are pleased and proud that Dave Byers has been honored with this award. No one could be more deserving,’ said Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch. ‘He has provided excellent support and guidance for the Arizona court system for more than 35 years. He has been creative in finding solutions to the issues that have arisen. His leadership has helped bring national recognition to Arizona’s courts and has improved the administration of justice. He has worked tirelessly to create a responsive, world-class court system. Through NCSC and other national committees, Byers has shared his expertise to benefit court leaders throughout Arizona, the U.S., and abroad.’”

Arizona_Supreme_Court_Seal“As Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, Byers is responsible for overseeing and administering a court system that employs 10,000 people and operates in more than 200 locations; processes more than 2.6 million cases per year; supervises 42,000 adult felons on probation; and has a combined budget from all courts in excess of $550 million dollars. The Supreme Court also oversees the State Bar of Arizona and the discipline process for the state’s 15,000 plus attorneys and 500 judges.”

“NCSC President Mary Campbell McQueen said, ‘Dave Byers serves as a national role model for court leaders everywhere. He has been on the forefront of helping courts remain innovative, effective, and accessible during the recent difficult financial downturn all state courts faced. Dave has been on the forefront in court advancements on issues from implementing e-filing to improving foster care to protecting fair and impartial courts. NCSC is proud to name Dave Byers as our 2013 Burger Award recipient.’”

“In 2012, Byers was honored with the Gabe Zimmerman Leadership Award, which recognizes professional excellence of non-elected officials. The award is named for former Representative Gabrielle Giffords’ director of community outreach, who lost his life in the 2011 Tucson shooting that killed six and injured 12, including Giffords.

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