June 2014


Estate Planning wills trusts

I often communicate the results of the State Bar’s Lawyers on Call events after they occur. But as I looked at the topic for tomorrow’s pro bono lawyer event, I thought that many of us may have family or friends who could benefit from calling in. Please feel free to share this with them.

Tomorrow’s topic is estate planning (wills, trusts, more). The number to call is (602) 258-1212 (note: lawyers are only available at that phone number from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the days when Lawyers on Call is featured). Here is Bar news about the upcoming Lawyers on Call.

“If you should pass away unexpectedly, will your children be cared for by someone you love and trust? If you become incapacitated, will your business continue to thrive and grow? Will your family have to deal with bureaucracy during a time of sadness? Ease the stress associated with untimely death or accidents by seeking advice from an estate planning attorney for free on Tuesday, July 1.”

“Volunteer estate planning attorneys will answer your questions on the State Bar of Arizona, 12 News, and azcentral.com’s Lawyers on Call public service program. You can discuss your wills, trust, and estate planning issues with them for free from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1.”

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Ak Chin Justice Center, whose ribbon-cutting occurred June 6, 2014. Maricopa, Ariz.

Ak Chin Justice Center, whose ribbon-cutting occurred June 6, 2014. Maricopa, Ariz.

Maricopa, Arizona, was the site of a June 6 community gathering that marked the opening of the Ak-Chin Indian Community Justice Center. The 56,000-square-foot building houses the tribal police department, court and detention center, as well as offices for public defenders, prosecutors and probation staff.

That’s the opening to my news story that will be published in the July/August Arizona Attorney Magazine. That’s also where we’ll include a smattering of photos.

But who doesn’t like more photos? So here are a few in this post. And you can see the whole set on our Facebook page here.

Have a great—and justice-filled—weekend.

Basket-weaving, an important component of the Ak-Chin culture, is apparent in the Ak-Chin Justice Center's design and appointments. The photo shows how the design influences the light fixtures.

Basket-weaving, an important component of the Ak-Chin culture, is apparent in the Ak-Chin Justice Center’s design and appointments. The photo shows how the design influences the light fixtures.

Tribal Judge Brian Burke describes features of the new courtroom space at the Ak-Chin Justice Center, June 5, 2014.

Tribal Judge Brian Burke describes features of the new courtroom space at the Ak-Chin Justice Center, June 5, 2014.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 President Johnson signs

President Lyndon Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Beginning Friday and continuing through next week, a series of Arizona events marks the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Phoenix events are covered in some detail on a dedicated Facebook page. They include:

  • The unveiling of a commemorative mural, Burton Barr Library, Friday, 10 a.m.
  • Voter registration/civic engagement event, State Capitol lawn, Saturday, 9 a.m.
  • Celebration dinner, First Institutional Baptist Church, Saturday, 5 p.m.
  • Community celebration, Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 newspaper headlineAs the site describes the legislation:

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as ‘public accommodations’).”

“Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 at the White House.”

How about a law office in an old cigar buidling? Puff on that idea! NHBAR historic building 1

How about housing your law office in an old cigar building? Puff on that idea!

How do we tell the story of law offices in historic buildings?

That’s something we’ve considered and attempted over the years at Arizona Attorney Magazine. I think (hope) that many of our readers agree with me that the life of the law may be illuminated by exploring the spaces we use for attorneys’ work. And when those spaces are vintage ones, we also manage to tell the story of our state.

Over the years, a lawyer I respect has urged me (a few times) to do such a story in the magazine. A history buff myself, I’m on board. But our challenge continues: There is no statewide inventory of historic structures that are now used as law offices.

So I keep beating the drum, urging lawyers to contact me with their buildings’ stories. (Send your information and photos to arizona.attorney@azbar.org.)

Meantime, I checked my mail this week and was greeted by a bar publication whose own exploration has yielded great fruit. Congratulations to the New Hampshire Bar Association for this month’s feature on historic law offices.

I spoke previously in praise of the NHBA’s premier publication. And now they’ve done it again. (Enough with the talent, already.)

In “Preserving the Past,” NH Bar News Managing Editor Kristen Senz and staff showed the results of scouring the highways and byways to find the best offices representing the topic.

Here is how their hard-copy pages came out. Note the great photos paired with the well-researched and detailed copy.

NHBAR historic law offices 1_opt

NHBAR historic law offices 2_opt

But this is 2014. So even if they’re writing about a 1700’s-era Colonial, publishers know they have to meet readers online too.

So if you don’t happen to have a print version of NH Bar News sitting around your office, you can go online to see the featured structures—and even more that wouldn’t fit in the publication.

You can view and read about all the historic buildings here. Well done (once again), New Hampshire Bar!

And now, you Arizona lawyers can help us tell the stories of your own vintage law offices. We’d love to hear from you.

If your article gets this many comments, you've clearly sparked a conversation (or shouting match). NYT Magazine boomerang kids story comments

If your article gets this many comments, you’ve clearly sparked a conversation (or shouting match).

Again with the millennials.

Forgive me for raising another story on the topic of this generation of new thinkers and doers. But a recent story in the New York Times Magazine—and some pushback it’s received—made me think there’s quite a bit more to say on the topic.

In the Times story, writer Adam Davidson (or the copyeditor) poked the millennial bear with a stick, starting with his headline: “It’s Official; The Boomerang Kids Won’t Leave.”

OK, so a little fun is OK, right? Here’s some content not far from the top of his piece:

“One in five people in their 20s and early 30s is currently living with his or her parents. And 60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from them. That’s a significant increase from a generation ago, when only one in 10 young adults moved back home and few received financial support. The common explanation for the shift is that people born in the late 1980s and early 1990s came of age amid several unfortunate and overlapping economic trends. Those who graduated college as the housing market and financial system were imploding faced the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. (Kasinecz still has about $60,000 to go.) And more than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don’t require a college degree. According to Lisa B. Kahn, an economist at Yale University, the negative impact of graduating into a recession never fully disappears. Even 20 years later, the people who graduated into the recession of the early ’80s were making substantially less money than people lucky enough to have graduated a few years afterward, when the economy was booming. Some may hope that the boomerang generation represents an unfortunate but temporary blip … .

Intrigued? Offended? Read the whole thing here.

The article’s tone—and its pronouncements—may be why (at last count) the story had garnered 1,600+ comments. That’s one thousand six hundred. Millennials may be underemployed, but that means they’ll read all the way to the end of a 2,196-word article, and then take the time to vent some spleen.

I’ll get to those comments in a moment. For now, it’s worth noting that they ranged from a startlingly deep derision toward an entire class of adults, to deep anger toward the author, his approach and his tone.

Whatever you do, be sure to view the slideshow of photos by photographer Damon Casarez. He is clearly a talented shooter. But was there ever a more depressing assemblage of life stories captured on film (or digitally)?

Life lesson and note to self: If a features reporter ever wants to write on my inability to land a job and launch a career, just say no when the photographer offers to shoot my portrait amidst my dirty-laundry-strewn bed, or among my life’s detritus that now hoarder-clogs my parents’ living room.

Stage tragic images, much?

Want to know how irked millennials can get about the stereotypical coverage? Just compare the Time Magazine cover that inflamed many folks … with just one of the parodies launched by web-savvy millennials (and don’t miss the parody’s eyebrow-headlines):

Time Magazine cover Millennial Me Generation original and parody

Time’s (not-so) original cover (left) and the parody (right).

(Um, Time Magazine, these “kids” may be a lot of things, but one of their greatest strengths is being scary-talented enough to make digital fun of your aged butt. Just saying.)

So you’re eager (I know) for a legal angle, and here it is.

Start reading a great blog called “The Law School Tuition Bubble.” That’s where Matt Leichter, an attorney admitted in Wisconsin and New York, holds forth on topics related to the legal profession. (More about him here.)

As you might guess, he is not greatly impressed by the NYT piece. He is an adept reader (and critiquer), so you should read his entire response here.

But I was struck by one of his concluding lines, which indicts not just this article but much of the reportage on the millennial or any “younger” generation:

“The only question I’m left with is, ‘Has reporting on young adults ever not been infantilizing and uninformative?’”

What do you think? Do commentators and reporters do a disservice to a generation that, first, must adjust to an economy nearly bankrupted by a generation not their own, and second, that now must suffer the additional indignity of being labeled lazy, or worse?

Finally, I promised to share a few of the NYT’s article’s comments. Here they are:

One commenter:

“When college costs three times what it did in 1970, adjusted for inflation (and that’s public and private school), and minimum wage is less than half what it was in 1970, adjusted for inflation, I find the term ‘Boomerang kids’ insulting. These aren’t kids, they are young adults facing the worst recession since the 1930s and living through the modern-day Dust Bowl. Nobody lectured people in the era of the Grapes of Wrath about how they should just ‘grow up.’”

Another:

“I’m somewhat annoyed by the Times’ (and others’) insinuation that if a young person lives at home after college, he or she has somehow failed at becoming a real and responsible adult. When you have heavy student loans and work at an entry-level position, it may actually be a mark of financial responsibility to live with your parents for at least a year or two while you work and build up your savings. I would love to see more stories about young people in their 20s and 30s living at home without the underlying tone of judgment that just because these people live with their parents, they have somehow failed at becoming adults.”

And finally:

“The comments about how this is normal in other (low and middle income) countries, and how it’s probably the fault of individual young people who didn’t major in science are equal parts infuriating and hilarious. Someone hasn’t looked for science jobs lately! Memo to the millennials: Older generations don’t care and they’re not going to try to help. These comments are proof of that. So, either get involved in politics or resign yourself to a substantially lower standard of living than your parents had. Or both.”

I'm guessing your dog doesn't greet clients at your law office. You may want to rethink that. (Meet Rosie, Ruth Carter's companion.)

I’m guessing your dog doesn’t greet clients at your law office. You may want to rethink that. (Meet Rosie, Ruth Carter’s companion.)

If you’re like most lawyers, your office probably did little or nothing to mark National Doughnut Day.

Well, that’s a shame.

If that’s the case, then your office must not be that of Arizona attorney Ruth Carter. Ruth has many attributes and high points in her brief career—including being named an ABA Legal Rebel and being an author of multiple books. And now we can add pastry-sharer.

I mentioned doughnuts, so let’s get to it.

Ruth is aware of the great value in social interactions. And why not: One of her areas of focus is flash-mob law. So a day dedicated to fried-dough goodness seemed to her as good a time as any to gather her myriad circles in her new law offices. A Venn diagram with smiles and Bosa doughnuts at the center, you might say.

Every exuberant, Ruth Carter greets guests at her Doughnut Day open house.

Every exuberant, Ruth Carter greets guests at her Doughnut Day open house.

The June 6 event gave attendees the chance to visit with folks in different but affiliated industries. And we all got to catch up with what Ruth has cooking in her own practice. Smart move, that.

Plus, her wonderful Basset, Rosie, was present, as always.

Thanks, Ruth, for kicking off our June well. Here is the thank-you note I posted after the sweet, sweet event.

Doughnuts = the circle of life (or something, my thank-you note tried to convey).

Doughnuts = the circle of life (or something, my thank-you note tried to convey).

And how do you gather people informally in and around your practice? Doughnuts work, but they’re only one idea. Share yours!

Whitney Cunningham, Richard Platt, John Phelps

Whitney Cunningham, Richard Platt, John Phelps

Was it only a week ago that I was at the State Bar Convention, and where I (unwisely?) launched a photo-caption contest?

No matter about my poor judgment: I promised to announce the winner today—Change of Venue Friday—and so I shall.

You can see the photo at the top of this post. As a reminder, this captures what has become an annual tradition as the Bar’s leadership changes. The photo includes the departing President, the incoming President, and the Bar’s CEO/ED. The train is leaving the station, you could say.

Here is the winning entry:

“Is there a choreographer in the house? Please tell me this doesn’t involve twerking.”

As I said in my initial post, the winner receives a Starbucks gift card. As if those in the legal profession need to be caffeinated any more.

I am obliged to disappoint interested readers, though, by saying that the winner must remain anonymous. Due to his or her workplace situation, she or he prefers it that way, and I acquiesce to that request.

I can assure you, though, that the winner is not a State Bar employee, me, or any member of my family.

Besides that, read my original blog post to see where you should file your complaints.

Have a wonderful—and caption-filled—weekend.

(Note: Some may wonder why I included the word “twerking” in the post title. Honestly, I’m simply curious what unique Twitter interactions that may create. We’ll see!)

Next week: A few brief follow-ups to some noteworthy Convention events. (And then we’ll be Convention-free until 2015!)

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