December 2014

Bob McWhirter explained what it means to think like a lawyer in January 2014.

Bob McWhirter explained what it means to think like a lawyer in January 2014.

A concise post today to share some can’t-miss articles from the past year’s Arizona Attorney Magazine. After all, I know you need to begin putting together your New Year’s Eve celebration!

Remember, these suggestions are just a sampling of what I believe to be superior content. Our publication has been very fortunate over the years to be blessed with the work of terrific authors, and 2014 was no exception.

Without further ado: From January 2014, I recommend Bob McWhirter’s “‘Think Like a Lawyer!’ What the Hell Does That Mean?

In March, we ran the timely “The False Claims Act and Qui Tam Complaints” by Barb Dawson and Dan Huitink.

March 2014 Arizona Attorney Magazine

A great anniversary was recognized in our May issue when we published “Four Decades of Litigation in the Public Interest,” written by Tim Hogan (of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest) and Joy Herr-Cardillo.

June 2014 Arizona Attorney Magazine

Then, in June, we ran one of the year’s most talked-about stories, “Working With Millennials in the Law” by Susan Daicoff.

In the same month, we ran Marjorie Cunningham’s revealing article titled “Anna’s Story: Early Arizona and Women’s Property Rights.”

Finally, I leave you with a few terrific November pieces.

November 2014 Arizona Attorney Magazine

Well, I’m off to plan a bash. I hope you’ll agree we shared some phenomenal stories with you in the past year. The blog and I will be back on Monday, January 5. In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful holiday.

Feb. 2013: How good lawyers don't write like lawyers.

Feb. 2013: How good lawyers don’t write like lawyers.

Yesterday I renewed a holiday tradition of noting great previous work that has appeared recently in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Today I continue with what I think was some stellar work from 2013.

In February, the inimitable Bob McWhirter gave us another of his illustrated histories, this one titled “Writing Maketh an Exact Man: How Good Lawyers Don’t Write Like Lawyers.

Thanks to the vision of attorney and Editorial Board member Connie Mableson, our March issue contained our diverse coverage of online law issues.

March 2013: Online Law

March 2013: Online Law

Then, in July/August, we had the opportunity to recognize a significant anniversary of the Arizona Bar Foundation—and in the process commission a cake that was beautiful and tasty (and that baffled our Accounting Department).

July/August 2013: A tasty anniversary

July/August 2013: A tasty anniversary

Finally, a Colorado attorney named Steve Kelson contacted me a few years ago about surveying Arizona lawyers about the violence that increasingly faces those in the legal profession. When all was said and done, we had a compelling article to publish in the November issue, which you can read here. And that led to other Bar initiatives and even recognition for the Bar’s engagement on the difficult topic.

Nov. 2013: Violence against the legal profession

Nov. 2013: Violence against the legal profession

That’s enough for today. Tomorrow, I share my picks for work deserving a second glance that we published this year, in 2014.

April 2012 Arizona Attorney: Lawyers Go Green

April 2012 Arizona Attorney: Lawyers Go Green

“Best hits of 2012? Did I hear that right?”

You may be asking yourself that very thing as I kick off this short holiday week with three posts that highlight some of my favorite content from the three past years of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

I had considered hanging a “closed” sign on my blog this week. But then I thought I’d enjoy looking back and spotting some bright spots. And then on this Wednesday—the last day of the year—I’ll round this effort out when I identify some great work from this past year … in case you missed it.

I did something like this back in 2010, and readers told me they enjoyed it (but maybe they were being nice).

In any case, here are my recommendations for 2012 content for your quiet winter evenings:

Turn to our April 2012 coverage of green law offices (for which I am very grateful to attorney Jennifer Mott).

In July/August 2012, we were privileged to run Maureen Kane’s great piece on Justice Michael Ryan. (It is followed by some memories of his then-clerks, which you can read here.)

The July/August 2012 Arizona Attorney included our coverage of Justice Michael Ryan.

The July/August 2012 Arizona Attorney included our coverage of Justice Michael Ryan.

And if you like history:

Sentencing reform showed promise in Arizona in 2012.

Sentencing reform showed promise in Arizona in 2012.

Finally, here is a January 2012 piece I enjoyed reporting and writing myself on the possibilities for sentence reform in Arizona (my work benefited greatly from a Guggenheim Fellowship I won that year that connected me with some very smart sources).

Tomorrow, we turn to 2013.

Arizona Attorney December 2014 cover

Becoming something new, or at least thinking about it?

As we all rush about for the holiday season, I offer up the word transformation, which occupied the minds of a few author-attorneys in the December issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

The two folks—Judge Randall Howe and law professor Susan Rabe—explained what went into their decision to explore deviations from the law practice norm.

You can read Judge Howe here and read Professor Rabe here.

But their perambulations got me thinking that there are probably many stories of Arizona lawyers who took different paths. I’ve already heard from a few, but please write me at to tell me your tale. We may find a way to share those stories in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

In the meantime, I reprint below my Editor’s Letter from December. (And yes, despite the queries I received, the image does depict a butterfly, and not a moth!).

After that, I may be blog-quiet for a bit—maybe even for a week! We’ll see. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Spreading your wings

In an issue that’s dedicated to “becoming,” you may wonder how we illustrate such a thing.

When it comes to a legal magazine, “becoming” may seem like a pretty conceptual side trip (emphasis on trip). Lawyers believe they address nuts, bolts, and the deals that keep them together (or sever them, when needed). So lawyerly career transformation would appear to be a tangent.

But high-concept is often what we must address in the magazine. Flip through back issues and you’ll see what I mean: copyright, free speech, civil practice rules, grandparent visitation, trademark, even “thinking like a lawyer.” Not easy stuff to, y’know, picture. (Go on; you try it.)

That’s why I appreciate how rarely our talented Art Director, Karen Holub, must resort to the dreaded gavel or scales of justice. Among our colleagues nationwide who address the law in print, most agree that those are tools to be kept behind glass, broken only in the case of emergency. But where others break the glass monthly, we rarely do.

So when we considered “becoming,” I kept my mouth shut and my mind open. I didn’t offer Karen the one obvious approach—a butterfly emerging from a pupa—not merely because it’s stereotypical and a little mushy, but because creative people like Karen think best with only a modest amount of guidance but a whole lot of freedom. (The obvious butterfly that graces this page is the only one you’ll see in the issue, and was my idea.)

I hope you like our “becoming” art as much as I do. Well done, Karen.

Some attorneys are remaking themselves. And you? (photo by Michael Apel via Wikimedia Commons)

Some attorneys are remaking themselves. And you? (photo by Michael Apel via Wikimedia Commons)

And well done to those lawyers who have sought out new and affirming paths.

In the section’s introduction, we say that the legal profession is “a home for searchers.” Maybe it doesn’t seem like that on a Friday when you’re scrambling to complete your too-long-neglected timesheets. But many lawyers seek fulfillment, within and without the traditional legal field. And from where we sit, that is happening more and more, across multiple generations.

So consider this month’s issue as a call to the searchers. Today, we cover those who have made their way to be a judge and a teacher. But in the coming months … ?

Other lawyers, I’m sure, have made entirely different choices. Entrepreneurs, chefs, vintners, farmers—all that and more likely dots the experience palette of Arizona’s lawyers.

If you’re becoming—or became—write to us at

The old Phoenix City Hall, still standing, was replaced by a new building in 1994. (Photo: Jarod Opperman for The New York Times)

The old Phoenix City Hall, still standing, was replaced by a new building in 1994. (Photo: Jarod Opperman for The New York Times)

Does Phoenix have any history worth preserving? Over the decades, scores of historic preservation advocates have insisted that Yes, yes it does.

Their tireless work and the fragility of the evocative built environment make a great article in last week’s New York Times all the more appealing. It is titled “Phoenix Rediscovers Historic Face Worth Saving.”

Attorney Mark Briggs is rightly mentioned in it, as he is a member of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. He is cited along with the civicly-related bond money that supports historic preservation (and which is rapidly running out).

But kudos to the great preservation advocates in Phoenix, some of whom were quoted in the story: Jennifer Boucek (Preserve Phoenix), Alison King (Modern Phoenix) and Will Novak (Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition).

Michelle Dodds, the city’s historic preservation officer, rightly was quoted right at the top.

One speed-bump in the otherwise solid journalism occurs when the passive voice slyly creeps into a paragraph low in the story:

“There have been losses downtown, such as the Hotel St. James, built in 1928, that was demolished, save for its facade and lobby. The boarded-up property is now surrounded by parking spaces.”

It “was demolished,” eh? I’m sure someone mentioned that it was razed pretty recently by the Phoenix Suns, which wanted to make way for (yet) another surface parking lot, this one for its VIP ticketholders. (That demolition and the city’s reaction to it are the source of a lawsuit.)

Hat tip to journalist (and now Harvard student) Eugene Scott for pointing me to the NYT story.

Millennial Lawyers article June 2014 by Susan Daicoff

Do millennial lawyers have needs that are different from other generations?

That is a topic implicitly raised in an article posted online last week. Titled “Law firms prepare Millennials for the business of law,” it shares some tactics that have been developed at Arizona law firms to address a younger generation of attorneys.

Would you like to hear more about any of the strategies mentioned in the article? Let me know and I’ll try to pass on more news.

That article reminded me of a piece we published in Arizona Attorney this past year. It covered the millennial generation and how your law firm may be failing to meet their expectations (and yes; it matters). If you missed it, you can read it here.

infographic - How seaworthy is the information that drives your law firm?

How seaworthy is the information that drives your law firm?

What could be easier—especially on the Friday before a holiday week—than to enjoy a little infographic regarding law practice?

OK, I probably had you until “ … regarding law practice,” but it’s still light lifting for Change of Venue Friday.

The visual art comes our way from U.K. firm InsightBee, which examines the information sources available to law firms. What they have discovered, alas, is that many of those firms and attorneys say that they lack vital information that would better guide their practice decisions.

At the top of this post is just a piece of the graphic. You can see the whole infographic here.

An InsightBee staffer (worker bee?) tells me that 86 percent of U.K. law firms report that they worry they are out of touch with their clients’ needs. And only four percent of law firm partners strongly believe they have the right tools to achieve their business development priorities.

Yes, I know it’s the U.K., not the U.S., but those are still compelling numbers.

In your firm, do you feel you have up-to-date information on what your clients’ needs are? And do you have processes in place to determine those (shifting) needs?

Well, now that I’ve annoyed you with unanswerable questions, I wish you a wonderful—and client-free—weekend!

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color

[Note: This article was edited to clarify the role that Ezequiel Hernandez played in regard to the White House. According to Hernandez, he was one of four legal experts from Univision whom the White House spoke with to ensure accurate information was communicated and to communicate the message against fraud; the description of him as “a White House consultant” was inaccurate. I apologize for the error.]

You may recall that one day after the President’s Executive Order on immigration—one day—the State Bar offered an event that included lawyers giving advice on that very topic.

Now, in the week before Christmas, when most of us are devising ways to enjoy the holiday and think less about work, my colleague Alberto Rodriguez passes on news of two more immigration-related events put on by the Bar and partner Univision. One is tonight, and the second is next Monday. No rest for the weary!

(At one of the events, Univision correspondent and attorney Ezequiel Hernandez of Hernandez Global Law Firm will speak. Read more about him here.)

I’ll get to the events in a second, but I’ve got to say: They represent many, many hours of work—to locate attorneys, line up venues, and nail down all of those tiny details that can make or break public gatherings. Congratulations to Alberto and everyone who has had a hand in this.

Ezequiel Hernandez

Ezequiel Hernandez

“The State Bar of Arizona is partnering with Univision Arizona to host two access to justice programs focused on immigration/deferred action. In an effort to inform consumers, dispel myths, and combat consumer fraud, both organizations have come together to offer a 2-hour Abogados a Su Lado phone bank on December 18 and a special immigration session and legal-aid clinic on December 22.”

“On Thursday, December 18, eight volunteer attorneys will answer viewers’ questions during the 2-hour Abogados a Su Lado phone bank from 5 to 7 p.m. on Univision 33.”

“On Monday, December 22, the Bar will host a 30-minute information session that will include an overview of the Bar’s consumer protection services and endorsements (for the Bar) by two nationally recognized immigrant rights organizations. In addition, Ezequiel Hernandez, a Contributor and legal expert for Univision News National Network, will offer a brief presentation on deferred action.”

“Following the presentation, twelve volunteer attorneys will offer one-on-one consultations. The information session and legal-aid clinic will be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Saint Agnes Catholic Church located at 1954 North 24th Street in Phoenix.”

“Univision Arizona will record the information session and legal-aid clinic, which will then be broadcast as a 30-minute immigration special, replacing their evening news—date to be determined.”

The last word in the many chapters regarding the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio have clearly not been written. Cue the ASU Journalism School.

The last word in the many chapters regarding the office of Sheriff Joe Arpaio have clearly not been written. Cue the ASU Journalism School.

Phoenix New Times co-founder Michael Lacey (photo: Patrick Breen/Ariz. Republic)

Phoenix New Times co-founder Michael Lacey (photo: Patrick Breen/Ariz. Republic)

For those friends around the country who gaze in amazement at the State of Arizona (not always for wonderful reasons), an announcement yesterday must have had them lighting up the twitterverse.

The story out of ASU’s journalism school is that a new endowed professorship, entirely focused on border issues, will be funded with a $2 million gift drawn from a legal settlement awarded following a lawsuit over policing practices at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, led by Joe Arpaio.

The donors are none other than Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, longtime journalists and publishers who were arrested by the office as they worked on stories related to it.

I leave you to muse on alternate lyrics for “I fought the law …

I don’t know if the lobbying has begun for an excellent borders prof, but I certainly hope they consider journalist Terry Greene Sterling. You can read more about her and her work here.

The ASU press release opens:

“Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, longtime owners of the national chain of Village Voice alternative weeklies, will use proceeds from a lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to establish a Chair in Borderlands Issues at the WalterCronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.”

Terry Greene Sterling

Terry Greene Sterling

“The $2 million gift will support an endowed chair who will lead a new program at the Cronkite School in which students will cover immigration and border issues in the U.S. and Mexico in both Spanish and English. The Lacey-Larkin Chair will be the only endowed chair in the country focused exclusively on Latino and borderlands coverage.”

“The Chair will direct advanced student journalists in a professional immersion program in which they will report, write and produce cutting-edge stories that will be distributed in English and Spanish to professional media outlets and will be prominently featured on the Cronkite News website and Arizona PBS newscasts. Additionally, the Lacey-Larkin Chair will comment on and write about border and immigration reporting nationally, promoting public scrutiny and serving as a national voice on coverage of issues affecting the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.”

Illegal, by Terry Greene Sterling

Illegal, by Terry Greene Sterling

“The new Chair will be the cornerstone of a Cronkite specialization that will include three full-time professors. The Lacey-Larkin Chair and a second, university-funded, professor to be added next year will join Cronkite Professor Rick Rodriguez, former editor of the Sacramento Bee and the first Latino president of the American Society of News Editors, as Southwest Borderlands Professors.”

“Lacey and Larkin are drawing on proceeds from a $3.75 million settlement from Maricopa County in a widely publicized case that tested First Amendment rights as well as Arpaio’s policing practices. They said their gift to ASU grew out of their outrage at the way Mexican immigrants, in particular, have been treated by the sheriff’s office.”

Want more? (Sure, you do.) Read the Arizona Republic article here.

Marian Yim (far right) was one of the honorees to receive the national Trailblazers Award at the annual NAPABA Convention, November 2014.

Marian Yim (far right) was one of the honorees to receive the national Trailblazers Award at the annual NAPABA Convention, November 2014.

Last month, Arizona was privileged to host a national conference of lawyers and law students. The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) event featured quite a few excellent seminars and plenary sessions—plus a Mercedes raffle. (I mentioned one of its signature events here.)

Among the things NAPABA gets right is the use of video to draw people in. They were effective at marketing the conference in advance and as tools to tell stories from the event once it was done.

Attorney Jared Leung, President of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, kindly shared three of those videos. I pass them on with the hope that other event organizers will take their lead. (All videos are courtesy of Ty Ng of TwinTygr Films.)

The first video offered a broad overview of all the conference’s highlights:

The next video demonstrated the group’s community-service efforts benefiting Packages From Home and the veterans it serves. As Jared said:

NAPABA_logo“Barry Wong was instrumental in setting this wonderful community project at the NAPABA Convention.  It would not have happened without his leadership on this. Also, over 25 of you woke up early on Sunday morning, arriving at the Convention at 7 am to help set up the ‘production lines’ for the convention participants to pack the boxes. We had planned 2 hours to pack 300 boxes, but we ended up using a little over an hour and packed 315 boxes. The support and excitement was overwhelming and far exceeded our expectation. Your support was crucial to the success of this event. Thank you all so much!!

Here’s the video:

OK, best for last. Finally, Jared shared a video of the speech given by Marian Yim as she accepted the national Trailblazer Award. And Jared reminded attendees, “Marian gave us a challenge at the end of her speech: What kind of new APA lawyer are you going to be?”

I think that question could be asked of all attorneys. Here is the video of Marian:

Members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association gather at the annual NAPABA Convention, Nov. 2014.

Members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association gather at the annual NAPABA Convention, Nov. 2014.

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