January 2015


Two pages from Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester, displayed at the Phoenix Art Museum from Jan. 24, 2015, through April 12, 2015.

Two pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester, displayed at the Phoenix Art Museum from Jan. 24, 2015, through April 12, 2015.

Here is a list of people who would enjoy the remarkable Phoenix Art Museum show of works by Leonardo da Vinci:

  1. Lawyers who work in water resources
  2. Lawyers who work with science-based clients
  3. Lawyers who appreciate amazing art
  4. Everyone else

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester and the Power of Observation” opened last Saturday and will remain open through April 12. If you or out-of-town guests happen to want to avoid a certain football game this weekend, this museum could be the place to be.

(More images from the show and the media tour are available here at the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.)

Way back in 1994, Bill Gates of Microsoft fame bought the Codex—a manuscript that is filled with writing and images—for more than $30 million. The Codex was created by Leonardo between 1508 and 1510, and Museum Director Jim Ballinger told us that this is the first work by the creative genius to be displayed in Arizona.

Ballinger, who is retiring from his longtime position at the end of January, is clearly pleased to have brought the master to PAM. Among other great elements of the show, he said, viewers will be amazed to see Leonardo’s work “from his own hand.”

“In my 40 years at the Phoenix Art Museum, this is the kind of thing you dream about.”

Two pages from Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester, displayed at the Phoenix Art Museum from Jan. 24, 2015, through April 12, 2015.

Two pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester, displayed at the Phoenix Art Museum from Jan. 24, 2015, through April 12, 2015.

The U.S. journey of the Codex is circumscribed: If you miss it here, you’ll have to go to either the Minneapolis Institute of Art or the North Carolina Museum of Art, each of which will include the manuscript in their own shows.

Among the impressive aspects of this show are the strategic moves that made it possible. The day before the show opened, Ballinger told assembled press that donors based in Arizona engaged in what turned out to be a two-year project to get the master’s work to the state. And “the easiest ask I ever made,” says Ballinger, was to the utility SRP, which was impressed by Leonardo’s commitment to assessing water use and its effect on civilizations.

“If we didn’t have water in Arizona,” he added, “the museum and we all wouldn’t be here. Leonardo thought deeply about water’s many uses, for power, agriculture, and even defense. The Codex serves as a platform for a community dialogue and discussion” about this valuable resource.

Ballinger mentioned another seminal aspect to the Codex: Leonardo’s interest in astronomy—a favorite topic for a state that is a global leader in examining the heavens.

Curator Dr. Jerry Smith, leading a tour of the Codex and the surrounding works, called the document “the earliest known scientific notebook that exists.”

Dr. Jerry Smith leads a tour of the Leonardo show at Phoenix Art Museum, Jan.. 23, 2015.

Dr. Jerry Smith leads a tour of the Leonardo show at Phoenix Art Museum, Jan.. 23, 2015.

The display of that notebook is stunning and evocative. Individual pages are suspended upright behind glass in black obelisks, allowing viewers to stand as close as Leonardo did to the sheets of paper—and to view both sides of each sheet, covered in the genius’s handwriting. Easy-to-read captions translate his notorious reverse-writing Italian. They also describe the science represented.

Phoenix Art Museum staffer Chelsea Ellsworth explains the Codascope's functioning, Jan. 23, 2015.

Phoenix Art Museum staffer Chelsea Ellsworth explains the Codascope’s functioning, Jan. 23, 2015. (click to enlarge)

A technological element that could have been unnecessary overkill turns out to be one of the most addictive parts of the show: A “Codascope” (two, actually) allows viewers to pull up digital versions of every page and to read and see the written and visual annotations that describe multiple elements. As time-risky as surfing the Web, the ’scope quickly draws viewers into Leonardo’s world, where every element suggests another.

If Leonardo’s own work were all that was displayed, the show would be a noteworthy success. But the creative minds at the Museum thought that the “conversation” could go far beyond that. And so Dr. Jerry Smith and his team took on their task: “to put the Codex in broader context.”

Dr. Jerry Smith leads a tour of the Leonardo show at Phoenix Art Museum, Jan.. 23, 2015.

Dr. Jerry Smith leads a tour of the Leonardo show at Phoenix Art Museum, Jan.. 23, 2015.

That context is why viewers will see 30 other compelling works by many other artists represented in this show. The works, whose creation ranged over 500 years, include “The Raft” video by Bill Viola (along with Viola’s own Notebook regarding the creation of his digital work), a stunning 1500’s-era woodcut print of Venice from above created by Jacopo de Barbari, modern moon images by Kiki Smith, the strobe-light “splash” photos of Harold Edgerton, the repeated-imagery photos of Eadweard Muybridge, “After the Mona Lisa 8” by Devorah Sperber, paintings by Claude Monet, and more.

The patient stroller may discern the connection between these works and that of Leonardo: Many have to do with water and the nighttime sky, agrees Smith. But, more important, they have to do with “curiosity, observation, and thinking on paper.”

“What if Leonardo had had a camera?” Smith asks. That and similar questions, magnified to multiple genres, occupies the viewer in profitable ways. Moving from the Codex to these works and back suggests multiple ways that Leonardo influenced those who created centuries later. And it hints at the ways those later artists—whether through stop-action photography, or moonscapes that are analogues for the human body, or video showing water’s sometimes-violent effect on humans—forever have altered the way we can see Leonardo.

Sometimes, we are reminded by the smart folks at the Phoenix Art Museum, conversations can span centuries.

The show runs through April 12. More detail is here.

And for even more background, here is an article by reporter Kellie Hwang in the Arizona Republic.

(Remember: More images from the show and the media tour are available here at the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.)

“After the Mona Lisa 8” by Devorah Sperber.

“After the Mona Lisa 8” by Devorah Sperber.

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Grant Woods delivers the keynote address at the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel annual dinner, Camelback Inn, Jan. 15, 2015.

Grant Woods delivers the keynote address at the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel annual dinner, Camelback Inn, Jan. 15, 2015.

What makes a lawyer event more enjoyable? When organizers can dial down the lawyerliness. (Yes, I just coined a word. Sue me.)

That ability to create an event dedicated to lawyers but also committed to battling sleepiness is what has made the annual corporate counsel awards dinner such a great ticket.

This year’s event was on January 15, at the Camelback Inn, and I have a few theories as to why they achieve goodness when others may not.

First, it’s put on by a magazine. True, the sponsor is the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel. But helping to run the show are magazine types.

No, not Arizona Attorney. (Sigh.) Instead, the folks at AZ Business Magazine have been tapped to steer the evening. And they’ve managed to make the vessel a fleet-bowed skiff rather than a slow-moving ocean liner (or, even worse, a Titanic).

There’s just something—I don’t know—impatient about magazine people. We want to get to the nut of the issue, the meat of the matter. And so the magazine staff (including the emcee–editor-in-chief Michael Gossie) and others from AZBigMedia (note to self: Steal that name) goosed the evening along, never allowing it to come to rest as many legal events do.

Second, the honorees are some of the best corporate counsel around. So when the winner is announced (or even the finalists), the business-attuned audience nods with recognition. These are the companies that weathered storms, established beachheads, reached the summits. And they did all that with excellent legal teams. (The winners’ names and companies will appear in a subsequent post.)

So there’s that. And then there’s the keynote.

When I heard keynote speaker Grant Woods a year ago, I laughed my keister off (like everyone else in the room), and I assumed it would be his last appearance at the annual event. Why is that? Well, Grant pulled no punches in his hilarious political monologue. And legal events—especially among risk-averse corporate counsel, I’m sorry to say—are highly adept at pulling punches. Yes, Grant was a crowd-pleaser. But was he an event-organizer pleaser? I guessed the answer was no.

How pleased I am that I was wrong. Grant again was the speaker, arriving this time in jeans and an unbuttoned blue shirt.

Well, if he comes next year in a robe and slippers, the AAC should still welcome him.

As there is a mixed audience for this blog—some of whom may be a tad thin-skinned—I won’t pass on all of Grant’s gems. But here are a few:

Q: What’s the difference between an Arizona state legislator and God?

A: God doesn’t think he’s an Arizona state legislator.

But no, don’t worry, Grant’s items were not all rim shots. He offered political observations created out of a lifetime of Arizona living, law practice, and public service.

Since he was in high school, he noted, no Arizona governor has entered office and left it “normally.” Whether to head off to a better job or running out the door ahead of impeachment proceedings, our chief execs have been a colorful lot.

Grant focused his time and talents on three noteworthy items: the presidential race, Sen. John McCain, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But along the way, he had skewers available for others. Among them:

  • Newly elected schools chief Diane Douglas (“She hid in her house for the last week and a half of the campaign so she wouldn’t be interviewed. She won!”)
  • Former Maricopa County Sheriff Dick Godbehere, who led a helicopter raid not only outside the county line but into Mexico itself. The retired lawn-mower repairman kept in his office a prized possession of what he claimed to be ancient artifacts—including a sculpture of an automobile (think about it).
  • Sometime- and often presidential candidate Mitt Romney (who mused in amazement that it is possible to FedEx a horse—something never imagined by anyone in my humble neighborhood).

Through it all, the audience—of many political stripes, I would guess—was laughing as they never can do in boardrooms. But ultimately, Grant offered the AAC audience a moment of high seriousness.

“There are smart, compassionate and innovative lawyers in our state,” Woods said, pointing to members of the audience. “I salute you, and I am proud to be part of your profession.”

Grant Woods addresses a packed room at the Camelback Inn for the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel annual dinner, Jan. 15, 2015.

Grant Woods addresses a packed room at the Camelback Inn for the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel annual dinner, Jan. 15, 2015.

“All of you worked really hard to achieve what you have,” he ended. “I’m proud to be a lawyer, and I’m proud of our fellow lawyers.”

Well done, ACC and AZBigMedia. As just one guy who occasionally gets sleepy at lawyer events, I urge you to get Grant to sign on for another year.

What’s Hot and What’s Not In The Legal Profession Hot_tamales

What’s hot and what’s not In the legal profession?

Most of us enjoy gazing into the legal profession’s crystal ball, especially when someone else is doing the heavy lifting.

That’s why I so much appreciate Bob Denney’s annual prognostications about what will be the hot (or not) legal practice areas in the coming year.

Among his leading contenders: intellectual property, federal False Claim Act litigation, labor and employment, and technology. His whole list and analysis are here.

You really need to read all the way to the end. That’s where Bob offers analysis that could assist your practice (or our magazine coverage).

Hot and Not law practice areasThis kind of project is a brave one, because any one of us can armchair-review his predictions from the previous year. (I know you want to; read his notions about 2014 here.)

Finally, I very much appreciate his mentioning the False Claims Act. We’ve covered its growing power in Arizona Attorney Magazine, and commentator JD Supra agrees with Bob.

And who else agrees? Perhaps a Tucson health care network that paid $35 million in a fraud settlement last year. Ouch times 35.

Do Bob’s predictions resonate in your own practice? And which of his assessments are most surprising to you? Write to me at Arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealToday, I share some news from the Arizona Supreme Court on a topic that should catch lawyers’ attention: possible changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct. Here’s the Court:

A process that began six months ago has resulted in the submission of a petition to amend several Supreme Court Rules governing the practice of law in Arizona. The proposed changes are posted online for public comment.

In June 2014, the Supreme Court established the 13-member Committee on the Review of Supreme Court Rules Governing Professional Conduct and the Practice of Law, which was chaired by Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer. The proposed changes are the result of a series of public meetings, which included input from a variety of stakeholder groups and the State Bar of Arizona.

Changes in the practice of law, the emergence of global law firms, the evolution of technology and other factors affecting the modernized law office led the Committee to recommend rule changes. In some cases, the rules petition adds clarifying language while maintaining the text and intent of the rules.

Some of the recommendations include rules:

  • Allowing flexibility for new forms of legal teams, for example, allowing teams of lawyers from different firms to share responsibility and fees, while still ensuring adequate protections for the public;
  • Proposing language governing the admission of lawyers who relocate to Arizona due to a military spouse’s service commitment;
  • Providing guidance on safeguarding the storage, transmission, and security of client data in the modern digital law practice.

The Committee also submitted a report to the Supreme Court describing proposals the Committee had considered but rejected. For example, the Committee recommended that the Court not admit on motion lawyers from jurisdictions that do not have reciprocal admission rules for Arizona lawyers.

To view or comment on the proposed rule changes, go to the Arizona Supreme Court Rules Forum here. Comments are due on or before May 20, 2015. The earliest that the Supreme Court could take action on the proposed changes is August 2015.

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Arizona Summit Law professors Jalae Ulicki (left) and Penny Willrich with Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo, Jan. 20, 2015, after taping of an educational video on mediation as a healing art.

Arizona Summit Law professors Jalae Ulicki (left) and Penny Willrich with Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo, Jan. 20, 2015, after taping of an educational video on mediation as a healing art.

Last week, I got to engage in what has become a highlight of my month: a dialogue with some current Arizona Attorney authors.

The point of the very enjoyable exercise is to create a short video. This partnership with the State Bar of Arizona CLE Department is called “CLE Snippets,” and this month’s authors are Professors Penny Willrich and Jalae Ulicki, both of the Arizona Summit Law School.

The way it works is this: I provide the list of articles for the upcoming month’s issue and chat with Jenn Sonier in the CLE Department. After a little collaboration, we agree on what topic may lend itself well to a brief Q&A video. And the next time we meet in the CLE Center, I try to dress nice, the authors arrive, and Jenn tapes us in riveting conversation.

Well, that’s the plan. Authors Willrich and Ulicki certainly held up their end of the bargain, offering great insight as we discussed their article titled “Lessons Learned From Peacemaking: Mediation as a Healing Art.”

(In what’s become a sort-of tradition, I try to snap a selfie with the authors. This month, the terrific Jenn Sonier did the photographic honors, above.)

I’ll share a link when it’s available. But in the meantime, thank you to our talented authors for taking the time to share their thoughts about an important topic.

True DTPHX

The event-rich month that surrounds the Super Bowl reaches quite a high crest this weekend, as the Pro Bowl nears kickoff. And even if football is not your bag (inflated balls or not), downtown Phoenix has quite a variety of festivities planned that may please most all comers.

The happenings, spanning today and tomorrow, are described by Fara Illich here. As she describes trueDTPHX, it includes shopping, concerts and more.

More detail and links are on the trueDTPHX Facebook page.

Here’s wishing you a community-filled weekend, whether you make it downtown or not.

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