Law Practice


Ernesto Miranda

Ernesto Miranda

Next week, we have two opportunities to her smart folks talk about a landmark Supreme Court case that arose in Arizona. The case, of course, is Miranda v. Arizona, whose 50 anniversary is this year:

“In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges because he was not informed of his rights during his arrest, making his written and signed confession null and void. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miranda was retried by the state of Arizona and his confession was not used as evidence. Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.”

The first event, on Monday, May 2, includes speakers and historic artifacts, and is hosted by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

  • The Arizona Capitol Museum is celebrating Law Day 2016 with “Miranda: More than Words,” May 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Historic Supreme Courtroom, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix. Admission is free.
  • The lineup of speakers includes the arresting officer in the case, and organizers have partnered with the Phoenix Police Museum for an exhibit on the case.
  • A day-long speaker series in the State Library of Arizona Marguerite B. Cooley Reading Room, one floor above the Historic Supreme Courtroom will include speakers Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley; attorney Bob McWhirter; and retired Capt. Carroll Cooley, Phoenix Police Department arresting officer in the Miranda case.
  • For more information, go here or contact the State Library of Arizona at 602-926-3870.

Miranda Arizona Law-Day-2016_Flyer_opt

The second event, on Wednesday, May 4, features a panel discussion, hosted by the Maricopa County Bar Association:

 

pro bono gavelToday, here is some news you may be able to use—and definitely news you can share. (And please do!)

The State Bar of Arizona is hosting its fifth annual Law Day Legal Aid Clinics this coming Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This valuable event has become one of the Bar’s signature access to justice events.

Law Day 2016 poster in english v2-page0001Co-hosting the event with the State Bar are ABC15 and Univision Arizona.

What happens at the event? Volunteer lawyers will provide free legal consultations on the following topics: divorce and child support/custody, bankruptcy and foreclosure, wills and trusts, and immigration.

And how has the Bar made the day even more accessible? By providing the consultations at two locations: At the Bar offices in Phoenix and at Glendale Community College. Spanish-speaking translators will be available.

All the details, including specific addresses, are here. Or call 602-340-7337 for more information.

Law Day 2016 poster in spanish-page-0_opt

And again, please share this with whomever you think could benefit.

"The Jury" (1861) by John Morgan: Persuading a jury is one important quality of an expert witness. What else do you value?

“The Jury” (1861) by John Morgan: Persuading a jury is one important quality of an expert witness. What else do you value?

I know, as I write this, we are in late April, but I must say a few words about the amazing accomplishment of our magazine staff in creating what, by multiple measures, was a historic March issue of Arizona Attorney.

(Click the images above to see the full covers.)

What made the issue remarkable?

  1. It was a double issue, and you can see both issues here and here. That’s right, with no additional staff and little extra time, we created an entirely separate Expert Witness Supplement.
  2. It had stellar content. The supplement was not only filled with useful resources in the ad portions—display ads and listings of helpful resources. It also had a large number of relevant and well-written articles covering the wide range of expert-witness topics. I owe a huge debt to those authors who stepped up to serve readers.
  3. Our “main” issue did not take a back seat to the scene-stealing Supplement. That issue offered its own law practice-friendly articles, on faulty credit reports and insurance-defense, among others.
  4. Both issues were captured within what I think were award-winning designs. The March issue, for my money, is one of our most eye-catching ever. (A friend from Illinois wrote to say, “WOW! How could you not open that one?”) And the Supplement required a vast rethinking that would allow us to communicate which of the content were the articles at a glance, and to do so in a way that would not break our backs through work—as we had six feature articles to address. Kudos to our Art Director Karen Holub.
  5. The issues were incredibly helpful to readers, advertising-wise. I am a big fan of advertising, which I think can serve readers well (and not just by keeping us profitable!). The ads, especially in the supplement, were targeted to lawyers seeking guidance on expert-witness issues. Kudos to my advertising colleagues Lisa Bormaster and Mikyeila Cordero.
  6. The two issues were produced flawlessly. An incredible amount of research and coordination went into ensuring our costs were in line; our postal regulations were followed; and our product arrived in readers’ mailboxes in a safe and attractive way. Ultimately, we opted for a clear polybag that displayed both of our outward-facing covers. That allowed us to “box above our weight class” and to do so in a cost-effective way. Kudos to our Production Manager Michael Peel.

We are well into April, but I still marvel at our March accomplishment.

I know; you’re eager to see the polybag version. Here it is:

Yes, we plan to issue a double issue next March, as well. If you would like to have your expert-focused article featured in that remarkable magazine, contact me now at arizona.attorney@azbar.org; I’m already developing ideas!

Meantime, I also share with you an interesting article on mistakes lawyers make when procuring expert witnesses.

And, given the topic of my Editor’s Letter in that Supplement, I suggest you read about the Tootsie Pop, which includes scientific studies to address the very question I posed!

The opening to my Editor's Letter in our March 2016 "Expert Witness Special Issue." Tootsie Pops and an owl in a mortarboard get me every time.

The opening to my Editor’s Letter in our March 2016 “Expert Witness Special Issue.” Tootsie Pops and an owl in a mortarboard get me every time.

 State Bar diversity conference 2016 header

Today, a great conference opens in Phoenix that offers a wide variety of content regarding law practice as well as diversity and inclusion in the profession. It is the State Bar’s “Spring Training for Lawyers” (formerly called the Minority Bar Conference).

On the second day of the conference (Friday), I have the privilege to moderate a panel of general counsel on the issue of diversity in law practice.

Leading off the Friday sessions will be our plenary session titled “Knocking It Out of the Ballpark: How Corporate Legal Counsel Are Leading the Way to a Diverse Legal Profession.” Here is a list of the stellar panel:

  • David Falck, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation
  • Lori Chumbler, Senior Associate General Counsel, Walmart
  • Isabella Fu, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
  • Dawn Valdivia, Assistant General Counsel, Honeywell International

As organizers describe our session:

“Join us for this interactive discussion featuring corporate legal counsel to discuss how having a diverse team of lawyers helps their companies achieve their business goals. They’ll share their best practices, lessons learned and how their legal departments are leading the way to a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.”

And leading off that panel discussion will be my own six-minute (or so) intro to where we are in the profession regarding diversity and inclusion. 6 minutes. Hmm. As I prepared for that task, I wondered how we can discuss diversity in 2016 without mentioning … the Oscars.

Seriously, I’m wondering. Because if there is a way to do it, I’ve failed. My presentation will allude to the uncomfortable relationship between the law and the Academy. Here are examples of images from my PowerPoint, which suggests the hashtag #LawSoWhite (and #male and #able-bodied and #cis, because let’s be real):

Oscars so white gif animated

Here’s hoping panelists—and the attendees—have a sense of humor.

Rihanna nope animated gif

For fairness’ sake, I point you to a recent article by friend and journalist Bill Wyman. His analysis of the history of the Academy awards appears in the Columbia Journalism Review and suggests the diversity picture at the Oscars is not nearly as bleak as many have made it. As Bill writes:

“An intelligent discussion of the issue was made much more difficult by a curious exclusion from just about all of the media coverage[:] The Academy Awards have actually greatly improved their recognition of minority actors. In fact, in recent years, their representation, while not exemplary, has climbed into the realm of the respectable. … The lesson here is that Hollywood is sometimes more complicated than its public portrayal.”

Read his whole article and decide for yourself.

All the detail about the State Bar conference is here. I hope you can attend.

The agenda for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

The agenda for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

The sponsors for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

The sponsors for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

A March 10, 2016, forum heard from corporate chief legal officers. From L to R: Matt Ohre, Barrett Jackson General Counsel; Richard Lustiger, Harkins Theatres General Counsel; Larry DeRespino, U-Haul General Counsel; and Ahron Cohen, Barrett Jackson General Counsel.

A March 10, 2016, forum heard from corporate chief legal officers. From L to R: Matt Ohre, Barrett Jackson General Counsel; Richard Lustiger, Harkins Theatres General Counsel; Larry DeRespino, U-Haul General Counsel; and Ahron Cohen, Barrett Jackson General Counsel.

Among the things a lawyer audience appreciates the most are smart and candid remarks by corporate counsel. Those were in rich supply at a March 10 event hosted by the Jewish Federation’s Cardozo Society.

The General Counsel Forum was held at the Phoenix office of Perkins Coie and moderated by Eliot Kaplan, Business & Professionals Chair and partner at the firm.

The panelists were the following General Counsel:

  • Richard Lustiger, Harkins Theatres General Counsel
  • Ahron Cohen, Arizona Coyotes General Counsel
  • Larry DeRespino, U-Haul General Counsel
  • Matt Ohre, Barrett Jackson GC

The topics raised by moderator Eliot Kaplan were well selected as of the most interest to attendees. First up was panelists describing their work and what elements most appealed to them. Audience members were likely not surprised to hear the corporate counsel liked their jobs quite a bit.

Comparing his work in a law firm and his in-house work now, DeRespino appreciates that now there are “fewer distractions expected of me,” and he can focus more simply on the practice of law.

Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix logoIn-house counsel, he said, “get to know a particular client and focus on business solutions. That always was what the practice of law is supposed to be for me.”

But aren’t the hours in-house better? Yes, but … said Richard Lustiger.

“There are fewer hours but they’re more intense. You’re dealing with the crisis du jour.”

The other panelists agreed on the differences between in-house and “outhouse” (which got quite a laugh). Ohre contrasted the difference by describing “legal speed and business speed.” And, like DeRespino, Ahron Cohen enjoys the fact that he can concentrate more on “macro goals” rather than the “micro goals” that are the focus in law firms.

A primary mission of corporate counsel is offering sometimes challenging legal advice that may run hard into the company’s business goals.

Ohre said that he and other corporate counsel may occasionally be called “Mr. No” by colleagues on the business side. But getting brought in earlier in a strategic process may decrease the prevalence of No in the conversation.

Cohen agreed and said finding a way to say yes goes a long way. If the lawyer can help the company achieve its business goals, that will help foster trust in the legal department.

“The legal department should not get the reputation of being the place where deals go to die,” said Lustiger—though he added that some deals need to die. “Improve the output and be a better partner for the company.”

Communicating clearly, concisely, and free of legalese is probably the most important skill an in-house counsel can develop, panelists agreed.

“You have to learn to talk to people who may not particularly like lawyers,” said DeRespino. “It’s a complex dynamic when you want someone to heed your counsel.”

From L to R: Raphael Avraham, Cardozo Society Chair; Richard Lustiger, Harkins Theatres General Counsel; Ahron Cohen, Arizona Coyotes General Counsel; Eliot Kaplan, Business & Professionals Chair and Partner at Perkins Coie; Larry DeRespino, U-Haul General Counsel; Matt Ohre, Barrett Jackson General Counsel.

From L to R: Raphael Avraham, Cardozo Society Chair; Richard Lustiger, Harkins Theatres General Counsel; Ahron Cohen, Arizona Coyotes General Counsel; Eliot Kaplan, Business & Professionals Chair and Partner at Perkins Coie; Larry DeRespino, U-Haul General Counsel; Matt Ohre, Barrett Jackson General Counsel.

But all of that work building relationships is worth it, DeRespino added.

“It’s a tremendous value to speak with your client with absolute candor.”

More information about the Cardozo Society is here. Congratulations to moderator Eliot Kaplan and the Society for a terrific program.

For being tweeterific, Yvonne McGhee will receive Gary Vaynerchuk's great new book.

For being tweeterific, Yvonne McGhee will receive Gary Vaynerchuk’s great new book.

A few weeks ago, I made a promise to a roomful of lawyers. Today, I’m (finally) making good on that promise.

Standing on a Chicago dais, I was privileged to present to about 400 folks at the ABA Bar Leadership Institute. My topic was strategic communication. (Here is a PDF of my PowerPoint.)

Yvonne C. McGhee, Executive Director of The Virginia Bar Association (and quite a tweeter!)

Yvonne C. McGhee, Executive Director of The Virginia Bar Association (and quite a tweeter!)

I opened my presentation by making the following promise: The best tweet/tweeter from that morning session, as determined solely by me, would be deemed the winner of a great new book by Gary Vaynerchuk. The book is titled #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness. (And you can buy it yourself in multiple places, including here.)

My thinking was that those who were great tweeters—and thus great communicators—might make the best use of Gary’s great tips and insights.

So without further ado, I offer you, as the winner: Yvonne McGhee, executive director of the Virginia Bar Association. In person or online, Yvonne is a consummate communicator.

Below you can see her winning tweet, which shared in my amusement at Facebook’s new emoji called the “ha-ha.”

Congratulations, Yvonne. Send me your snail-mail address and the book will be speeding your way!

Here, by the way, are the new Facebook emoji:

Spot the ha-ha in the new Facebook emoji.

Spot the ha-ha in the new Facebook emoji.

To show how difficult my selection process was, I share also a few other tweets that made me chuckle or even LOL. First, a hilarious comment by Elizabeth Derrico of the New York State Bar Association regarding the likely result of my urging Snapchat use by bar leaders:

Next, Robin Lynn Haynes, Washington State Bar Association President-Elect, gets my props for sharing my love for English majors:

Institutionally, the Albany County Bar shared its love of dogs and then shared their own. Dogs are always among the best tweets:

Finally, Vermont Bar Counsel Michael Kennedy recognized the love my presentation had for Beyonce. Hat tip to you, Michael:

Thank you to the many, many attendees who participated in the tweetup in Chicago. You’re the best!

Oh, Twitter, right back atcha with that #love!

Oh, Twitter, right back atcha with that #love!

Some of you may find the following fact unastonishing: Today is the 10-year anniversary of Twitter.

Happy birthday, Twitter. I’m happy you’re here!

That most agile of social media channels has had some growing pains in the past year, and I am rooting for it to emerge stronger than ever.

The reason I’m a fan has everything to do with reader engagement—and the ability to learn news as it’s happening, rather than when a news conglomerate decides to drip-drip-drip out information.

Yes, in fact, Twitter does have a signature.

Yes, in fact, Twitter does have a signature.

Here at Arizona Attorney Magazine, Twitter was a game-changer. It has allowed us to know what was happening in real time. And it allowed us to share news as it broke. Pre-Twitter, unless you were the Associated Press, a TV channel, or a major daily newspaper, you were pretty much sidelined from breaking news, even in your own beat. But sweet sweet Twitter changed all that.

It’s helped in other ways. This past Friday, I presented to hundreds of legal leaders at the American Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Institute. I also invited continued dialogue on Twitter, and promised a gift of a terrific book to the best tweeter from the session. (More on that later.) No surprise, engagement spiked.

Because the digital world is all-knowable and all-knowing, I was able to look up my very first tweet, way back on August 12, 2009 (you can see it below). I was relieved that I did NOT launch my Twitter brief with a mention about my lunch. Instead, my inaugural tweet happens to combine a few of my fondest interests: lawyers and legal affairs, human rights, and historic preservation. A social-media trifecta!

my first tweet 08-2009-page0001

My first tweet: 140 characters pack a punch.

That was almost 25,000 tweets ago, and I am looking forward to all the conversations to come.

Feel free to follow me here; I’m pretty sure we’ll have a blast together!

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