Lawyer kudos


Ariz. Chief Justice Scott Bales

Ariz. Chief Justice Scott Bales

Here is some news from Community Legal Services, Phoenix:

On February 6, 2015, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales collaborated with members of the team at Community Legal Services (CLS) to discuss ideas to assist low-income Arizonans’ access to justice. Community Legal Services is a non-profit, civil legal aid program serving low-income persons in Maricopa, Mohave, La Paz, Yavapai and Yuma counties. Of primary consideration were the barriers to equal access to justice, including those litigants face prior to and during court.

This past year, Justice Scott Bales announced the formation of the Access to Justice Commission, headed by Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Lawrence Winthrop. Justice Bales said that there have been significant successes in Arizona’s goal of increased access. This new commission is recognizing current challenges, and it will help to focus and achieve tailored plans for success.

The plight of accessing equal access to justice is an everyday occurrence at Community Legal Services, whose client community have legal problems in several areas of law, including family law, housing, consumer, employment, health and economic stability.

Community Legal Services logoJustice Bales discussed the goals of the Commission with CLS attorneys. Commission members are studying and will make recommendations on innovative ways to promote access to justice for individuals who cannot afford legal counsel and will evaluate best practices within Arizona and other states, identifying possible changes in court rules or practices designed to reduce barriers to access, identify and encourage the adoption of best practices among legal service providers, and consider potential long-term funding options.

This opportunity for Justice Bales to meet with CLS attorney staff was facilitated by Pamela Bridge, CLS Director of Litigation and Advocacy, who stated:

“Community Legal Services is extremely grateful for Chief Justice Bales’ dedication to improving access to justice in Arizona. We are excited to continue to collaborate with Chief Justice Bales and advocates throughout the state in order to work together to find meaningful, practical solutions to barriers to access to justice.”

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.

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.

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

Attorney Jennison Cox showing off her well-earned heavy medal after a 1:50-ish half marathon.

Attorney Jennison Cox showing off her well-earned heavy medal after a 1:50-ish half marathon.

If you guessed that I’m writing about the P.F. Chang’s annual Marathon because last Friday was National Chopsticks Day, you’d be mistaken—but it does make it more fun.

My goal today is to heap some praise on those who ran in the State Bar of Arizona team at that recent Asian-restaurant-sponsored event. Called The Bar Flys, the hardy band is headed by team captain David Sandweiss.

As David so generously shared:

“A special salute should go to SBA Bar Flys who ran with me last Sunday: Jennifer Sonier, Nicole Kaseta, Meredith Vivona, Pat Sallen, Lisa Panahi, and Ariel Worth (even though she scratched due to a bad cold on race day). This year’s fundraiser was to benefit the Arizona Summit Law School ‘Return to Community’ scholarship fund.”

Here are some more photos of the team runners:

Bar Fly and attorney Stefan Palys with his daughter in the family reunion area after running the full marathon.

Bar Fly and attorney Stefan Palys with his daughter in the family reunion area after running the full marathon.

David Sandweiss with past members from different years of the Univ. of Michigan women’s track team. They have their own alumni club and pick one event a year to have a running reunion. This year they chose the Arizona P.F. Chang's event. One of them, in her low 40s, finished third overall in the women’s half marathon in 1:15. The guy in the red hat photobombed the group.

David Sandweiss with past members from different years of the Univ. of Michigan women’s track team. They have their own alumni club and pick one event a year to have a running reunion. This year they chose the Arizona P.F. Chang’s event. One of them, in her low 40s, finished third overall in the women’s half marathon in 1:15. The guy in the red hat photobombed the group.

And as long as you’re interested in that whole national day dedicated to chopsticks, here is some CLE-like material.

(And while we’re on the subject, I got an email this weekend from Pei Wei urging me to celebrate the national day on Monday, when it was really Friday. Somebody somewhere’s got their calendar mixed up.)

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.

 

Arizona Corporate Counsel Awaards logoLast week, I praised (rightly) an annual event put on by the Association of Corporate Counsel. And in that post, I promised to share the names of the attorneys honored that evening (in case you haven’t already heard).

Today, I honor that promise.

First, I must mention a corporate counsel who spoke that evening. Lukas Grabiec is Senior Corporate Counsel at Microchip Technology Inc. And a few things commend him to your attention.

It fell to him and two others to offer opening remarks to a Camelback Inn banquet room filled to capacity. Lukas was funny and concise, precisely the tone and approach we most admire. But Lukas is noteworthy for a few other reasons:

I routinely keep company with brainy and talented attorneys, but Lukas is someone I’ll be careful to keep on my radar screen.

And without ado (further or otherwise), here are the honorees from the January 15 event:

  • Nonprofit Attorney of the Year: Carmen Neuberger, Phoenix Children’s Hospital
That's Mike Reagan (right, in the red shirt) on our December 2011 cover. Arizona Attorney Magazine Dec. 2011 cover

That’s Mike Reagan (right, in the red shirt) on our December 2011 cover.

Carmen also shone brightly in last fall’s corporate counsel panel. Congratulations!

  • Up-and-Comer of the Year: Jason Steiner, insight Enterprises
  • Intellectual Property Attorney of the Year: Franc Del Fosse, Insys Therapeutics Inc.
  •  Public Company Attorney of the Year: Mary Beth Orson, Apollo Education Group
  •  Private Company Attorney of the Year: Michael Reagan, Kahala Corp.

Michael not only served well on a previous LMA panel I moderated in 2011, but he made it onto our cover.

  • Legal Department of the Year: JDA Software
  • General Counsel of the Year: David Bixby, Banner Health

Well done and congratulations to all the attorneys who were honored.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,696 other followers