Change of Venue


The Slants The-Band-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-thumbnail

The Slants are coming to Tucson

Later this week, the University of Arizona College of Law hosts what has to be the best law-related but not so damned lawylerly event of the year when it welcomes The Slants, all-Asian American band—which is all up in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s business.

The event is on Thursday. It begins with a noon talk (room 164) about their current trademark case pending before the Supreme Court. And then, because law school needs a relief valve, they’ll perform a concert at 8 pm. Both events are free and open to the public.

OK, so what is all this about?

“The Slants are known as the first all-Asian American dance-rock band in the world. The band is well known in legal circles due to their battle with the United States Trademark Office with In Re Tam, which is now before the Supreme Court of the United States and known as Lee v. Tam.”

All-Asian American band The Slants

All-Asian American band The Slants

“The friction with the USPTO comes from the band’s name—a reference to their ethnicity—which is the subject of a protracted legal debate. After the band’s request to trademark its name was denied, they took the issue to court. In December 2015, a federal appeals court overturned a previous ruling that upheld the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s rejection of the band’s application by striking down part of a law that allowed the government to reject trademarks it deemed offensive or disparaging to others. The majority opinion stated, in part, that ‘[w]hatever our personal feelings about the mark at issue here, or other disparaging marks, the First Amendment forbids government regulators to deny registration because they find speech likely to offend others.’ The band’s frontman, Simon Tam, explained that while the First Amendment should protect the band’s right to use the name regardless of their reasons, they had chosen the name in order ‘to undercut slurs about Asian-Americans that band members heard in childhood, not to promote them.’”

But the USPTO takes its faux disparagement seriously, so now we await a SCOTUS opinion.

If you enjoy more detail that doesn’t come from a law review, here is a helpful article from Chief Justice John Robert’ favorite publication, Rolling Stone.

Meantime, I know you’re curious about the type of music they write and perform. I’ve listened and enjoyed it, but I leave it to the band and the crowdsourced genius at Wikipedia to describe their thang:

“The Slants describe themselves as ‘Chinatown Dance Rock’ and are often compared to electro rock bands such as The Faint or early 80’s synthpop groups such as Depeche Mode, The Cure, Duran Duran, The Cult, and Joy Division. Critics also compare The Slants with modern artists such as The Killers, VNV Nation, and Mindless Self-Indulgence.”

Gotta love me a little synthpop.

The Slants UA flier University of Arizona Law School

Whether you’re an electro-fan or not, the band is here.

You might enjoy this brief video tracking their trip to Washington DC for Supreme Court oral argument regarding their trademark registration. At 1:36, you’ll see the tiniest of concerts they staged on the SCOTUS steps.

And be sure to watch this trailer for The Band Who Must Not Be Named.

You can see more of their work on their own Youtube page.

If you go to the Tucson concert—(please go!)—would a photo or two kill you? Maybe a brief video? A signed T-shirt? Whatever.

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.

In partnership with the Florence Project, The Rogue Trio will perform February 24 at ASU's Katzin Hall.

In partnership with the Florence Project, The Rogue Trio will perform February 24 at ASU’s Katzin Hall.

This month’s headlines were filled with developments regarding immigration law and significant changes that are proposed for its enforcement.

If you’re seeking a very creative way to be imbued with the immigrant experience, an event this Friday night at ASU may be the (free) ticket—or the boleto, if you’d prefer.

Florence Project logo 25 years

As organizers describe it: For one night only, The Rogue Trio partners with the Florence Project to create a unique musical experience, featuring testimony of Florence Project clients. Making his southwest debut, composer Ralph Lewis takes powerful testimony of immigrants detained in Arizona and combines their accounts with live and electroacoustic music for a moving musical juxtaposition that brings hope amongst fear.

Did you catch that? Migrant testimony in combination with music.

florence-project-rogue-trio-immigration-music-event

The performance will be held at Arizona State University’s Katzin Hall on Friday, February 24, at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m., and admission is free. Parking information can be found here. If you have any questions, reach out to Greer Millard at gmillard@firrp.org or 602-795-7407. More information on the The Rogue Trio is here.

And who are The Rogue Trio? They are: Justin Rollefson on saxophones, Kathleen Strahm on violin, and Mary Strobel-Price on piano. They describe their work as “a contemporary chamber ensemble that explores the diverse color palate of an unconventional assortment of instruments.” Color me interested. You can visit their website here, and find them on Facebook here.

Meantime, in other legal news related to the high-profile nature of immigration cases today, here’s an ABA Journal article about a website that connects volunteer lawyers with travelers affected by the immigration ban.

As ABA Journal reporter Debra Cassens Weiss writes, “Airport Lawyer allows users to input information about people targeted by the ban who are traveling to the United States—whether it’s the user, a friend or family member. The information can be shared with lawyers who can be available at the airport to monitor arrivals. … A list of the airports where volunteer lawyers are available through the app is here.”

airport-lawyer-website-connects-volunteer-lawyers-with-travelers-affected-by-immigration-ban

Winding canal of the Central Arizona Project (Wikimedia Commons)

Winding canal of the Central Arizona Project (Wikimedia Commons)

If you live in the American West and are a person who uses water, or if your body is approximately 70 percent water, you may need to be interested in the state of water resources.

Fortunately, a program this Thursday provides a clear-eyed view of the issues.

This Thursday, February 9, a panel discussion will examine the “Arizona Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan: Arizona Water Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty.” All the detail is here.

It begins at 1:00 p.m., and will also be available via live simulcast.

Here is more background about the program from its organizers:

The State Bar of Arizona CLE Department, Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, and Environmental & Natural Resources Sections are sponsoring a water program on February 9, 2017.

Of the 7 million acre-feet of water Arizona uses annually, 40 percent is Colorado River water. Arizona water managers predict Colorado River water shortages for Arizona may be as early as 2018 with the water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell now at historic low levels.

Bill Ralls, former federal water regulator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of this water program, says, “With documented significant imbalances between future demands and water supply in Arizona, the time for action is now to find state and regional solutions to realize growth potential. The solution will likely be regional. The first chapter in this historic effort is now focused in the current negotiations to develop a regional drought contingency plan in the lower basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona.”

A distinguished panel of regulatory and water experts will analyze the current status of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency; Plan and Contingency Plan Plus of the Central Arizona Project.

The Colorado River cuts a pathway of 1,450 miles from the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming to Mexico, providing a water supply to nearly 40 million people in seven states. The Central Arizona Project currently transports Colorado River water several hundred miles to Maricopa, Pinal and Pima Counties, since 1986 to Phoenix, and 1994 to Tucson.

Map of the Central Arizona Project

Map of the Central Arizona Project

In addition, the panel of legal and hydrogeology experts will analyze the Arizona water regulatory framework:

  • The Arizona Corporation Commission regulation of water utilities
  • The Arizona Department of Water Resources regulation of groundwater
  • Pending Arizona wastewater reuse rule-making of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Recent important water court decisions

Chair and Moderator:

  • William R. Ralls

Faculty:

  • Jay M. Johnson, General Counsel, Central Arizona Project
  • Kenneth C. Slowinski, Chief Counsel, Arizona Department of Water Resources
  • Timothy J. Sabo, Snell & Wilmer LLP
  • Charles S. Graf, R.G. Principal Hydrogeologist, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

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.

what's hot and not in law practice

On a regular basis, Bob Denney puts himself and his judgment out there and predicts what will be the coming year’s hot—and cold—law practice areas.

He recently did so again, and I encourage you to read his prognostications.

In the meantime, here are a few he mentioned that made me pause and wonder how lawyers and law firms are responding to these new pushes and pulls. As Bob says:

Social media. Continues to be far more effective for building individual lawyer reputations than for firms.

Competition. It’s no longer just from other law firms. It’s now coming from two other directions: Non-legal business entities like LegalZoom and, for large firms, more and more from the clients themselves who are using their legal departments as well as alternate service providers.

Cybersecurity. While many firms have developed plans for reacting to a cyberattack, many more have still not developed or implemented cybersecurity plans to prevent such attacks. One overlooked factor is what actually constitutes a breach. Some firms regard any unsanctioned access of a firm system as a breach, while others do not regard it as a breach until something — data, files or money — has been taken.

Scamblogging. A category of online writing by debt-burdened law school graduates who are convinced their law schools misled them about their opportunities for employment.

What’s growing in your law practice? If it’s a niche or topic that surprises you, please write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

modern law practice technology tools niche

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