Law Practice


Phoenix Startup Week logo-page0001

Those of us at our desks this week are clearly doing innovation wrong. That’s all I can conclude as Phoenix Startup Week is kicking off. Time to get our creative on.

Don’t know what the week entails? Here’s a description:

Phoenix Startup Week is a five-day celebration of our community happening February 23-27th 2015. Over 130 free events created by other entrepreneurs to give back and make our community better. Each day will focus on a certain part of the valley:

  • Feb 23 – Downtown Phoenix
  • Feb 24 – Downtown Scottsdale
  • Feb 25 – Tempe
  • Feb 26 – North Scottsdale
  • Feb 27 – Arcadia Biltmore

So my note to you today is already what we call “late.” But there is still time to get out of your box and into someone else’s creative session.

The complete details are here, and you can register here.

They’re on Facebook too.

As a service to all the readers who think that my blog posts must be legal in some way, I provide the following community service. Here is a list of the attorneys who are speaking at Startup week events, and the title of their presentations. I leave it to you to head over to the Internets and locate the time and place of their wow-ishness:

  • Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton: Kickoff
  • Brian Burt, Snell & Wilmer: How To Negotiate Contracts
  • Ruth Carter, Venjuris PC: The Lawyer Is In! Open Q&A on Starting a Business, Contracts, & Social Media Law
  • Joe Chandler, Fennemore Craig PC: Beyond Start-Up: Evolving Legal Challenges as Your Business Grows
  • Michelle Gross, Booth Udall Fuller PLC: Patent Basics for Entrepreneurs
  • Laura Rogal, Jaburg Wilk: You Have An Idea—Now What? Protecting Your IP For Startups

(I apologize in advance if I missed any lawyers in the extensive speaker list. Nobody’s perfect.)

And for some fun, please enjoy this essay titled “5 Reasons Your Lawyerless Startup Is Doomed From the Start” by Raad Ahmed. It’s rip-out-and-save useful.

Finally, you may agree with me that there is more to the entrepreneurial life than the legal side. So if you have a moment, do seek out and attend sessions by the following great people, whom I’ve had the great pleasure to know and learn from personally:

  • Amy Donohue, NetworkingPhoenix, social media workshop coach: Twitter 101 Workshop
  • Park Howell, President of Park&Co: Conjure Your Innate Power as a Storyteller
  • Christina Noble, architect and owner of Contour Architecture: Creative City: How Architecture Impacts Collaboration

Let’s get Started.

AZTurboCourt e-filing logoToday I share the following item from the Arizona Supreme Court about their next step in making Arizona an e-filing state. As they say, the automated case system launched on Tuesday in Pima County.

The next generation of court automation has arrived in the Superior Court in Pima County. AZTurboCourt is available for civil case initiation and civil subsequent filing in the Pima County Superior Court beginning February 17, 2015. Opening a civil case and submitting additional materials related to the case used to require a visit to the Clerk of the Superior Court. In-person trips to the Clerk to file a Pima County civil case will be a thing of the past with the launch of AZTurboCourt.

Law offices will need to establish an account in AZTurboCourt before making their first filing. Please be aware that it may take three to four days to set up your payment account. For information on how to register and set up a payment account please go here and click on the “Training Manuals” or “Tutorial Videos” link.

Live and online training classes will be available starting February 9. The training sessions will include step-by-step instructions on launching an account, e-filing a case, attaching documents, and other tips to ensure that an electronic submission is not delayed due to errors.

A training manual and self-paced training videos are available on our website here. There are several differences between the Maricopa County application and the Pima County application, so training is highly encouraged. To sign up for an in-person or WebEx training class, please visit here.

AAABA Arizona Asian American Bar Association logoTalented and smart law students in Arizona are being encouraged to apply for an esteemed scholarship named for former Judge Thomas Tang. The sponsor is the Arizona Asian American Bar Association.

The application (link below) is straightforward, and it includes a question that applicants must answer (in no more than two pages):

“What is the importance of diversity in education and employment and how will your education, background, and perspective on diversity be a benefit as a leader in society and in relation to your law practice?”

The deadline is Friday, March 20, 2015, at 11:00 p.m.

ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown

ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown

Anyone who attended this week’s John P. Morris Memorial Lecture at ASU Law School may have a jump-start in conceptualizing their essay. That’s because ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown spoke on “The Importance of Diversity & Inclusion in the Law.” It was the 15th annual Morris Lecture, and she also spoke in celebration of Black History Month. (Thank you to NAPABA President George Chen for the heads-up.)

Here is more background from AAABA:

Do you know a law student who attends a law school in Arizona?

If so, then encourage him or her to apply for The Thomas Tang Law Scholarship, which is funded by AAABA and awarded in honor of the late Judge Thomas Tang. Up to four scholarships may be awarded in an amount of at least $2,000 each.

Awards will be presented at AAABA’s annual installation and scholarship banquet to be held on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

Additional information about the scholarship can be found in the application, which you can download here.

A vintage building in downtown Phoenix could house a vibrant restaurant called The Dressing Room. A Kickstarter campaign could play a part.

A vintage building in downtown Phoenix could house a vibrant restaurant called The Dressing Room. A Kickstarter campaign could play a part.

Last week, I got a nudge from friend and gallery-owner Wayne Rainey. He was alerting me (and probably everyone he knows) about a restaurant startup that has the potential to make a big difference on Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix. In case you don’t know, Roosevelt Street is a place that is making a big difference in the City of Phoenix (and has been for years), and is even getting national attention for its vibrancy and artist-focused approach. (Here is just one recent example of the buzz smart Phoenicians have been able to create).

The restaurant initiative is called The Dressing Room, and I happily clicked through to read more; my experience is, if Wayne is involved, it is worth looking at.

I saw that it was a Kickstarter campaign, and I read all the information available about the chefs and their vision. Heads up: The Kickstarter closes on Tuesday, Feb. 24. You can read about it here.

And then I did something I don’t always do as I read Kickstarter pages: I watched the video.

Why? I don’t know. At least part of the reason is that hoped Wayne had directed and/or conceptualized it, as I would then be assured it would be compelling and watchable.

It was all that, but something else in the video leads me to share the Kickstarter with you today: I spotted some lawyers—good ones, too!

The video offers the chef–proprietors—Troy Watkins and Kyu Utsunomiya—the opportunity to explain their vision and their building plans. Both are ambitious; the rooftop dining area alone would make the restaurant a neighborhood favorite. From there, diners and imbibers could view the skyline, the sunset, and even the throngs of First Friday attendees. It’s a great idea.

But the video also let us view a casual dinner, hosted in Wayne Rainey’s monOrchid Gallery next door. There, the chefs presented sample dishes, and a gathering of neighborhood, business, and arts advocates noshed and chatted.

That alone would be enough for me to share this with friends and possible investors. But then I spotted two attorneys in the video.

monOrchid Gallery

monOrchid Gallery

I have come to know Nicole France Stanton pretty well over the years, and she is now the managing partner at the Phoenix office of Quarles & Brady.

Edward Hermes also appears in and speaks in the video. He is a Quarles associate attorney and practices in the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Indian Law Groups.

Nicole Stanton

Nicole Stanton

They and others spoke eloquently in the video about what makes a restaurant more than a site to find food. These are people who understand placemaking and urban vibrancy.

(Also present in the video is Upward Projects partner Lauren Bailey. Don’t know Upward? You may know their work. They own and run restaurants like Postino, Federal Pizza, Windsor and Joyride Taco. Having her attend the dinner and be in the video is a pretty positive sign for the restaurateurs. I reached out to Lauren for her thoughts on The Dressing Room concept. I haven’t heard back, but I’ll update this post if she contacts me.)

Late last week, I called Nicole Stanton to find out what attracted her to this venture.

The self-described “longtime friend and supporter” of Wayne told me she “loves the space and the story”—not to mention the food.

“I was intrigued because we are always looking for places to meet clients. Sometimes, you want something off the beaten trail.”

Stanton says she is always pleased to show off the neighborhood known as Roosevelt Row.

“Roosevelt Row makes us a real city. You have to have a vibrant arts community,” and that’s what you find there, she says.

“These are the folks who built the fabric of our city,” she continues. Roosevelt “expands your vision of what downtown is.”

She describes the food as terrific and “creative, comfortable, yet firmly grounded,” and she speaks more broadly about what comprises “the flavoring for the city.”

Local business owners are the life blood of the community. You never know who the next Sam Fox will be. We should be promoting their success.”

(Stanton also mentions another favorite restaurant. Oven + Vine is in midtown, and I agree that it is wonderful.)

As Wayne says in the video, “This is about feeding our community.” If you have ever been moved by the downtown artists district, you may want to head over to the Kickstarter page to learn more. And if you find some spare bills in your pocket, all the better.

Ernest W McFarland Ariz Archives

Ernest W. McFarland (Ariz. Archives)

Arizona Statehood Day is this weekend, and what better way to celebrate than to honor someone who made an amazing mark on the state.

On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 14, from 2:00 to 3:00, there will be a dedication of the Ernest W. McFarland Memorial and the American Dream Memorial.

The organizers say:

Ernest McFarland

Ernest McFarland

“The public is invited to the unveiling of the new memorial to honor the legacy of ‘Mac’ on Statehood Day. Please join us for a discussion of the McFarland legacy, the symbolism behind the site, and a ceremonial dedication of the memorial to the people of Arizona. Tours will be available immediately following the event. For more information or to RSVP, please call (602) 466-3333.”

The location is Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, 1700 W. Washington Street, Phoenix AZ 85007.

More information is here. And some great photos of the memorial are here.

Not sure you can quite place McFarland? Consider this opener in Wikipedia, and then re-examine your own life’s achievements!

“Ernest William McFarland (October 9, 1894 – June 8, 1984) was an American politician and, with Warren Atherton, is considered one of the ‘Fathers of the G.I. Bill.’ He is the only Arizonan to serve in the highest office in all three branches of Arizona government—two at the state level, one at the federal level. He was a Democratic Senator from Arizona from 1941 to 1953 (Majority Leader from 1951 to 1953) before serving as the tenth Governor of Arizona from 1955 to 1959. Finally McFarland sat as Chief Justice on the Arizona Supreme Court in 1968.”

Ernest McFarland Memorial artist rendering

Ernest McFarland Memorial artist rendering

Center for Plain Language logoHere is an annual story I always enjoy: the award for plainness in writing emanating from the federal government.

Thanks to the Center for Plain Language, we now know which government departments wrote cleanly and crisply in the past year—and which ones fell far short.

As reporter Lisa Rein describes the results in the Washington Post, those that did well included Homeland Security (I know; I can’t believe it either), the Social Security Administration, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. But:

“The poor performers landing at the bottom of the 2014 Federal Plain Language Report Card were the Interior, State and Education departments. Interior and State didn’t submit writing samples, and their programs are anemic, the report said, while Education earned passing grades for writing and design but a “D” in compliance with the law.”

The Post story also provides the following example of muddy writing, this one coming from the U.S. Coast Guard:

The Coast Guard's at sea: The opposite of plain writing.

The Coast Guard’s at sea: The opposite of plain writing.

Oy. Maybe I should send the Coast Guard a copy of one of many great writing books I’ve re-read over the years, The Craft of Clarity by Robert Knight.

See the Center’s complete report card here.

The Craft of Clarity by Robert Knight book coverAlways on the hunt for simplification and clarity in our little corner of the world, I just conducted a small experiment on an online “readability calculator,” using our own written copy from Arizona Attorney Magazine.

This website will give you all kinds of data about the writing of you or others. Just paste in a sample of the writing and it will tell you the grade level the piece might best “reach.”

Using content from the upcoming March issue of the magazine, I pasted in exemplars from a few lawyer-written articles. I was pleased to see they came in at the range of 10th grade through 12th grade. (No, you really don’t want your language to reach exactly the grade level most of your readers have achieved. Readers are busy, and a readability score of 19, based on the average years of schooling of an attorney, is simply a recipe for disaster and obfuscation. A modest 10-12 is just fine.)

And then I pasted in my own editor’s column from the same issue. That’s when I saw it yielded a readability score of 7.0. That is 7th grade.

Sounds about right.

The good news: Time-stressed readers will not be overly taxed by giving my column a quick read.

The bad news: It looks like I’ll never get into the Coast Guard.

Have a wonderful—and rigorously disentangled—weekend.

We may already be into February, but it’s never too late for a resolution—especially when it involves access to justice.

Here I share my editor’s column from the January 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine. You can read the entire (terrific!) issue here.

Kevin Ruegg (left) and Lillian Johnson were honored at a November 2014 Morris Institute for Justice event.

Kevin Ruegg (left) and Lillian Johnson were honored at a November 2014 Morris Institute for Justice event.

 

Are you a big advocate of New Year’s Resolutions?

Me either. But a recent event has me rethinking my position.

In late November, a parade of respected lawyers and judges gathered to laud some folks who have offered tremendous service to the legal profession, and to those who rely on it. Through their incredible contributions, the two individuals also have served the cause of increasing access to justice—even through the toughest of times.

Kevin Ruegg, of the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, and Lillian Johnson, of Community Legal Services, were the people recognized that night at the University Club in Phoenix. And the kind and accurate words offered in their praise highlight our good fortune in Arizona. But they also highlight the unmet need (and our shared 2015 resolution; more on that soon).

The assembled speakers were luminaries themselves, and they called themselves privileged to be asked to praise the two women.

Judge Joe Kreamer said that they care deeply about those who require legal services—and just as deeply about those sitting in front of them or working in their offices.

Judge Kreamer told listeners how Lillian is committed to the collaborative aspects of access to justice, and attorney Marc Kalish added, “Anyone who has ever served on the CLS board ends his or her service with one emotion: love.”

I think it can safely be said that is a rare characteristic indeed of board service.

Of Kevin Ruegg, Todd Lang said, “She’s a healer for our community and for her staff. She has made a difference in so many ways.”

It is accurate, I believe, to apply an element of Todd’s praise to Kevin, Lillian and Ellen Katz, Executive Director of the William E. Morris Institute for Justice: They are “among the special heroes for justice.” (Todd brought smiles when he described the passionate but mild-mannered Katz as “relentless and remorseless.”)

That night, we also heard remarks from Chief Justice Scott Bales, Judge Larry Winthrop, and Judge Roxanne Song Ong (who said she headed up the “Kevin Ruegg Fan Club”).

So what do we take away from the fact that two of the most humble but hardest-working people in Arizona were honored?

For that—our Resolution—I turn to Todd Lang.

He reminded everyone that those who gathered that night had already given much. The room was filled with folks committed to legal aid, and access to justice, and legal education. Badgering those people to do more is probably not the solution.

Perhaps you fall within one of those esteemed groups. If so, thank you. But if not, digging deep and giving what you can to a legal aid organization can make a tremendous difference. And for both groups, you may still have a Resolution to offer: As Todd said, “Get your friend to give.” That’s right, commit to becoming an unabashed advocate for access to justice issues. Decide today that you will become a royal pain to colleagues and friends in 2015, the one they can count on to beat that lonely drum.

You never know; you may start a band.

 

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,699 other followers