Legal events


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.

We wrestle with the age-old question: Is a hot dog a sandwich? What a time to be alive.

We wrestle with the age-old question: Is a hot dog a sandwich? What a time to be alive.

You know that universal rule about food? “Never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry.”

Turns out, the same is true for blog writing. For when I write on the intersection of food and law, I often find myself yearning for the first—and ignoring the second.

So on Change of Venue Friday, I raise that age-old and tasty question: What is a sandwich?

What is a sandwich? Have I completely lost it?

Not at all. In fact, let’s open this blog-meal by watching this great Atlantic video, which explains the tax consequences (at least in New York State) that flow from whether a food product is deemed a sandwich:

At least one British journalist has been flummoxed by this quintessential American question, as you can see here, where the whole enwrapped story of “sandwich ontology” is explored.

As the writer winds his way toward his hot-dog-IS-a-sandwich conclusion (madness!), he cannot resist an arcane side-dish that examines America as a delicatessen whose daily special is mimicry:

“America is a country founded by people from someplace else on ideas borrowed from someplace else, ultimately to try to distinguish itself from every place else. It is a fraught balance of identity – to take and be of an other, yet define yourself by contrast to that other. This is the strange impulse of our ‘exceptionalism’, to always borrow something and modify it slightly, then declare the end result definitively, uniquely American.”

Tell me he didn’t put quotation marks around exceptionalism! Oh, yes he did. (Plus, he insists on clinging to the quotation-marks-inside-the-comma rule. God save the Queen.)

True sandwich experts concur in this well-seasoned debate. Dagwood sandwich blondie hot dog

True sandwich experts concur in this well-seasoned debate.

Yes, that video and news story are from a year or two ago, so you may wonder what’s the delicious news hook. Well, you may be pleased to know that The Big Question has been answered definitively—though I doubt you’ll like the result:

Yes, a hot dog is a sandwich.

At least according to those noobs at the Merriam–Webster Dictionary. In your busy summer, you may have missed the news that the dictionary folks made the determination. I leave it to the brilliant and entirely partisan correspondents at Eater to tell you the real deal.

Where do I stand on the sandwich question? Probably more aligned with Eater and the Atlantic video. But I’ve been told that intelligent people may disagree (ha!), so you may come to your own conclusions. Just don’t bring up lettuce wraps; there are limits to my definitional patience.

In the meantime, have a great weekend, whether it’s highlighted by a roll, bread, pita, or any other delicious envelopment.

Hot dog: Compact? Absolutely. Delicious? Indisputably. A sandwich? Grrr.

Hot dog: Compact? Absolutely. Delicious? Indisputably. A sandwich? Grrr.

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

Downtown Phoenix neighborhood "The Deuce," around Third St and Jefferson, early 1960s.

Downtown Phoenix neighborhood “The Deuce,” around Third St and Jefferson, early 1960s.

What happened to Miranda?

That intriguing question is how attorney Paul Ulrich opens his article on the landmark case that appears in the June Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Most everyone in the United States has at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Miranda warning, if not of the case itself. But 50 years on, how deep and long-lasting are the rights associated with Miranda v. Arizona? For in those five decades, multiple court rulings have chipped away at the bedrock of the case.

Is Miranda still a powerful case? Or merely an important piece of legal history?

Read Paul’s article, and let me know what you think.

One of the pleasures of covering the landmark case was in sharing some photos of downtown Phoenix, from about the same time period as Miranda’s arrest and trial.

As Paul mentions in his article, the once-shady—and vibrant—neighborhood of downtown was called “The Deuce.” Longtime residents are often pleased to share stories of the activities that marked the streets and alleys.

To learn more about that neighborhood, and more, read Jon Talton’s blog, Rogue Columnist. It is worth bookmarking.

And if you want a more concrete memory of the case, head over to the ABA website, where you buy a T-shirt emblazoned with the Miranda warning. You never know when that may come in handy

CLE by the Sea 2016 web banner

First of all, before anyone complains that I’m being braggy about a great trip I’m taking: I have never attended the State Bar’s CLE By the Sea; nor is it in my likely future.

So why am I touting the July 10-13 event today? One reason: boffo marketing

Never having been, I cannot vouch for the event’s content—though the roster of topics and speakers looks great. But what specifically got my attention was a video from the Business Law Track (which I’m told was created by Janet Nearhood of Off Melrose). You can watch it here:

And here is the background on the Business Law Track.

No fear, other presenters! You can see the detail about all the tracks here. And click here to view a printable brochure.

Other videos available cover the Probate Law Track:

… and the Family Law Track:

You’ll spy some different approaches to videos there, but I come not to praise one over another. I merely suggest that most all programs (and content generally) could benefit from a 1-minute video to draw folks in. It gives you a quick insight into what’s on offer and why you should head over to the program.

Do you agree?

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, site of the State Bar of Arizona CLE By the Sea.

Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, site of the State Bar of Arizona CLE By the Sea.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThanks to a change in Arizona law, there are two new openings on the Arizona Supreme Court. Applications are due August 8, so start reviewing your resume and gathering your recommendations. Here is how the Court describes the positions and the process:

Applications are being accepted for two new positions on the Arizona Supreme Court. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review applications, interview selected applicants, and recommend at least three nominees for each position to Governor Doug Ducey.

A copy of the application form can be downloaded at the Judicial Department web site. Applications may be also obtained from the Administrative Office of the Courts, Human Resources Department, 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, by calling (602) 452-3311, by sending an electronic mail request to jnc@courts.az.gov.

Applicants must be at least 30 years of age, of good moral character, and, for the past 10 years, admitted to the practice of law in and residents of Arizona.

The original completed application, one single-sided copy and 16 double-sided copies must be returned to the Administrative Office of the Courts, Human Resources Department, 1501 W. Washington, Suite 221, Phoenix, AZ, 85007, by 3:00 p.m. on August 8, 2016. The Commission may, at its discretion, use the applications filed for these vacancies to nominate candidates for any additional vaca­ncies known to the Commission before the screening meeting for these vacancies is held.

All meetings of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments are open to the public.

As of January 1, 2017, the new justices will be paid $157,325 annually.

Arizona Supreme Court building

Two new Arizona Justices will be appointed, following a new law signed by Gov. Doug Ducey. Applications are due August 8, 2016.

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