Arizona Attorney Magazine


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.

A new report from an Arizona Supreme Court task force explores the costs of pretrial penalties, fees, and cash-bail policies. jail Tent City Maricopa County

A new report from an Arizona Supreme Court task force explores the costs of pretrial penalties, fees, and cash-bail policies.

“Who pays?” could be the underlying theme for a new report out of the Arizona Supreme Court task force Fair Justice for All. One of the vital topics it examines is the inequities that may exist in a system of cash bail for those awaiting trial.

An Arizona Republic story describes the task force report. One of the report’s recommendations would be to move toward a risk-assessment approach in terms of bail. Already in use in some other states, the assessment would determine an individual’s danger to the community and his likelihood to return for hearings and trial. Critics say the current system more accurately assesses the depth of a defendant’s bank account than the more relevant questions.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThe task force ultimately made 65 recommendations. The full report is here, and more detail about the report and its process is here. As you’ll see, the report examines the effects of court fines, fees, and penalties, as well as pretrial release policies.

I’m currently in conversation with a potential author who would write an article for Arizona Attorney explaining what this all means. More to come.

Of course, I previously wrote about another groundbreaking report titled “Who Pays?” It was created by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. At that time, I spoke with the Center’s Zach Norris about the “true cost to families of incarceration.”

You should read that report here, as it well examines the additional penalties that follow a previously incarcerated person after release and return to the community. That is the other side of a coin being written by the Arizona Supreme Court, about the cost of pretrial penalties.

A graph offers data on how many unconvicted individuals are held in the Maricopa County jail system awaiting trial.

A graph offers data on how many unconvicted individuals are held in the Maricopa County jail system awaiting trial.

Finis: Our icon for the My Last Word column in Arizona Attorney Magazine

Finis: Our icon for the My Last Word column

On this last day of August, I pause to praise a piece of writing in our July/August issue—and to praise the column it inhabits.

Longtime readers of Arizona Attorney Magazine will know that the name of our occasional back-page column is “The Last Word”—so named when we have one of our three primary columnists writing.

But we also invite any attorney—or non-attorney—to write a single column when the mood strikes them. On those months, we call the column “My Last Word.” And it has become one of my favorite places in the magazine.

I think I enjoy the surprise and discovery, as multiple people inevitably have inevitable viewpoints.

In that space, we have had people write on all sorts of things. And this month, attorney Gary Fry muses on—the act of musing. He wonders—as we should—whether we take enough time to do exactly that. Or are we too caught up in the minutiae of daily life to pause and reflect.

You can read his essay here. And if you want, you then can start at the other end of the issue; here’s the first page. Enjoy.

Gary also reminds me how much I enjoy the incredible photography of Jeff Wall. Here is a story about him and his process.

One piece of his I enjoy very much is called “Picture for Women,” which takes the dialogue about “the male gaze” in a decidedly modern direction. Here it is:

Picture for Women, by Jeff Wall (via Wikimedia Commons)

Picture for Women, by Jeff Wall (via Wikimedia Commons)

Here is a description of the work, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Picture for Women is a 142.5 × 204.5 cm cibachrome transparency mounted on a lightbox. Along with The Destroyed Room, Wall considers Picture for Women to be his first success in challenging photographic tradition. According to Tate Modern, this success allows Wall to reference “both popular culture (the illuminated signs of cinema and advertising hoardings) and the sense of scale he admires in classical painting. As three-dimensional objects, the lightboxes take on a sculptural presence, impacting on the viewer’s physical sense of orientation in relationship to the work.”

There are two figures in the scene, Wall himself, and a woman looking into the camera. In a profile of Wall in the The New Republic, art critic Jed Perl describes Picture for Women as Wall’s signature piece, “since it doubles as a portrait of the late-twentieth-century artist in his studio.” Art historian David Campany calls Picture for Women an important early work for Wall as it establishes central themes and motifs found in much of his later work.

A response to Manet’s Un bar aux Folies Bergère, the Tate Modern wall text for Picture of Women, from the 2005–2006 exhibition Jeff Wall Photographs 1978–2004, outlines the influence of Manet’s painting:

“In Manet’s painting, a barmaid gazes out of frame, observed by a shadowy male figure. The whole scene appears to be reflected in the mirror behind the bar, creating a complex web of viewpoints. Wall borrows the internal structure of the painting, and motifs such as the light bulbs that give it spatial depth. The figures are similarly reflected in a mirror, and the woman has the absorbed gaze and posture of Manet’s barmaid, while the man is the artist himself. Though issues of the male gaze, particularly the power relationship between male artist and female model, and the viewer’s role as onlooker, are implicit in Manet’s painting, Wall updates the theme by positioning the camera at the centre of the work, so that it captures the act of making the image (the scene reflected in the mirror) and, at the same time, looks straight out at us.”

Interesting, right? And because it’s fun to compare, here is Manet’s Un bar aux Folies Bergère:

Un bar aux Folies Bergère, by Edouard Manet (via Wikimedia Commons)

Un bar aux Folies Bergère, by Edouard Manet (via Wikimedia Commons)

If you or someone you know is interested in writing a 700-word column for the magazine, contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. It doesn’t have to be on law, exactly, though it should resonate with attorneys—their careers or their wider lives.

blogging-1171731_1920

Benefits to blogging? I’ve seen a few … and so have successful attorneys.

Being a cheerleader for blogging has been an avocation of mine since—well, since I started my own back in 2009. There are multiple reasons to blog, and not everyone has the same goals. For me, blogging lets me develop story ideas and leads, and it allows me to cover news and events in quicker fashion than our hard-copy magazine ever could.

It also has been of incredible assistance in making connections with other people, professionals who want to share news or lawyers who are happy I’m telling their stories.

That’s why I’m happy to share news of a free blogging webinar occurring this Thursday, August 25—register here. Here’s hoping some attorneys take the plunge and discover how differentiation through blogging and other means is one of the best strategic paths to practice success—and satisfaction.

Cordell Parvin blogging webinar

Cordell Parvin

Taught by lawyer and career expert Cordell Parvin (and hosted by practice management software company MyCase), the webinar will be held at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET this Thursday. Here is the description:

Many lawyers who blog become “go-to” authorities in their practice areas. This leads to benefits including; new clients, speaking engagements, and job offers. So, how do you create a blog that you enjoy writing and that others find interesting? Cordell Parvin, attorney and former Practice Group Leader, will show you how to create a legal blog and start building your online audience in this blogging webinar. Here’s some of what will be covered:

  • The benefits of blogging
  • The art of writing a good post
  • Where to find topics
  • Creating a blog strategy
  • Essential ingredients to attract clients
  • Much More!

If you can’t attend the live session, you can receive the webinar recording by registering.

Thank you to the always-on-it folks at Above the Law for sharing the news of this free webinar, and to MyCase for hosting on such an important topic.

Cecilia Marshall, 88, the widow of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, still lives in Falls Church, Va., where they moved three decades ago. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Cecilia Marshall, 88, the widow of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, still lives in Falls Church, Va., where they moved three decades ago. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

What could be better on a Change of Venue Friday than a love story? Plus a little law, of course.

A story in the Washington Post describes the courtship and marriage of Cissy Marshall and her famous husband, Justice Thurgood Marshall. When Cecilia Suyat married Thurgood, she encountered resistance even within her own Filipino family. How ironic and wholly American is their story, therefore—as her husband went on to be the celebrated trial attorney who won the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Thurgood Marshall, who led the NAACP’s legal team, and his wife, Cecilia, leave the Supreme Court after the high court ordered the Little Rock School Board to proceed with integration at Central High School. (UPI)

Thurgood Marshall, who led the NAACP’s legal team, and his wife, Cecilia, leave the Supreme Court after the high court ordered the Little Rock School Board to proceed with integration at Central High School. (UPI)

And here is a short video of Cissy related to the story of their interracial marriage.

When you’re done reading the Post piece, be sure to read our book review of Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, by Wil Haygood. The review is by Judge George Anagnost.

Have a terrific—and love-is-love-filled—weekend.

Showdown Thurgood Marshall book cover by Wil Haygood

 

How do you illustrate a complex legal issue like predictive coding in eDiscovery? A gavel? Not us. Here's our July/August 2016 cover.

How do you illustrate a complex legal issue like predictive coding in eDiscovery? A gavel? Not us.

I’ll be honest: The headlines on the cover of this month’s Arizona Attorney Magazine were not my first choice.

Yes, I wrote and sort of like the whole “time. space. data.” vibe. It’s clean, and sort of intriguing.

Most of all, it complements the great cover story by Aaron Goodman, an attorney at the Phoenix office of DLA Piper. He wrote on the increasing use of predictive coding in e-discovery. Turns out that when properly done, predictive coding can be highly accurate and much more cost-efficient than, y’know, paying staff attorneys to look at Every. Single. Document.

And here is the opening spread. Pretty cool, right?

predictive coding in ediscovery spread July August 2016-page0001

I know you want to say it: “Whooooaaaa”

So now I know you’ve seen the cover and will definitely read Aaron’s article. But you wonder: What was my preferred headline?

Aaron Goodman, DLA Piper

Aaron Goodman, DLA Piper

Given the cover image’s representation of a curvature in the data, how about: “bending the law”

I know, excellent, right? I almost pulled the trigger. But then I thought …

Some folks may not be amused by the idiom, which can also mean skirting the law. So, as maturity ravages my soul like a dark lord, I set aside the funny in favor of the clear.

Let me know what you think of Aaron’s article. And contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org if you have any other technology—or other—story ideas.

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