Pro Bono


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

Our April 2016 issue features the stories of a small number of Arizona lawyers committed to access to justice through pro bono service.

Our April 2016 issue features the stories of a small number of Arizona lawyers committed to access to justice through pro bono service.

I fear I let a great April event fly by without properly acknowledging it—and the accomplishments of so many great attorneys.

The April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine featured Access to Justice advocates—attorneys selected by the state’s VLPs (Volunteer Lawyers Programs) for their unstinting commitment to offering pro bono service.

The issue also allowed me to praise some law students from the University of Arizona for their accomplishments in a writing competition I was pleased to judge.

Here, I reprint my column and their photo. And be sure to read about all the A2J Advocates here.

Last month in this space, I wrote about courage and what it requires of us, in our choices and in our commitment to an accurate retelling of history.

Some of you have contacted me with feedback and insight about my words. If you haven’t, please feel free to read the column (http://ow.ly/Z1XfW) and send me your thoughts.

As I said there, it’s great when we can spot courage. But advocating for it and advancing it? That’s the role of leaders.

This month, we’re all about those courageous leaders. Our cover and story beginning on page 18 offer legal exemplars. In a month focused on access to justice, we raise a toast to lawyers who step into the breach to fill unfilled needs.

And in law school, leadership may be nurtured, as well.

As in years past, I’m privileged to report on some leaders-in-training, law students who prevailed in a rigorous writing competition at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. Congratulations to: Jillian Andrews (2L), first place ($2,500 award); Max Bradley (1L), second place ($1,500); Julie Pack (1L), third place ($1,000); and Kayla Bernays (1L), honorable mention ($750).

Richard Grand UA Law School legal writing awards 2016-page0001

As a competition judge, I can tell you that their work was moving and compelling—exactly what I would have expected!

Though I’m always happy to serve as a judge, I have nothing to do with the annual event’s theme or approach, which is developed by talented law school faculty. And so I was delighted to see the selected topic this year—courage.

And that makes sense, as the competition is named for Arizona lawyer Richard Grand, who never shrank from a fight. As the school describes him:

Over the course of his five-decade-long career, Tucson attorney Richard Grand worked tirelessly to achieve justice for his clients. His clients were often ordinary people who had suffered extraordinary injuries. The opposing parties were often large corporations and powerful insurance companies. Mr. Grand never retired, and he handled cases up until the last day of his life. Mr. Grand valued competence, communication, and courage.

Richard died in 2013. He would have been 86 this year, and he was a zealous advocate when advocates were allowed to be zealous. He and his wonderful wife Marcia funded (and continue to fund and inspire) this writing endeavor.

Congratulations to those lawyers and law students, past and present, who aim to close the justice gap.

pro bono gavelToday, here is some news you may be able to use—and definitely news you can share. (And please do!)

The State Bar of Arizona is hosting its fifth annual Law Day Legal Aid Clinics this coming Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This valuable event has become one of the Bar’s signature access to justice events.

Law Day 2016 poster in english v2-page0001Co-hosting the event with the State Bar are ABC15 and Univision Arizona.

What happens at the event? Volunteer lawyers will provide free legal consultations on the following topics: divorce and child support/custody, bankruptcy and foreclosure, wills and trusts, and immigration.

And how has the Bar made the day even more accessible? By providing the consultations at two locations: At the Bar offices in Phoenix and at Glendale Community College. Spanish-speaking translators will be available.

All the details, including specific addresses, are here. Or call 602-340-7337 for more information.

Law Day 2016 poster in spanish-page-0_opt

And again, please share this with whomever you think could benefit.

lawyers on call

Next Tuesday, February 2, the State Bar and 12News are co-sponsoring a lawyer call-in program that may benefit someone you know—or it may even benefit you!

12 News logoThe topic for Lawyers on Call that night will be estate planning, wills and trusts. It runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. that evening, and the call-in number is 602-258-1212. More detail is here.

After the event, I’ll share the names of the lawyers who generously gave of their time at the event.

Quarles & Brady folks at Capitol School, Oct. 30, 2015.

Quarles & Brady folks at Capitol School, Oct. 30, 2015.

News from the Phoenix office of Quarles & Brady:

On Friday, Oct. 30, nearly two dozen members of Quarles & Brady’s Phoenix office joined together to volunteer their time as “homeroom parents” at the Capitol School’s annual Fall Celebration. This was the first of three events during the 2015–2016 school year in which attorneys and staff will volunteer their team to the Capitol School, just west of downtown Phoenix, providing both treats and interactive activities to engage students from Kindergarten to sixth grade.

“Capitol Elementary School strives to create a healthy learning environment where students are given a quality education that includes the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to become lifelong learners and responsible citizens—we respect that and want to do everything we can to help,” said Scott Jenkins, a partner in the Phoenix office who even brought his own children to volunteer with the team. “In addition to rolling up our sleeves with the kids, the firm also fundraises to support and put on special school events, including field trips to Boston and Washington, D.C.”

According to Jenkins, partnership between Quarles & Brady and the Capitol School dates back a quarter century.

“In 1990, Quarles & Brady set out to find a community project that would provide sustainable, ongoing volunteerism to bring their firm members together with purpose beyond business,” said Jenkins. “With so many parents and grandparents working at the firm, focusing on children and education was a priority.”

While the Capitol School program kicked off with the attorneys and staff putting on homeroom class parties, the partnership quickly evolved into one that included reading and writing assistance, mentorship, fundraising, financial support to students’ families when in crisis, and even a donation to help remodel the school’s media center.

This effort is one of many the local office takes part in through its Quarles Cares community relations program, which is focused on connecting directly with local communities to understand the residents’ needs. Through the volunteer initiatives, attorneys and staff commit themselves personally to civic and charitable efforts, and their personal growth is reflected in the workplace. More information is here.

Tile mural dedicated by Capitol School to Quarles & Brady.

Tile mural dedicated by Capitol School to Quarles & Brady.

State Bar of Arizona lawyers answer family-law questions, Nov. 10, 2015.

State Bar of Arizona lawyers answer family-law questions, Nov. 10, 2015.

On Tuesday, November 10, the State Bar of Arizona and 12 News hosted the Lawyers on Call public service program. There, eight attorneys volunteered their time and expertise to answer viewers’ questions on family law issues.

The following update comes from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorEight attorneys volunteered their time:

  • Taylor Anderson, Anderson & Cabrera Law Group
  • Ryan Borges, The Borges Law Firm
  • Rebecca Browning, Browning Law Office
  • Tabitha Cabrera, Anderson & Cabrera Law Group
  • Craig Cherny, Canterbury Law Group
  • Kina Harding, The Harding Firm
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Diaz, Rodriguez & Associates
  • Jennifer Shick, Shick Law Offices

12 News logoThe lawyers answered 156 calls during the two-hour phone bank.

Sample consumer questions:

  • How do I file for a divorce? Do I need an attorney?
  • Can I stop paying alimony/spousal support?
  • How long do I have to be married to get alimony/spousal support?
  • How do I enforce court-ordered child support? Can I modify child support?
  • How do I modify a parenting plan/parenting time?
  • Do I have any rights as a grandparent?

Four of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers. Congratulations and thanks to all who participated.

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