February 2016

Emperors take credit for everything, including leap year Julius Caesar

Emperors take credit for everything, including leap year

If you’re feeling a little—I don’t know—off today, blame the calendar—and Julius Caesar.

It’s true, today is leap day in a leap year. For my money, the only competition for confusing calendar impositions is Daylight Savings Time—which I also cannot explain with any accuracy.

But it’s worth pointing out that the existence of leap year and its maddening February 29 implicates certain legal considerations—beyond the faux sadness of our friends who happen to have been Leap Year Babies. (Waaaa!)

But because you readers are ever focused on the work at hand, you ask, “Legal? Really?”


Consider, first, that it was government (via Julius Caesar) that first sought to correct a problem caused by our celestial body being askew. (That’s not my body, or your body, but all of our bodies.) Later, to complicate things, the Catholic Church tweaked the calendar again, baffling us and showing what can happen in church–state mashups.

Second, consider that women—even ones you may know—have historically been encouraged to propose marriage on this every-four-years occasion. It’s true, we think, at least as true as the mists of time allow us. Unmarried women in Scotland grew tired of tapping their feet while their male neighbors dawdled, hoisted pints, and burned peat (I’m guessing that’s a good description of the average work week), and so they were permitted to step up, kneel down, and make honest men out of their male compatriots.

Leap year in Scotland once meant women could propose marriage (Special Collections at the University of Arizona Libraries).

Leap year in Scotland once meant women could propose marriage (Special Collections at the University of Arizona Libraries).

Third, Leap Year can get legal, because. Well, because lawyers. Read this examination of a case in which a man was convicted of a year-long sentence, but it occurred in a leap year, so how many days would it be? As it turned out, it was an important question.

And here is a story that covers more leap year facts than you’ll ever truly be interested in. And it comes from the Daily Telegraph, so it must be correct, right?

Finally, because we’re all tired, and it’s Monday, and our brains hurt already, here is a video from Vox about How Leap Year Works.

And don’t miss what Google tells us about the topic (along with today’s charming Doodle).

leap-year-2016-Google home page doodle

Leap Year via the Google Doodle

You’re welcome. See you in four years.

Big Data, big deal: Our January 2016 cover

Big Data, big deal: Our January 2016 cover

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But in the world of words and images, asking to reprint is right up there.

That’s why I was pleased to hear from the folks at the very smart and often witty Lawyerist.com. Those talented people spotted out January issue and said, We gotta have some of that.

gotta have it

Great content has to be shared.

OK, it was more office-appropriate than that. But you get the picture. Click here to see where the Lawyerist has featured the article by Melissa Kovacs.

For people wondering how that kind of wonderful happens, the recipe is simple:

1. Work with super-smart writers like Melissa Kovacs, who could describe a topic like Big Data in a way that even I could understand it.

My approach with very smart authors ... Treat me like a 4 year old ed99fb00-2c0b-0132-3ff8-0ebc4eccb42f

My approach with very smart authors …

2. Ensure that the article is a reasonable length, one that does not kill forests or cure insomnia. (Again, all Melissa.)

Dr. Melissa Kovacs crushed it in our January issue.

Dr. Melissa Kovacs crushed it in our January issue.

3. Find a way to feature it in visually appealing ways. In our case, we made it our cover (kudos to Art Director Karen Holub) and had a great opening spread (Karen again). Then include some sample infographics from the ever-appealing federal government data sources (no joking; they’ve got great stuff!).

4. Then edit the piece as lightly as possible, because its spirit could be crushed otherwise (the lack of editing is where I came in).

Congratulations to Melissa for her smart and well-written take.

And then, because we like clicks as much as the Lawyerist, feel free to read the article in its native habitat on our own website. The cover (wow!) is here, and the article (double-wow!) is here.

I wish you all the sincerest form of flattery, sincerely!

Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations PCFR logo sealAn event that takes a global view occurs this Thursday evening, and Arizona lawyers (and others!) are invited.

“Sinking or Swimming Together? United States and Europe in the 21st Century” is the title of the event that includes a distinguished judge from Arizona—and from the Hague.

The host is the Phoenix Committee on Foreign Relations, and they have announced what they call a landmark event: An Evening with International Criminal Court Judge Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor.

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor

Former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth McGregor

“This special dinner meeting will bring together these two legal powerhouses to discuss U.S., European, and international law issues.”

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 25, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Gainey Ranch Golf Club, 7600 E Gainey Club Drive, Scottsdale, Ariz.

SCHEDULE: Cocktails 6:00 p.m., dinner 6:45 p.m., program 7:30 p.m.

More information about the evening and ticket information are here.

And here are a few of the topics the speakers may address:

  • Cooperation between the U.S. and Europe has achieved outstanding results in the last half century and will continue to be critical in the next 50 years.
  • The rule of law makes globalization work and supports human rights everywhere, and U.S.–European cooperation is essential to its continued progress.
  • The critical role U.S., European, and international law play in supporting or straining the U.S. –European relationship.
International Criminal Court Judge Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut

International Criminal Court Judge Ambassador Marc Perrin de Brichambaut

Prosecutorial discretion is the topic at an upcoming ASU Morrison Institute event (image: screen shot from the opening sequence of the "order" portion of Law & Order)

Prosecutorial discretion is the topic at an upcoming ASU Morrison Institute event (image: screen shot from the opening sequence of the “order” portion of Law & Order)

So when it rains, it pours.

Later this week, while I attend a conference examining criminal justice, a panel discussion exploring prosecutorial discretion will be held here in Arizona.


Well, just because I cannot attend the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy event, doesn’t mean you can’t. It will be held this Thursday, Feb. 25, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Here is a description by the organizers:

ASU Morrison Institute logoOver the last 30 years there has been a power shift in Arizona’s criminal justice system, with many sentencing outcomes no longer determined by judges and parole boards but now by prosecutors. Mandatory minimum sentencing, truth-in-sentencing, and three-strikes maximum punishments have greatly increased prison populations in Arizona and elsewhere, taking greater shares of state budgets.

Part of an ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy series on criminal sentencing reform, The Full Impact of Prosecutorial Discretion will focus on the pros and cons of this shift through this compelling dialogue.


  • Honorable Pamela Gates, Superior Court Judge
  • Honorable Ronald Reinstein, Retired Superior Court Judge
  • Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney
  • Erik Luna, ASU Law Professor

Also: Arizona Sen. Martin Quezada and Arizona Sen. Adam Driggs will engage in discussion about their perspectives on Arizona’s incarceration rates, the role of “discretion,” and whether there is political will in the Legislature for criminal sentencing reform by changing the judicial code or other action.

The event will be held at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Room 128 (ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus, 555 N. Central Ave.)

Details and free registration are here.

Citrix Sharefile logo

This month: Free online learning from Citrix ShareFile

Last week, I shared information about a free webinar that might benefit Arizona attorneys—and I promised news of a second.

Here’s the news.

Citrix ShareFile is offering a webinar to members of the State Bar of Arizona this Wednesday, Feb. 24, on the topic of technology tools and profitability.

The speaker is Gene Marks, whom you can read about here.

All the detail:

DATE: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2:00 p.m. EST (do the math)

TOPIC: 5 Technology Best Practices That Will Improve Your 2016 Profitability

Citrix Webinar Gene-Marks

Gene Marks

SPEAKER: Gene Marks—Book author and thought leader Gene Marks helps business owners, executives and managers understand the political, economic and technological trends that will affect their companies so they can make profitable decisions. Gene also writes columns every day on business, politics and public policy for the Washington Post and weekly for Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post.

OVERVIEW: Join us for this webinar where columnist, author, business owner and technology expert Gene Mark will share with you his thought on five best practices that will most impact your company’s profitability in the next year. During this session will discuss how smart business owners and managers are: increasing revenues from their existing customers; reducing exposure to data breaches and other losses; improving employee productivity, efficiency and satisfaction -maximizing investments and growing their businesses; minimizing overhead and structural costs.

More information and a registration link are here.

John Jay College logoI write today to seek your insight—and to share some good news.

In the coming months, I’ll be reporting and writing a story on the collateral effects of criminal convictions. I am interested in the effects not only on individuals, but on their communities.

Statistics tell us that many of us—you and me—may know someone who was caught up in the criminal justice system. Or we may know community leaders who could speak to the impacts that neighborhoods have felt when large numbers of previously incarcerated people return to their communities. Once there, those people may be unable to obtain consistent work or stable housing, given the conviction on their record. What do we do about this?

I’d appreciate hearing from you, now or in the future, for your insights or suggestions on angles to pursue. I’m at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. And my cell is 602-908-6991.

The article and the research/reporting that precedes it are largely made possible by the award of a fellowship, just announced, that I received from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a center at the University of Pennsylvania. As the State Bar has kindly reported:

“State Bar’s Tim Eigo Selected as John Jay/Quattrone Fellow: Tim Eigo, Editor of Arizona Attorney Magazine, has been selected as a John Jay/Quattrone Fellow and will attend the 11th Annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America in New York City. He will be joining 20 other journalists from across the nation as a fellow for a story he pitched on the ‘collateral, downstream effects of prior convictions.’ The John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium is the only national gathering that brings together journalists, legislators, policymakers, scholars and practitioners for candid on-the-record discussions on emerging issues of U.S. criminal justice.”

Quattrone Center on the Fair Administration of Justice logoHere is a link to the conference/fellowship press release, which includes the list of the other 20 journalists.

I am also pleased to report that a friend and great journo was also among those chosen: Kristen Senz is the Editor of the New Hampshire Bar News, and she’s been working on legal aspects of the opioid-use crisis. John Jay will be lucky to count her among the Fellows’ ranks!

So next week, I’ll be in chilly Manhattan to hear from smart people, some of whom may become story subjects and info-providers. I’m looking forward to it.

The conference is titled “Making Room for Justice: Crime, Public Safety & the Choices Ahead for Americans.” The complete program is here.

The Friday portion of the conference will be held in the moot court room of John Jay College.

The Friday portion of the conference will be held in the moot court room of John Jay College.

I previously received a fellowship in 2011, from John Jay/Guggenheim, that allowed me to attend the conference and then write on the topic of criminal-sentencing reform (I told you about it here.). That year and in 2012, I wrote numerous online stories and a cover story in Arizona Attorney Magazine about it. Here is the link to that issue/article (clicking on the image takes you to the story).

As I promised in 2011, I’ll report back after the conference. And I’ll try to keep warm.


Bud Selig

Bud Selig

We learned this past week that Allan H. (Bud) Selig, the former baseball commissioner, has joined the faculty of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. He will play an integral role in the school’s Sports Law and Business program.

As Arizona Republic reporter Anne Ryman says:

“ASU officials said Selig will teach and will be the founding president of an advisory board to the program. He’ll also spearhead an initiative to bring in speakers as part of the Bud Selig Speaker Series on Sports in America.”

You can read her whole story here.

Forbes writer Maury Brown examines Selig’s move and what it means for the athletics-minded academic and the law school he’ll be joining.

As Brown reports:

“So, in Selig’s second life, he looks to expand horizons for those entering the business of baseball and beyond. According to ASU, he helps select two Selig Sports Law and Business Scholars — one from the incoming jurisprudence class and another from the Master of Sports Law and Business or Master of Law. He will also lead efforts to bring speakers to ASU Law as part of the Bud Selig Speaker Series on Sports in America.”

Finally, there is more from 12 News, including a short video interview with Selig, here. As the story says, “The hire is another step in ASU’s attempt to increase its law school’s profile, which includes a move to the downtown campus. The new building is slated to open this fall.”

Bud Selig

Bud Selig

Citrix Sharefile logo

This month: Free online learning from Citrix ShareFile

This month, two free webinars will be available to members of the State Bar of Arizona via Citrix ShareFile. The first will be this Thursday, Feb. 18. (I’ll share next week’s webinar soon.)

Here’s the important information:

Citrix ShareFile has partnered with expert speaker Rasheryl McCreary to host a leadership webinar this month.

DATE: Thursday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. EST

TOPIC: How to elevate your personal brand to attract your ideal customers

Citrix webinar Rasheryl McCreary

Rasheryl McCreary

SPEAKER: Rasheryl McCreary – As a personal brand strategist, leadership presence expert and host of the new podcast Communicate With Impact for Virtual Teams™, she helps Fortune 500 companies, business owners, and others identify, communicate, and leverage their authentic personal brand.

WEBINAR OVERVIEW: This webinar will provide you with the tools to elevate your authentic personal brand in ways that attract and delight your ideal customers. Learn how to craft your “Brand P.I.E.™” – a simple formula for leveraging your Presence, Image and Environment in ways that make you stand out, increase your visibility, and keep your customers coming back for more.

More information and a registration link are here. 

Abraham Lincoln gives anti-slavery speech at NY's Cooper Union February 1860

Abraham Lincoln gives anti-slavery speech at NY’s Cooper Union, February 1860.

Today, I’m hoping you are out of the office and enjoying a day dedicated to United States Presidents. But if you happen to be in need of great blog reading, I offer a recent post by the Washington State Bar Association. In honor of the day, they recommended some books and movies about Abraham Lincoln. I concur.

In fact, read their nice summary of how we got this honorary day in the first place.

Mount Rushmore (Wikimedia Commons)

Mount Rushmore (Wikimedia Commons)

Maybe not what Toyota expected, the Scion xB proved to be a great family car. (As our younger daughter and a Christmas tree demonstrate.)

Maybe not what Toyota expected, the Scion xB proved to be a great family car. (As our younger daughter and a Christmas tree demonstrate.)

As you may already have heard, Toyota is ending its years-long experiment with the Scion brand. The cars remaining under that mark will be relabeled as Toyotas. And so ends the carmaker’s venture into a “youth brand.”

If that sounds like a Change of Venue Friday blog post that is pretty far afield from the legal, I agree. But I take the shuttering of Scion very personally, as my daily driver is a Scion xB. And I worry: Did I have something to do with the brand’s elimination? I mean, can the essence of a brand survive its users?

Let me explain.

Back in 2005, when our family bought the new car, we were impressed by its interior space and, yes, even its quirky look. Despite the critiques from armchair-engineer friends who noted the poor wind-resistance likely created by the car’s slab-faced visage, we were charmed by the appearance—and the car’s lightness and resulting quick response, especially with the manual transmission, made driving it a pleasure.

And so it remains today. (Yes, we keep our cars for quite a long time. Sorry to the durable-goods economy that relies on more frequent purchases.)

(Here is a slideshow detailing Scion through the years, and what I think have been some missteps as it sought to make the car more mainstream.)

Our Scion xB and I even survived a freeway-speed tire blowout. The solid little cube never swerved out of its lane.

Our Scion xB and I even survived a freeway-speed tire blowout. The solid little cube never swerved out of its lane.

But there were a few red flags that we were interlopers into a brand that was aimed at another demographic.

First, the base price was super-reasonable, but the amenities you could add on were pricy—and of no interest to us.

Gel lights to create a nighttime glow beneath your car? Um, no. Glowing rings to surround your cupholders and lend a club-vibe to your Ecstacy-filled experience? Thank you no thank you. Remove the rear seats entirely to fit in a couch-sized subwoofer? Nope.

We drove off the lot with a car that had no more than we needed—and that was probably more stripped down than the dealer had anticipated.

Meantime, we received even more reliable evidence that we were gatecrashers in Toyota’s rave/party line. A cousin of my wife is a longtime Toyota employee. Younger than us and working in California, even she opts to purchase from their Lexus line. Very grown up, you see.

So when she discovered we had bought an xB—and when she later saw us in it—she nearly wrinkled her nose at the cognitive dissonance. Her furrowed brow suggested that thousands of hours of focus-group focus were being squandered every time I slipped behind the wheel.

It’s true, she confirmed: That car was aimed at people decades younger (and probably cooler, though she didn’t say that part out loud).

All that came flooding back to me on February 3 when Toyota made its announcement. And I have to wonder if its finely wrought brand had been chipped away by drivers like me—outside the demographic but enamored of a speedy and peculiar car.

Scion is moving on. And I figure I’ve got 10 more years in ours. See you on the drift-track.

Have a fun—and boxy—weekend.

It's true: We passed on the Scion interior LED lights.

It’s true: We passed on the Scion interior LED lights.

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