Legal events


A vintage building in downtown Phoenix could house a vibrant restaurant called The Dressing Room. A Kickstarter campaign could play a part.

A vintage building in downtown Phoenix could house a vibrant restaurant called The Dressing Room. A Kickstarter campaign could play a part.

Last week, I got a nudge from friend and gallery-owner Wayne Rainey. He was alerting me (and probably everyone he knows) about a restaurant startup that has the potential to make a big difference on Roosevelt Street in downtown Phoenix. In case you don’t know, Roosevelt Street is a place that is making a big difference in the City of Phoenix (and has been for years), and is even getting national attention for its vibrancy and artist-focused approach. (Here is just one recent example of the buzz smart Phoenicians have been able to create).

The restaurant initiative is called The Dressing Room, and I happily clicked through to read more; my experience is, if Wayne is involved, it is worth looking at.

I saw that it was a Kickstarter campaign, and I read all the information available about the chefs and their vision. Heads up: The Kickstarter closes on Tuesday, Feb. 24. You can read about it here.

And then I did something I don’t always do as I read Kickstarter pages: I watched the video.

Why? I don’t know. At least part of the reason is that hoped Wayne had directed and/or conceptualized it, as I would then be assured it would be compelling and watchable.

It was all that, but something else in the video leads me to share the Kickstarter with you today: I spotted some lawyers—good ones, too!

The video offers the chef–proprietors—Troy Watkins and Kyu Utsunomiya—the opportunity to explain their vision and their building plans. Both are ambitious; the rooftop dining area alone would make the restaurant a neighborhood favorite. From there, diners and imbibers could view the skyline, the sunset, and even the throngs of First Friday attendees. It’s a great idea.

But the video also let us view a casual dinner, hosted in Wayne Rainey’s monOrchid Gallery next door. There, the chefs presented sample dishes, and a gathering of neighborhood, business, and arts advocates noshed and chatted.

That alone would be enough for me to share this with friends and possible investors. But then I spotted two attorneys in the video.

monOrchid Gallery

monOrchid Gallery

I have come to know Nicole France Stanton pretty well over the years, and she is now the managing partner at the Phoenix office of Quarles & Brady.

Edward Hermes also appears in and speaks in the video. He is a Quarles associate attorney and practices in the firm’s Commercial Litigation and Indian Law Groups.

Nicole Stanton

Nicole Stanton

They and others spoke eloquently in the video about what makes a restaurant more than a site to find food. These are people who understand placemaking and urban vibrancy.

(Also present in the video is Upward Projects partner Lauren Bailey. Don’t know Upward? You may know their work. They own and run restaurants like Postino, Federal Pizza, Windsor and Joyride Taco. Having her attend the dinner and be in the video is a pretty positive sign for the restaurateurs. I reached out to Lauren for her thoughts on The Dressing Room concept. I haven’t heard back, but I’ll update this post if she contacts me.)

Late last week, I called Nicole Stanton to find out what attracted her to this venture.

The self-described “longtime friend and supporter” of Wayne told me she “loves the space and the story”—not to mention the food.

“I was intrigued because we are always looking for places to meet clients. Sometimes, you want something off the beaten trail.”

Stanton says she is always pleased to show off the neighborhood known as Roosevelt Row.

“Roosevelt Row makes us a real city. You have to have a vibrant arts community,” and that’s what you find there, she says.

“These are the folks who built the fabric of our city,” she continues. Roosevelt “expands your vision of what downtown is.”

She describes the food as terrific and “creative, comfortable, yet firmly grounded,” and she speaks more broadly about what comprises “the flavoring for the city.”

Local business owners are the life blood of the community. You never know who the next Sam Fox will be. We should be promoting their success.”

(Stanton also mentions another favorite restaurant. Oven + Vine is in midtown, and I agree that it is wonderful.)

As Wayne says in the video, “This is about feeding our community.” If you have ever been moved by the downtown artists district, you may want to head over to the Kickstarter page to learn more. And if you find some spare bills in your pocket, all the better.

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

I'll admit it: I have a problem with the Constitution ... I have too many. Pocket Constitution

I’ll admit it: I have a problem with the Constitution … I have too many.

How many constitutions do you own?

Well, if you run a puppet regime somewhere, “at least one” may be your answer. But what I’m talking about are those super-handy little pocket constitutions. The ones that reprint the entire U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and maybe even more historic information.

I’ll get to my own collection in a moment. For now, I must say that I was surprised that anyone has traced the history of that pocket-sized document. But we can thank Slate writer Betsy Woodruff for ferreting out the information. Here’s how she opens her article:

“Forget apple pie. Forget the Statue of Liberty, Chuck Norris, Daisy Dukes, cowboy boots, and hot dogs on the Fourth of July. The most American thing that has ever existed landed on my desk a few weeks ago in an unsolicited mailing from a libertarian-leaning think tank: a snappy new Cato Institute pocket Constitution, one of millions printed since the booklets first started streaming off printing presses decades ago.”

You really should read the whole thing here.

When you cover a legal beat, you come across—or are handed—a lot of these books—which may be why I never gave the thing much thought.

At the top of this post is a photo with a few of the constitutions that make up my collection. But when I located six more in one drawer alone, I decided to stop looking. At least, I think that’s what the Framers would have done.

How about you? Do you have one or more of these legalistic books? Do you have a favorite, maybe because it includes colonial trivia?

Take a picture and send it my way (arizona.attorney@azbar.org), plus a sentence of why you like it and/or if you generally carry it. I’ll share it with the rest of us out here in the Colonies.

icivics logoCongratulations to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and all the people at iCivics for being named to receive a “MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.”

Read the Washington Post story here. As the story opens:

“A civics education program founded by former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor and two other nonprofit groups … are among nine organizations worldwide selected this year for the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. The awards for the nonprofit groups, less well known than the MacArthur Foundation’s ‘genius grants’ for individuals, provide as much as $1 million to each institution.

And here is a brief video about how iCivics works.

And read more about iCivics here.

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.

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