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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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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).

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Thank you to our generous sponsors:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts doctoral student is trying to force the CIA to open up about how it uses jokes on social media. The CIA has been on Twitter since June 2014 when it tweeted, “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.” It was a humorous nod to […]

via MIT student sues CIA for info on Twitter jokes — Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7News

Ides of March Julius Caesar magazine sign

Why, yes, I do change my meeting sign every month. Doesn’t everybody?

Why, yes, today is the Ides of March. And I’m hoping no one is standing behind me.

That was one of my thoughts as I selected an image for the sign indicating our monthly meeting of the Arizona Attorney Editorial Board (see above). Many of the members found it funny—others simply raised their eyebrows, as lawyers can do.

But what turned out poorly for Julius Caesar on March 15 ended up yielding one of my briefer—and most favorite—blog posts ever.

godfather
That’s because it combined Caesar, regal intrigue, murder most foul, and the blockbuster movie Godfather, which was released on this day in 1972.

You can read that piece from way back in 2013 here. It still makes me chuckle. But then again, I’m easily amused.

Good luck getting through an unlucky day. Here’s to classical history and great films.

In partnership with the Florence Project, The Rogue Trio will perform February 24 at ASU's Katzin Hall.

In partnership with the Florence Project, The Rogue Trio will perform February 24 at ASU’s Katzin Hall.

This month’s headlines were filled with developments regarding immigration law and significant changes that are proposed for its enforcement.

If you’re seeking a very creative way to be imbued with the immigrant experience, an event this Friday night at ASU may be the (free) ticket—or the boleto, if you’d prefer.

Florence Project logo 25 years

As organizers describe it: For one night only, The Rogue Trio partners with the Florence Project to create a unique musical experience, featuring testimony of Florence Project clients. Making his southwest debut, composer Ralph Lewis takes powerful testimony of immigrants detained in Arizona and combines their accounts with live and electroacoustic music for a moving musical juxtaposition that brings hope amongst fear.

Did you catch that? Migrant testimony in combination with music.

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The performance will be held at Arizona State University’s Katzin Hall on Friday, February 24, at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7:15 p.m., and admission is free. Parking information can be found here. If you have any questions, reach out to Greer Millard at gmillard@firrp.org or 602-795-7407. More information on the The Rogue Trio is here.

And who are The Rogue Trio? They are: Justin Rollefson on saxophones, Kathleen Strahm on violin, and Mary Strobel-Price on piano. They describe their work as “a contemporary chamber ensemble that explores the diverse color palate of an unconventional assortment of instruments.” Color me interested. You can visit their website here, and find them on Facebook here.

Meantime, in other legal news related to the high-profile nature of immigration cases today, here’s an ABA Journal article about a website that connects volunteer lawyers with travelers affected by the immigration ban.

As ABA Journal reporter Debra Cassens Weiss writes, “Airport Lawyer allows users to input information about people targeted by the ban who are traveling to the United States—whether it’s the user, a friend or family member. The information can be shared with lawyers who can be available at the airport to monitor arrivals. … A list of the airports where volunteer lawyers are available through the app is here.”

airport-lawyer-website-connects-volunteer-lawyers-with-travelers-affected-by-immigration-ban

what's hot and not in law practice

On a regular basis, Bob Denney puts himself and his judgment out there and predicts what will be the coming year’s hot—and cold—law practice areas.

He recently did so again, and I encourage you to read his prognostications.

In the meantime, here are a few he mentioned that made me pause and wonder how lawyers and law firms are responding to these new pushes and pulls. As Bob says:

Social media. Continues to be far more effective for building individual lawyer reputations than for firms.

Competition. It’s no longer just from other law firms. It’s now coming from two other directions: Non-legal business entities like LegalZoom and, for large firms, more and more from the clients themselves who are using their legal departments as well as alternate service providers.

Cybersecurity. While many firms have developed plans for reacting to a cyberattack, many more have still not developed or implemented cybersecurity plans to prevent such attacks. One overlooked factor is what actually constitutes a breach. Some firms regard any unsanctioned access of a firm system as a breach, while others do not regard it as a breach until something — data, files or money — has been taken.

Scamblogging. A category of online writing by debt-burdened law school graduates who are convinced their law schools misled them about their opportunities for employment.

What’s growing in your law practice? If it’s a niche or topic that surprises you, please write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

modern law practice technology tools niche

AZCourtHelp logo

Here is some important news from the Arizona Supreme Court. This information may be helpful to you, but it may be even more vital to friends, neighbors, and family members.

PHOENIX – A new website launched on January 12 to offer basic assistance to people of all walks of life who have legal questions or need assistance in resolving disputes in court. AzCourtHelp.org is organized by topic and geographical location to help people find the court locations, forms, and other information they may need.

Geographical information includes court locations, maps, hours, payment terms, parking, and accessibility information. The site also features live chat forums to assist with legal information, legal talk clinics on popular topics, and other information helpful to self-represented individuals. Frequently asked questions are arranged by topic so users can quickly find the information that is most helpful to their situation. The site will also include video tutorials, webinars, and a calendar of free legal workshops around Arizona.

AZCourtHelp.org has a presence on Facebook as a way to expand its reach.

The backbone of the website’s video and interactive component is the Coconino County Superior Court’s Virtual Resource Center, which will be hosting the video outreach for statewide viewing.

gary-krcmarik

Gary Krcmarik, Coconino County Superior Court Administrator

“The Chief Justice challenged us to work together to improve access to justice,” said Coconino County Superior Court Administrator Gary Krcmarik. “We took up that challenge by developing this website in conjunction with our Virtual Resource Center to provide this valuable information statewide. We are grateful to the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, which graciously partnered with us to design the website and curate the information on it.”

Krcmarik said that today’s public launch is a beginning of a larger effort and more information, including Spanish-language content, will be added to the site on a daily and weekly basis.

Like AzCourtHelp.org on Facebook.

AZFLSE Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education logo

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