Arizona Attorney Magazine


Convention magazine cover 2017

This is annual Convention week at the State Bar of Arizona. As always, a large selection of educational seminars (and less-educational activities) are packed into the three-day event held at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson.

More detail about the Convention is here.

As always, Arizona Attorney Magazine staff (yes, that’s me) will cover the annual event.

And as in the past, we will not print a once-a-day hard-copy “Convention Daily.” Instead, I’ll cover Convention news closer to real time, via the editor’s blog and social media. We will use multiple channels to communicate what’s going on. But the surest way to be sure you see everything is to follow me on Twitter. In Twitter, I’m @azatty. You can view all the evolving content here (or at http://twitter.com/azatty, to be specific). I will be tagging everything with the hashtag #azbarcon – so be sure to search for that.

And now we’re on Instagram at @statebarofarizona

Want to participate? Send me brief stories or story suggestions. Or if you have convention photos, we’d be glad to share them with readers.

And don’t forget to tweet from convention. Use the hashtag #azbarcon.

Questions or suggestions? Reach me, the Editor, Tim Eigo, on-site at the Westin, at 602-908-6991 or via arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

And always feel free to stroll up and say hello. I’ll be hiking all over the hotel to cover the goings-on. Or you may catch me at the Arizona Attorney table in the Exhibitor area. If you miss me there, leave your card or a note.

 

 

The April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine covered the 10th anniversary of the Bar Leadership Institute and recounted its noteworthy history

The April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine covered the 10th anniversary of the Bar Leadership Institute and recounted its noteworthy history

News from the Bar and one of its premier programs:

The State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 class. Is this your year? Find out for yourself how the BLI can foster your professional growth and enhance your leadership skills.

Now in its 11th year, BLI graduates have gone on to assume important leadership positions, including three graduates who were recently elected to State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors.

The deadline to apply is June 23. Information and application are here.

The application is easy to complete, but a letter of recommendation is required—so don’t delay!

You may recall we covered the 10th anniversary of the BLI in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Read all about it here.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s what graduates say about the BLI:

“This program was an incredible opportunity to meet a wide variety of leaders in the Arizona legal community. What other program can offer you the leadership training and opportunity to network with Supreme Court Justices, general counsels and prosecutors in an intimate setting.”

“There is nothing else like it. It expands our vision beyond our immediate work to remind/inspire us to consider ourselves not just as attorneys but as community leaders.”

“The information and experience was invaluable. I have had many leadership doors opened because of this experience.”

The 2017 State Bar of Arizona BLI class

The 2017 State Bar of Arizona BLI class

An adult Gerald Gault and his attorney Amelia Lewis.

An adult Gerald Gault and his attorney Amelia Lewis.

The 50th anniversary of the landmark decision In Re Gault will be the focus of a May 15 event in Phoenix, sponsored by ALWAYS—Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services. The evening next Monday will include a reception and dramatic performance by Rising Youth Theatre.

Gault is the U.S. Supreme Court decision based on an Arizona case that ensured the right to a lawyer for children accused of crimes in juvenile court. More specifically, it held that “juveniles accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be afforded many of the same due process rights as adults, such as the right to timely notification of the charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.”

ALWAYS logo Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services

That evening, ALWAYS also will “honor the leadership behind the Youth Collaborative in Maricopa County with the 2017 Youth and Justice Award.”

  • When: Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Campus

Rising Youth Theatre logoAddress (see map below):

Virginia Piper Auditorium, 600 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Free tickets are available here.

In Arizona Attorney Magazine, we covered the Gault anniversary in our May issue. Start reading here.

Here is an article by Judge Peter Cahill and Sarah Edwards.

Here is an article by Judge Jay Blitzman.

Gault order by Justice Lorna Lockwood for habeas hearing

Gault order by Justice Lorna Lockwood for habeas hearing (click to enlarge)

And here is more information about ALWAYS:

Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services is a nonprofit law office committed to opening the doors of justice for youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness, human trafficking, abuse, or the foster care system. We are attorneys, advocates, and volunteers working together to eliminate legal barriers to success and stability for vulnerable young people in Arizona. We believe every person deserves full access to the justice system, and we work every day to make this a reality for vulnerable youth in Arizona. We provide no-cost legal services to support the safety, stability, and self-sufficiency of our clients. ALWAYS services include full representation, consultations and brief advice, training, and system reform advocacy.

Map to the event:

Ides of March Julius Caesar magazine sign

Why, yes, I do change my meeting sign every month. Doesn’t everybody?

Why, yes, today is the Ides of March. And I’m hoping no one is standing behind me.

That was one of my thoughts as I selected an image for the sign indicating our monthly meeting of the Arizona Attorney Editorial Board (see above). Many of the members found it funny—others simply raised their eyebrows, as lawyers can do.

But what turned out poorly for Julius Caesar on March 15 ended up yielding one of my briefer—and most favorite—blog posts ever.

godfather
That’s because it combined Caesar, regal intrigue, murder most foul, and the blockbuster movie Godfather, which was released on this day in 1972.

You can read that piece from way back in 2013 here. It still makes me chuckle. But then again, I’m easily amused.

Good luck getting through an unlucky day. Here’s to classical history and great films.

Daily 5 logo.jpg

Since November 1, the Arizona Attorney Magazine staff have been writing a new newsletter for a new generation of newsletter readers. Sent by email every afternoon, the Daily 5 offers 4 news stories + 1 case of the day.

You can get through that content in about 5 minutes–10 if you’re really enjoying yourself.

I wrote about the Daily 5 in my February editor’s column, which I share again today:

You probably think you’re reading a magazine right now. And of course you’re right. But that’s only part of the picture. Because what you’re truly reading is a concept, an idea with personality, that has formed over decades. Arizona Attorney is a magazine, but it’s also a way of thinking and—dare I say it—a brand.

A brand that grew a little bit this fall.

Over the past 18 months, we decided to take that voice—that brand—into another channel. You may already be familiar with what we do in social media (for example, on Twitter @azatty, yo). But we wondered: How could that approach to the legal world play out in a daily newsletter?

So in November, after laying a year’s worth of groundwork, we launched the Arizona Attorney Daily 5.

5 news headlines a day, snappy writing, great design, all emailed once a day to readers. How hard can that be?

Daily 5 praise on FB cropped.jpg

When a Facebook message makes an Editor’s day.

 

Pretty hard, it turns out. But where the Daily 5 has succeeded, it has done so for a few reasons. Let me offer, well, 5 of them.

Voice matters: Arizona Attorney may be a legal publication, but we’re no law journal. We believe that in the life of every practicing attorney there’s room for humor and a lighter outlook. The Daily 5 is your informative colleague at the 5-minute water-cooler break.

Story choice matters: Yes, we offer substantive summaries of court opinions. But we think you enjoy some articles that require lighter lifting, too. Cue the Kardashians’ legal struggles.

Writing matters: Even if our choices are solid, readers will flee if the writing comes from the 19th century. Our tone and approach show we are not your grandfather’s newsletter.

Knowing your audience matters: We’ve spent decades-plus interacting with Arizona lawyers. Since November, we’ve heard from a large number of readers who appreciate our lighter touch and our lively writing. Is everyone a fan? No, but we do what we can to win them over.

Colleagues matter: Each Daily 5 contains about 500 words, 600 max. But that sparseness masks the input of so many people. From having the newsletter’s title contest-crowdsourced among State Bar staff, to an elegant logo designed by our Art Director, to all the writing and curating done in-house, to the ad sales that make the newsletter smart and profitable, this is a capital-T Team effort. Kudos to everyone involved.

We do enjoy hearing your thoughts about our daily work. Send praise, critiques and suggestions to us at Daily5@azbar.org. And yes, we’ll write back.

The Anxious Lawyer by Jeena Cho Karen Gifford book cover

In the current issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, a book review explores what attorneys can learn about themselves and their world via meditation.

If you’re unsure about that idea and cotton toward the tried and true, let’s remember that meditation has been around for millennia. So it should be acceptable, even to your firm’s management committee. Just sayin’.

The review author is attorney Juliet Peters, and you can read the entire review here.

And the book co-authors are Jeena Cho and Karen Gifford—lawyers themselves, in case lawyers are the only ones you trust with your self-improvement.

Happily, Jeena will be a panelist on a program I’m co-producing in just a few weeks. Unhappily, the program will be in Miami, not Phoenix. But if you happen to be at the midyear meeting of the National Association of Bar Executives, drop in! Or if you’re in the environs that week for the ABA meeting, drop me a line at arizona.attorney@azbar.org, or tweet to me @azatty. It’d be great to meet and compare mindfulness strategies! (Spoiler alert: You’ve got me beat, and I don’t even know you.)

Here is a link to the conference. And here is a description of the panel, titled “Mindful Lawyer, Mindful Bar,” which also features Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism:

“Mindfulness has become top-of-mind for many people, including your members. Even as work–life balance, meditation, and increased fulfillment and satisfaction have become a more central part of a professional’s goals, those aspirations may seem harder than ever to achieve. Our panelists have learned through law and life experience how challenging incorporating practices such as self-care and mindfulness can be—but they have discovered the many wonderful benefits of these practices, including more joy and satisfaction. They will talk about the importance of mindfulness for the attorney. They also will offer practical tips and next steps to create robust mindfulness programs at your bar.”

See you in Miami … or wherever thoughtful lawyers gather.

big-data-word-cloud.jpg

Big Data may mean Big Insights.

At least, that’s one major takeaway I got from the Legal Trends Report released by Clio late last year.

Yesterday, I shared my December editor’s column from Arizona Attorney Magazine in which I discussed the report and a few of its findings. But I also had promised to write about the part of the report that wasn’t so much about law practice, but about the power of data to make positive change.

Today, let me get back to that.

Here is the pertinent part of my column I’ll extrapolate on today:

“First—and maybe less interesting to you—is the newfound power of data to provide insight. I’ll write more about this in the future (probably in my blog https://azatty.wordpress.com/), but it’s incredible that via our own real-time software choices, companies like Clio can assess the state of law practice—all within the agreed-upon terms of use. They can see, moment by moment, how many new matters are opened, how many invoices are generated, how many remain unpaid. Does this spell the end of surveys based on self-reported data? We’ll see.”

Before I dive in, here again is a link to the complete report. Read it yourself and let me know what you think.

Clio logo

Data + lawyering? Yes, please, say Clio.

Besides the bullet points I mentioned in my column, here are a few more macro-level insights by Clio:

  • The total 2015 realization rate (actual hours billed as a proportion of actual billable hours worked) came in at 81 percent, but this differed noticeably by practice area and by state.
  • The total 2015 collection rate (actual revenue proportional to hours billed) was 86 percent.

So let’s jump in, shall we, and start with Clio’s premise, regarding the dearth of practice decisions driven by data.

Essentially, they’re saying, in the 4,000-year history of the legal profession, lawyers, firm owners, and decision makers have suffered from a scarcity of industry data. Law firms have had only sparse resources to find the business insights required to run a viable practice.

I know, dramatic, right? In the very first line of their executive summary, they’ve got me with a compelling narrative. Plus, they have subtly conjoined me with every great lawyer, from Hammurabi, to Abe Lincoln, to Sandra Day O’Connor. Those folks—and me. We’ve all suffered the same law practice pains that arise from insufficient reliable evidence. But we’ll solve it together.

OK, I joke, but there’s something to their point. The mass of data that we rely on do come from (as Clio says) self-reported data and often small sample sizes. And is there a way to know if the data we rely on REALLY came from firms of a size like our own firm? Unlikely.

hammurabi

Hammurabi had a great Code, the best, really. But who knows what he could have achieved with better data?!

But the advent of Big Data and data aggregators has changed all that. Now companies like Clio—and others you interact with every day—have access to your actual choices and interactions with their products. They can see, moment by moment, how many new matters are opened, and how many invoices are generated, and how many remain unpaid.

Here is where I must note that Clio (like all reputable companies) is using all of our online decision-making anonymously, stripped of identifying data. But when they take this massive batch of anonymous data, and analyze it, a remarkable picture of us as a profession emerges. The world is changed—for the better.

So that was a bit of a wake-up call.

But I leave you today again, once again, with their visceral image of your practice as a funnel.

Any of us who practice or have practiced law understand that there is a flow to the work, and that we need matters to begin, end, and get paid for—and hopefully all those things overlap in multiple matters so there is actual cash flow. But picturing it like a funnel invites a disturbingly accurate assessment of where we all stand.

Because we are all busy, I invite you to turn to the report’s page 35. Or, if you’re really busy, I’ll type it for you:

Funnel Cloud? The Devastating Conclusion

Out of an eight-hour workday, the average firm collects payment on only 1.4 hours of billable time. These unit economics would be devastating to almost any industry, and they help explain why, despite charging an average $232 per billable hour, the average small-to-mid-sized firm struggles to make ends meet.

I hope you weren’t standing up when you read that.

Once again, here is a link to the complete report.

Enjoy.

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