Philip Levine

Philip Levine

Yes, before you ask: I do know that Labor Day was yesterday. But as you and other smart readers were relaxing, maybe attending a parade—and NOT reading legal blogs—I waited until today to share a post on the topic.

Today, I urge you to read the remarkable poem “What Work Is,” by Philip Levine. To read more of his poetry, go here, and to read the work of many other poets, go to the Poetry Foundation website.

Here is Philip:


We stand in the rain in a long line

waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.

You know what work is—if you’re

old enough to read this you know what

work is, although you may not do it.

Forget you. This is about waiting,

shifting from one foot to another.

Feeling the light rain falling like mist

into your hair, blurring your vision

until you think you see your own brother

ahead of you, maybe ten places.

You rub your glasses with your fingers,

and of course it’s someone else’s brother,

narrower across the shoulders than

yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin

that does not hide the stubbornness,

the sad refusal to give in to

rain, to the hours of wasted waiting,

to the knowledge that somewhere ahead

a man is waiting who will say, “No,

we’re not hiring today,” for any

reason he wants. You love your brother,

now suddenly you can hardly stand

the love flooding you for your brother,

who’s not beside you or behind or

ahead because he’s home trying to

sleep off a miserable night shift

at Cadillac so he can get up

before noon to study his German.

What Work Is book cover by Philip LevineWorks eight hours a night so he can sing

Wagner, the opera you hate most,

the worst music ever invented.

How long has it been since you told him

you loved him, held his wide shoulders,

opened your eyes wide and said those words,

and maybe kissed his cheek? You’ve never

done something so simple, so obvious,

not because you’re too young or too dumb,

not because you’re jealous or even mean

or incapable of crying in

the presence of another man, no,

just because you don’t know what work is.

Philip Levine, “What Work Is” from What Work Is. Copyright © 1992 by Philip Levine

Protect Your Writings by Maria Crimi SpethDo you or someone you know have a book idea kicking around—or perhaps even an unpublished manuscript in your desk drawer?

No surprise to you, I’m sure, but there are laws that affect your book, article, and other creative output. This coming Saturday, April 30, attorney Maria Crimi Speth offers a presentation on what you need to know.

She will be one of five speakers to offer advice to authors. The topics also include marketing, personal and family stories, editing tips, and self-publishing.

Speth is an intellectual property attorney at Jaburg Wilk and the author of Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors. At the event, “Attendees will learn about the laws relating to writing books, articles, blogs and how to avoid making common, costly legal mistakes.”

Host: Scottsdale Society of Women Writers

When: Saturday, April 30, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Scottsdale Civic Center Library

Details and registration are here.

Maria Crimi Speth attorney Jaburg Wilk

Maria Crimi Speth

And here is more detail about Maria:

“Speth practices in the areas of intellectual property, internet law, and commercial litigation, representing clients throughout the United States. She focuses her practice on assisting businesses in protecting their trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, information technology, and other intellectual property through preventative measures to avoid disputes and through litigation when disputes arise. She has been practicing law for 28 years and has handled cases in state and federal courts around the country. Maria is the author of Protect Your Writings: A Legal Guide for Authors and Apple v. Samsung, The Balance Between Patent Rights and the Free Market.  She has numerous published articles and dozens of published court cases.”

Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald

Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 12, conservative commenter Heather Mac Donald will visit ASU to deliver a talk titled “Is the American Great Crime Decline Sustainable?

The free public lecture will be delivered at 6:30 pm on the ASU Tempe campus, ISTB4, Marston Theater.

According to event organizers, Mac Donald’s work has largely focused on crime rates and race. She “pushes back against common arguments of racism in policing and the criminal justice system as a whole to argue for preventative policing that she believes contributed to the 20-year decline of crime in America.”

Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Her work covers a range of topics, including homeland security, immigration, policing and racial profiling, homelessness and homeless advocacy, and educational policy.

You can see more of what the speaker advocates here, via C-SPAN:

Heather Mac Donald book cover policing racismIntroducing Mac Donald will be Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Following Mac Donald’s talk, the former director of the Office for Victims of Crime, John W. Gillis, will give a brief talk about his career and experiences. He is a founding member of Justice for Homicide Victims and the Coalition of Victims Equal Rights.

More information and a Q&A with Montgomery and Gillis are here.

The event is free. RSVP here.

Parking is available (for a fee) in the Rural Road Parking Structure.

Friday, November 6, is the day to reach out and show some love to the lawyers in your circle.

Friday, November 6, is the day to reach out and show some love to the lawyers in your circle.

Knock it off with the lawyer jokes, already.

That is an ineloquent way to wish you a Happy Love Your Lawyer Day, to be celebrated this Friday, November 6. This will be the 15th year that the American Lawyers Public Image Association has urged America—nay, the world—to set aside anti-lawyer antipathy and to thank JDs for all the good that they do. (Spread the hashtag: #LoveYourLawyerDay)

Pucker up, SCOTUS: America’s coming in for a kiss.

Intl #LoveYourLawyerDay

Here’s how ALPIA describes the event:

“Since 2001, ALPIA has designated the first Friday of every November as a day to show love, appreciation and thanks to lawyers and judges everywhere. We encourage the American public to shower their favorite legal eagles with sincere affection: a phone call, a card, or even flowers or a gift. That also means no lawyer jokes and no lawyer bashing on that day! In return, we ask all attorneys to perform one hour of pro bono work or donate one billable hour to a charity like the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

(The organization was oddly silent on whether your favorite legal magazine staff members should benefit from your sincere affection. An oversight, I’m sure.)

The organization and its executive director, Nader Anise, are—let’s admit it—charming in their earnestness. I mean, there may be no bigger fan of lawyers and their work than I, but it had not occurred to me to shower fellow attorneys I know with affection, let alone a flower or a gift.

Intl #LoveYourLawyerDay

The steady determination of ALPIA has paid off, though—at least if you call making inroads into the ABA a success. As the organization says in one of the odder ABA-related press releases I’ve ever come across:

“‘National Love Your Lawyer Day has officially reached a tipping point,’ proclaims Nader Anise, Executive Director of the American Lawyers Public Image Association. ‘We are absolutely delighted that the American Bar Association Law Practice Division has passed a resolution to adopt National Love Your Lawyer Day as an occasion worth embracing and celebrating.’ Anise believes this is a game-changer: ‘Having such an influential backer gives this annual lawyer celebration—our entire mission, in fact—a huge boost. Things are about to get very interesting.’”

(You can read the proclamation from the ABA Law Practice Division here.)

But this 15-year effort goes beyond mere affection, for the pacifist organization ALPIA has declared war on the lawyer joke. Or, as their website puts it, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers (jokes).”

ALPIA has a plan in that regard. For in that same press release, ALPIA explains how it will strike a death blow against lawyer jokes:

“Don’t forget—no lawyer bashing on November 6th. Tell a lawyer joke that crosses the line and you’ll have to pay a $20 fine per violation. Asked whether the ‘fine’ should be paid to ALPIA, Anise responds, ‘Absolutely not. The money should go to the person’s charity of choice.’”


Congratulations and best of luck to Nader on November 6—and on all days throughout the year when people should appreciate the hard work of lawyers.

But because this is a full-service blog, I do offer a fallback plan.

So what if you hear someone boorishly mutter a lawyer joke in your presence on Friday? Step 1 is to remind them what day it is, and to suggest they make amends by ponying up a 20 to a great charity.

But what if … I don’t know … they’re a total knob and are not swayed by the wisdom of your approach?

That’s where Malcolm Kushner comes in, with what I call Step 2. Malcolm is the author of “Comebacks for Lawyer Jokes: The Restatement of Retorts” (Museum of Press, 2015).

Comebacks for Lawyer Jokes by Malcolm Kushner book coverYes, there is such a book. Its 191 pages offer you quick ripostes for those who think lawyer-bashing is a fun sport. Or, as Malcolm describes it, “It’s a couple hundred lawyer jokes and the perfect lines for the lawyer who wants to intercept them in a very intelligent way.”

Find the book here.

Here are a few examples (in the spirit of #LoveYourLawyerDay, I will omit the actual punchlines; contact me if you’d like them. But have some class; don’t ask me on November 6!):

  • The boor says: How many law professors does it take to change a light bulb?
  • You intercede before he voices his oh-so-witty bon mot and answer: None. That’s a job for a research assistant.

OK, let me try again:

  • The boor says: What’s the difference between a lawyer and an onion?
  • You answer: Lawyers don’t have thin skins.

Hmmm. How about:

  • The boor says: Why did the lawyer go to heaven?
  • You answer: He wanted to live in a gated community.

By now you may have decided you need a Plan C to address those wielding lawyer-jokes. I’m obligated to remind you that physical violence is never OK. So be sure to develop that thicker skin.

You can hear more directly from Malcolm Kushner here.

In any case, best of luck to ALPIA, Nader Anise, Malcolm Kushner, and all the lawyers they embrace! And even if you don’t spread your own love, spread the hashtag: #LoveYourLawyerDay

The Bill of Rights, illustrated and elucidated in a new book by Bob McWhirter and published by the American Bar Association.

The Bill of Rights, illustrated and elucidated in a new book by Bob McWhirter and published by the American Bar Association.

This Friday evening, you have the opportunity to meet a real, live historian!

Not grabby enough?

How about: Friday night is when you can chat up Bob McWhirter, author of many great Arizona Attorney Magazine articles and (most important) a new book from the ABA titled Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights.

As is evident, this guy knows his way around an adjective.

Bob also will offer a presentation that evening titled “Just What’s So Exceptional About America? Rights, ‘the People,’ and the Bill of Rights.”

He is a great writer. But his presentations are a creative tour de force (no pressure, Bob).

A full-service evening? You bet. And the icing on the cake? Bob will happily sign one of his books and sell it to you.

Arizona Attorney Magazine Feb. 2011 cover with Bob McWhirterAll of these things occur:

Where: Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix, 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix 85013 (near the intersection of Camelback and 3rd Ave.)

When: Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 (the day after Constitution Day!) at 7:00 p.m.

You can read more about Bob and his book here.

I also get a kick out of how the Changing Hands website features that terrific picture we shot of Bob for the magazine Q&A I did with him. As the topic was his legal work in El Salvador, we decided where better to hold our taped conversation that a Salvadoran restaurant? Legal learning has never been tastier. Here’s the story (and yes, I got him to explain his fondness for hats).

And if you’ve never been to this branch of Changing Hands, I urge you to head over Friday night. The venue includes the First Draft Book Bar, which is just what it sounds like.

Changing Hands First Draft Book Bar-logo

NOTE: I just got news that Bob will also be speaking tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Arizona Capitol Museum located in the Capitol building at 11 am. To commemorate the 228th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, he will speak on the Ninth Amendment—regarding rights retained by people not listed in the First through Eighth Amendments.

At that event, Chief Justice Scott Bales will also present. His topic will be the Arizona Constitution.

Unimpressed with the world? You don't have to show it. Resting bitch face

Unimpressed with the world? You don’t have to show it.

Today, I point you to an article about “resting bitch face.” There are many reasons for this, including:

  • Because the author provides excellent strategies lawyers can use to convert their (typical?) expressions of disdain into something a bit more, um, neutral.
  • Because she points us to animal examples of said Resting Bitch Face. I can’t even.
  • Because the term itself is so expressive and so much fun to say.

Articulate Attorney book Johnson and HunterBut that’s not all. I also recommend it because Marsha Hunter is a great writer and thinker. I’ve read her stuff and even seen her present in person, and she understands on a very deep level what makes someone a communicator and what makes someone the opposite. Hence RBF.

You can read her recent article here.

And here are a few words I wrote about Marsha and her partner in communications crime, Brian K. Johnson. (And here is a great article that Brian wrote for us in Arizona Attorney Magazine.)

Finally, I heartily recommend their more recent book, titled The Articulate Attorney: Public Speaking for Lawyers. You can find it online here. Here’s hoping the face you offer the world grows more placid and less aggravated.

It's OK to let your inner emotions remain unexpressed.

It’s OK to let your inner emotions remain unexpressed. (Photo: Reddit/Doo1717)

It's been a long road: Final cover (ever) of the State Bar Membership Directory.

It’s been a long road: Final cover (ever) of the State Bar Membership Directory.

These days, the swan song of a print product could be sung every day of the week. And so I suppose few will mark the eventual passing of the State Bar of Arizona Membership Directory.

A “phone book,” yes, in some ways, but really much more than that, the directory has been around in one form or another for generations. But the growing size of the book (among other reasons) has led Bar leaders to say this will be the last year for the resource.

So why not go out swinging for the fences? Our cover encapsulates the long-road theme, with Route 66 peeling off into the horizon. (I’m still trying to track down my shot of the competing covers arrayed on a wall; staff all got to offer their input before the selection was made.)

If you’re in need of a keepsake that is bound to rise in value over time, head over here to read more about the book—and maybe order your own copy!

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