A quick item today urging you to enjoy some free expression to its most hilarious extent. “Let Freedom Laugh!” Bill of Rights Comedy Concert debuts tonight. It is headlined by Lewis Black, who will be accompanied by Dick Gregory and Tom Smothers; rising stars Cristela Alonzo, Ahmed Ahmed, and John Fugelsang; and special appearances by Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, and Penn Jillette. The event will be telecast on AXS TV (more detail below), and it is the brainchild of Chris Bliss and MyBillofRights.org. Yes, the same people who brought that stunning Bill of Rights Monument to downtown Phoenix. Not only did Arizona get the first monument (slated to be installed in every one of the 50 state capitals). We also witnessed the organization’s first comedy event, held at Phoenix Symphony Hall back in May 2012. The newest and most recent concert was shot at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. Interested in how and when to watch it on your own TV or device tonight? Go here for more information for your location. Celebrating the Bill of Rights may never have been as hilarious as this.Follow @azatty
April 16, 2015
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April 14, 2015
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An event this Saturday, April 18, brings together legal leaders and others to assess the experiences of the most recent Arizona county to use the judicial merit-selection system.
Pinal County is the place, and the event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, Ariz.
The speakers will include retired Ariz. Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and State Bar President Richard Platt. Lunchtime remarks will be delivered by Vice Chief Justice John Pelander.
The event runs from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, and it’s free. Breakfast and lunch will be served. But registration is required, which you can do here.
That page also includes the complete program and list of speakers.
It is sponsored by numerous groups, including the State Bar of Arizona, Arizona Advocacy Network and Justice at Stake. The organizers clearly want the conversation to range beyond the county line; they indicate the day’s dialogue will include “Pinal County’s judicial system, AZ’s Merit Selection System and national cases impacting Fair and Impartial Courts.”
My understanding is that the Court and the State Bar have had a difficult time encouraging attorneys to forward their names to be considered for the judicial nominating commission in Pinal County. The system has been used in other counties for a long time, but it may be getting its sea legs in Pinal. Perhaps forums like this will spread the word about merit selection’s value.Follow @azatty
March 26, 2015
In 2014, we were pleased to see the Arizona Supreme Court adopt a rule that eased admission for a certain category of attorneys: those who are already admitted and in good standing elsewhere but who find themselves in this state because of the transfer of their military spouse.
Author and attorney Rodney Glassman wrote about it here. (And I covered it in the blog here.) Essentially, spouses of military personnel are able to get quick, temporary licensing if their spouse is stationed in Arizona.
The rule-passage was a great accomplishment, but even better news came this month when an attorney availed herself of the rule. Rachel Schafer of Quarles & Brady has become the first person admitted under Rule 38(1). The commercial litigator practices in Quarles’ Tucson office; her husband, a pilot, is stationed at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base.
I will be interviewing Rachel this week, and we’ll have a story on the topic in the May issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. In it, we’ll also hear from the MSJDN Network, which is advocating similar rule changes around the country.
And you shouldn’t be surprised to see more of these stories around the country; here’s one from Virginia.Follow @azatty
March 24, 2015
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It’s beginning to look like my Friday morning will be corrections-focused.
Yesterday, I mentioned a school-to-prison pipeline symposium focused on that topic. But on the same day—Friday, March 27—an ASU student group addresses the issue of what we do with individuals once they are incarcerated. Specifically, they are focused on prison education.
This Friday’s event marks the fourth annual Prison Education Conference and will be held in the Turquoise room of the Memorial Union at ASU from 10am to 4pm (with complimentary lunch included).
Below is some detail about Friday’s free conference. You can register here.
“The Prison Education Awareness Club (PEAC) presents the 4th Annual Prison Education Conference, featuring Kyes Stevens from the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project and Judith Tannenbaum, teaching artist and author of Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin and By Heart: Poetry, Prison, and Two Lives. Alongside them, representatives from the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rio Salado Distance Learning Program, and ASU prison teaching will speak.”
I spoke with Jess Fletcher, who heads up ASU’s Prison Education Awareness Club. She indicated that given the large attendance at last year’s event, this week’s conference will be in a larger space (in the ASU Memorial Union). There are still some spots left, so RSVP here soon.Follow @azatty
March 19, 2015
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Today I’m happy to share news from my State Bar colleague Patricia Sallen. She is a Bar’s Assistant Executive Director and our resident Ethical Rule guru (I’m guessing she has a different title than guru). But she writes to alert attorneys to proposed changes that are percolating and that may be adopted, changes that could have broad effects on law practice.
The proposals come out of a Supreme Court-created “Committee on the Review of Supreme Court Rules Governing Professional Conduct and the Practice of Law.” That committee has filed a rule-change petition, R-15-0018. In her article, Pat explains in broad strokes eight areas of possible change.
You can read Pat’s excellent summary here.
Probably most important and timely:
“The State Bar will be circulating the rule-change petition to collect input from its stakeholders such as committees, sections and other interested organizations. If you as an individual lawyer wish to provide input to the State Bar (apart from those committees, sections and other interested organizations), please email your comments to email@example.com by March 27, 2015.”Follow @azatty
March 5, 2015
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This past week, I finally had the chance to see a historic exhibit that has been on display since September (I mentioned it before). I’m glad I caught the show regarding Sandra Day O’Connor before it closes in May.
Whether or not you’re a cowgirl, or Irish, you’ll enjoy the show at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix.
Some photos I took during my visit are here on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.
In the next (April) issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, I write about my visit in my editor’s column. Here it is (spoiler alert):
Honoring a cowgirl–justice
Let’s admit at the outset: Sandra Day O’Connor may not be Irish.
That small fact detracts not a whit from an installation at the Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix that explores one remarkable woman’s path from cowgirl to jurist.
The show—up since September but which I finally saw in February—comes to Phoenix from Texas—Fort Worth, in particular. That’s where (of course) the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is located, and where they conceived the idea of “The Cowgirl Who Became a Justice.”
The well-chosen exhibition displays offer viewers the opportunity to explore how life on the ranch and in chambers are similar and different. You can’t help but marvel at the distance a young girl traveled, and it’s hard to resist viewing her judicial approach anew, through the lens of the Lazy B Ranch (where, to nobody’s surprise, no one was lazy).
Family photos and a branding iron are concrete and evocative reminders of Justice O’Connor’s heritage. But the portion of the beautiful room given over to her ascension to the Court reminds us of her historic appointment.
As I watched the looping footage of O’Connor’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I was struck by her calm demeanor and kind but firm method of schooling her questioners. Her flickering visage, reflected in the case holding her judicial robe, reminded me how fortunate Arizona is to be home to talented lawyers and jurists like Sandra Day O’Connor.
The show remains open until May 23, 2015. More information is here.Follow @azatty