September 2015

Mobile Eateries and the Law. Yep, those are food trucks. Eat. Learn. Repeat.

Yep, those are food trucks. Eat. Learn. Repeat.

Here comes some news that is bound to nourish your body and your soul, that will feed your brain’s need for relevant CLE and your stomach’s desire to not grumble loudly through CLEs.

In a mobile stroke of genius, the State Bar is hosting a CLE titled Dinner is Curbed: Mobile Eateries and the Law.” You read it right: It’s all about food-truck law.

No surprise, the Bar is partnering with the Young Lawyers Division for this event, as the young lawyers know where to get the finest in modern-day truck-borne delicacies. (there may even be an app for that.)

Short Leash Hot Dogs logo

Short Leash Hot Dogs, ready to serve.

It will be held on Wednesday, October 14, from 9:00 am to 12:15 pm. At which point the assembled throng steps outside, only to be greeted by local favorite local Short Leash Hot Dogs and dessert from Rollover Doughnuts. Both are included with your registration cost for Phoenix attendees. As organizers say, “Come spend your morning learning about food truck basics. We’ll talk about everything from ordinances to business start-up finance basics to employment issues. And then, we’ll feed you.” FEED YOU!

Yes, lunch will also be served at the Tucson simulcast program. But webcast people—those at neither the Phoenix or Tucson Bar location—really need to examine their life choices, for there will be no soup (or anything else) for you.

Rollover Doughnuts logo


Register here for the live, belly-filled, seminar.

Register here for the Tucson simulcast that includes chow but perhaps not from a food truck.

Register here, if you must, for the empty-stomach-make-your-own-PBJ webcast.

In Phoenix, food trucks plus learning occur at the McAuliffe CLE Center, 4201 N. 24th Street.

I will see you there, for a dog and a doughnut.

The legal deets:


  • Basic legal set-up and basic city and county ordinances
  • How to design and finance your food truck
  • Hiring and firing do’s and don’ts
  • Restaurants versus restaurants on wheels
  • Hear firsthand from local food truck owners of Short Leash Hot Dogs

Seminar Chair:

  • John Frutkin, The Frutkin Law Firm

Seminar Faculty:

  • Michelle Swann, Schneider & Onofry
  • Kim Warshawsky, Ballard Spahr LLP
  • Brad Moore, Short Leash Hot Dogs
  • Kat Moore, Short Leash Hot Dogs

Short Leash Hot Dogs logo big

This Thursday is an anniversary event of The Liberty Project.

This Thursday is an anniversary event of The Liberty Project.

Today, I share news from the Liberty Project, established by two ASU law school graduates 10 years ago. This Thursday, October 1, the organization hosts an anniversary gathering at Cibo in downtown Phoenix (603 N. 5th Ave. 85003). More detail about the event is here. Besides celebrating a decade of existence, the group will be kicking off an endowed scholarship.

And here is the news as described by the Project:

Next week, the Liberty Project will celebrate a pretty significant point in its life. The Liberty Project is a reproductive rights think tank made up of young lawyers, law students and other interested individuals working for the preservation of reproductive rights and sexual health. The group was established at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor Law School by 1989 ASU Law alum and Gordon & Rees co-managing partner, Leon Silver, and 2007 ASU grad Rebecca Lumley. Along with current and previous members, Mr. Silver and Ms. Lumley will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Liberty Project on October 1.

Rebecca Lumley, co-founder of The Liberty Project

Rebecca Lumley, co-founder of The Liberty Project

In celebration of this milestone, let us reminisce on past successes and what the future holds for the group.

In addition to serving as a great legal networking group for up-and-coming lawyers, the group has published papers and articles on the topic of women’s rights, prepared legislative analyses and veto messages regarding proposed bills, provided white papers on the financial ramifications of unwanted pregnancy, and been a constant advocate for women’s rights and medically accurate sexuality education. The Liberty Project has been successful in presenting a variety of panel discussions on topics such as: the right to privacy under the Roberts Court, legal and medical ethics of fetal tissue research, and a three-part panel series revisiting life before Roe v. Wade, examining the societal impact of Roe and looking at the future of reproductive rights.

The Project’s long-term sex-ed project consists of understanding to what extent schools are teaching sex-ed, what they should be teaching but are not, and how to implement these teachings. Other ongoing projects include but are certainly not limited to providing resources for girls seeking a judicial bypass and drafting and promoting pro-choice legislation.

Leon Silver, co-founder of The Liberty Project

Leon Silver, co-founder of The Liberty Project

As far as what the future brings, neither Mr. Silver nor any current member of the group could say with certainty. Each year’s projects depend solely on the choices of the current members, and with each year, come a new group of student members with unique passions.

“My involvement in the group is to provide structure and offer my resources and connections, not to steer, direct or restrict what the group decides to pursue,” said Silver. “Ultimately, the goal is to create a legal networking group that members can turn to after graduation as they enter and build a career in the legal field.”

RSVP to the free event here.

A voter speaks ... and urges an indiscriminate no vote on all judges.

A voter speaks … and urges an indiscriminate no vote on all judges.

Much effort has been expended by many folks—including the State Bar of Arizona—to get voters in state elections to “finish the ballot.” The notion is that many people care deeply about the “top races,” but fatigue sets in as they move down their ballot and reach the judges.

I wrote about the issue here.

So what an unpleasant surprise this weekend to see a bumper-sticker in Phoenix that urged voters to do the same—but not in an informed way. Instead, the placard (depicted above) recommends that everyone vote no on all the judges all the time.

Always Vote No On Judges: It only gets worse close up.

Always Vote No On Judges: It only gets worse close up.

Somehow, I don’t think the indiscriminate and uneducated wielding of the no vote is what our nation’s founders had in mind. But that’s what we face, more and more.

Have a good week.

Arizona Attorney October 2008, where we got courts and judges

Back in October 2008, Arizona Attorney covered the history of courts and judges.

Sometimes, a good image is all you need to get you through the day.

And on this Change of Venue Friday, I’m operating on that principle. Occasionally, an image is so gripping, so arresting, that its appearance can transform your day from *yawn* to Wow. Kind of like:

cat flip-flop tumblr_nrgrapQ4ZE1s2yegdo1_400

Thank you to Dianna Náñez and Kerry Lengel for the great pic.

But no, that’s not the image I want to share. Today’s legal blog post is connected to judges and the ways they dress. It’s related to a post I wrote a few weeks ago about a crackdown on judge-robe-variety by the Florida Supreme Court. The post allowed me to recall Chief Justice Rehnquist’s golden chevrons.

After that post, I heard from Nedra Brown, a former State Bar of Arizona colleague. An attorney herself, she is now the Registrar (regulator) for the Ontario Association of Architects. And she reminded me about the amazing sartorial choices of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Here they are, in all their glory:

Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada

Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada

Who’s in the picture? Nedra explains:

Top Row L-R: The Honourable Clément Gascon; The Honourable Andromache Karakatsanis; The Honourable Richard Wagner; The Honourable Suzanne Coté

Bottom Row L-R: The Honourable Thomas Albert Cromwell, The Honourable Rosalie Silberman Abella; The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada; The Honourable Marshall Rothstein; and the Honourable Michael J. Moldaver.

Nedra also provided me a list of what you have to wear to be admitted, the “Required Court Apparel For Call.” She explained, “Every candidate for call to the bar must appear before Convocation in full court apparel, which consists of:

  • black shoes
  • black or dark grey socks or black, dark grey or natural hose
  • black, dark grey or dark grey striped trousers or skirt
  • black gown vest
  • black gown
  • white shirt with stiff wing collar and white tabs”

I’ve never argued before any Supreme Court (never say never!), but I think the Supreme Court of Canada is now in my Top Two.

More closeup detail about what barristers have to wear to court is here, via Imperial Robes.

And if you’re in need of legal garments, Harcourts may be your haberdasher.

Thank you, Nedra! And everyone, enjoy your weekend—bewigged or not.

Says who? A federal court and generations of 8-year-olds can't be wrong.

Says who? A federal court and generations of 8-year-olds can’t be wrong.

Surprising news out of a federal court this week: “Happy Birthday” is part of the public domain.

That’s right. That most-sung song can now be sung and recorded without fear that some hyper-alert IP attorneys will tell you to cease, desist, and pay a stiff royalty fee. As NBC News reports, the company that thought it owned the music and words was apparently wrong on the second count. Oops.

That’s certainly good news for the many performers and filmmakers who may want to shoehorn the song into their creative work, for whatever misguided reasons they may have.

For the rest of us, who for years have been seeking methods to end use of the song, we remain without recourse: The song will continue to dog us, annually, until the bitter end.

OK, I am willing to rethink my opposition to "Happy Birthday." Marilyn Monroe and an American President can't be wrong.

OK, I am willing to rethink my opposition to “Happy Birthday.” Marilyn Monroe and an American President can’t be wrong.

Because you like even more legal stuff, here is a video news story out of San Francisco in which one of the plaintiffs—now “ecstatic”—explained her legal path to the most musical of resolutions.

Joy-killers that the aggrieved party is, we expect there to be an appeal. So do your monetarily related “HB” recording while the iron is hot.

Sarah Herring Sorin, namesake of an esteemed award given by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association.

Sarah Herring Sorin, namesake of an esteemed award given by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association.

Today, I invite you to think about legal leaders, and maybe even to nominate one for a prestigious award—by September 30.

The Arizona Women Lawyers Association (disclosure: I’m a member) is seeking nominations for its Sarah Herring Sorin award.  Every year, AWLA recognizes one of its own members who has demonstrated support and encouragement for the advancement of women in the legal profession. Because the AWLA has been around for decades and has more than 500 members, it’s quite possible you know a member.

As the AWLA says: “The recipient may not be a current regular member of the AWLA State Board of Directors but may be a former member of the Board. Please submit your nomination on or before September 30, 2015 to AWLA at

Click here for the Nomination form.

Click here for a PDF version.

And you can read some of my past coverage of the annual association breakfast where past Sorin honorees were recognized, here, here, and here.

And here is more information about the award, including a list of past recipients.

The Arizona Attorney Facebook page sports a new button on June 21, 2013.

A button shared by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association

Our 2015 arts competition winners, on the cover of the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine

Our 2015 arts competition winners, on the cover of the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine

I can hardly believe it’s late September. And around here, that means art.

Well, art prep, anyway.

If you scour your September Arizona Attorney Magazine, which you may be about to receive, you may spot our kickoff ad for the arts competition. It’s more of a save-the-date, as submissions can be made beginning November 2.

The arts competition kickoff print ad in the September issue.

The arts competition kickoff print ad in the September issue.

We figure, you can’t give artists too much time to start their creative engines running.

But maybe they shouldn’t rev TOO high, at least in one category.

What I mean is, for the first time ever, the editorial board has asked those submitting in the Photography category to limit their submissions to 15 images.

We decided not to do that in other categories. But in a field where digital photography has made pressing the shutter button easier, we were being inundated by huge numbers of images.

Take it from an editor: Editing yourself can be a good thing.

In case you have a spare 10 minutes, all of our arts competition rules are here.

And between now and November, please urge your creative colleagues to consider submitting to our competition, which has been around for more than a decade.

To see last year’s winners, go here.

Pardon me if legal communications and marketing are both on my mind. But last week was a great panel of corporate counsel courtesy of the Legal Marketing Association. And that was followed by the Publicity Summit, an annual event hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists where marketers (even from law firms) can meet one-on-one with reporters in various beats.

In both situations, it often boiled down to devising a way to tell your story in compelling and concise ways.

That used to have different names, but the newest version of it is called “content marketing,” in which companies offer their mission, strategies, and abilities in a narrative form—an article or a story.

Despite the broader adoption of such a communications strategy, I was surprised when I read an article by Julia Schur that claims law firms are “the surprising new adopter of content marketing.”

She writes,

“Law firms have money—lots of it. And as [one] experiment suggests, an increasing number of them are investing that money into content marketing instead of traditional advertising.”

I’ll concede that the experiment came from a communications firm, which may have an incentive to explain such trends in a particular way. But that doesn’t mean John Corey, president and co-founder of Greentarget, is wrong.

I too have noticed an increasing number of firms including blogs on their websites. Well done, these blogs accomplish a few goals:

  • They distinguish the attorney from others in the market on specific practice areas.
  • They illustrate a timely proclivity to keep up with the news and trends.
  • They personalize an attorney who might otherwise simply be represented by a drab bio; and
  • They provide powerful SEO ammunition, as the pages are updated on a regular basis.

law firm content strategy

Have you or others in your firm begun to blog, on Linkedin or elsewhere? Or are you finding other ways to reveal your strong abilities that distinguish you in the marketplace?

Write to me at

Our distinguished panel (L to R): Patti Dietz, General Counsel, American Residential Properties; Lukas Grabiec, Assistant General Counsel, GoDaddy; Shannon Overcash, General Counsel, McDonough Corporation; Michele Keogh, General Counsel, BASIS Educational Group Inc.; and Melanie Hansen, General Counsel, Massage Envy Franchising LLC

Our distinguished panel (L to R): Patti Dietz, General Counsel, American Residential Properties; Lukas Grabiec, Assistant General Counsel, GoDaddy; Shannon Overcash, General Counsel, McDonough Corporation; Michele Keogh, General Counsel, BASIS Educational Group Inc.; and Melanie Hansen, General Counsel, Massage Envy Franchising LLC

An easy-lifting kind of Change of Venue Friday just to say THANK YOU to the Legal Marketing Association Arizona chapter for again inviting me to moderate a panel of corporate counsel (I previewed the event and panelists here.) In our packed-to-the-gills lunch hour, we wrestled a lot of ornery issues to the ground, including:

  • The challenges of a modern-day in-house lawyer
  • How law firms can best represent themselves to be considered as outside counsel
  • How diversity is considered (or not) in selecting outside counsel
  • How law firms can distinguish themselves from others in the effort to get noticed
  • What law firms actions please corporate counsel
  • What law firms actions irk corporate counsel
  • And more

The Game Seven Grill at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix was a cool location, the five corporate counsel were insightful and generous with their time, and the audience of legal marketers and attorneys was as savvy as ever.

Below are a few photos from the event (click to biggify). We’ll probably publish some excerpts from the conversation in the December Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Have a great—and non-corporate—weekend.

ASU Law School Gold and Gavel

In just over a week, the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law serves up its annual Gold ‘n Gavel Auction and Reception. It will be held on September 25 in the downtown Phoenix Sheraton, and this year’s overarching theme is sustainability. Given the school’s sustainability initiatives—and the fact that this event contributes to student scholarships—the theme is well chosen.

All of the detail is on the event’s dedicated website.

I was pleased and surprised at how much detail there is about all aspects of the event, including the auction, even the online portion. And who doesn’t like looking at photos from last year’s event, available on the home page? (which is very smart, as it shows you how vibrant the event is, and offers guidance for this year’s event-goers as to what level of dress attendees bring to the affair).

All the deets:

  • When: Friday, Sept. 25, 6-9:30 p.m.
  • Price: $95 General Admission Beginning Sept. 1
  • Where: Sheraton Downtown Phoenix, 340 N. 3rd St. Phoenix, AZ 85004

Once you’ve had your fill of event information, you can register here.

And in case you were wondering, here’s what the event organizers say:

“Ticket Price includes: Passed hors d’oeuvres, light dinner buffet, specialty dessert, complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, one drink ticket (for beer/wine/liquor), and one door prize raffle ticket. Proceeds from your ticket sale will directly support student scholarships and programs within the College of Law.”

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