Lawyer kudos


Attorney Terry Goddard leads a tour of the Monroe Abbey, April 21, 2016.

Attorney Terry Goddard leads a tour of the Monroe Abbey, April 21, 2016.

Before the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine moves off our digital landing page, I share my editor’s letter from that issue, about a remarkable transformation occurring in downtown Phoenix, and the lawyer driving the change.

Here is a video of Terry Goddard describing the resurrection of the historic First Baptist Church:

 As my column opens:

Do you ever hear from new lawyers wondering what your “best case” was? Or your favorite legal memory?

Monroe Abbey column detail

Monroe Abbey column detail

That may be a hard question, but I’m guessing it doesn’t involve your biggest financial windfall. Or even the one that got written up in your law office’s client newsletter.

Instead, it may have been the case that allowed you to devise a great solution out of what had been a pile of rubble. Perhaps one that made a transformative difference for someone.

I’ve thought about that question a lot as I passed a beautiful hulking mass of a building in downtown Phoenix for more than 10 years. After many trials and tribulations—and even a blistering fire—the historic First Baptist Church is on its way back to making a useful community contribution.

To me, there’s no surprise that an attorney has been driving that preservation effort.

 Terry Goddard served as Phoenix Mayor from 1984 to 1990, and as Arizona Attorney General from 2003 to 2011. But it took more than good lawyering to see the potential in the 1929 building, which was ravaged by fire in 1984. Gazing in dismay at the empty shell, Goddard decided to take action. He founded a nonprofit—called Housing Opportunities Center—that purchased the church and saved it from what was almost certain demolition in 1992.

Today called the Monroe Abbey, the structure sat, safe but fragile, for 22 years—the amount of time needed to raise renovation funds. Finally, in 2014 and 2015, work began to better stabilize the building and make adaptive reuse possible.

Read the complete column here.

Follow the Abbey itself here.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods has authored a play to be performed this weekend, July 23 and 24.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods has authored a play to be performed this weekend, July 23 and 24.

Yesterday, I had coffee with a friend whose life goal is to locate paid work that allows him to do whatever the heck he wants to do. The fact that he is successful at it, and that he is a lawyer, makes me all the more envious. For he has found ways to minimize the daily-grind parts of the legal profession and to maximize the collaborative, business-building, soul-nourishing parts of his career.

Well, screw him.

Of course, I don’t mean that. I really am very happy for him, and for that small subset of others who manage to make their avocation their vocation, who move their most creative work to center stage.

And the stage is where you’ll find the work of another such creative guy, Grant Woods.

I have previously praised the drive of former Arizona Attorney General Woods to nourish his musical and theatrical impulses. You can read about a few of them, here, here, and here.

This weekend, his playwright chops will be on display. “The Things We Do” is Grant’s play, which will be performed this Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24. It will be featured at TheaterWorks in Peoria as part of a New Works Festival. Here is how it’s described:

“A very clever and very real comedy telling the story of Bill, Sarah, Ted and Alice, a group of not-so-young professionals discovering once the kids are grown, you may find yourself searching for very different things in life. Follow their journey as they discover the intricacies of modern love and the myriad ways humans deal with the complexity of our associations.”

Tickets and more information on all the plays are here.

And be sure to read another news story about Grant’s writing life here.

Theaterworks new works festival 2016 Grant Woods-page0001

State Bar of Arizona logoIn case you were not yet recovered from a terrific Independence Day, I share some remarkable news from my State Bar colleague Alberto Rodriguez about an event that aimed to educate and assist the immigrant community. Thank you to all the Arizona attorneys and others who participated:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision Arizona hosted a special edition of Abogados a Su Lado (attorneys on your side) public service program on Thursday, June 23, along with a community forum and legal help clinic on Tuesday, June 28. Both access to justice programs were held to help the immigrant community understand the impact of the Supreme Court of the United States’ divided decision regarding President Obama’s immigration executive actions.

State Bar of Arizona Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank and Community Forum, June 2016

State Bar of Arizona Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank and Community Forum, June 2016

The Bar’s primary role as a partner and organizer of the events was to help the immigrant community understand its role as a consumer protection organization, as well as to connect them with licensed attorneys for sound legal advice regarding the SCOTUS decision. The immigrant community is often victimized by notarios and document preparers during high-profile activity associated with immigration law.

The following are recaps of both programs.

Phone Bank Details

What: Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank

Date:  Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Topic: Immigration Issues – DAPA/DACA

The volunteers were five attorneys:

  • Marisol Angulo, Hernandez Global
  • Ezequiel Hernandez, Hernandez Global
  • Claudia Lopez, Law Office of Claude P. Lopez
  • Karina Ordoñez, Karina Ordoñez Law Office
  • Jose Peñalosa, Jose Peñalosa Attorney at Law

The volunteer attorneys answered 63 calls regarding the SCOTUS decision and immigration law. This special-edition phone bank was two hours.

Forum and Legal Help Clinic Details

What: Community Forum and Legal Help Clinic

Date: Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Time: 6 to 9 p.m.

Topic: Immigration Issues – DACA/DAPA

The volunteers were 10 attorneys:

  • Marisol Angulo, Hernandez Global
  • Emilia Bañuelos, Bañuelos Law Office
  • Josh De La Ossa, De La Ossa and Ramos Law
  • Seth Draper, Salvatierra Law
  • Ezequiel Hernandez, Hernandez Global
  • Claudia Lopez, Law Office of Claude P. Lopez
  • Jose Peñalosa, Jose Peñalosa Attorney at Law
  • Edwin Ramos, De La Ossa and Ramos Law
  • Fae Sowders, Sowders Law
  • Ray Ybarra Maldonado, Law Office of Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado

An estimated 350 consumers attended the three-hour access to justice event and 120 families received one-on-one consultations by volunteer attorneys.

The forum included an overview of the State Bar’s consumer protection services by Alberto Rodriguez; endorsements for the Bar by the Consulate General of Mexico in Phoenix, Mi Familia Vota, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; and a presentation covering the SCOTUS decision by attorney Ezequiel Hernandez. The entire access to justice program was offered in Spanish.

All attorney volunteers were extremely satisfied with their participation in these access to justice events. We thank them for committing their time and expertise, which helped the Bar continue connecting consumers with legal professionals.

We thank Univision Arizona for their continued partnership in providing this valuable access to justice program for the Spanish-speaking community, as well as volunteers from Mi Familia Vota who helped with event logistics.

Nepal Justice System Delegation Returns to Arizona Supreme Court 2016_opt

Representatives from Arizona and Nepal meet.

News from the Arizona Supreme Court:

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recently sponsored a second visit to the Arizona Supreme Court with members of Nepal’s judiciary. After a 2015 visit with the Arizona Supreme Court, the Nepal Supreme Court established an access to justice commission modeled on what they learned in the United States, including the example of the Arizona Supreme Court’s own Access to Justice Commission.

Earlier this year, the Honorable Ms. Sushila Karki became the first female Chief Justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court.

Nepal Chief Justice Sushila Karki

Nepal Chief Justice Sushila Karki

As part of the UNDP project entitled Access to Justice Commission (A2JC) Study Visit in Nepal, the Nepalese judges met with Chief Justice Scott Bales and local subject matter experts to discuss such topics as: strengthening access to justice, addressing domestic violence cases, increasing representation of women in the judiciary, and meeting the justice needs of minority communities. The day-long program included the following speakers:

  • Mr. Dave Byers, Director, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Scott Bales, Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Maurice Portley, Judge, Court of Appeals, Chair of Commission on Minorities
  • Professor Paul Bennett, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Mr. Michael Liburdi, Chief Counsel to Gov. Doug Ducey
  • Hon. Larry Winthrop, Judge, Court of Appeals, Chair of Commission on Access to Justice
  • Hon. Wendy Million, Judge, Tucson City Court, Chair, Committee on the Impact of Domestic Violence and the Courts
  • Mr. Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Court Services Division Director Case Management

“Nepal’s judicial leaders have embraced the goals of expanding access to justice and better addressing the needs of minorities, women, and victims,” Chief Justice Scott Bales said. “We shared with them how Arizona works to provide equal justice for all through court innovations and the work of our advisory committees, which are comprised of volunteers representing a wide range of perspectives.”

The representatives from Nepal included:

  • Justice Govinda Kumar Upadhya, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Justice Jagadish Sharma Poudel, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Hon. Additional District Judge Surya Prasad Parajuli, Kathmandu District Court
  • Mr. Shree Kanta Paudel, Registrar, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Mr. Kumar Ingnam, Member, Access to Justice Commission
  • Mr. Raju Dhungana, Section Officer, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Ms. Khem Kumari Basnet, Section Officer, Nepal Supreme Court

More about the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice is available here. The next committee meeting is scheduled for August 17, 2016.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_Seal

I Need a Hero Leader tumblr_inline_ndwfh0kH2U1rbfilz

Hero = Lawyer-leader

10 days left to locate a hero—or a leader—among your circle of attorneys.

That’s a tall order, I know. But it’s what’s needed, right now, as the application deadline for the State Bar’s Leadership Institute is 10 days from today. The application period closes on Friday, June 17, 2016. The program and its benefits are described well here.

I described the current year’s graduates and the program here. The application process is a simple one. I’ve heard from lawyers who urged others to apply in past years, and they describe a great amount of satisfaction watching those attorneys grow and learn over the course of the year’s program.

As organizers describe:

“We’re looking for future leaders in the legal community to participate in the Bar Leadership Institute. Can you help? The BLI fosters the professional growth and enhances leadership skills of young attorneys. BLI graduates have gone on to serve our communities in a variety of ways, including leadership positions in local and affinity bar associations, appointment to the judiciary and serving in the state Legislature. It’s also a great CLE bargain—participants receive up to two years of CLE credit for just $250!”

“The BLI relies on referrals from community leaders such as yourselves, so please pass this information along to potential candidates. More information and the online application form are available here. The application deadline is June 17, 2016, so don’t wait! The State Bar of Arizona provides hotel accommodations and pays travel expenses for participants residing outside Maricopa County.”

If you or a potential applicant have questions or concerns, contact Elena Nethers at Elena.Nethers@staff.azbar.org.

state-bar-of-arizona-bar-leadership-institute-banner BLI

A record-number of legal seminars are on offer at the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

A record-number of legal seminars are on offer at the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

In advance of the Bar Convention, I contacted seminar chairs seeking their response to four questions about their upcoming panel. Here are the questions I sent:

  • Who should attend this seminar?
  • What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?
  • How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)
  • What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Today, I share the responses of those whose seminars are calendared for the first morning of Convention, Wednesday, June 15. (Note: Not all seminar chairs responded.) Click on the seminar title to read more detail as published in the Convention brochure.

Wednesday, June 15, 8:45 a.m. – noon

W-1 Securities: Tackling Future Issues Today

Co-chairs: Stephen Boatwright, Todd Lenczycki

Who should attend this seminar?

Business attorneys with large or small, public or private clients who want to know the latest regarding raising capital and what shareholder activism is all about.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

Shareholder activism is a concern for public and private companies. Knowing the building blocks and how they fit together can enable the Arizona business lawyer to be ahead of the curve if something like this becomes an issue for your client.

State Bar Conventions often draw outstanding speakers from their local bar but not often one of national standing who regularly speaks at the National Securities Convention in San Diego. The timely topic and compelling speaker make this a must attend event.

It is a great privilege to have John Huber who may be the first former director of corporate finance at the SEC to speak in Arizona as these caliber people are very hard to get here! John literally wrote many of the rules of the Securities Act and has an incredible knowledge of how important financial statements are in conjunction with legal analysis.

How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)

Shareholder activism is no longer an exceptional event. It is affecting the largest public companies as well as the smallest. Private companies contemplating going public should be aware of how activists operate, who supports them, and what to do to prepare for and react when an activist appears. The building blocks used for handling shareholder activism are equally applicable to advising clients who aren’t confronting activists. The building blocks help companies with raising money in Arizona by providing the latest, ever-changing guidelines and best practices for business lawyers in Arizona.

What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Lawyers may believe that it takes special expertise to address shareholder activists when the building blocks to do so are already known and understood by business lawyers. The building blocks are supplemented by having specialized advisers such as forensic accountants who can review and analyze financial and business data as impartial third parties. The same building blocks and outside advisers are important to a lawyer advising either a public or private company on raising capital. Continuous education on the latest issues, laws, and regulations faced by business attorneys on the topic is invaluable.

Hearing the comments of former SEC Director John Huber, who has frequently been the keynote speaker at national bar conventions, and having the knowledgeable panel available for your questions is a must attend event.

W-3 Representation Considerations for a Growing Population of Vulnerable and Disabled Adults

Co-chairs: Jennifer Kupiszewski, Bridget O’Brien Swartz

Who should attend this seminar?

Any lawyer that represents individuals and families. Our clients are aging or their parents are aging and challenges associated with aging and disability affect all areas legal representation. Criminal, family, juvenile, elder and probate law and special needs and estate planning attorneys would benefit from the seminar.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

The clientele we serve is aging and more likely to be disabled or experience a period of incapacity. Attorneys need to adapt and understand the implications of aging and disability in their legal representation to better serve clients and to protect their practice.

How is this seminar timely?

The number of Americans ages 65 and older will double over the next 30 years to 80 million.  A significant number of our aging population will suffer from some form of Dementia. One-quarter of all U.S. divorces involve people over 50. And Arizona has a larger aging population than most states. As people live longer they are more likely to experience periods of incapacity and need a guardian or have someone acting as their power of attorney. This creates challenging ethical issues for attorneys and this seminar is focused on preparing attorneys to handle those issues.

What is the most common misconception about this issue?

Attorneys often do not consider the issues of aging and disability. They aren’t informed about Dementia and financial exploitation so they may not recognize it in their office. The attorney may unwittingly be assisting the exploiter if they can’t assess client’s capacity or if they don’t know how, when or where to obtain assessment.

W-4 Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Game-Show Approach to Implicit Bias

Co-chairs: Javier Grajeda, Hon. Laura Lowery, K Royal

Who should attend this seminar?

All attorneys should attend, along with any legal staff. This issue impacts us professionally and personally.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

The main takeaway is that we all have implicit biases, but may not realize we do. We should be aware of these subconscious thoughts and work consciously to reduce them. Implicit biases are unknown to the individual because they are implicit by their very definition.  One of the main goals of our seminar is to make the implicit explicit.

How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)

Relationships are critically important especially as we meet the incoming generation of lawyers and business owners. We live in a mobile and technology-based world, where written communication is the norm – people read emotions and attitudes into words based on what they know of the person. Therefore, it is critical that individuals be aware of how they are perceived.

What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

The most common misconception about implicit biases is that we think we don’t have them – or if we do, that they don’t influence our actions.

W-6: A Discussion of the Complete Family Violence Dynamic

Co-chairs: Joan Bundy, Lydia Peirce Linsmeier

Who should attend this seminar?

Anyone, attorney or not, who is interested in protecting and assisting domestic violence victims—including human and non-human victims—or ever gets inquiries from prospective clients regarding legal situations that involve domestic violence or otherwise must deal with it in their practice.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

How to incorporate protections for animals into domestic violence prevention and remediation strategies, both within and outside the court system, covering everything from protective orders to divorce decrees and emergency escape plans to temporary housing.

How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)

Unfortunately, domestic violence has always occurred as long as there have been people living on the earth and, sadly, it shows no signs of going away anytime soon, let alone slowing down.

What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Lawyers, and people in general, think domestic violence victims are allowing themselves to be victimized and should just walk away from their abuser. However, a victim is most likely to be killed or seriously harmed when they try to escape. It takes most victims years and multiple “trial runs” or attempts before they finally succeed in leaving and starting a new life, if ever. One of the most sobering statistics is that approximately a third of all DV victims do not leave or delay leaving because they fear for the safety of one or more pets left behind, and two-thirds indicate their batterer has either threatened to harm or kill a family pet or has done so.

Board members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association for 2016-17 (photographed at C-Fu Gourmet, Chandler, Ariz., April 14, 2016.

Board members of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association for 2016-17 (photographed at C-Fu Gourmet, Chandler, Ariz., April 14, 2016.

Back on April 14, the Arizona Asian American Bar Association hosted its 20th scholarship fundraiser and installation banquet. It was as remarkable and delicious as ever. In fact, this event broke all records, as about 450 people crowded into C-Fu Gourmet in Chandler to collaborate and hear from great speakers such as Incoming State Bar President Lisa Loo.

I recommend you read AAABA President Amanda Chua’s letter here. And to see more photos and some great video regarding the legal pioneers who were honored that evening—Thomas Tang, Dr. Pearl Tang, Anthony Ching, and Wing Ong—go here.

L to R: Then-AAABA President-Elect Amanda Chua, State Bar of Arizona President-Elect Lisa Loo, then-AAABA President Nicole Ong, April 14, 2016.

L to R: Then-AAABA President-Elect Amanda Chua, State Bar of Arizona President-Elect Lisa Loo, then-AAABA President Nicole Ong, April 14, 2016.

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