Legal events


Trying play at Theatre Artists Studio

Many items may fill an attorney’s bucket list, but having a compelling play written about them and their work? Unlikely. Law practice may be many things, but most of its dramas are small, interior, and unsung.

Exceptions exist, of course, and Theatre Artists Studio of Scottsdale – a member organization of actors, playwrights, directors, producers and designers – seems to have found one in the life of Francis Biddle.

If his name rings no bells – it did not for me – that’s a shame, for his contributions were great. He served as the U.S. Solicitor General in 1940 and soon was appointed the Attorney General in 1941. He served in that role through the tumultuous years of World War II.

Following the war, President Truman appointed Biddle as a judge at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremburg – where former Nazi officers and others were tried for genocide and crimes against humanity.

trying play francis biddle

Francis Biddle

Those posts, alone, make Biddle an important part of U.S. and world history. But they may not necessarily yield great theatre. Fortunately, there’s more to the story.

That story comes to us from playwright Joanna McClelland Glass, who relates her own life’s tale of being the personal secretary to an aging Biddle. “Trying” to write his autobiography, Biddle fears he will be unable to complete the work before his impending death. Along the way, the “brilliant and irascible” man makes life challenging – trying – for his young secretary, only recently arrived from the plains of Saskatchewan. The play promises to let audiences watch the two as they are trying to complete his memoir and to understand each other.

Actors Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin in

Actors Alan Austin and Vanessa Benjamin in “Trying,” Theatre Artists Studio

Biddle was accomplished as an attorney, judge and author of numerous books. But his renown comes mainly from his work as the Chief Judge at Nuremberg, and for his prior response to the incarceration of Japanese Americans – many of whom were citizens – during World War II.

Remember, he was America’s top legal officer at the time, so a close examination of his actions are warranted. He is said to have personally opposed the wholesale internment of nearly 120,000 people – especially given the results of FBI investigations that revealed no looming plot that these people were engaged in.

Nonetheless, despite his own misgivings and the protests of others like Assistant to the A.G. James Rowe Jr., Biddle ultimately acquiesced to the mounting pressure. The War Department wanted large areas of the western states turned into zones that permitted suspension of the writ of habeas corpus – and Biddle agreed. President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942.

The documentary evidence is fascinating. You can read Biddle’s memo, and others’, here. It may have been small consolation in Biddle’s later years – and absolutely no consolation to incarcerated citizens – that he always regretted his decision.

Which makes the play’s title all the more evocative.

“Trying” opens tonight, Friday, January 12, and runs through February 4. It features Studio Member Alan Austin as Francis Biddle and guest artist Vanessa Benjamin as Sarah. Produced by Walt Pedano with direction by Judy Rollings.

Show times are Friday & Saturday nights at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm for all productions. The theatre is at 4848 E. Cactus Rd, #406, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

Tickets are available here or at the Box Office: 602-765-0120.

For more information, go here.

You can watch a video about the play below:

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News from the Arizona Supreme Court:

The Arizona Supreme Court is pleased to announce that Pinal County Superior Court is now accepting electronic filings of civil case initiation and civil subsequent documents through the eFileAZ and AZTurboCourt efiling applications. eFiling is currently available using both applications in Yavapai County, Mohave County, Santa Cruz County, and Maricopa County Superior courts. Plans are underway for the remaining Superior Courts in the State to begin accepting civil documents via efiling in the coming months.

AZTurboCourtBoth efiling applications bring with them the ability to file both civil initiating and subsequent cases electronically, the ability to attach more than one lead document per submission, issue summons and subpoenas, generate the civil cover sheet, and other functionality that will allow for faster filing of court documents.

Your firm may already be using AZTurboCourt eFiling application to file documents in Pima and Maricopa Counties, however, there are several differences between the applications and IT HIGHLY ENCOURAGES YOU TO ATTEND TRAINING! For information on how to register, set up a payment method, information on how to use the application, and training dates and locations please contact the AOC Support Center at 602-452-3519 or 800-720-7743 or visit here for more information.

eFileAZ

The newly reimagined Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix is the site for a State Bar networking event.

The newly reimagined Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix is the site for a State Bar networking event.

News from the State Bar of Arizona about a networking event TONIGHT. I’ll be there, and I hope you can make it too.

It will be held at Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix. If you follow the awesome @DowntownPhoenix on Instagram (full disclosure: I’m proud to be on its board), you’ve already learned that the venue was just redesigned and includes shuffleboard, live plant walls, an expanded patio and more. Stop in to have great conversation and to “celebrate their reopening with a cold one from one of the 60 craft brew taps.”

The October networking event is presented by the State Bar of Arizona Young Lawyers Division, Real Property Section, and Public Lawyers Section – exclusively for State Bar members.

Join us for food (complimentary appetizers and desserts), drinks, and fun.

When: TONIGHT: Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Copper Blues in Downtown Phoenix, 50 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix

Click here for directions (parking validated for underground garage).

You're invited state bar of arizona

Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank 06-15-17 pro bono State Bar of Arizona lawyers and UnivisionAZ

A small but mighty band of Arizona lawyers offered free family law advice at a June 15 phone bank.

News from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, Public Information and Community Outreach at the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision Arizona hosted an Abogados a Su Lado (attorneys on your side) phone bank Thursday, June 15, 2017. This access-to-justice program was held to connect the Spanish-speaking community with volunteer attorneys who could help address their family law issues in their language.

sba_logo_color State Bar of ArizonaThe event, held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., focused on family law. Here are the attorneys who volunteered their time and abilities:

  • Sylvina Cotto, Cotto Law Firm
  • Carlos Mendez, Slack-Mendez Law Firm
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Diaz Rodriguez & Associates
  • Javier Sobampo, Sobampo Law Firm

These volunteer attorneys answered 25 calls regarding family law issues during the two-hour phone bank.

Sample questions included:

  • How do I file for divorce? Do I need an attorney?
  • Does my spouse have to agree to a divorce? Can I file if my spouse is in Mexico?
  • I would like to give my mother guardianship of my children in case of emergency, how do I do that?
  • How do I petition for parenting time?

The State Bar thanks them for committing their time and experience to consumers through this access to justice program. It also thanks Univision Arizona for its continued partnership in providing this valuable program for the Spanish-speaking community.

Univision-Arizona logo cropped

Westin La Paloma 1

So would you like to know who won the State Bar of Arizona annual awards? Or would you rather be surprised when you settle into your luncheon seat at the annual Convention? (Don’t forget to register.)

Just in case: Spoiler alert! Stop reading if you’re in the second group.

The State Bar of Arizona has announced the winners of its prestigious annual awards. Here is the news from the State Bar:

sba_logo_color State Bar of Arizona
The State Bar of Arizona will recognize 9 individuals and one legal program for their contributions to the legal profession at the 2017 State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, June 14-16.

  • Member of the Year Award: Jo Ellen McBride, City of Phoenix
  • James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award: Hon. Patricia K. Norris, Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. One
  • Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award: Stephen M. Weiss, Karp & Weiss PC
  • Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award: Hon. John S. Leonardo, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Sharon A. Fullmer Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award: Golden E. McCarthy, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
  • Award of Appreciation: Meredith Peabody
  • Award of Special Merit: Hon. Robert L. Gottsfield (Ret.)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award: Arizona Collaborative Bar
  • Hon. John R. Sticht Excellence in Disabilities Accessibility Award: William R. Jones, Jr., Jones Skelton & Hochuli PLC (posthumous)
  • Outstanding In-House Counsel of the Year Award: Michael J. O’Connor, Salt River Project

The only award presented at convention that is not decided by the Board of Governors is the President’s Award. The president chooses someone who has made significant contributions to the Arizona legal community. This year, two recipients will receive this recognition:

President’s Award:

  • Sheena S. Chiang, Maricopa Legal Defender’s Office
  • Thom L. Hudson, Osborn Maledon PA

For a complete list of 2017 award descriptions and recipient bios click here.

 

Board of Governors meeting, Westin La Paloma, Tucson, June 13, 2017.

Board of Governors meeting, Westin La Paloma, Tucson, June 13, 2017.

At its regular annual meeting at the State Bar Convention this afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors confirmed its slate of officers for the coming year. The new roster includes the newest officer, Secretary/Treasurer Lori Higuera, elected today:

  • President: Alex Vakula
  • President-Elect: Jeff Willis
  • Vice President: Brian Y. Furuya
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Lori Higuera

Following board bylaws, the new slate of officers assume their positions at the close of the annual meeting.

Follow more news via this Convention Daily and on Twitter (@azatty) and Instagram (@statebarofarizona), hashtag #azbarcon

The April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine covered the 10th anniversary of the Bar Leadership Institute and recounted its noteworthy history

The April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine covered the 10th anniversary of the Bar Leadership Institute and recounted its noteworthy history

News from the Bar and one of its premier programs:

The State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 class. Is this your year? Find out for yourself how the BLI can foster your professional growth and enhance your leadership skills.

Now in its 11th year, BLI graduates have gone on to assume important leadership positions, including three graduates who were recently elected to State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors.

The deadline to apply is June 23. Information and application are here.

The application is easy to complete, but a letter of recommendation is required—so don’t delay!

You may recall we covered the 10th anniversary of the BLI in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Read all about it here.

And in case you’re wondering, here’s what graduates say about the BLI:

“This program was an incredible opportunity to meet a wide variety of leaders in the Arizona legal community. What other program can offer you the leadership training and opportunity to network with Supreme Court Justices, general counsels and prosecutors in an intimate setting.”

“There is nothing else like it. It expands our vision beyond our immediate work to remind/inspire us to consider ourselves not just as attorneys but as community leaders.”

“The information and experience was invaluable. I have had many leadership doors opened because of this experience.”

The 2017 State Bar of Arizona BLI class

The 2017 State Bar of Arizona BLI class

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