March 2015


The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to present on communications to hundreds of lawyers. Fortunately, prizes were involved. And soon, I’ll announce even more of them.

No, no prizes for me. My prize was the opportunity once again to speak to legal leaders at the American Bar Association Leadership Institute. I had 30 minutes to explore how and why we all communicate well (and sometimes less than well), as individuals and as associations.

I then got to introduce smart people from bar associations around the country, each of whom addressed a core area of communications: in print, in person, and in electronic media. Those folks were Mark Mathewson of the Illinois Bar, Meredith Avakian of the Philadelphia Bar, and Karen Korr of the San Diego County Bar. I think it’s fair to say we all hit it out of the park. (What, you want evidence? Cruise over here to enjoy the Storify I created from our morning’s presentations. We were all pleased at the amount of engagement that surrounded us, and that clearly extended to the web.)

But … I mentioned prizes.

They included the prizes I handed out during my presentation, when folks accurately answered questions.

The audience was terrific and responded immediately when I queried them. And those who answered correctly received … audiocassettes.

That’s right. Old-fashioned music cassettes. I found them at Phoenix vintage stores, and they were quite a hit. But then again, who doesn’t love Leslie Gore singing “It’s My Party,” or Sonny and Cher reminding us that “I got you, babe”?

Here is a tweet from one attendee who won the Sonny & Cher love:

So what were my questions that led to music prizes, you wonder? I asked the audience to complete a quote by George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

… and I asked what movie was the source for the following quote regarding “turning the dial to 11”:

turn the dial to 11 This Is Spinal Tap

So, why the cassette mania? Well, it had a communications connection. It emerged from an essay that I was taken with, by Don MacKinnon. It’s titled “Mixtapes: The Future of Creation?” You can read it here.

My other prizes—the ones yet to be announced—are being given to audience members who were the session’s best tweeters. The mind races.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you who those talented social-media folks are—and what they’re getting.

In the meantime, you may enjoy a list of all of my sources, compiled (of course) as mixtape liner notes (click to see the PDF):

ABA BLI 2015 additional reading handout eigo

Gallagher & Kennedy associates Hannah Porter and Kimberly Allen pictured with a small selection of the clothing the firm's Professional Women's Group donated to Dress for Success.

Gallagher & Kennedy associates Hannah Porter and Kimberly Allen pictured with a small selection of the clothing the firm’s Professional Women’s Group donated to Dress for Success.

Recently, I was pleased to hear some great news out of a law firm and its Professional Women’s Group. Their efforts represent some of the best elements—and charitable impulses—of the Arizona Bar.

I have written about the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group before. That was when they committed themselves to a year’s worth of reading to school-aged children. You can read about that effort here.

Here is the news from G&K and their work on behalf of Dress for Success. Do you, your law firm or your law office have stories of community contribution? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

“On March 16, 2015, the Gallagher & Kennedy law firm donated more than 300 professional clothing items as well as a monetary donation to the Arizona affiliate of Dress for Success (DFS), an organization that supports women reentering the workforce. Over three weeks in February, the law firm’s Professional Women’s Group collected new and gently used women’s business clothing to donate to the Dress of Success Phoenix boutique. Donations were gathered from others in the Esplanade Complex, vendors and employees of the law firm.”

“The Professional Women’s Group became a new partner for DFS Phoenix in 2014 with members participating in various mentorship opportunities including interview skills and resume writing workshops. ‘Gallagher & Kennedy has been a wonderful partner this year,’ said Pat Torres, boutique coordinator for Dress for Success Phoenix. ‘Their dedication to helping women in the community through their contribution of time, professional expertise and clothing items will have a lasting impact for our clients.’”

“Whether partnering to support the causes of their clients or serving organizations that meet unique personal or professional interests of their employees, hundreds of volunteer service hours are given to hundreds of nonprofit and professional organizations each year by Gallagher & Kennedy employees.”

Kimberly Allen and Hannah Porter, associates with Gallagher & Kennedy, deliver donated items to Dress for Success, Phoenix.

Kimberly Allen and Hannah Porter, associates with Gallagher & Kennedy, deliver donated items to Dress for Success, Phoenix.

 

Lobby at 111. West Monroe in downtown Phoenix

Lobby at 111. West Monroe in downtown Phoenix

Yesterday, I attended a downtown Phoenix chamber-type luncheon. When I first RSVPed, I was told the location was TBA. But it turned out to be a great choice, and not only because the space is a high-rise going through an adaptive reuse. It’s also my old building.

Well, not mine, of course. My employer’s. For years, the State Bar of Arizona officed at 111 West Monroe. Eventually, the leadership decided to buy rather than lease, and that’s how we ended up near 24th Street and Indian School Road.

And ol’ 111? I miss that building quite a bit. It not only had the midcentury charm that takes you back. It also participated in an urban vibe that is all too rare in Arizona. Our views from the 17th through the 19th floors were often spectacular. And it was nice to stroll out on the street to buy a hot dog or a cup of soup.

Since we moved out, of course, downtown has become even more vibrant (thanks to many great people, many of whom toil at Downtown Phoenix Inc., on whose board I proudly sit).

Yesterday, the event was held in the 19th-floor space, gutted and ready for tenant improvements. But while everything was open, I slipped down a floor to my old office (sigh). And I spied where the Communications Department used to wield our mighty pen (and website, also mightier than the sword).

Afternoon sun in my old office at 111 W. Monroe

Afternoon sun in my old office at 111 W. Monroe

And who would’ve guessed, but when I walked up the fire stairs one floor, the door to the roof was open! I enjoyed the breeze and the view, one eye peeled for an angry security guard. But I enjoyed my brief perch over the sixth-largest city in the country.

Below are some more photos, including the old boardroom. (Click to enlarge and widen the images and to view them in a slideshow.)

How many of you attended meetings or events at the old State Bar spaces?

Rachel Schafer

Rachel Schafer

In 2014, we were pleased to see the Arizona Supreme Court adopt a rule that eased admission for a certain category of attorneys: those who are already admitted and in good standing elsewhere but who find themselves in this state because of the transfer of their military spouse.

Author and attorney Rodney Glassman wrote about it here. (And I covered it in the blog here.) Essentially, spouses of military personnel are able to get quick, temporary licensing if their spouse is stationed in Arizona.

The rule-passage was a great accomplishment, but even better news came this month when an attorney availed herself of the rule. Rachel Schafer of Quarles & Brady has become the first person admitted under Rule 38(1). The commercial litigator practices in Quarles’ Tucson office; her husband, a pilot, is stationed at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base.

I will be interviewing Rachel this week, and we’ll have a story on the topic in the May issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. In it, we’ll also hear from the MSJDN Network, which is advocating similar rule changes around the country.

And you shouldn’t be surprised to see more of these stories around the country; here’s one from Virginia.

DRI defense research institute logoLaw students who seek substantial scholarships should consider a great opportunity, but get on it fast: The application for the DRI Law Student Diversity Scholarship is due next Monday, March 30.

So if you are a law student or if you know one who could be a great fit for this award, please pass the news on.

Besides the application, an essay and recommendations are required. (Ask your law professors now and have them work through the weekend on your behalf! Turnabout is fair play.)

The ultimate prizes are two scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each. (Yes; ten thousand.)

And what kinds of students does the Defense Research Institute want to reward? Those who best meet the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated academic excellence
  • Service to the profession
  • Service to the community
  • Service to the cause of diversity

The essay question is one of the more intriguing I have come across. I’m guessing that talented law students could have a good and creative time with their answers.

More information and the application are here.

Prison Education conference 2015-page0001

It’s beginning to look like my Friday morning will be corrections-focused.

Yesterday, I mentioned a school-to-prison pipeline symposium focused on that topic. But on the same day—Friday, March 27—an ASU student group addresses the issue of what we do with individuals once they are incarcerated. Specifically, they are focused on prison education.

(I wrote before about this annual conference on prison education.)

This Friday’s event marks the fourth annual Prison Education Conference and will be held in the Turquoise room of the Memorial Union at ASU from 10am to 4pm (with complimentary lunch included).

ASU Prison Education Awareness Club logo-page0001Below is some detail about Friday’s free conference. You can register here.

“The Prison Education Awareness Club (PEAC) presents the 4th Annual Prison Education Conference, featuring Kyes Stevens from the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project and Judith Tannenbaum, teaching artist and author of Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin and By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives. Alongside them, representatives from the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rio Salado Distance Learning Program, and ASU prison teaching will speak.”

I spoke with Jess Fletcher, who heads up ASU’s Prison Education Awareness Club. She indicated that given the large attendance at last year’s event, this week’s conference will be in a larger space (in the ASU Memorial Union). There are still some spots left, so RSVP here soon.

You also can follow (and Like) them on Facebook and Twitter.

ASU Law school-to-prison-pipeline town hall

I have written about the school-to-prison pipeline before, which is why I am especially pleased to see an upcoming symposium dedicated to the topic—this time focused on the pipeline’s effects in Indian Country.

The event will be this Friday, March 27, at the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. More information is here.

Here is more background from the organizers:

The “School-To-Prison Pipeline” has been a crucial concern of parents, educators, tribal leaders, ministers, civil rights activists, lawyers and youth advocates for a number of years. Recently, it has become a major concern of the general public across our country due in large part to the spiraling statistics and the negative impact on children of color. Some advocates have defined the problem as a systematic way of syphoning children out of public schools and funneling them into the juvenile and criminal justice system. In fact, many civil rights lawyers regard the journey from “School-To-Prison Pipeline,” as the most critical civil rights issue facing our country today.

The one day event will feature panel discussions, a keynote speaker, and a town hall. The symposium and town hall will bring together individuals to discuss pipeline concerns, experts who have developed successful programs and projects across the country to address pipeline issues, and individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds who are working toward solutions to this issue.  This symposium and town hall is currently the only American Bar Association sponsored event to focus exclusively on the “School-To-Prison Pipeline” in Indian Country.

And here are the previous stories I mentioned (here and here) that address this compelling issue.

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