Law School

Law students (maybe not really) await their mascot auditions (not really) in a new video from UC-Hastings College of Law.

Law students (maybe not really) await their mascot auditions (not really) in a new video from UC-Hastings College of Law.

There are a lot of things that might stir pride in your alma mater, even including your law school (OK, that’s a stretch.) But I’m not sure what emotion is stirred by a recent humorous announcement that Hastings Law is trying … mascots.

Before you get too deep into law school irritation (yes, it’s a thing), take a deep breath and realize: It’s a joke.

Yes, the University of California–Hastings College of Law did put out a video of a faux mascot competition. But they only did it to drive home the message that they are wholly focused on law, and not those many other things schools of general knowledge spend time on.


Here’s the video, which I rather enjoyed.

But then I started thinking: Maybe a mascot wouldn’t be so bad. Ever so briefly, it might take your mind off tax law, and damages, and civil procedure, and all those horrible things we discovered in torts that a vacuum could do. I mean, what if law schools around the nation lent their imaginations to the effort to select mascots that befit their mission and their clientele? What would they come up with?

And what would you come up with? I really wanna know. Send me a note ( indicating your best law school mascot idea, which I may share, depending on the absence of obscenities.

Just so you know, sharks or shark-related ideas will be declined by me as the decider. Not because they’re not funny. But just because they’re altogether too easy.

Happy Change of Venue Friday. Enjoy your weekend—and always keep swimming.

A sample of photos by Matika Wilbur, via Project 562.

A sample of photos by Matika Wilbur, via Project 562.

If you’re fortunate enough to have today off for Indigenous People’s Day, I’ve got a suggestion for the best place to spend it: The Heard Museum in Phoenix, which has a series of events to commemorate the day.

Here is a list of the events, which begin at 12:30 p.m.

You may have heard that the Phoenix City Council voted that the city would celebrate Indigenous People’s Day. That makes it the largest U.S. city to celebrate the annual event.

As the news story reported:

The proposal to create Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Phoenix emerged in May, when residents Jeff Malkoon and Carlos Bravo submitted to the city an application for a historical commemoration.

“The city of Phoenix is built on what was the Hohokam civilization,” Malkoon told council members. “We just think this is a significant statement for a city like Phoenix, being such a center point in the Southwest.”

And this is part of a growing national trend, as CNN reports.

In what was a great preview of Monday’s Heard events, audience members at the Heard Sunday afternoon heard from two artists and two lawyers on the intersection of art, Indian identity and law. (I wrote about the event here.)

That gathering included insights from artists Matika Wilbur and Gregg Deal.

Deal’s film “The Last American Indian on Earth” was screened. It shows, in surprising and occasionally humorous ways, the complicated relationship mainstream American society has with Native culture.

Wearing a faux historic Indian costume (manufactured in China, for good measure), Deal strode about Washington DC. The reactions he got were troubling and laden with meaning.

As Deal says in the voiceover, “When you let the cameras roll, Americans, they don’t disappoint.”

As one hand-written sign he holds tells passersby, “My spirit animal is white guilt.”

L to R at the Heard Museum panel on Indian identity, art, and law, Oct. 9, 2016: Matika Wilbur, Kevin Gover, Gregg Deal, Brett Shelton.

L to R at the Heard Museum panel on Indian identity, art, and law, Oct. 9, 2016: Matika Wilbur, Kevin Gover, Gregg Deal, Brett Shelton.

Matika Wilbur then spoke, presenting her itinerant photo experience with Project 562, which aims to photograph citizens of each federally recognized tribe in the United States (there are now 566).

As she describes on her site:

“Most of the time, I’ve been invited to geographically remote reservations to take portraits and hear stories from a myriad of tribes, while at other times I’ve photographed members of the 70 percent of Native Americans living in urban settings. My hope is that when the project is complete, it will serve to educate the nation and shift the collective consciousness toward recognizing our own indigenous communities.”

A longtime educator from Seattle, Wilbur asked, “When are we going to stop asking our children to choose between cultural education and Western education?”

Wilbur also spoke about how Indian identity is “inextricably connected to the land.” Discussing the sensation known as solastalgia—separation from home—she wondered how the Cocopah, for instance, known as the people of the blue-green water, could be Cocopah if access to that water is denied or destroyed.

In the subsequent panel discussion, attorney Kevin Gover addressed that issue and the way violations have been visited on Native peoples by the American legal system. For example, in Fletcher v. Peck (1810), the U.S. Supreme Court determined that Indian title to land was not true title, as Indians were itinerant hunters and had never been farmers—an absolute misstatement of the facts. But it was decisions like that which provided the veneer of law to unjust decisions.

In fact, Gover pointed out, the most famous Native-land-title cases were collusive ones, manufactured conflicts presented by land speculators to prod a desired outcome from a compliant Court. To America’s enduring shame, the Court proved a willing co-conspirator in the effort.

The American legal system, Gover said, “played a huge role in the removal and dispossession of Native peoples.”

Through their art, Matika Wilbur and Gregg Deal explore America’s complicated relationship with Native peoples. As a teacher, Wilbur reminded the audience that these mainstream viewpoints are learned ones, and that the dominant Western view of Indians helps shield society from honest appraisals.

To illustrate that, she showed search results in Google images from searches for the simple terms “African American,” “Asian American,” “Hispanic American,” and, finally, “Native American.”

Among all of those searches, the Native American search was the only one that yielded an almost uniform view of Indians as historic beings—and actually as faux historic beings. Nearly every image reconfirms the popular image of Indians as conceptualized 150 years ago.

Google image search results for "Native American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “Native American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

Where are the modern Indians who live among us, Wilbur asked.

They are all about us, Wilbur and Deal said. If people are willing to see.

Again, here are today’s Heard Museum events.

Google image search results for "Asian American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “Asian American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for "African American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “African American,” Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for "Hispanic American," Oct. 9, 2016.

Google image search results for “Hispanic American,” Oct. 9, 2016.


Arizona Summit Law School has announced it is seeking an affiliation with a "major university" partner.

Arizona Summit Law School has announced it is seeking an affiliation with a “major university” partner.

Yesterday afternoon, Arizona Summit Law School in downtown Phoenix issued the following press release regarding its goal to affiliate with a university rather than remain a standalone law school. A school spokeswoman said that they expect to complete the affiliation “within the year.” What such an affiliation “with a major university” ultimately means for Summit is unclear; I’ll be reaching out to school officials in coming days to ask about their strategic thinking. At this point, the school has said that the collaboration would “allow lower tuition, improved economies of scale in pursuit of mission to provide legal education to diverse and non-traditional students.”

 I’ll report more when I learn more. And if you are a Summit student or faculty member, feel free to contact me anytime at

 Here’s the release:

PHOENIX, AZ (August 15, 2016): Arizona Summit Law School (Summit), one of the nation’s few independent law schools, intends to affiliate with a major university within the year.

“The decision to affiliate reflects the strong commitment we have to our students,” said Don Lively, Summit president. “We conducted a survey of our students and learned that 67% of them would prefer attending a law school that is part of a university system. Toward this end, we are in advanced negotiations with a few universities that share our mission and values. The advantages of this transition are multifold. It will strengthen Summit’s reputation, make its program more affordable, reduce tuition dependency, result in stronger academic support systems and improved outcomes, enhance faculty and institutional development opportunities, create interdepartmental synergies, and significantly enhance the ability to achieve our mission of diversifying legal education and the legal profession.”

AZ Summit Law School Phoenix Law logoFounded in 2005, Summit was designed and developed by legal educators concerned about the direction of traditional legal education, which has drifted from the realities of the contemporary legal profession. Summit recognizes not only the need for change, but also the opportunity to become a benchmark institution for the 21st Century. Its goals include graduating students who truly are practice-ready and, most importantly, diversifying one of the nation’s least diverse professions.

In its short history, Summit has earned numerous awards for diversity and innovation—including being a two-time winner of the American Bar Association Gambrell Award. Summit students last year logged more than 100,000 public service hours. The school’s career placement rate for JD advantage, bar pass required, and professional positions leads all 50 tier two law schools. It has a student loan default rate of less than 2%, which is one of the best among the nation’s universities and law schools (including many state universities and ivy league schools).

Dean Shirley Mays Arizona Summit Law School

Dean Shirley Mays, Arizona Summit Law School

Dean Shirley Mays notes that, “our mission entails admitting many students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have lower entering credentials but the potential to succeed. Our ability to and record of enabling success is evidenced by an ultimate bar pass rate that complies with ABA standards, our strong career placement rate, and many stories from employers who prefer to hire our graduates because of their preparedness for practice and strong work ethic. Dean Mays added “over the past decade, we have had a profound impact on the legal profession’s diversity in Arizona. In 2004, the state bar’s diversity rate was 8% compared to the overall state population’s diversity rate of ~40%. In 2015, we had a graduate diversity rate of 31% compared with the 15% diversity rate of the state’s other schools.”

Summit’s latest milestone on its mission of diversity is a program offering full scholarships plus $5,000 in living expenses to students with an LSAT score of 150 or above. The program, another market of its innovative mindset, is targeting students who are members of historically or economically disadvantaged groups and is being coordinated in partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Legal education traditionally has assumed that schools must choose between high LSAT scores and diversity. The Summit scholarship initiative demonstrates that it can preserve a mission of diversity and, at the same time, increase the entering credentials of its students and ultimately its first-time bar pass rate.

The legal profession has changed dramatically in recent years, but law schools generally have not kept pace. Within this context, new leadership in legal education likely will emerge. Summit is building a school created not only to respond to but lead change and be recognized as an institution of true social utility. For more information, please visit

ASU Center for Law and Society, Phoenix (Courtesy ASU)

ASU Center for Law and Society, Phoenix (Courtesy ASU)

This evening, ASU opens its newest venture in downtown Phoenix, the $129 million Center for Law and Society.

The new six-story building will house multiple uses, including the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, which has moved to Phoenix from the Tempe campus.

I went on a preview tour last week, and the building is impressive in many ways. Here is the Arizona Republic’s article on the building.

Reading room, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Reading room, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

At the preview, architect Tomas Rossant of Ennead Architects described the “thesis of the building” as connecting the citizens of Arizona to the law. He said the structure, sited in the block southeast of the corner of First Street and Taylor, will be a focal point for the downtown campus.

Rossant said the goal was to make the building “completely open, free, and democratic. This will be the most publicly accessible law school in the nation.”

“We want this place to supplement City Hall as the location people come to gather, redress grievances, and engage as citizens.”

Through the architecture and its accessibility, Rossant said, we are “trying to tell the public that the law belongs to you.”

ASU's Tom Williams speaks during a media tour of the Center for Law and Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

ASU’s Tom Williams speaks during a media tour of the Center for Law and Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

At the tour, ASU’s Thomas Williams, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and the institution, said, “We will never have more marble than Yale or more Ivy than Harvard. But that’s not who we are. We’re looking to the future, and we’re ready to experience new things, and pivot and try again when we have to.”

Architect Tomas Rossant (left) and ASU's Tom Williams lead a media tour of the new Center for Law and Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

Architect Tomas Rossant (left) and ASU’s Tom Williams lead a media tour of the new Center for Law and Society, Aug. 10, 2016.

One of the driving forces of the new building will be to connect people through technology. In fact, the building has a dedicated app created by the company Unified Field. When in operation and once a user downloads it, it communicates your location to the building, and multiple screens scattered throughout the structure offer you customized information to assist your visit. The app will be available through all the usual online stores.

ASU's Tom Williams demonstrates touchscreen technology that will interact with a dedicated building app.

ASU’s Tom Williams demonstrates touchscreen technology that will interact with a dedicated building app.

The app was not live at the media tour, but it is this morning, so I’ve downloaded it. I look forward to seeing how it works. In the meantime, here are a few app screenshots (click images to enlarge).

After the media tour, I dropped by the law school’s teaching law firm, the ASU Alumni Law Group. Managing partner Marty Harper showed me around. The two-story firm includes spaces for its attorneys, staff, and an area dedicated to triaging potential clients’ legal matters.

Be sure to see the university’s new website dedicated to the building.

A few of us on the magazine staff will be attending the grand opening tonight. We’ll report back, in Arizona Attorney Magazine and online.

Apps do a lot, but have you read their terms of use?

Apps do a lot, but have you read their terms of use?

This past weekend, when I had a few spare moments, I was perusing the terms of use of my Snapchat account.

What, doesn’t everyone do that?

Probably not. But we occasionally should wonder a little more about the legal side of those app-tastic tools.

For instance, I was struck by the open approach at the very top of those terms. In fact, they highlight a binding arbitration provision you may be agreeing to. The ALL-CAPS are theirs:


Charming, in a way—though certainly driven by courts that have looked askance at such provisions when they are hidden away, deep down in legalese. But no one who glanced at even the top sentence of Snap’s term could miss that blunt warning.

Turns out, I could have opted out of the requirement of mandatory binding arbitration, simply by sending a letter to that effect to their snail-mail address (within 30 days of these changed terms).

Did I? No, though I considered it simply as a fun exercise (and a second blog post!). I passed on the legal Bartleby moment partly through laziness. But partly also because I’m just conspiracy-theory-amenable enough that I would fear they’d take the six, or eight, or 10 decline-letters they receive every month and “accidentally” close our accounts.

Irrational? I get it. Whatevs.

And apparently, I’m not the only one fascinated by terms of service. Just this morning, the lead question in the ABA Journal’s legal-news quiz focused on PokemonGo’s TofS. So there:

PokemonGo terms of service was a subject in an ABA Journal news quiz this week. Do you know the answer? I did.

PokemonGo terms of service was a subject in an ABA Journal news quiz this week. Do you know the answer? I did.

Meantime, to add to our social media joy, how many of us are aware that social media clauses in prenuptial agreements are now a thing?

Plastic bride and groom with gavel, on white - divorce conceptIt’s true. Not only might you want to keep grandma’s stocks and grandpa’s bullion out of the hands of your formerly betrothed. Now, you want them to keep their hands off your social media assets.

Romantic, I know.

Read the essay by Jaburg Wilk attorney Jason Castle here. And follow him on Twitter @CastleAzlaw @Jaburg_Wilk

As Jason tells us:

“For example, the clause would address what and how information is shared whether it is positive, negative, insulting, embarrassing or includes flattering photos, images, or other content. I recommend keeping the clause as broad as possible to accommodate the rapidly growing technology because the technology of today will be outdated within 10 years. I also believe prior to marriage it is important for the parties to clearly understand what they each define as private and what is acceptable to be shared with others. Another component of a social media clause can include the ability to monitor the other spouse’s social media activities.”

And that’s even before he gets to the awfulness of revenge porn. I mean, people are the worst.

What new technology–law–love mashups have you come across recently? (And do you also read terms of use of your apps? Please say you do.)

Very scientific Venn diagram catalogs the human condition. love technology law

Very scientific Venn diagram catalogs the human condition.

To make the whole thing more legally accessible, I’ve created the Venn diagram above. You’re welcome. (And for all my law school professors who wondered about my legal acumen: Boom!)

Comment below or write to me at

ASU Law School says goodbye to Armstrong Hall

Typically, law schools stay planted in a spot for, I don’t know, an eternity. So it’s definitely news that the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is moving to downtown Phoenix this year.

But that means they are leaving behind their home since the school was founded in 1968. And that means a party.

Tomorrow, Friday, May 20, the school invites “alumni, friends, supporters, faculty, staff, and current students to come together for a day of festivities to celebrate the past and prepare for the move to the Arizona Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix. We will also honor Professor David Kader as he retires after 36 years on the ASU Law faculty and 41 years as a law professor.”

The “toast and roast” to the old building will be preceded by actual educational offerings (where lunch will be served to those attending those offerings). I’ve included the agenda and offerings below.

More detail about the festivities is here.

Because space is limited, be sure to register for the free event (though voluntary donations support law student scholarships).

Finally, though time is short, the school would still love to hear your memories and anecdotes; maybe they can become part of Friday’s event.

Do you have a story to share?

“If you would like to share in advance your story, memories, photos or videos for the Toast & Roast portion of the event, please click here to upload them. We can accept files up to 2MB. Contact Julia Moore at (480) 965-3112 if your files are larger than 2MB. If you have questions, contact Keith Chandler at (480) 965-6405.”

When: Friday, May 20, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (lunch will be provided)

Where: Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, ASU, Willard H. Pedrick Great Hall, Room 113

ASU Law School Armstrong Hall exterior

ASU Law School’s Armstrong Hall

Schedule of Events

10 a.m. Check-In & Registration Opens

11 a.m. Welcome | CLE with “Founding Faculty” | Lunch

  • Michael Berch, Emeritus Professor of Law, “The Two Functions of Judicial Decisions: Stare Decisis and Res Judicata Discussion: Analysis of Rush v. Maple Heights
  • The Honorable William C. Canby Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, “On Teaching Constitutional Law: Then (1968-1980) and Now”
  • Alan Matheson, Emeritus Dean, “Confirmation Hearings for Supreme Court Justices: Running the Gauntlet”
  • Jonathan Rose, Emeritus Professor of Law, “History of Contract Law”

2:30 p.m. Toast & Roast to Armstrong Hall

3:30 p.m. Event Reception & Retirement Celebration for David Kader, Emeritus Professor of Law

ASU Law School Armstrong Hall interior v2

Armstrong Hall

Our April 2016 issue features the stories of a small number of Arizona lawyers committed to access to justice through pro bono service.

Our April 2016 issue features the stories of a small number of Arizona lawyers committed to access to justice through pro bono service.

I fear I let a great April event fly by without properly acknowledging it—and the accomplishments of so many great attorneys.

The April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine featured Access to Justice advocates—attorneys selected by the state’s VLPs (Volunteer Lawyers Programs) for their unstinting commitment to offering pro bono service.

The issue also allowed me to praise some law students from the University of Arizona for their accomplishments in a writing competition I was pleased to judge.

Here, I reprint my column and their photo. And be sure to read about all the A2J Advocates here.

Last month in this space, I wrote about courage and what it requires of us, in our choices and in our commitment to an accurate retelling of history.

Some of you have contacted me with feedback and insight about my words. If you haven’t, please feel free to read the column ( and send me your thoughts.

As I said there, it’s great when we can spot courage. But advocating for it and advancing it? That’s the role of leaders.

This month, we’re all about those courageous leaders. Our cover and story beginning on page 18 offer legal exemplars. In a month focused on access to justice, we raise a toast to lawyers who step into the breach to fill unfilled needs.

And in law school, leadership may be nurtured, as well.

As in years past, I’m privileged to report on some leaders-in-training, law students who prevailed in a rigorous writing competition at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Congratulations to: Jillian Andrews (2L), first place ($2,500 award); Max Bradley (1L), second place ($1,500); Julie Pack (1L), third place ($1,000); and Kayla Bernays (1L), honorable mention ($750).

Richard Grand UA Law School legal writing awards 2016-page0001

As a competition judge, I can tell you that their work was moving and compelling—exactly what I would have expected!

Though I’m always happy to serve as a judge, I have nothing to do with the annual event’s theme or approach, which is developed by talented law school faculty. And so I was delighted to see the selected topic this year—courage.

And that makes sense, as the competition is named for Arizona lawyer Richard Grand, who never shrank from a fight. As the school describes him:

Over the course of his five-decade-long career, Tucson attorney Richard Grand worked tirelessly to achieve justice for his clients. His clients were often ordinary people who had suffered extraordinary injuries. The opposing parties were often large corporations and powerful insurance companies. Mr. Grand never retired, and he handled cases up until the last day of his life. Mr. Grand valued competence, communication, and courage.

Richard died in 2013. He would have been 86 this year, and he was a zealous advocate when advocates were allowed to be zealous. He and his wonderful wife Marcia funded (and continue to fund and inspire) this writing endeavor.

Congratulations to those lawyers and law students, past and present, who aim to close the justice gap.

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