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!

Stephen L. Pevar, author of The Rights of Indians and Tribes.

Stephen L. Pevar, author of The Rights of Indians and Tribes.

Today I share some news about an upcoming event that touches on Indian law.

The author of a book that explains the complexities of federal Indian law and tribes’ and their members’ relationships with each other and with non-Indians will speak on current legal issues facing Native peoples Aug. 7 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Stephen L. Pevar, the author of the 2012 book The Rights of Indians and Tribes, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7, in the Monte Vista Room at the museum, 2301 N. Central Ave. Pevar will sign copies of his book, available at $25 per copy following his presentation. Since Aug. 7 is First Friday, evening (6 to 10 p.m.) general admission to the museum—and to Pevar’s talk—is free; a $5 gate fee will be charged to visitors wishing to attend the exhibit Super Heroes: Art! Action! Adventure!

Stephen L Pevar Rights of Indians and Tribes book coverFederal Indian law continues to be a complex subject for lawyers and non-lawyers alike. In his presentation at the Heard, Pevar will touch on several topics discussed in the book, which include the powers of Indian tribes; civil and criminal jurisdiction on Indian reservations; Indian hunting, fishing and water rights; taxation in Indian country; the Indian Civil Rights Act; the Indian Child Welfare Act; and tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians.

Pevar is senior staff counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. He taught a course in federal Indian law at the University of Denver School of Law for 16 years and has lectured extensively on the subject. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He had served for three years as staff attorney for South Dakota Legal Services on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation. Since 1976, he has been a national staff counsel for the ACLU.

Pevar has litigated some 200 federal cases involving constitutional rights, including one case in the U.S. Supreme Court. His areas of specialty include free speech, Indian rights, prisoners’ rights and the separation of church and state.

When it comes to the ADA's 25th anniversary, should we celebrate? Do better? Or both?

When it comes to the ADA’s 25th anniversary, should we celebrate? Do better? Or both?

Yesterday, I pointed you toward a few news stories regarding the 25th anniversary of passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Today, I suggest some additional resources and reading.

Begin with an insightful op-ed by Erica McFadden. She’s an analyst at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU. As she opens her piece:

“Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and there is reason to celebrate the progress it ushered in over that quarter-century. But needed still is a call to action to affirm equality — especially in terms of employment.”

“Just one in three Arizonans with disabilities ages 16 to 64 were employed from 2008 to 2012, according to the census. That’s compared to more than two in three (71 percent) Arizonans with no disabilities who were employed during that time.”

“Perhaps even more sobering is the percentage of Arizonans with disabilities not even in the job market: 59 percent.”

And then follow it up with a My Turn column in the Arizona Republic by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi where she examines the sad statistics surrounding employment of people with disabilities.

Understanding-the-ADA-Goren ABA bookThird, for the law practice-minded among you, head over the ABA website to consider purchasing a new book titled “Understanding the ADA,” by William D. Goren and described by the publisher:

“This new edition of Understanding the ADA delves deeper into many of the complex topics of disability claims. The updates offer expanded guidance on remedies if the law is violated; advice on when you have a right to sue; the statute of limitations for ADA claims; when a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss; and whether a class-action is a viable thing to pursue. There are new areas of discussion regarding standing, when a complaint is sufficient, statute of limitations, and mixed-motive jury instructions, and additional information on disparate treatment cases, class actions, jury selection, and Batson challenges. Expanded and new topics include: ADA as it relates to sports including the Office of Civil Rights guidance on § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act Utilizing negligence and negligence per se actions as an alternative to title III claims Highly detailed chapter on remedies and procedural issues Improved checklists and litigation forms.”

Finally, please enjoy the great article by Judge Randall Howe that we published in May. It reminds us how important advocacy is to progress. In the judge’s case, it was his mother who was driven for equity in her son’s education. For you? Well, everyone may have a different advocate.

National Hot Dog Day 2015 v1

Harvey Shinblock can’t be the first lawyer who wanted to open a hot-dog stand.

So today, Thursday, is National Hot Dog Day. Don’t believe me? Well, would the Des Moines Register lie to you?

Not legal enough a topic for your bloggish reading? Stick around. I’ll get to the legal in a moment.

In the meantime, here are a few places in the Phoenix area you might enjoy a hot dog.

Musing on the wonderment of wieners, I was curious about this, so I checked: In the five-plus years I’ve written my daily blog, I’m chagrined to note that the words “hot dog” appear more than a dozen times.

That seems high for a legal blog. Agreed? Well, maybe it’s a cry for help.

In any casing (see what I did there?), I thought I would share my first-ever documented blogular use of the phrase. It occurred in the prologue to a legal novel I wrote (detail about that endeavor is here.)

The book is titled The Supremes, and it involves a new law firm composed of former state supreme court justices. They thought clients would come knocking—which they did—but the law firm partners underestimated how much they disliked each other—and disliked hard work.

The hot dog reference came early, when the new firm’s administrator thinks about Harvey Shinblock, a colorful lawyer who is now disbarred (for numerous offenses, including a Circle K assault with a pocketknife). Harvey owns a hot-dog stand, and he carries quite a grudge against the legal profession. Here’s a portion:

Bernie Galvez liked hot dogs, and Harvey Shinblock sold the best in the city.

Galvez smiled as he recalled how Shinblock had managed to get 30 days in the county lockup for his “misunderstanding” at the convenience store—the best lawyering Shinblock had ever done, representing himself before old Judge Barnes. And after that 30 days, Shinblock woke up driven by a dream of opening his own hot-dog stand.

Human nature being the self-destructive little imp that it is, Shinblock drove his metaphoric stake in the ground on the sidewalk right outside the criminal courts complex. There, he gazed balefully as lawyers and judges streamed by him daily. If looks could kill—or wound with a pocketknife—those members of the bench and bar would have been a bloody mess on the Phoenix streets.

National Hot Dog Day 2015But maybe they got their comeuppance. For in the last three years since Shinblock opened “Court Wieners,” he had received the praise of every publication in town, from the “Best in Phoenix” to the “Best in the Southwest” to the “Best Nooner in a Casing.” Shinblock knew what he was doing as he steamed his hand-crafted dogs.

Nonetheless, no lawyer or judge was ever known to be brave enough to step up and purchase a meal. The history, the bad blood, and the fear of poisoning kept a significant portion of the suited sidewalk denizens from venturing forward and trying Shinblock’s bliss in a bun. They salivated and gnashed their teeth, but the gray and blue army marched past the stainless steel stand, thinking hungrily that they may have been a tad hard on good old Shinblock. Still, march by they did.

The complete prologue is here. Want to keep reading? Here’s Chapter 1.

And … do get out and eat a hot dog.

Bob McWhirter's Bill of Rights book featured at the State Bar 2015 Convention #azbarcon

Bob McWhirter’s Bill of Rights book featured at the State Bar 2015 Convention #azbarcon

When Bob McWhirter writes an article or book, I’m inclined to want to read it (or to be the editor who gets to publish it!).

His latest work—an illustrated history of the Bill of Rights—has captivated readers and even won a design award.

(Go here for the paperback version, or here for the hard-cover version.)

But reading his work only offers a glimmer of the joy Bob takes in excavating history. For that, you have to see him be interviewed. A recent PBS Horizon program offers that chance.

Here is Bob being interviewed by Horizon host Ted Simons. Ted was clearly charmed by Bob and his book; he even chuckled when Bob inadvertently used the word “pissed” on the otherwise-buttoned-down program.

Screen-grab of Bob McWhirter on AZ PBS's Horizon.

Screen-grab of Bob McWhirter on AZ PBS’s Horizon.

And after you watch that, you can read an op-ed Bob penned for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In it, he explores (as he does in his book and in previous articles for Arizona Attorney Magazine), the close connection between guns and race in American history and current events.

Screen-grab of Bob McWhirter and interviewer Ted Simons on AZ PBS's Horizon.

Screen-grab of Bob McWhirter and interviewer Ted Simons on AZ PBS’s Horizon.

Next Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,152 other followers