A recent Phoenix conference examined difficult questions about concussions and what should be done about them.

A recent Phoenix conference examined difficult questions about concussions and what should be done about them.

What are the legal and ethical implications that face society as we learn more about the brain and the corrosive effects of concussions?

On Friday, I had the good fortune to catch the final hour of an all-day conference committed to that and other important questions. That hour was the conference’s capstone and featured a panel Q&A moderated by legal star Arthur R. Miller, a law professor at NYU. I may write about that panel in an upcoming Arizona Attorney Magazine.

safeguarding brains ASU conference 11-13-15

In the meantime, I share an editorial that ran in Friday’s Arizona Republic. In “Ending the Concussion Epidemic,” conference organizers Betsy Grey and Gary Marchant, both professors with the Center for Law, Science & Innovation at ASU Law, offer valuable insight. Let’s hope conferences and articles like this help legal and government leaders make good choices.

(And it’s worth noting that Gary Marchant wrote for us before, on personalized medicine and the law.)

It's hard to resist redesigning even great subway maps. Here is the Washington, DC, system, via one designer's vision.

It’s hard to resist redesigning even great subway maps. Here is the Washington, DC, system, via one designer’s vision.

There’s something about the incredible imagination that goes into mass transit that makes the whole thing fascinating and impressive.

What I mean is, just consider the wide variety of tools needed to conceptualize how to move large numbers of individuals across large distances with the least amount of disruption. That is simply impressive and even evocative.

That evocative nature extends even—or maybe necessarily—to the transit maps of many cities. I hope you agree that “subway map” could be its own artistic niche, so impressive are many of them.

That’s why on this Change of Venue Friday I invite you to read this article about how people simply cannot resist tweaking and transforming the subway map. As Emily Badger writes in the Washington Post, the need to reinvent is a powerful one.

Subway map of Tokyo.

Subway map of Tokyo.

Among the real and imagined maps the article displays, which are your favorites? As for me, it’s hard not to smile when you see the imagined map for Madrid, Spain.

Madrid's subway map, reimagined.

Madrid’s subway map, reimagined.

And in case there was not enough evidence that people love their subway systems, here is a brief story sharing “the best subway map tattoos.” Yes, it’s a thing.

Skin in the game: The Seoul subway map, via tattoo.

Skin in the game: The Seoul subway map, via tattoo.

Have a terrific—and track-inspired—weekend.

Heather Mac Donald

Heather Mac Donald

Tonight, Thursday, Nov. 12, conservative commenter Heather Mac Donald will visit ASU to deliver a talk titled “Is the American Great Crime Decline Sustainable?

The free public lecture will be delivered at 6:30 pm on the ASU Tempe campus, ISTB4, Marston Theater.

According to event organizers, Mac Donald’s work has largely focused on crime rates and race. She “pushes back against common arguments of racism in policing and the criminal justice system as a whole to argue for preventative policing that she believes contributed to the 20-year decline of crime in America.”

Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Her work covers a range of topics, including homeland security, immigration, policing and racial profiling, homelessness and homeless advocacy, and educational policy.

You can see more of what the speaker advocates here, via C-SPAN:

Heather Mac Donald book cover policing racismIntroducing Mac Donald will be Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

Following Mac Donald’s talk, the former director of the Office for Victims of Crime, John W. Gillis, will give a brief talk about his career and experiences. He is a founding member of Justice for Homicide Victims and the Coalition of Victims Equal Rights.

More information and a Q&A with Montgomery and Gillis are here.

The event is free. RSVP here.

Parking is available (for a fee) in the Rural Road Parking Structure.

Military veterans on death row deserve special consideration Purple Heart

On this commemorative national holiday, I share a report that comes at Veterans Day via a different angle—an analysis of those veterans who sit on death row in the United States.

The topic may be an uncomfortable one, but those who work in specialty courts dedicated to veterans caught up in the justice system may find it evocative. I’d appreciate know what they—or anyone—thinks of the report. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

I recommend to you an article in The Guardian that discusses numerous cases of those who served who now face the severest penalty. Among those is James Davis, “one of hundreds former service members condemned to death at the hands of a government they risked their lives to protect and serve, according to a report, ‘Battle Scars: Military Veterans and the Death Penalty,’ published by the Death Penalty Information Center on Tuesday.”

As the report’s executive summary opens:

“In many respects, veterans in the United States are again receiving the respect and gratitude they deserve for having risked their lives and served their country. Wounded soldiers are welcomed home, and their courage in starting a new and difficult journey in civilian life is rightly applauded. But some veterans with debilitating scars from their time in combat have received a very different reception. They have been judged to be the ‘worst of the worst’ criminals, deprived of mercy, sentenced to death, and executed by the government they served.”

“Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who have committed heinous crimes present hard cases for our system of justice. The violence that occasionally erupts into murder can easily overcome the special respect that is afforded most veterans. However, looking away and ignoring this issue serves neither veterans nor victims.”

Download the full report here.

Seasonal hiring requires thoughtful decisions to avoid legal pitfalls.

Seasonal hiring requires thoughtful decisions to avoid legal pitfalls.

Today, I’m pleased to offer a seasonal and timely guest post by Greenberg Traurig attorney Mona Mehta Stone. Of Counsel with the firm, she is a labor and employment attorney. You may have clients or colleagues who would benefit from the information; please feel free to share it and pass it on. To reach the author, email her at stonem@gtlaw.com.

Arizona employers are once again turning to seasonal workers to assist with increased work demands that occur this time of year. According to the American Staffing Association (the “ASA”), there were approximately 213,003 staffing jobs in Arizona in 2014, with the workforce being comprised of 45 percent females and 55 percent males. The 25–44 years of age demographic made up 49 percent of the worker profile.

The reliance on seasonal employees is expected to continue rising. Whether due to increased retail and hospitality needs, industry fluctuations, or coverage for absent or ill employees, employers should keep in mind a few best practices to consider when hiring seasonal workers this year:

  • In order to avoid unfair treatment of job applicants and seasonal employees, coordinate and centralize all hiring decisions in your company for consistency.
  • Ensure that all job postings indicate the short-term, seasonal nature of the position, and reiterate that message during interviews and upon hiring.
  • Do not guarantee benefits that are only available to permanent employees (e.g., paid vacation time or retirement benefits), and specify the wage rate, pay period, pay date, and expected length of employment to seasonal workers.
  • Mona Mehta Stone

    Mona Mehta Stone

    Carefully consider how to contract for temporary staff, including respective responsibilities that the employer and staffing agency will retain. The worker’s seasonal status must be clearly defined, as well the potential for an employer-employee relationship being created directly between the employer and seasonal employee.

  • Whether working with a staffing agency or hiring seasonal workers independently, recognize that these employees may count toward employee numbers required under certain state and federal employment laws (e.g., EEOC, WARN, ADEA, ADA).
  • Train seasonal workers on all workplace policies and rules, including discrimination and harassment.
  • Understand what state and federal tax laws apply to seasonal employees.
  • Monitor hours, expenses, and employee performance associated with seasonal workers. Failure to do so may not reveal hidden costs, including potential legal, financial and security exposure and liability.
  • Treat seasonal employees with the same respect and guidance as you would for your permanent workforce.
University of Arizona Law School

The University of Arizona Law School will be the location of Arizona Supreme Court oral arguments on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2015.

Today, I share some news from the Arizona Supreme Court about its holding oral arguments in Tucson tomorrow, Tuesday, November 10, 2015:

“The justices have identified two cases to be presented, and attorneys representing each side will be given 20 minutes to present their arguments. After the second case, the justices will take questions from the audience, as long as those questions do not pertain to the case or cases they just heard.”

When: Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, 2-4 p.m. Guests must arrive no later than 1:10 p.m. in order to go through security screening.

Where: Ares Auditorium, Room 164, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, 1201 E. Speedway Blvd.

Who may attend: Seating is limited and available to those who have preregistered here. Members of the public are welcome on a first-come, first-served basis as remaining space allows. Note that food and beverages are not permitted past security.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThe Court will hear appellate arguments in two cases (click the case name for more detail):

2-2:40 p.m.: State v. Joseph Javier Romero, CR-15-0039-PR (issue regards the Daubert standard for expert witnesses)

3-3:50 p.m.: Jackie Abbott et al. v Banner Health Network et al., CV-15-0013-PR (issue regards a patient class-action against Arizona hospitals in which patients claim hospitals engaged in “balance billing” in liens, precluded by federal law)

The Supreme Court oral arguments will be live-streamed/simulcast and archived for later viewing here. The Court’s Tucson visit is hosted by the William H. Rehnquist Center at the James E. Rogers College of Law.

Event questions may be directed to Bernadette Wilkinson, senior program coordinator, UA College of Law, bwilkins@email.arizona.edu, 520-626-1629.

PEP creators and hosts Hattie Jean Hayes and Matt Storrs, doing a little reading.

PEP creators and hosts Hattie Jean Hayes and Matt Storrs, doing a little reading.

Last night, I had a surreal law-ish experience. And I recommend it to you on this Change of Venue Friday.

As I sat in the backyard of a downtown Phoenix business (and, I admit it, shivered in the Arizona “cold”), I marveled at the enthusiasm and innovation of the people behind Phoenix Educational Programming. Before you yawn, thinking a new CLE provider is in town, I point out that “PEP” is a performance art troupe. An eye-opening one, at that.

As they describe themselves, “Phoenix Educational Programming presents PEP Rally, a weekly show at Lawn Gnome Publishing that combines academia with the performing arts.”

Lawn Gnome Publishing imageYes, the backyard in question was behind Lawn Gnome, a bookstore shoehorned into a vintage bungalow. It’s the real deal.

PEP organizers Hattie Jean Hayes (host) and Matt Storrs (an attorney and the official “fact checker”) continually seek out great topics on which to deliver their PEP spin. Last night was Law, and a parade of speakers (some lawyers) offered their insight on topics such as the Federalist Papers, Jim Crow laws, Tindr, the right to confront your accuser, and the value of paralegals.

It’s law, plus humor, and a heaping dash of holy crap.

All of that is punctuated (like a semi-colon) by the comic riffs of emcees Hayes and Storrs.

Part of their shtick is to insist on an audience sacrifice—an individual who comes on stage and submits to their humorous razzing. They insist that unless someone comes up, they will not proceed with the show.

So, proverbial gun to head, I volunteered. What followed was one of my more fascinating nights in the fascinating place called downtown Phoenix. A cone of silence prevents me from sharing what was said by me or them, but let’s assume it involved recalling juvenile missteps and poor choices of judgment. Maybe I should not have been so forthcoming. But Hattie and Matt give so much, I had to give back.

Y’know. For the kids.

Here are a few photos I took of my inquisitors as I stood onstage (click to biggify).

In any case, though they may not revisit the topic of Law again anytime soon, I encourage you to seek them out whenever they hold a Rally, which they describe as “Phoenix’s best poets, comedians, storytellers, musicians, academics and performance artists exploring themes in a sometimes educational but always entertaining format!”

If that is not enough, the mantra they have selected for PEP comes from Malcolm X: “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”

Edgy, that.

Follow their antics on Facebook and Instagram (@peppics). And have a terrific—and PEP-filled—weekend.

PEP Rally Law


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