Legal events


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Benefits to blogging? I’ve seen a few … and so have successful attorneys.

Being a cheerleader for blogging has been an avocation of mine since—well, since I started my own back in 2009. There are multiple reasons to blog, and not everyone has the same goals. For me, blogging lets me develop story ideas and leads, and it allows me to cover news and events in quicker fashion than our hard-copy magazine ever could.

It also has been of incredible assistance in making connections with other people, professionals who want to share news or lawyers who are happy I’m telling their stories.

That’s why I’m happy to share news of a free blogging webinar occurring this Thursday, August 25—register here. Here’s hoping some attorneys take the plunge and discover how differentiation through blogging and other means is one of the best strategic paths to practice success—and satisfaction.

Cordell Parvin blogging webinar

Cordell Parvin

Taught by lawyer and career expert Cordell Parvin (and hosted by practice management software company MyCase), the webinar will be held at 11 a.m. PT/2 p.m. ET this Thursday. Here is the description:

Many lawyers who blog become “go-to” authorities in their practice areas. This leads to benefits including; new clients, speaking engagements, and job offers. So, how do you create a blog that you enjoy writing and that others find interesting? Cordell Parvin, attorney and former Practice Group Leader, will show you how to create a legal blog and start building your online audience in this blogging webinar. Here’s some of what will be covered:

  • The benefits of blogging
  • The art of writing a good post
  • Where to find topics
  • Creating a blog strategy
  • Essential ingredients to attract clients
  • Much More!

If you can’t attend the live session, you can receive the webinar recording by registering.

Thank you to the always-on-it folks at Above the Law for sharing the news of this free webinar, and to MyCase for hosting on such an important topic.

Cecilia Marshall, 88, the widow of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, still lives in Falls Church, Va., where they moved three decades ago. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

Cecilia Marshall, 88, the widow of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, still lives in Falls Church, Va., where they moved three decades ago. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

What could be better on a Change of Venue Friday than a love story? Plus a little law, of course.

A story in the Washington Post describes the courtship and marriage of Cissy Marshall and her famous husband, Justice Thurgood Marshall. When Cecilia Suyat married Thurgood, she encountered resistance even within her own Filipino family. How ironic and wholly American is their story, therefore—as her husband went on to be the celebrated trial attorney who won the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Thurgood Marshall, who led the NAACP’s legal team, and his wife, Cecilia, leave the Supreme Court after the high court ordered the Little Rock School Board to proceed with integration at Central High School. (UPI)

Thurgood Marshall, who led the NAACP’s legal team, and his wife, Cecilia, leave the Supreme Court after the high court ordered the Little Rock School Board to proceed with integration at Central High School. (UPI)

And here is a short video of Cissy related to the story of their interracial marriage.

When you’re done reading the Post piece, be sure to read our book review of Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, by Wil Haygood. The review is by Judge George Anagnost.

Have a terrific—and love-is-love-filled—weekend.

Showdown Thurgood Marshall book cover by Wil Haygood

 

Yes, a good performance is expected here. But you may be asked to deliver great, persuasive results in venues of every size.

Yes, a good performance is expected here. But you may be asked to deliver great, persuasive results in venues of every size.

How many of us have had the pleasure to stand on stage and perform?

Pretty much all of us, if we understand that to include appearing in court, before a board or commission—or even before a community organization.

“Perform” may not be a word you’re comfortable using in regard to your own presentation. But thinking of it that way may have a freeing influence on the results you get—and it may lead to more satisfaction in you and your listeners. And maybe in your clients.

I was thinking of this because this Friday, a State Bar educational seminar features Marc Bauman as a faculty member. Among other things, he is an instructor and consultant who heads up Bauman Trial Consulting LLC.

His seminar is titled “Persuasion Arts in Action,” and a few things distinguish it from the mass of learning opportunities.

First, it’s being taught workshop-style—so attendees will participate. Second, the attendee numbers are being kept low deliberately, to maximize everyone’s experience.

Instructor and trial consultant Marc Bauman

Instructor and trial consultant Marc Bauman

Here’s the link to the event, where you also can register. There may still be openings.

But third: I’ve had the pleasure to speak at length with Marc a few times (this last time at the grand opening of the ASU Beus Center for Law and Society), and I am confident he can help your presentation mojo. He is a great listener, and he knows how to offer compassionate and constructive feedback. His goal is not to make all speakers the same—or to make them him—but to help you become the best advocate for your client.

As Marc describes Friday’s offering:

“Existing somewhere between science and art, effective courtroom communication is a craft. The best trial attorneys realize this. As an experienced attorney, you may know how to make a perfect record and you may have prepared your case fact pattern. However, making a perfect record and presenting the facts of your case to a jury is not enough. Your client’s story needs to be crafted and presented with precision and investment.”

And here is a description of the seminar’s goals:

  1. Be more comfortable in front of a jury while standing, speaking, moving, gesturing, demonstrating exhibits and presenting graphics.
  2. Clarify your client’s case narrative and key themes.
  3. Strengthen your presentation skills while developing clear, meaningful connections with members of the jury, empowering them to deliberate on behalf of your client.
  4. Gain an important edge in the courtroom increasing your chances of a positive verdict for your client.
  5. Prepare for depositions and jury trials with the confidence you, your witnesses and most importantly, your clients deserve.

As the link indicates, he’d like you to arrive Friday with an opening statement about one minute in length. Easy squeezy, right?

This kind of learning is probably best conveyed as Marc will do it—in person. But I’m still thinking on how a print magazine like Arizona Attorney can transmit this kind of trial practice insight. If you have ideas, or your own experience with how acting and the dramatic arts have helped your own law practice, contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

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 arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

 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 www.azsummitlaw.edu.

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.

Clio logoIn the upcoming issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, you can read a follow-up to a great panel discussion on selecting the right law firm model to match your approach and expectations. It was hosted by David French and was a great way to assess your own practice. I hope he continues to hold similar roundtables.

As you think on those law practice issues, consider a webinar tomorrow that examines niche practice as a source of satisfaction and profitability. It’s hosted by two smart people, so my confidence level is high that attendees will gain a lot of value.

Here are the details of the event, hosted by Clio practice management:

Date: August 9, 2016

Time: 11 a.m. PT — 2 p.m. ET

Clients are no longer seeking lawyers with broad skillsets and general knowledge, but rather experts who focus on a unique industry and specialize in the laws that surround it. Now more than ever lawyers need to abandon the “any case that walks in the door” approach and start a niche practice in order to grow their businesses and find success.

Join Joshua Lenon, Clio’s Lawyer in Residence, and Jay Harrington, author of One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Legal Practice, to learn how you can command higher rates, attract high-value clients, and increase your profile by starting a niche firm.

In this one hour webinar Jay and Joshua will discuss:

  • Why it’s important to carve out a niche
  • Why lawyers with niche practices develop more business and command higher rates
  • How to pick a profitable and sustainable area of specialty
  • How to market your niche practice through various thought leadership and content marketing initiatives
  • How to customize your practice management software to your niche

Register for the webinar here.

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.

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