Arizona Attorney Magazine


Blogging (even a wee bit) may help curb your technology fears.

Blogging (even a wee bit) may help curb your technology fears.

We’re midway through November, and I thought I’d share my wish (early New Year’s resolution?) regarding courage and technology.

That’s what I wrote about in the November Arizona Attorney Magazine, and I’ve posted my column below.

You can read the whole terrific issue here.

Someone—or someTHING—at ASU knows my name.

That was my somewhat disconcerting realization as I strolled through the new ASU Beus Center for Law and Society last month. Besides being filled with real, live humans, the building also has impressively sized screens scattered throughout, which offer information—often personalized for those who downloaded a free app.

Seeing your name appear on a screen as you approach falls somewhere on the creepy scale, let’s admit. My first impression was like something out of Blade Runner—Siri with bad attitude. But I had to admit that the ’tude was all mine. In fact, I came to be charmed by the devices, created by New York-based interactive design firm Unified Field.

Remember how odd GPS seemed, and now we can’t live without it? These screens are like that, HAL minus the antisocial personality.

Tomas Rossant, Ennead Architects, and Tom Williams, ASU, demonstrate an interactive screen in the ASU Beus Center for Law & Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

Tomas Rossant, Ennead Architects, and Tom Williams, ASU, demonstrate an interactive screen in the ASU Beus Center for Law & Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

Those screens are one of the things I spoke about at the California Bar Leaders Conference in September. Tasked with discussing communications beyond 2016, I also mentioned wearable technology, cloud services, Big Data, and more. I even snuck in a suggestion to get blogging.

Ultimately, though, I said that what I was really discussing was not tools, great as they can be, but a futurist outlook. Not video options, but experimentation. Not social media, but fearlessness. To convey my point, I shared more than a few photos.

One photo I snapped at Chicago’s Midway Airport. A narrow hallway, more of an alley, could easily be missed in the blink of an eye. The 40-foot dead-end meandered off the concourse, and what it held was an archaeological dig, of sorts—the airport’s land-line phones, a bank of telephone directories, and newspaper dispensers, for good measure.

The alley’s sole occupant sat at a telephone. Based on attire and brief-bag, I’m guessing he was an attorney—the only one who would partake of the mausoleum of ancient technologies. Is anyone surprised?

Advanced thinking is not what draws you into Midway Airport's Mausoleum of Ancient Technologies.

Advanced thinking is not what draws you into Midway Airport’s Mausoleum of Ancient Technologies.

Another photo I shared was snapped by my older daughter Willa when she was 3 or 4. She was so pleased by that picture of me—though she did cut my head off.

Both photos enliven the futurist impulse and remind me of technology advice from UC-Berkeley professor Richard Hernandez: Start even if you feel you’re not ready. And when it comes to cutting off heads in photos—and tech generally—the imperfect but genuine trumps the perfect but robotic—every time. Let’s get fearless.

A sans-head portrait of me by my daughter, circa 1999.

A sans-head portrait of me by my daughter, circa 1999.

Arizona election errors have been making the news ... today, and generations ago. November 2016 Arizona Attorney Magazine

Arizona election errors have been making the news … today, and generations ago.

If you haven’t voted yet, stop reading, put down your device, and get to your polling place. Now.

But if you have, then kick back with your I Voted Sticker (you earned it) and enjoy a tale of election administration errors from 1936. In many ways, the lessons it offers are as fresh as 2016.

Our cover story in the November 2016 issue is a terrific one. As attorney–author Joe Kanefield opens his article:

Attorneys Joe Kanefield and Kelly Schwab present at the State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 2013.

Attorneys Joe Kanefield and Kelly Schwab present at the State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 2013.

“The Arizona Secretary of State faces scrutiny after failing to distribute voter-information pamphlets in advance of an election as required by law. A concerned citizen fears that voters casting ballots for a controversial education proposition will be uninformed and files a complaint to postpone the election. The Secretary responds and urges the election to proceed.”

“No, this story isn’t about Secretary of State Michele Reagan in 2016—it’s about Secretary of State James Kerby, 80 years earlier in 1936. But if the story sounds familiar, that is because history has indeed repeated itself.”

“So, what happens when an election official neglects to perform a mandatory duty required by the Arizona Constitution and state law? What are the consequences? What should they be?”

“This article addresses these questions by reviewing the respective situations in which Secretaries Kerby and Reagan found themselves when they neglected to deliver pamphlets to voters prior to the November 3, 1936, general election and the May 17, 2016, special election.”

You can read the whole story here.

election-errors-spread-nov-2016-page0001

Thank you to Joe Kanefield for conceiving of and writing such a relevant story of ballot woe!

And … Happy Election Day!

election-errors-old-newspaper-nov-2016-page0001

David French reaches out to readers on the difficult topic of succession planning in the October 2016 issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

David French reaches out to readers on the difficult topic of succession planning in the October 2016 issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

If you know of a more moving and compelling way to write about business succession planning than the way David French did recently, please let me know. I don’t think a more moving recitation exists.

Before October leaves us, I urge you to read—if you haven’t already—David’s piece in the October Arizona Attorney Magazine. That is where he describes steps professionals should take to safeguard their firm, protect their clients, follow the Ethical Rules, and maybe even burnish their legacy. Happily, David takes a personal rather than a stiff approach to the topic.

David French

David French

(In a previous issue, I also covered a David French-moderated roundtable, here.)

Once you’ve read David’s story about his own dad, read about the national picture, in which a rising tide of many retirees is causing challenges for law firms.

Finally, it’s been out for a while now, but I’ve appreciated a documentary called “Period. New Paragraph.” In it, as the American Bar Association says, filmmaker “Sarah Kramer documents the experience of her father, Herbert Kramer, as he closes his law practice after 60 years.” Here is an excerpt.

You can buy the documentary here. Again from the ABA: “The film is accompanied by a discussion guide for bar associations or law firms that intend to use the film to explore the topic of lawyers’ transition into retirement.”

georgia-bar-journal-cover-oct-2016I just flew in from Savannah, and boy are my arms—empowered.

A communications conference hosted by ABA-affiliate NABE is what took me to the Garden City. And the sessions—not to mention the city itself—provided eye-opening moments of wonder.

Today, though, I mention not the great conference, but a magazine—specifically the Georgia Bar Journal. On a routine basis, they put out a great journal. But this month, their entire issue is an idea worth stealing: They explored the history of women lawyers in Georgia.

You can see the entire issue here.

Leading off the package of stories is a gem that tells the story of Minnie Hale Daniel, who fought for and won the right to be admitted as Georgia’s first woman lawyer. The article opens:

“A woman lawyer! Help us to keep our girls at the fireside and let our young mothers raise, by the help of God, boys to speak and vote and live the life they would live if He had made them men; and O for a Paul to command our women to keep silence and be keepers of the home,” exclaimed a Georgia state legislator in August 2011, quoting a mother’s letter to him.

Hale eventually won her fight—and her fight on behalf of countless other women—and was licensed to practice law on August 21, 1916. Her achievement has had no noticeable impact on the ability of boys to speak and vote and live.

georgia-bar-journal-minnie-hale-daniel-story_optWisely, the magazine issue is not merely a history piece captured in amber. It includes articles on the engagement and promotion of women lawyers, and the value—and challenges—of mentoring.

If you’re wondering why this is still important and crucial in 2016. Just. Don’t. Even. I mean, even the economic challenges still faced by women attorneys are substantial. And those are merely the most quantifiable slights; things get worse.

I’m helping to produce a panel discussion on gender equity in the legal profession for a national conference in Miami next February, and I’m pleased to have this magazine issue as a resource. And as we look toward 2017 and beyond at Arizona Attorney Magazine, we would do well to follow the lead of our smart friends in Georgia. Well done.

Below is an image of a letter Winnie Hale sent to Georgia lawmakers. You have to love her line, “It is my one ambition to be granted a license in Georgia. I am entitled to such, whether I practice LAW in Georgia or China.” Pioneering spirit, that.

Letter sent to Georgia legislators by Minnie Anderson Hale (later Minnie Hale Daniel): "It is my one ambition to be granted a license in Georgia. I am entitled to such, whether I practice LAW in Georgia or China."

Letter sent to Georgia legislators by Minnie Anderson Hale (later Minnie Hale Daniel): “It is my one ambition to be granted a license in Georgia. I am entitled to such, whether I practice LAW in Georgia or China.”

 

Law firms under cyberattack is one of the topics we cover in the October Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Law firms under cyberattack is one of the topics we cover in the October Arizona Attorney Magazine.

How safe is your data? And the data held by you in care of your clients?

In the October issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, Andres Hernandez asks that question. The evidence regarding law firms suggests the answer may be a distressful “Not very.”

The article explores some in-the-news law firm hacks we’ve read about. He then offers some suggestions to keep your own data safe.

The opening page of Andres Hernandez' article on cyberattacks, Oct. 2016.

The opening page of Andres Hernandez’ article on cyberattacks, Oct. 2016.

Meantime, just today I came across the Arizona Republic headline “Banner Health’s summer data hack triggers 10 civil lawsuits.”

The lawsuit you avoid could be your own.

If you have your own story of law-firm success in crafting ways to protect data in the digital age, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

banner-health-cyber-attacks-lead-to-10-civil-lawsuits.jpg

Banner Health cyberattacks lead to 10 civil lawsuits

One commentator says private employers can take action now to reduce the downstream effects on people who were formerly incarcerated. ban the box

One commentator says private employers can take action now to reduce the downstream effects on people who were formerly incarcerated.

This decade may mark one of the most significant shifts in popular thinking about criminal justice issues. Those shifts implicate every stage of the process, from policing, to charging and sentencing, to release terms, and to those many invisible penalties often visited on formerly incarcerated people.

There is no monolithic view of these topics. But there does appear to be growing consensus that a mass-incarceration and lifetime-penalty approach has not served society well.

Another example of that came in Saturday’s Arizona Republic, where attorney Mark Holden penned an op-ed recommending that private companies voluntarily adopt ban-the-box in their hiring practices.

Don’t know what ban-the-box is? Here’s Mark:

Mark Holden, GC and SVP of Koch Industries

Mark Holden, GC and SVP of Koch Industries

“Right now, most employers require job-seekers to check a box on an application if they have any criminal record. Too often, this can function as an automatic ‘application denied’ for individuals with a blemish in their past.”

“Nationwide, some 650,000 incarcerated individuals rejoin society every year, and they desperately need jobs to help them transition back into society and to provide for themselves and their families. But the criminal record box often shuts them out of the job market before they can get a foot in the door.”

You can read his entire piece here.

(In an awkward headline difference: The print version is titled simply “Ban the Box: Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Crime?” Meantime, the online version has the pretty inflammatory headline “Arizona businesses should hire felons (or at least stop immediately asking them about their records)” Um, not quite, Arizona Republic. But nice try.)

What makes this especially interesting is Mark’s day job—he is the general counsel and senior vice president for Koch Industries. Yes, that Koch Industries, of the famed and very conservative Koch Brothers.

Felony convictions have a significant and long-lasting effect on the economy.

Felony convictions have a significant and long-lasting effect on the economy.

Understand, as Holden makes clear, Ban the Box does not mean employers entirely omit the felony question from the hiring process. But instead of being asked the moment an applicant begins the process, the question is delayed until later in the process—by which time an employer may have found that the person’s skills and personality are a great match for the firm.

This stance is another indicator that the chasm between viewpoints may be shrinking a bit between civil libertarians and those concerned about the massive costs society incurs when incarceration effects continue long after a person is released from prison.

If you have a view into the downstream effects of incarceration, I’d like to talk to you for a possible story. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Ideas worth sharing: Just say No.

Ideas worth sharing: Just say No.

How good are we all at saying No to things? Pretty darned good, I’ve discovered—at least when it comes to things that are satisfying and fulfilling. But the other stuff? We let people pile it on.

That was one of my takeaways when I presented on The Power of No. It was this past Friday, and the opportunity came to me from the great folks at the Arizona Society of Association Executives (I know; it’s fun to say).

Here’s my session description:

“Leadership requires making decisions that affect people and resources. But how do we make those important decisions? How do we sustain an ethical workplace and deal with the many pressures to do all things and be all things for our members and the public? Sometimes the best answer lies in resisting the urge to say Yes.”

As well-placed “No” is one of my favorite words evah, So I thought the topic and I were a pretty good fit. The more I dug into it, of course, the more I saw how much I had to learn about No. I mean, our inability to Give Good No—in the workplace or in the wider world—has deep roots.

But with time and practice, I urged the association leaders, every one of us can develop the muscle to say No when necessary. The soundness of our organizations and our own sanity occasionally demand it.

Here are a few photos from the event (click to biggify), held at the beautiful Falls event center in Gilbert, Arizona. And a special thank you to the very funny Jeremy Arp, Executive Director of the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, for his kind introduction.

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