An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

Our offices will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday on Friday, July 3. But before I head for the hills, I’ll share one more post for this week, this one written by my prolific colleague Alberto Rodriguez.

His piece is in regard to a noteworthy event held earlier this spring. Arizona Forward was a gathering of people and organizations committed to access to justice. Held at the Arizona Supreme Court on April 3, 2015, speakers included American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard.

Now, the event organizers have released their report, which Alberto summarizes for us here (more event photos are at the end of this post; click to enlarge and to view them in a slideshow):

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Legal professionals and community leaders are one step closer to solving the shortage of accessible legal services in Arizona. Arizona Forward, a day-long conference held in April that focused on finding new and better ways to deliver legal services, has released its findings, which included the following.

To move Arizona forward in the future delivery of legal services to its citizens, the significant changes in demographics, economies and technology must be considered by leaders from all sectors of the community-at-large.

  • (We) need to consider further augmentation of the legal services profession, beyond licensed document preparers, to include greater use of non-lawyers and paraprofessionals.
  • (We) need to communicate more effectively to those who need legal services about access to the legal system and recognize when legal advice is needed.
  • (We) must harness technology in every imaginable way to reach and assist those in need of legal services.

The underlying theme in the report was the need for increased communication. Advancements in technology will help to tackle this communication barrier. As technology continues to advance, it will play a key role in ensuring that it provides the gateway in linking those who need legal services to those who can provide it. Mobile and virtual technology are two elements being considered.

As Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales has said, “Having meaningful access to legal services is vital to fulfilling the promise of justice for all. The goal of Arizona Forward is to find new, innovative solutions that advance justice for all Arizonans.” That first step was taken, and the first goal met by the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court, the American Bar Association and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, who co-sponsored the event, along with community leaders from across the state, was to identify the issues and offer attainable solutions.

For more information on Arizona Forward and to read the report, click here or contact Carrie Sherman at 602-340-7201. To learn more about the nationwide initiative led by the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, click here.

A photo of a 1297 version of Magna Carta (Sotheby's, via Associated Press)

A photo of a 1297 version of Magna Carta (Sotheby’s, via Associated Press)

I was going to let the Magna Carta’s 800th birthday go unremarked on this blog. After all, that marvelous document s getting quite a bit of ink.

In fact, we at Arizona Attorney Magazine covered the June 15 event in our June issue, with a terrific book review and with a news story about talented high school filmmakers.

So enough already, right?

That’s how I felt, until I read yesterday’s blog post of the NW Sidebar, the blog of the Washington State Bar Association. It opens:

“June 15, 1215: King John of England sealed–not signed–Magna Carta, placing limits on the powers of the crown for the first time. On the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, it’s widely known that the U.S. constitution and legal system has roots in the historic document. Here are five facts about Magna Carta you might not know …”

Read the whole post here.

But I must—even a day late—add two worthy elements to your knowledge of this historic event. One is local, and one is in regard to a skirmish among legal historians.

  1. The local: The Arizona Bar’s own Trish Refo participated in the festivities in England that spanned this past week. She is the Chair of the ABA House of Delegates, as well as a partner with Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix. As the American Bar Association reported:
Trish Refo, left, chair of the ABA House of Delegates, introduces Andrew Caplen, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, during the June 11 opening of the ABA London Sessions. In the center is ABA President William C. Hubbard.

Trish Refo, left, chair of the ABA House of Delegates, introduces Andrew Caplen, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, during the June 11 opening of the ABA London Sessions. In the center is ABA President William C. Hubbard. (Credit: Professional Images)

Refo … introduced Andrew Caplen, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, during the June 11 opening of the ABA London Sessions at Westminster Central Hall.

“We are honored that President Caplen has joined us to mark this momentous occasion, the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta,” Refo said.

The London Sessions, which ran from June 11-15, were the culmination of a yearlong celebration of the historic charter. The celebration featured preeminent speakers and 16 continuing legal education programs that focused on the Great Charter’s impact and relevance on the rule of law today.

Trish Refo, right, greets Queen Elizabeth II.

Trish Refo, right, greets Queen Elizabeth II. (Credit: Professional Images)

Refo was present at Monday’s morning-long Magna Carta anniversary celebration, where she met Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The morning’s events, attended by more than 4,000 guests, were followed by a rededication ceremony of the newly refurbished ABA Memorial, which was erected in 1957 to honor the legacy of Magna Carta and the principles of justice it represents.

ABA President William C. Hubbard led the rededication ceremony, which was attended by dignitaries including Princess Anne, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and Matthew Barzun, U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

  1. The legally hisorical: I urge you to read this article in the New York Times that describes an ongoing disagreement among scholars as to how significant—really—the Magna Carta was and how compelling to our imagination it should remain.

As the reporter writes:

“In the United States, Magna Carta—it means Great Charter in Latin—is treated with a reverence bordering on worship by many legislators, scholars and judges. It is considered the basis for many of the principles that form the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

As the story says, a significant number of folks do not agree with that assessment. Here’s the whole story.

Happy birthday anyway, Great Charter!

Does LSD -- or the medical profession's treatment of it -- hold any lessons for the legal profession?

Does LSD — or the medical profession’s treatment of it — hold any lessons for the legal profession?

If all goes according to plan, as you read this I will be standing in a spot where LSD made history.

No, I am not in Woodstock, N.Y. (close to where I grew up). Instead, I’m in Boston, Mass., for part of this week. And amidst the lobster traps and the Freedom Trail, there is a small bit of druggy history—which may hold lessons for how we do things in the legal profession. (Bear with me.)

Marsh Chapel is a beautiful structure on the Boston University campus. Besides being a (I think) non-denominational spot to relax and meditate, it also was the site of an LSD experiment co-led by the now-notorious Dr. Timothy Leary.

Boston University's Marsh Chapel

Boston University’s Marsh Chapel

Back in March, I recounted the experiment to an audience at the American Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Institute. I explained how the Leary experiment was one of a number across that nation that sought to determine if the drug had solid medicinal uses (beyond those experienced in a Woodstock meadow).

The experiment had its challenges. For instance, the researchers tried to blind themselves as to which subjects had taken LSD and which had been given a placebo. But even an inattentive researcher could immediately spot the college students who were lying prone on the floor, or standing and marching on the pews, or even wandering from the building in a manic daze (one student was found on Commonwealth Avenue claiming to channel the Messiah).

More about the Marsh Chapel Experiment is here.

Timothy Leary's death on the New York Times front page, as modified by artist Nancy Chunn (her book is at http://www.amazon.com/Front-Pages-exhibition-catalogue-Nancy/dp/0847820815)

Timothy Leary’s death on the New York Times front page, as modified by artist Nancy Chunn (her book is at http://www.amazon.com/Front-Pages-exhibition-catalogue-Nancy/dp/0847820815)

As I told the ABA audience, my goal was not to advocate for LSD use. It was to explore ways that every profession may have learned valuable information, only to hide those very lessons from itself due to political or other reasons.

As an example, a terrific New Yorker article by Michael Pollan explains the waxing and waning of LSD research. Between 1953 and 1973, the federal government spent $4 million to fund 117 studies of LSD, involving more than 1,700 subjects. The benefits that flowed from the drug could be significant, and they applied to a wide variety of ailments. LSD looked to be on a path of becoming recognized as a useful tool in medical practitioners’ toolbox.

The work was necessarily inconclusive, though, because it was brought to an abrupt halt from the 1970s forward when federal and other dollars grew squeamish as the War on Drugs was ginned up. The developing body of research was shelved and placed in very deep drawers. It’s probably safe to say that many doctors today would be surprised to discover that substantial LSD research ever conducted—so deeply secreted is that work. It is typically thought of today (even among medical doctors) as a criminal drug.

Your should read Pollan’s complete article, titled “The Trip Treatment,” here.

So generations of doctors are unaware of the extensive experiments and a growing body of positive results that were developing and then squelched. Today, Pollan explains, a small group of doctors is excavating that decades-old research, developing new experiments, and seeing how LSD may become a useful tool in limited circumstances. What they are learning is that a wide variety of ailments may be alleviated or improved through that demonized drug.

So what, say lawyers? What is the takeaway for the legal profession?

There are always cool new lessons for cooler lawyers. Far out!

There are always cool new lessons for cooler lawyers. Far out!

First: No, I don’t have a vested interest in seeing LSD return.

But every profession has its blind spots, and few of us have an archival memory. We each may have forgotten or nerver learned hard-won lessons that could guide our profession.

For instance, the ways we deliver content, teach CLEs, train lawyers—each of them—who knows?—may be atop the pinnacle of human achievement. But it is more likely they lack important lessons that once were learned and then put away—either because they were considered unimportant or because someone’s ox was getting gored. Revisited, those lessons could transform lives for practitioners and the public who need them.

Smart bar associations, law schools, and attorneys are willing to look at everything and revisit lessons we thought we had learned. What could those lessons be? Well, let’s hope we start re-discovering them together—sooner rather than later.

As I enjoy some shellfish and Boston history, I wish you an illuminating—and not necessarily pharmaceutical—weekend.

The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

The ABA #BLI15 conference room as I took the stage.

Two weeks ago, I had the chance to present on communications to hundreds of lawyers. Fortunately, prizes were involved. And soon, I’ll announce even more of them.

No, no prizes for me. My prize was the opportunity once again to speak to legal leaders at the American Bar Association Leadership Institute. I had 30 minutes to explore how and why we all communicate well (and sometimes less than well), as individuals and as associations.

I then got to introduce smart people from bar associations around the country, each of whom addressed a core area of communications: in print, in person, and in electronic media. Those folks were Mark Mathewson of the Illinois Bar, Meredith Avakian of the Philadelphia Bar, and Karen Korr of the San Diego County Bar. I think it’s fair to say we all hit it out of the park. (What, you want evidence? Cruise over here to enjoy the Storify I created from our morning’s presentations. We were all pleased at the amount of engagement that surrounded us, and that clearly extended to the web.)

But … I mentioned prizes.

They included the prizes I handed out during my presentation, when folks accurately answered questions.

The audience was terrific and responded immediately when I queried them. And those who answered correctly received … audiocassettes.

That’s right. Old-fashioned music cassettes. I found them at Phoenix vintage stores, and they were quite a hit. But then again, who doesn’t love Leslie Gore singing “It’s My Party,” or Sonny and Cher reminding us that “I got you, babe”?

Here is a tweet from one attendee who won the Sonny & Cher love:

So what were my questions that led to music prizes, you wonder? I asked the audience to complete a quote by George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

My #BLI15 PowerPoint slide with George Bernard Shaw

… and I asked what movie was the source for the following quote regarding “turning the dial to 11”:

turn the dial to 11 This Is Spinal Tap

So, why the cassette mania? Well, it had a communications connection. It emerged from an essay that I was taken with, by Don MacKinnon. It’s titled “Mixtapes: The Future of Creation?” You can read it here.

My other prizes—the ones yet to be announced—are being given to audience members who were the session’s best tweeters. The mind races.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you who those talented social-media folks are—and what they’re getting.

In the meantime, you may enjoy a list of all of my sources, compiled (of course) as mixtape liner notes (click to see the PDF):

ABA BLI 2015 additional reading handout eigo

AAABA Arizona Asian American Bar Association logoTalented and smart law students in Arizona are being encouraged to apply for an esteemed scholarship named for former Judge Thomas Tang. The sponsor is the Arizona Asian American Bar Association.

The application (link below) is straightforward, and it includes a question that applicants must answer (in no more than two pages):

“What is the importance of diversity in education and employment and how will your education, background, and perspective on diversity be a benefit as a leader in society and in relation to your law practice?”

The deadline is Friday, March 20, 2015, at 11:00 p.m.

ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown

ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown

Anyone who attended this week’s John P. Morris Memorial Lecture at ASU Law School may have a jump-start in conceptualizing their essay. That’s because ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown spoke on “The Importance of Diversity & Inclusion in the Law.” It was the 15th annual Morris Lecture, and she also spoke in celebration of Black History Month. (Thank you to NAPABA President George Chen for the heads-up.)

Here is more background from AAABA:

Do you know a law student who attends a law school in Arizona?

If so, then encourage him or her to apply for The Thomas Tang Law Scholarship, which is funded by AAABA and awarded in honor of the late Judge Thomas Tang. Up to four scholarships may be awarded in an amount of at least $2,000 each.

Awards will be presented at AAABA’s annual installation and scholarship banquet to be held on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

Additional information about the scholarship can be found in the application, which you can download here.

David Bodney, of Ballard Spahr, chairs the upcoming ABA Forum on Communications Law

David Bodney, of Ballard Spahr, chairs the upcoming ABA Forum on Communications Law

One thing that always draws me in to speakers and conferences is their occasional attempt to offer some hands-on learning.

That is one of the pluses I spotted in the upcoming ABA Forum on Communications Law. The 20th annual conference will be held February 5-7, 2015, at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.

Besides that interactivity, I also was pleased to see Arizona’s own David Bodney is the conference chair. Whether you’re a lawyer or a journalist (or both), you know David is a national leader on the topic of media and communications law.

Back to that interactivity.

Among other things, the conference will include a one-day “Media Advocacy Workshop” on February 5. I understand that in the hands-on advocacy training, participants in small groups will focus on media-law problems and will:

  • Argue a motion to quash a subpoena to a blogger in a civil case based on the First Amendment
  • Argue a summary judgment motion involving an invasion of privacy claim based on a leaked sex video and a defamation claim based on comments by an anonymous blog poster
  • Review a television story and related social media promotions based on public records and confidential sources

This is relevant, timely stuff, which would benefit attorneys and maybe even journalists.

Another highlight is the keynote speaker, Mary Beth Tinker, a plaintiff from the landmark students’ rights case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, which involved the freedom of speech.

You can view the conference brochure here.

Early conference registration is December 15; the deadline to register for the Workshop is January 30, 2015.

I plan to attend parts of the conference (and hopefully the workshop too). I’ll let you know how the hands-on learning goes.

ABA Section of Litigation logoLater this week, I’ll attend a conference focused on litigation. Just in case you can’t be there yourself, I thought I’d ask what you’d like me to cover.

The event is the annual conference of the American Bar Association Litigation Section (follow them on Twitter here). We are fortunate that the national event will be held April 9-11 right here in our state, at The Phoenician in Scottsdale. (The State Bar of Arizona CEO, John Phelps, is an Honorary Chair.)

The three days will have a boatload of seminars, 40 of them:

“including 3 plenaries and feature 150 of the nation’s most respected judges, academics and trial lawyers,as they address litigation development and techniques in trial advocacy. In addition to the education portion, the Section Annual Conference provides for an opportunity for meeting and networking with our distinguished guests and fellow participants.”

Wondering what the seminars include? You can breeze through the brochure here.

The ABA makes it even easier. Here is an abbreviated guide.

the phoenician scottsdale

The Phoenician Resort, Scottsdale, Ariz., site of the annual conference of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, April 9-11, 2014.

I’ll be in and out of the conference this week, seeking stories and great new article ideas for Arizona Attorney Magazine. I’m developing my week’s calendar now, and I’d appreciate knowing which seminars sound most interesting to you.

Here are a few I may drop in on:

  • General counsel forum reveals the real deal
  • Janet Napolitano keynote
  • New technologies of evidence coming to court
  • Essential apps and websites for litigators
  • A lynching that forever changed law practice
  • DOMA’s dead: Now what?
  • Hot Internet litigation trends
  • Lean In for lawyers
  • Social media’s implications for litigation
  • Communicating about mistakes with clients
  • Litigating privacy and data breach issues
  • Dealing with difficult judges
  • Business divorces

… and, of course:

  • The Trial of Wyatt Earp

And then after lunch …

Only kidding. I may not have time to attend all of these. But look over the program and tell me what you’d love to hear a synopsis of.

And if you plan to be there yourself, let me know. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. Or reach me on Twitter @azatty. I’ll also be tweeting, and here’s the conference hashtag: #14SAC

Let’s get litigious, shall we?

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