The Bill of Rights, illustrated and elucidated in a new book by Bob McWhirter and published by the American Bar Association.

The Bill of Rights, illustrated and elucidated in a new book by Bob McWhirter and published by the American Bar Association.

For years now, we at Arizona Attorney Magazine have been big fans of Bob McWhirter’s legal history and scholarship. He has published many of his “illustrated histories” in our pages—and that even led to a book, now published by the American Bar Association. (I wrote about it here.)

Now, we’ve learned that his book—the cover, specifically—has won an esteemed award. It received honors from Graphic Design USA in its American Inhouse Design Awards.

No wonder: The cover is beautifully done, a worthy and accurate preview of the visually complex volume that comes behind it. Congratulations!

(Buy the book? Sure you can! Go here for the paperback version, or here for the hard-cover version.)

In other Bob news, you can watch a video interview with him and the Legal Broadcast Network. As you listen to the dialogue, I think you’ll understand how infectious is his love for legal history.

Bills, Quills and Stills book cover honored with a national design award.

Bills, Quills and Stills book cover honored with a national design award.

And you can also watch a preview of a “CLE Snippet” video I taped with Bob. (The complete video, which costs money but gives you CLE, is here.)

Ties that bind: Bob McWhirter, left, and Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo (me!) after taping of a "CLE Snippet" on Bob's Second Amendment article.

Ties that bind: Bob McWhirter, left, and Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo (me!) after taping of a “CLE Snippet” on Bob’s Second Amendment article.

Most recently, we ran a two-part article by Bob on the topic of the Second Amendment. That yielded a robust series of letters to the editor in the magazine, as well as this online commentary.

What were your thoughts on Bob’s article, or on his visual approach to history generally? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

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.”

My opening #BLI15 communications slide. #itsnotatypo

My opening #BLI15 communications slide. #itsnotatypo

Yesterday, I promised to share my decision on whose tweets from the ABA Bar Leadership Institute communications session were the most splendiferous. Today, I honor that promise.

Ultimately, I come to praise four folks—and I end this post with our Big Winner. Each of them will receive a special audiocassette (why audiocassesttes? Read here and here.). Of course, to receive their prize, they have to contact me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org with their snail-mail address!

Here are photos of the audiocassettes; click them to biggify (I’m still not sure who gets which, except for The Big Winner):

And before I forget: If you go to the end of this post, you’ll also see that we had huge Twitter engagement during our session. So I’m pleased to name and thank many of those talented folks. (Want to see nearly everything? Here’s my Storify from the session.)

Every one of the people appearing in today’s post deserve a follow by you on Twitter. Get to it!

Without further ado, here are our four winners:

Whitney von Haam @wvonhaam

Whitney offered engagement, excitement, and even a suggestion that she will change her life’s mission statement—all in response to our presentations! Not to mention her use of the hashtag #notthesameoldkitchencabinet

Here are a few of her tweets:

John Trimble @IndyBarPres

Look at John’s tweets below and note a few things:

  • He’s concise and to the point.
  • He “gets it” on a very deep level.

His classic approach is appreciated by busy tweeters everywhere:

And this, not officially during our session, is still eloquently put:

Yvonne McGhee @Yvonne_McGhee

Yvonne has been a leader’s leader for years, and her tweets show how adept and generous she is as she offers praise and insights.

Plus, she used the hashtag #truth at an evocative moment. I think you’ll agree that Yvonne shares the love in wonderful ways:

… which refers to this slide:

A young Dustin Hoffman learns about mobile.

A young Dustin Hoffman learns about mobile.

Tom Prol @tprol

So if you’re paying attention, you’ll see that Tom Prol is our big Twitter winner (Twinner?). Therefore, he will receive the fantastic tape from the band Spinal Tap.

What did I love about Tom’s tweet-valanche? Only a few things. His:

  • Quick thinking
  • Art direction and composition
  • Overall excellence and willingness to engage
  • Entrepreneurship to immediately take a selfie with a colleague as I took one in the BLI audience

Wowser. Tom puts the “wit” in Twitter, as you’ll see below:

Other Talented People

Here are some other terrific tweeters from the session (but a guy only has so many cassettes):

As I mentioned, if you want to relive that morning (I know you do), traipse over to my Storify here.

Finally, what do I take away from this amazing roster of tweeters?

  1. It’s far larger than I had expected.
  2. Association folks are witty and quick.
  3. I am surrounded by generous and smart communicators.

All in all, a #winning month. Thank you to all my amazing colleagues!

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

Hand-crafted audiotapes may teach us a lesson worth remembering.

Hand-crafted audiotapes may teach us a lesson worth remembering.

Where can I get some colorful examples of audiocassette liner notes—like the ones we used to create for friends and others?

Why do I ask? Well, this Friday, I’ll address a banquet hall filled with legal leaders. The Chicago event is the Bar Leadership Institute of the American Bar Association. I was privileged to speak last year on the topic of written communication (primarily how bar presidents can increase their engagement and effectiveness in their presidents’ column, whether in print or online).

This week, my ABA-assigned topic is broader: strategic communication (the program is here). After my remarks, I’ll be joined by three smart communicators from bars around the country, who will speak on communication in print, online, and in person.

So why was I searching online for images of cassette liner notes? (That’s right; cassettes, created in about 1962.)

Well, among the messages I’ll impart has to do with the way all of us want to consume information today. Among the many items I read and watched to prepare my 30-minute presentation, one by Don MacKinnon stood out. He explained what had occurred in the music industry, and how listener interests had led to the downfall of the one-size-fits-all album. And not only have we begun to yearn for the mixtape again in music; we can see the same in various kinds of entertainment.

If in entertainment, why not in law, I wondered? Many of the people I’ll speak to on Friday can recall the heyday of associations. That’s when they controlled most of the means of production, in print and in professional education. It’s when competitors such as podcasts, apps, and downloads didn’t exist. It’s when—kind of—bar associations were record producers. And when we dropped a new album, we could be assured our audience would consume it. The lifting on the part of bars was pretty light.

That’s all changed, of course, and our audience wants a mixtape. That is, they want to curate great content from multiple sources. Smart associations will still be part of that mix, but we’re no longer the only game in town.

mixtape 2 disco mix

So my liner-note search was for some punchy visuals, as well as to serve as a model for my conference handout (a list of additional reading).

I’ll report back on how it all went (maybe I’ll even Slideshare my Powerpoint). And if things go well, I may have an audience selfie to share with you. What’s more mixtape than that?

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 blog question and data (Chart via Bob Ambrogi's Law Sites Blog.)

(Chart via Bob Ambrogi’s Law Sites Blog.)

Recent data from the American Bar Association suggests that fewer lawyers are blogging than have in the past. What this means … well, it could mean a few things.

Many folks—myself included—have advocated for the power of a blog to alter an attorney’s work life. Will a blog transform your law practice and rake in the clients? Probably not. Just like any tool at your disposal, this one can serve your particular needs—but you still have to identify what those needs are.

The hard work of determining your blog’s goals may have resulted in disappointment in the results—which were never clearly aimed for in the first place.

A very good roundup of the ABA’s new data is written by Bob Ambrogi. Among his mentions:

“Blogging was down among lawyers in all firm sizes except those in firms of 10-49 attorneys, where the percentage of lawyers who blog rose a point from 5% in 2013 to 6% this year. Among solos, the percentage who blog dropped from 12% to 10%; among those in firms of 2-9 attorneys, the percentage dropped from 11% to 8%; and in firms of 100 or more attorneys, the percentage went from 10% in 2013 to 9% this year.”

One interesting element of the ABA’s queries relates to its asking lawyers whether they “personally” maintain a blog (see chart above). Well, what else would they do?

As I have mentioned before, a debate exists over whether a lawyer’s blog is just another marketing tool, which no one (let alone potential clients) expects is penned by the lawyer herself.

Others (like me, for instance) see the blog as an opportunity to share your own thinking. It is not just like a lawyer bio, which we know a PR pro wrote. Neither is it like a brief, which everyone understands was drafted with the assistance of partners, associates and clerks.

As long as lawyers believe they can “farm out” the drafting of their own insights and legal perambulations, I’d wager that the decline in blogging may not be a bad thing.

What do you think?

 

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