Law Practice


Trying play at Theatre Artists Studio

Many items may fill an attorney’s bucket list, but having a compelling play written about them and their work? Unlikely. Law practice may be many things, but most of its dramas are small, interior, and unsung.

Exceptions exist, of course, and Theatre Artists Studio of Scottsdale – a member organization of actors, playwrights, directors, producers and designers – seems to have found one in the life of Francis Biddle.

If his name rings no bells – it did not for me – that’s a shame, for his contributions were great. He served as the U.S. Solicitor General in 1940 and soon was appointed the Attorney General in 1941. He served in that role through the tumultuous years of World War II.

Following the war, President Truman appointed Biddle as a judge at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremburg – where former Nazi officers and others were tried for genocide and crimes against humanity.

trying play francis biddle

Francis Biddle

Those posts, alone, make Biddle an important part of U.S. and world history. But they may not necessarily yield great theatre. Fortunately, there’s more to the story.

That story comes to us from playwright Joanna McClelland Glass, who relates her own life’s tale of being the personal secretary to an aging Biddle. “Trying” to write his autobiography, Biddle fears he will be unable to complete the work before his impending death. Along the way, the “brilliant and irascible” man makes life challenging – trying – for his young secretary, only recently arrived from the plains of Saskatchewan. The play promises to let audiences watch the two as they are trying to complete his memoir and to understand each other.

Actors Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin in

Actors Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin in “Trying,” Theatre Artists Studio

Biddle was accomplished as an attorney, judge and author of numerous books. But his renown comes mainly from his work as the Chief Judge at Nuremberg, and for his prior response to the incarceration of Japanese Americans – many of whom were citizens – during World War II.

Remember, he was America’s top legal officer at the time, so a close examination of his actions are warranted. He is said to have personally opposed the wholesale internment of nearly 120,000 people – especially given the results of FBI investigations that revealed no looming plot that these people were engaged in.

Nonetheless, despite his own misgivings and the protests of others like Assistant to the A.G. James Rowe Jr., Biddle ultimately acquiesced to the mounting pressure. The War Department wanted large areas of the western states turned into zones that permitted suspension of the writ of habeas corpus – and Biddle agreed. President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.

The documentary evidence is fascinating. You can read Biddle’s memo, and others’, here. It may have been small consolation in Biddle’s later years – and absolutely no consolation to incarcerated citizens – that he always regretted his decision.

Which makes the play’s title all the more evocative.

“Trying” opens tonight, Friday, January 12, and runs through February 4. It features Studio Member Alan Austin as Francis Biddle and guest artist Vanessa Benjamin as Sarah. Produced by Walt Pedano with direction by Judy Rollings.

Show times are Friday & Saturday nights at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm for all productions. The theatre is at 4848 E. Cactus Rd, #406, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

Tickets are available here or at the Box Office: 602-765-0120.

For more information, go here.

You can watch a video about the play below:

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News from the Arizona Supreme Court:

The Arizona Supreme Court is pleased to announce that Pinal County Superior Court is now accepting electronic filings of civil case initiation and civil subsequent documents through the eFileAZ and AZTurboCourt efiling applications. eFiling is currently available using both applications in Yavapai County, Mohave County, Santa Cruz County, and Maricopa County Superior courts. Plans are underway for the remaining Superior Courts in the State to begin accepting civil documents via efiling in the coming months.

AZTurboCourtBoth efiling applications bring with them the ability to file both civil initiating and subsequent cases electronically, the ability to attach more than one lead document per submission, issue summons and subpoenas, generate the civil cover sheet, and other functionality that will allow for faster filing of court documents.

Your firm may already be using AZTurboCourt eFiling application to file documents in Pima and Maricopa Counties, however, there are several differences between the applications and IT HIGHLY ENCOURAGES YOU TO ATTEND TRAINING! For information on how to register, set up a payment method, information on how to use the application, and training dates and locations please contact the AOC Support Center at 602-452-3519 or 800-720-7743 or visit here for more information.

eFileAZ

The talented and courageous are encouraged to enter the magazine's arts competition.

The talented and courageous are encouraged to enter the magazine’s arts competition.

There is ONE WEEK left for Arizona lawyers to submit to our annual Creative Arts Competition. But because the holidays are so crazy, why not submit now, rather than on the evening of January 15, the deadline?

We welcome entries in the following categories:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Humor
  • Music
  • Visual Arts: Painting, Photography, Drawing, Sculpture

We will publish the winners in the May 2018 issue.

Send submissions to ArtsContest@azbar.org and queries to the editor at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

And do you like reading rules? We’ve got them.

For inspiration, here is last year’s issue with the 2017 awesome winners.

2018 Creative Arts Competition call for artists

The newly reimagined Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix is the site for a State Bar networking event.

The newly reimagined Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix is the site for a State Bar networking event.

News from the State Bar of Arizona about a networking event TONIGHT. I’ll be there, and I hope you can make it too.

It will be held at Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix. If you follow the awesome @DowntownPhoenix on Instagram (full disclosure: I’m proud to be on its board), you’ve already learned that the venue was just redesigned and includes shuffleboard, live plant walls, an expanded patio and more. Stop in to have great conversation and to “celebrate their reopening with a cold one from one of the 60 craft brew taps.”

The October networking event is presented by the State Bar of Arizona Young Lawyers Division, Real Property Section, and Public Lawyers Section – exclusively for State Bar members.

Join us for food (complimentary appetizers and desserts), drinks, and fun.

When: TONIGHT: Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Copper Blues in Downtown Phoenix, 50 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix

Click here for directions (parking validated for underground garage).

You're invited state bar of arizona

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

MCLE affidavit deadline is September 15

Spoiler alert: The MCLE affidavit deadline is September 15.

September 15 is the deadline to file MCLE compliance affidavits. MCLE? Affidavit? I know – you have so many questions.

Fortunately, smart State Bar colleagues anticipate your needs. So head to this page to read some useful FAQs about the process.

The page explains how you must complete your CLE tracking page before completing the affidavit. Once you’ve finished entering your tracking information, you can click to reach your affidavit—which now will be pre-populated with the information you provided. It’s kind of like magic, in case magic could be dull and sort of legalistic. But boyoboy is it helpful.

Entered your tracking info? Here are the affidavit-filing instructions.

More questions about the process? Call the Member Resource Center at 602-340-7322.

You're probably in there somewhere: the MCLE filing requirements.

You’re probably in there somewhere: the MCLE filing requirements.

Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank 06-15-17 pro bono State Bar of Arizona lawyers and UnivisionAZ

A small but mighty band of Arizona lawyers offered free family law advice at a June 15 phone bank.

News from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, Public Information and Community Outreach at the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision Arizona hosted an Abogados a Su Lado (attorneys on your side) phone bank Thursday, June 15, 2017. This access-to-justice program was held to connect the Spanish-speaking community with volunteer attorneys who could help address their family law issues in their language.

sba_logo_color State Bar of ArizonaThe event, held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., focused on family law. Here are the attorneys who volunteered their time and abilities:

  • Sylvina Cotto, Cotto Law Firm
  • Carlos Mendez, Slack-Mendez Law Firm
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Diaz Rodriguez & Associates
  • Javier Sobampo, Sobampo Law Firm

These volunteer attorneys answered 25 calls regarding family law issues during the two-hour phone bank.

Sample questions included:

  • How do I file for divorce? Do I need an attorney?
  • Does my spouse have to agree to a divorce? Can I file if my spouse is in Mexico?
  • I would like to give my mother guardianship of my children in case of emergency, how do I do that?
  • How do I petition for parenting time?

The State Bar thanks them for committing their time and experience to consumers through this access to justice program. It also thanks Univision Arizona for its continued partnership in providing this valuable program for the Spanish-speaking community.

Univision-Arizona logo cropped

An adult Gerald Gault and his attorney Amelia Lewis.

An adult Gerald Gault and his attorney Amelia Lewis.

The 50th anniversary of the landmark decision In Re Gault will be the focus of a May 15 event in Phoenix, sponsored by ALWAYS—Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services. The evening next Monday will include a reception and dramatic performance by Rising Youth Theatre.

Gault is the U.S. Supreme Court decision based on an Arizona case that ensured the right to a lawyer for children accused of crimes in juvenile court. More specifically, it held that “juveniles accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be afforded many of the same due process rights as adults, such as the right to timely notification of the charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.”

ALWAYS logo Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services

That evening, ALWAYS also will “honor the leadership behind the Youth Collaborative in Maricopa County with the 2017 Youth and Justice Award.”

  • When: Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Campus

Rising Youth Theatre logoAddress (see map below):

Virginia Piper Auditorium, 600 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Free tickets are available here.

In Arizona Attorney Magazine, we covered the Gault anniversary in our May issue. Start reading here.

Here is an article by Judge Peter Cahill and Sarah Edwards.

Here is an article by Judge Jay Blitzman.

Gault order by Justice Lorna Lockwood for habeas hearing

Gault order by Justice Lorna Lockwood for habeas hearing (click to enlarge)

And here is more information about ALWAYS:

Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services is a nonprofit law office committed to opening the doors of justice for youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness, human trafficking, abuse, or the foster care system. We are attorneys, advocates, and volunteers working together to eliminate legal barriers to success and stability for vulnerable young people in Arizona. We believe every person deserves full access to the justice system, and we work every day to make this a reality for vulnerable youth in Arizona. We provide no-cost legal services to support the safety, stability, and self-sufficiency of our clients. ALWAYS services include full representation, consultations and brief advice, training, and system reform advocacy.

Map to the event:

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