March 2014


Congratulations to all of the winners of the annual Arizona Attorney Creative Arts Competition. Each of them is featured in our May issue, which will be available in late April.

Because of obvious restrictions, our music winner’s work cannot be published in the magazine. But it is available, here, for you to hear and enjoy. Well done, Doug Passon.

I previously wrote about a film of Doug’s here. Read more about it below.

Here is Doug’s background and bio:

DOUG PASSON has been playing guitar and writing songs since the age of 14. He has been practicing criminal defense in the Valley for almost 17 years. His other creative passion is film. He is President & Creative Director of D Major Films (dmajorfilms.com), which produces commercial and narrative documentaries on topics and for organizations focused on fostering social change. He also teaches and consults with legal professionals nationwide on how to use moving pictures as a tool of persuasion in their court cases.

“No Tomorrow” is a meditation on the joy and pain of living, and a call to live more deeply by embracing the uncertainty of the future.

A compelling and charming film comes to Scottsdale on Sunday, Feb. 23.

As Doug says, he wrote the words, melody and music. “The song is performed by Dan Nichols, a singer/songwriter based out of Raleigh, N.C., and a dear friend of mine. Dan is the subject of a documentary film I recently directed called ‘Road to Eden’ (www.roadtoedenfilm.com). The song is a reminder that life is fragile and temporary and if we are to live fully, we must live fully in the moment. This was inspired, in part, by the life and death of an incredible lawyer, mentor and friend, Darrow Soll.”

Here is Doug’s winning song, “No Tomorrow.”

And here are a few photos of Doug at the magazine photo shoot.

Doug Passon being photographed by Karen Shell, foreground, Tempe Center for the Arts, March 3, 2014.

Doug Passon being photographed by Karen Shell, foreground, Tempe Center for the Arts, March 3, 2014.

Doug Passon passes the time between shoots, Tempe Center for the Arts, March 3, 2014.

Doug Passon passes the time between shots, Tempe Center for the Arts, March 3, 2014.

Practical Art Buffalo Girl Dinner April 10 in Phoenix

So who is up for an opportunity that combines, food, drink, art, maybe taking art home, and lively conversation—all in a setting that was originally established by an Arizona Attorney?

Yeah. Me too.

Happy Change of Venue Friday. On our casual day, I am pleased to share news about an April 10 event at Practical Art in Phoenix. The event is called “Buffalo Girl Dinner,” and you should read here to see where the quirky (and highly appropriate) name arose.

Practical Art, a Phoenix shop and gallery, is going as strong as ever, just as it was envisioned by former Lewis and Roca attorney Jane Reddin. (The shop is located at 5070 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85012)

Jane_Reddin 1

Jane Reddin, founder of Practical Art, Phoenix

Back in 2008, I was intrigued when Jane decided to move away from the legal arts and focus on the real arts. I covered her grand adventure here, and have kept up with the amazing shop since—even after her death three years ago.

As you’ll see in the description, the evening is also a fundraiser for the Phoenix Art Museum.

If you’re curious what artworks will be available in the evening’s silent auction, get to following the Practical Art blog here. Those talented owner/organizers promise to reveal all soon.

The $35 ticket price gets you in the door, as well as “a $25 donation to the Phoenix Art Museum, a meal voucher for use at the food trucks, eligibility for participation in the art auction, live music by Pick N’ Holler, and drinks.”

Any idea what a good deal that is?

Buy your ticket here. And if you come, prepare to battle me in the silent auction

Enjoy your practical and artful weekend.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color

Here is some great news about a monthly State Bar event in which lawyers volunteer their time. Thanks for the news to Alberto Rodriguez.

The State Bar of Arizona, azcentral.com and 12 News hosted the Lawyers on Call public service program on Tuesday, March 11. Volunteers answered viewers’ calls regarding their employment and labor issues.

Eight volunteer attorneys participated:

  • Denise Blommel
  • Richard Galvan
  • Richard Klauer
  • Stephanie Leach
  • Leah Lewandowski
  • Dawn Sauer
  • Paul Sheston
  • Sandra Shoupe-Gorga

The attorneys answered 83 calls on employment and labor law. An additional 34 consumers were assisted via social media, which means a total of 117 people were helped.

Here is a sample of the consumer questions:

  • Since Arizona is a right-to-work state, what does that mean to me and my issue?
  • Can employers harass and discriminate against its employees?
  • When are you covered by workers’ compensation?
  • I haven’t been paid overtime wages. How do I go about getting them paid?
  • I was fired for reasons I believe to be unfair; what can I do?

Several questions regarding employment discrimination were asked, including in the areas of age, pregnancy, ethnicity and disabilities.

AZBAR labor and employment lawyers on call 03-11-14

Volunteer Arizona labor and employment lawyers answer consumer questions, March 11, 2014.

The azcentral.com and 12 News teams were successful in adding a social media component to the phone bank. Thirty-four consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, and attorney Stephanie Leach responded with her recommendations/advice.

Four of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ family law questions on Tuesday, April 8.

Arizona Attorney Magazine cover March 2014The path of a relationship between an attorney and her client may take many twists and turns. But how often should documentation play a role in that sometimes long and shifting roadmap?

Answer: More often than you might think.

Before March escapes us, I point you to the Arizona Attorney Magazine cover story, by lawyer Paul Stoller. In “Practice Protection,” Paul provides a detailed how-to on documenting that relationship with the client. As he says, ensuring that element of your practice complete and up to date will protect not just the attorney, but the client as well.

You can read the complete article here.

And read more about Paul Stoller and his practice here.

Paul L. Stoller, Gallagher and Kennedy

Paul L. Stoller, Gallagher and Kennedy

In every issue, we aim to include content that assists lawyers in practice. Paul’s article, though, falls into that select subset of articles that I suspect are ripped out and saved for future reference.

Are there other areas of law practice you’d like to see us cover in similar depth? How valuable are how-to’s to your practice? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

prison_green haven NYYou may not have known that a Prison Awareness Club was a thing. But in a nation apparently committed to that growth industry, it only makes good sense that college students might engage on the topic of corrections.

This Friday, March 28, the third annual Prison Education Conference will be staged at ASU.

The all-day event is sponsored by the Department of English, the School of Social Transformation, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The free event (open to the public) will include speakers, discussion panels and the screening of what looks to be a compelling film.

Writer Sought

I may be able to attend, but I currently have a conflict. If you are a law student, student of the law (most generally defined), or a lawyer—and you are NOT one of the event organizers—I invite you to contact me to discuss a guest blog post. It might cover the entire event, or perhaps be just a review of the film Zero Percent. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Keynote Speaker

The conference includes a keynote by author Marshall Frank. As a news story describes his work:

“This year’s conference features keynote speaker Marshall Frank, a retired police captain from Miami, Fla., who led more than a thousand homicide investigations during his career and has since written hundreds of op-eds and articles about the state of America’s justice system.”

“In his most recent book ‘Criminal InJustice in America,’ Frank explores inequities of the prison system, “a multi-billion-dollar industry, which would collapse if there was a sudden downturn in inmate residency.” Perhaps that’s why the United States has 5 percent of the world’s population, but a staggering 25 percent of its prisoners. Critics have hailed ‘Criminal InJustice’ as ‘challenging,’ ‘thought-provoking’ and “daring.’”

Read the complete ASU News story here.

Panels Cover Prison Education

The complete agenda is here.

Among the speakers will be a representative from the Arizona Department of Corrections, and his compatriot from the New Mexico prison system. The organizers also feature the insights of educators from three Arizona prison complexes.

A second keynote will be Sean Pica, head of Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison. And it is the Hudson connection that may yield one of the day’s most enlightening aspects—a film.

Zero Percent Film To Screen

The film trailer for Zero Percent explains—a little—about the challenges faced by incarcerated individuals. Watch the trailer here.

More information about Hudson Link is here. And you can follow their posts on Facebook too.

The event location is the University Club on the ASU campus. A scalable map is here.

RSVP: peac.org@asu.edu

flier Prison Education Conference 2014_opt

Bill Klain AZBAR member of the year 2013

Bill Klain, State Bar of Arizona 2013 Member of the Year

’Tis the season … to honor someone who deserves it.

I’m pleased to report that you still have a few days left to nominate an Arizona attorney for a prestigious award from the State Bar of Arizona. The awards will be given at this June’s Bar Convention in Tucson, and there may be no better way to recognize the highest commitment to the legal profession.

To give an idea of how moving the awards can be, here are the words of Bill Klain, who was the Bar’s 2013 member of the year:

“Receiving the Member of the Year award was both gratifying and humbling. While I greatly appreciate the Bar’s recognition of my work to improve civil practice and procedure through my committee service and involvement with continuing legal education, the award results from the collective efforts of a large number of people devoted to improving our justice system and with whom I have had the good fortune to collaborate. I am proud of the work we have accomplished and appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to these group efforts.”

In your own life and practice, you have likely come across an attorney or two worthy of recognition. Here is a description of what the Bar seeks:

“Each year the State Bar of Arizona honors members of the legal profession who go above and beyond. We want to know who you think should be recognized this year. Take a look at the awards listed below and think about lawyers you know who make a difference. There is even an award for a non-lawyer who helps the public understand justice and the legal profession.”

The deadline to submit nominations is March 26th at 5 p.m. That’s this Wednesday. Nominating is simplicity itself. Just write a letter telling the Bar about the person’s achievements and why they deserve the award. Send it to:

State Bar of Arizona

Awards Committee

c/o Nina Benham

4201 N. 24th St., Suite 100

Phoenix, AZ 85016-6266

Or email it to her at Nina.Benham@staff.azbar.org

The Bar has created a helpful page that provides detailed descriptions of the nine awards. It also includes a link to a list of previous winners.

Now the ball is in your court. You have two days to write a letter (brief or otherwise) nominating someone for an award. Get to drafting.

A nose for news could be turned to other pursuits wine

A nose for news could be turned to other pursuits. True?

Writing a daily blog yields many advantages. You’re forced to read widely, listen intently, and converse often with readers near and far. And sometimes, you feel compelled to travel overseas.

Well, not often. But I’d appreciate your insight on that last element.

Happy Change of Venue Friday, a day a legal blogger might fantasize about taking a wine tour of France. No, I probably won’t be going. But the idea has a great nose.

My usual invitations are along the lines of a lawyer CLE staged in a wood-paneled conference room: “Nuts and Bolts of Administrative Law,” “What Attorneys MUST Know About the New UCC Changes” “Everything They DON’T Want You To Know About the Revised Securities Regulations”

You get the picture. Important. Significant. A bit drowsy.

So when I received another note headed “Press Invitation,” I did not expect much.

But then I spied the words “international wine competition held in France.”

It’s on April 5. And did I mention it’s in FRANCE? Could I go? Dare I go?

Here’s a piece of their marketing.

wine competition invitation for Bourg, FranceBut … How could I miss the administrative law extravaganza? The insurance business coverage limits analysis? And that panel discussion on employment law tips for the feedlot industry? How could all of that odorous content remain uncovered? Sacré bleu!

Ah, how beautiful Bourg, France, must be in the spring. Don’t we all deserve a junket?

Here is my analysis thus far. I would like you to chime in on whether a legal commentator should travel for a wine competition:

  • Pro: A wine competition and the legal industry both relate to the work of judges. I mean, that’s super-obvious.
  • Con: A junket of this sort might lead a writer to consider other paths and to desert equally deserving “serious” (“non-wine”) professions.

So you see my dilemma.

Let me know what you think. In the meantime, I will use the weekend to develop my nose on a variety of vintages and varietals. I await your counsel.

wine animated: Developing a new writing beat requires dedication, discernment.

Developing a new writing beat requires dedication, discernment.

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