Law Practice


The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to present on communications to hundreds of lawyers. Fortunately, prizes were involved. And soon, I’ll announce even more of them.

No, no prizes for me. My prize was the opportunity once again to speak to legal leaders at the American Bar Association Leadership Institute. I had 30 minutes to explore how and why we all communicate well (and sometimes less than well), as individuals and as associations.

I then got to introduce smart people from bar associations around the country, each of whom addressed a core area of communications: in print, in person, and in electronic media. Those folks were Mark Mathewson of the Illinois Bar, Meredith Avakian of the Philadelphia Bar, and Karen Korr of the San Diego County Bar. I think it’s fair to say we all hit it out of the park. (What, you want evidence? Cruise over here to enjoy the Storify I created from our morning’s presentations. We were all pleased at the amount of engagement that surrounded us, and that clearly extended to the web.)

But … I mentioned prizes.

They included the prizes I handed out during my presentation, when folks accurately answered questions.

The audience was terrific and responded immediately when I queried them. And those who answered correctly received … audiocassettes.

That’s right. Old-fashioned music cassettes. I found them at Phoenix vintage stores, and they were quite a hit. But then again, who doesn’t love Leslie Gore singing “It’s My Party,” or Sonny and Cher reminding us that “I got you, babe”?

Here is a tweet from one attendee who won the Sonny & Cher love:

So what were my questions that led to music prizes, you wonder? I asked the audience to complete a quote by George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

… and I asked what movie was the source for the following quote regarding “turning the dial to 11”:

turn the dial to 11 This Is Spinal Tap

So, why the cassette mania? Well, it had a communications connection. It emerged from an essay that I was taken with, by Don MacKinnon. It’s titled “Mixtapes: The Future of Creation?” You can read it here.

My other prizes—the ones yet to be announced—are being given to audience members who were the session’s best tweeters. The mind races.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you who those talented social-media folks are—and what they’re getting.

In the meantime, you may enjoy a list of all of my sources, compiled (of course) as mixtape liner notes (click to see the PDF):

ABA BLI 2015 additional reading handout eigo

Gallagher & Kennedy associates Hannah Porter and Kimberly Allen pictured with a small selection of the clothing the firm's Professional Women's Group donated to Dress for Success.

Gallagher & Kennedy associates Hannah Porter and Kimberly Allen pictured with a small selection of the clothing the firm’s Professional Women’s Group donated to Dress for Success.

Recently, I was pleased to hear some great news out of a law firm and its Professional Women’s Group. Their efforts represent some of the best elements—and charitable impulses—of the Arizona Bar.

I have written about the Gallagher & Kennedy Professional Women’s Group before. That was when they committed themselves to a year’s worth of reading to school-aged children. You can read about that effort here.

Here is the news from G&K and their work on behalf of Dress for Success. Do you, your law firm or your law office have stories of community contribution? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

“On March 16, 2015, the Gallagher & Kennedy law firm donated more than 300 professional clothing items as well as a monetary donation to the Arizona affiliate of Dress for Success (DFS), an organization that supports women reentering the workforce. Over three weeks in February, the law firm’s Professional Women’s Group collected new and gently used women’s business clothing to donate to the Dress of Success Phoenix boutique. Donations were gathered from others in the Esplanade Complex, vendors and employees of the law firm.”

“The Professional Women’s Group became a new partner for DFS Phoenix in 2014 with members participating in various mentorship opportunities including interview skills and resume writing workshops. ‘Gallagher & Kennedy has been a wonderful partner this year,’ said Pat Torres, boutique coordinator for Dress for Success Phoenix. ‘Their dedication to helping women in the community through their contribution of time, professional expertise and clothing items will have a lasting impact for our clients.’”

“Whether partnering to support the causes of their clients or serving organizations that meet unique personal or professional interests of their employees, hundreds of volunteer service hours are given to hundreds of nonprofit and professional organizations each year by Gallagher & Kennedy employees.”

Kimberly Allen and Hannah Porter, associates with Gallagher & Kennedy, deliver donated items to Dress for Success, Phoenix.

Kimberly Allen and Hannah Porter, associates with Gallagher & Kennedy, deliver donated items to Dress for Success, Phoenix.

 

Rachel Schafer

Rachel Schafer

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.

In the offing are proposed rules that could affect law practice. Comments by March 27.

In the offing are proposed rules that could affect law practice. Comments due by March 27.

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 rules@azbar.org by March 27, 2015.”

For more background, read the committee’s report here and read the rule-change petition here.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

Today I will happily be leading a webinar on the topic of blogging. So there may be no better day than this to share news from an event last week. That annual event, coincidentally, was the subject of my first legal blog post more than five years ago. (I know; you’re tearing up along with me.)

The Learned Hand luncheon continues to wow a packed room at the Hyatt Phoenix with its awards to smart legal luminaries. And the magic of the event continues to be the stellar speeches, not only be the worthy recipients, but also by their nominators. These folks bring it.

This year’s event was last Wednesday, March 11, and as always it is sponsored by the American Jewish Committee’s Arizona Chapter.

AJC American Jewish Committee logoThis year’s honorees were Lawrence Robinson, Elliot Glicksman, and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. (I know; what took them so long?!)

I won’t go on about each of the honoree’s accomplishments. All of the folks were well selected, and, as always, the acceptance speeches were matched by the nominators’ speeches for verve and punch.

The luncheon provides attendees a moment to pause and hear from esteemed peers. As those lawyers and judges, we recall the best ideals of our profession. I’m confident that as listeners stream out onto the busy sidewalk, full from a salmon lunch, they are at least briefly refreshed as they head back to work. Ideally, the lessons they heard will take root and bear fruit in their own lives.

And if you have a moment, <strong>here is what I wrote five years ago, on the occasion of the same lunch in 2010 (when the honorees were Keri Lazarus Silvyn, E.G. “Ted” Noyes, Jr., and Debbie Hill).

judge roxanne song ong headshot

Judge Roxanne Song Ong (ret.)

This Thursday, the annual event called Spring Training for Lawyers will be held. (I mentioned it yesterday, here.)

There is quite a bit of content worth seeing at the event this Thursday and Friday. Topics include (in no particular order) stereotyping, the Hobby Lobby decision, representing clients with disabilities, mindfulness in practice, and immigration law.

Every one of those (plus others) look like great panels helmed by talented lawyers.

But the opening panel on Thursday is the one I really am disappointed to miss. The title is “Perspectives on Diversity in the Legal Profession in Arizona, and it runs from 1:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

The speakers have walked the walk:

  • George Chen, partner at Bryan Cave
  • Booker Evans, shareholder at Gallagher & Kennedy
  • Sonia Martinez, solo practitioner and past President of NABA
  • Ed Maldonado, solo practitioner and past President of Los Abogados
  • Hon. Roxanne Song Ong, retired Presiding Judge of the Phoenix Municipal Court

Topics will include:

  • Challenges facing minority attorneys in the workplace
  • Issues of majority attorneys working with minority lawyers
  • Importance of developing business for minority lawyers

As organizers say, “A full hour is also dedicated for the panelists to interact with the audience, who are encouraged to ask the ‘tough questions’ about minority issues. The panelists will do their best to provide their candid answers.”

More information is here, including the full program, fees (regular, late, and student discount), additional registration and CLE information.

Register here.

Spring Training for Lawyers Minority Bar Convention 2015-page0001

Spring Training for Lawyers Minority Bar Convention 2015-page0001A very short item this morning to remind you of one of my favorite conferences of the year. It’s called Spring Training for Lawyers (formerly the Minority Bar Conference), and it occurs this Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20. I enjoy it for multiple reasons.

If you go, I hope you’ll agree that the speaker panels and plenaries are above average. The location (Desert Willow Conference Center) is also a great venue.

Later this week, I’ll share more detail about a session I think you’d enjoy. (Unfortunately, I can only attend on Friday this week.)

The complete program is here.

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