State Bar of Arizona News


State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color“Free” may never have sounded more enticing. But that word describes an event this Saturday, April 25, when you can ask lawyers questions for free!

That’s when the State Bar participates in Law Day and when its attorney volunteers give of their time and expertise in the fourth annual Law Day Legal Aid Clinics.

The one-on-one sessions are available in the following areas:

  • Divorce & Child Support
  • Immigration
  • Wills & Trusts
  • Bankruptcy & Foreclosure

The event will be staged at two locations. For more information, click here.

And be sure to share this link with those who might benefit. All of the information on the site is available in both English and Spanish.

The event is sponsored by the State Bar, ABC-15 News, Univision Arizona, and St. Matthew Catholic Parish in Phoenix.

LawyersWithoutRights logo cover Holocaust

A few days ago, I wrote about a State Bar program that will be held on Thursday, April 16—National Holocaust Remembrance Day. You can read about it here.

In that post, I also mentioned a related exhibit that is worth your time. Since then, I read even more deeply about it, and saw what’s been installed, and I urge you all over again to stop by the Bar building in Phoenix if you can. It will be displayed until 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 16.

Here is some background from the Bar:

“In addition to offering the ‘Lessons from the Holocaust’ CLE program, the State Bar has partnered with the American Bar Association (ABA) and the German Federal Bar to showcase the highly acclaimed international exhibit ‘Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany under the Third Reich,’ from April 13 through 16, 2015.”

“According to the ABA and the German Federal Bar, ‘Lawyers Without Rights is an exhibition that speaks for itself. Its message resonates with all persons who understand and appreciate the concepts and ideals of a just role of law. It is a commentary and a lesson for all people everywhere about the dangers when lawyers or minorities are attacked or the law itself is unjustly applied.’ The exhibit showcases a series of stories that illustrate the Nazi mistreatment of German lawyers who happened to be Jewish.”

“The exhibit at the State Bar of Arizona is an exact replica of the full exhibit that has been shown in several cities in Germany and throughout the world. It will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 13-16, 2015.”

“Both the CLE and exhibition will be held at the State Bar of Arizona located at 4201 N. 24th St. in Phoenix. For more information contact Sarah Fluke at 602.340.7317.”

The exhibit wisely and hauntingly tells particular, personal stories of German lawyers who were Jewish and whose lives were irrevocably altered—or ended—by the Holocaust.

Also to be displayed, in the Bar lobby, will be 10 six-foot banners with pictures and text. They will be displayed from Wednesday afternoon until Thursday afternoon. Below is a photo of those posters when they were at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

Lawyers Without Rights display in Los Angeles

Lawyers Without Rights display in Los Angeles.

If you can’t make it, that’s OK. The website dedicated to those stories is terrific and offers a similar yet even deeper experience.

Here is a video about Lawyers Without Rights:

Hardly giving the exhibit justice, here is my Vine scanning the room it’s in.

And in case you were wondering:

“The German Federal Bar, known as the Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, is the national bar of the Republic of Germany and based in Berlin. Membership is approximately 166,000 lawyers and is required of all licensed lawyers in Germany.”

Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

An event this Saturday, April 18, brings together legal leaders and others to assess the experiences of the most recent Arizona county to use the judicial merit-selection system.

Pinal County is the place, and the event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The speakers will include retired Ariz. Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and State Bar President Richard Platt. Lunchtime remarks will be delivered by Vice Chief Justice John Pelander.

The event runs from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, and it’s free. Breakfast and lunch will be served. But registration is required, which you can do here.

That page also includes the complete program and list of speakers.

It is sponsored by numerous groups, including the State Bar of ArizonaArizona Advocacy Network and Justice at Stake. The organizers clearly want the conversation to range beyond the county line; they indicate the day’s dialogue will include “Pinal County’s judicial system, AZ’s Merit Selection System and national cases impacting Fair and Impartial Courts.”

My understanding is that the Court and the State Bar have had a difficult time encouraging attorneys to forward their names to be considered for the judicial nominating commission in Pinal County. The system has been used in other counties for a long time, but it may be getting its sea legs in Pinal. Perhaps forums like this will spread the word about merit selection’s value.

Dr. William Meinecke, Jr., State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19, 2013.

Dr. William Meinecke, Jr., State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19, 2013.

We hear too often the true statement that we may be doomed to repeat the unlearned lessons of history. But an upcoming program at the State Bar, on Thursday, April 16, may provide tools and insights to avoid that trap of amnesia.

Titled Lessons From the Holocaust,” its speaker is Dr. William Meinecke, a historian for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s leadership development programs. He also wrote Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust (2007).

I covered Dr. Meinecke’s appearance at a previous State Bar Convention here.

Here is information from the Bar about the April 16 event:

“The Holocaust is much more than an unspeakable horror from WWII or a chapter in a history book. The study of the Holocaust provides important insight into the consequences when the mission of the police, judiciary, and the legal profession is transformed from protecting the rights of individuals to actively abusing basic human civil rights. Using legal decrees, judicial opinions, and case law of the period, participants study the role of these professions in the destruction of democracy and the establishment of the Nazi German state.”

“Participants are challenged to examine their own roles and responsibilities as members of professions that hold the public trust, protect society, and influence the health of our democracy by studying the decision making, the opportunities, and often the failures of their counterparts in Nazi Germany that helped lead to mass murder.”

The event has become popular enough that an overflow room is being filled. More information and registration information are here.

More about the Museum is here.

Paired with the event will be the display of an information-filled poster series, on loan from the American Bar Association and the German Federal Bar. The gripping series is titled “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich,” and it will be available for viewing in the State Bar member lounge on Monday through Thursday in the week of April 13. (Registration for the Holocaust CLE event is not required to view the posters.) I have just received background material on this amazing project, and I will provide more detail on it as soon as I know more.

The following photo is taken from the project.

Munich lawyer Dr. Michael Siegel marched by the police through the city's streets after complaining about the treatment of a client. (Photo from German Federal Bar and American Bar Association.)

Munich lawyer Dr. Michael Siegel marched by the police through the city’s streets after complaining about the treatment of a client. (Photo from German Federal Bar and American Bar Association.)

12 News logoI regularly report on the activities of Lawyers on Call, a State Bar public service program hosted at the ofices of 12 News, the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. At the events, volunteer lawyers answer consumer questions on various topics. On Tuesday, March 31, the event focused on tax laws. In a moment, I’ll share the names of the generous volunteer attorneys. But first, it’s worth noting that this version of Lawyers on Call included a new development: the use of a streaming video app, Periscope, to better address some consumer questions. To add to the functionality, this past month’s event also includes a video recap (see it at the end of this post). I am very impressed by the video’s quality, achieved via free apps. That makes me think I should try my hand at some videos myself! State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe Lawyers on Call news comes, as always, from my innovative colleague Alberto Rodriguez: Five attorneys volunteered their time and expertise on March 31, 2015, to offer legal advice on tax law. The attorneys were:

The lawyers answered 118 calls, 23 questions via Facbook, and a handful on Periscope, a streaming video app that had 55 participants. Sample consumer questions:

  • How do I report on gaming winnings?
  • How does the Affordable Health Care Act affect my file/return?
  • What are the penalties if I file late or file an extension?
  • How does filing bankruptcy affect my 2015 file/return?

Several callers reported scam activity—receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be an “IRS” representative who request personal information and payments. Facebook continues to be a successful component of Lawyers on Call, as attorney Derek Kaczmarek answered 23 questions posted on the 12 News fan page. In addition, the 12 News social media team launched the use of Periscope, an interactive streaming video app where participants could ask their questions live. Four out of the five attorneys were first-time volunteers. All volunteers were extremely satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the Lawyers on Call public service program. Here is a terrific video recap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n83m1ZbclBs&feature=youtu.be

Lobby at 111. West Monroe in downtown Phoenix

Lobby at 111. West Monroe in downtown Phoenix

Yesterday, I attended a downtown Phoenix chamber-type luncheon. When I first RSVPed, I was told the location was TBA. But it turned out to be a great choice, and not only because the space is a high-rise going through an adaptive reuse. It’s also my old building.

Well, not mine, of course. My employer’s. For years, the State Bar of Arizona officed at 111 West Monroe. Eventually, the leadership decided to buy rather than lease, and that’s how we ended up near 24th Street and Indian School Road.

And ol’ 111? I miss that building quite a bit. It not only had the midcentury charm that takes you back. It also participated in an urban vibe that is all too rare in Arizona. Our views from the 17th through the 19th floors were often spectacular. And it was nice to stroll out on the street to buy a hot dog or a cup of soup.

Since we moved out, of course, downtown has become even more vibrant (thanks to many great people, many of whom toil at Downtown Phoenix Inc., on whose board I proudly sit).

Yesterday, the event was held in the 19th-floor space, gutted and ready for tenant improvements. But while everything was open, I slipped down a floor to my old office (sigh). And I spied where the Communications Department used to wield our mighty pen (and website, also mightier than the sword).

Afternoon sun in my old office at 111 W. Monroe

Afternoon sun in my old office at 111 W. Monroe

And who would’ve guessed, but when I walked up the fire stairs one floor, the door to the roof was open! I enjoyed the breeze and the view, one eye peeled for an angry security guard. But I enjoyed my brief perch over the sixth-largest city in the country.

Below are some more photos, including the old boardroom. (Click to enlarge and widen the images and to view them in a slideshow.)

How many of you attended meetings or events at the old State Bar spaces?

Attorney Mark Bockel poses in the Larsen Gallery, Scottsdale, as photographer John Hall shoots his picture, March 12, 2015.

Attorney Mark Bockel poses in the Larsen Gallery, Scottsdale, as photographer John Hall shoots his picture, March 12, 2015.

The annual photo shoot for our Creative Arts Competition winners was held last week, and it looks like it was terrific.

I say “looks” because I was out of town and had to miss it. But that makes me doubly happy that Art Director Karen Holub thoughtfully provided me some “behind the camera” shots. (Which is kind of amazing, as she was herding cats, a photographer, and multiple lawyer-winners.)

All of the professionally shot photos will appear in the May issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine—along with the talented artists’ work. In the meantime, click here to see last year’s winning work.

Thank you to the Larsen Gallery in Scottsdale for hosting our shoot. As always, your space and the work you display are remarkable.

Have a great—and artful—weekend.

Here are a few more shots. (Click them to biggify.)

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