Radio gives back: KJZZ pastry-winnings being enjoyed in the Arizona Supreme Court.

Radio gives back: KJZZ pastry-winnings being enjoyed in the Arizona Supreme Court.

The other day, as I was enjoying my morning coffee, I was pointed toward a site where … I could watch other people do the same thing.

OK, that was not a very intriguing opening for what is really a very cool endeavor. In the effort, KJZZ, the local public radio station, is soliciting workplace photos that they might republish—and they are willing to sweeten their offer:

“If you’ve ever stood around your office watercooler with your co-workers and found yourself talking about a story you heard on KJZZ, now is your chance to show us—and win. Send us a photo of you and your co-workers around your office watercooler or coffee pot by using the hashtag #KJZZwatercooler on Facebook or Twitter. (If you’d rather email your photo, send it to kjzzsocial@kjzz.org.)”

“We’ll post the pictures on KJZZ.org and our Facebook page, and draw a random winner each week. If you win, we’ll deliver some coffee and treats to your workplace.”

That’s the draw that led me to the photos in this post. They show Arizona’s current Supreme Court clerks gathered to enjoy their pastry winnings.

The vote appears unanimous: Arizona Supreme Court clerks enjoy KJZZ pastries. KJZZ’s Carrie Jung delivers coffee and pastries to the law clerks at the Arizona Supreme Court in downtown Phoenix on June 29, 2015. (Photo by Sky Schaudt - KJZZ)

The vote appears unanimous: Arizona Supreme Court clerks enjoy KJZZ pastries. KJZZ’s Carrie Jung delivers coffee and pastries to the law clerks at the Arizona Supreme Court in downtown Phoenix on June 29, 2015. (Photo by Sky Schaudt – KJZZ)

More photos at the Court, including the sweet treats, are here on the KJZZ Facebook page.

And be sure to follow the station on Facebook here. And pay attention; there may be a muffin in your future. If you and your officemates are conversant in the morning, it may be worth snapping a photo!

For past and future contest photos (and to learn how to submit your own), go here for the Watercooler Photo Contest.

Finally, because we all feel a yawning absence on Change of Venue Friday, as my post often lacks any law (oh, no!), let me offer one statutory element—from France.

I have read that the shape of your croissant truly matters. Apparently, the straight variety may be made if the only “fat” ingredient is pure butter. If any other fat is used, it must be shaped as a crescent.

A citation, you ask? Here you go.

As one food writer also pointed out, “According to a French law passed in 1998, boulangeries can only legally call themselves boulangers if they make their own fresh bread on site (this is exactly the kind of hard-hitting law-making decisions we need in the rest of the world).”

Have a wonderful—and pastry-filled—weekend.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealThe June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine includes a terrific primer on a new court being piloted in Arizona: a commercial court that aims to bring expertise to bear to resolve business disputes fairly and expeditiously.

The primer was written by attorney Mark Meltzer in the format of a Q&A. As the Supreme Court staff attorney tasked with serving a longtime committee examining the issue—and that eventually recommended creation of this very court—I figured he was the ideal man for the job.

Here is a link to the story.

(I wrote about the committee and the pilot program here.)

But we’re wondering what other questions you may have about the Court. Yes, we thought long and hard on the best questions to get answered—but we may have missed something.

Perhaps you won’t have questions until you see the way the court operates. But it’s also possible you have queries, concerns or suggestions right now. Please write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

An Arizona commercial court pilot program will launch on July 1. Read more in the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

An Arizona commercial court pilot program will launch on July 1. Read more in the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

A gift from a previous delegation from Moldova was this beautiful booklet of pictures from the country. Scroll to the bottom to see how you can become the proud owner of it (and to see it open and extended).

A gift from a previous delegation from Moldova was this beautiful booklet of pictures from the country. Scroll to the bottom to see how you can become the proud owner of it (and to see it open and extended).

This spring brought a variety of international delegations to Arizona. These groups of lawyers and judges offer the opportunity to exchange ideas and to learn how justice is rendered around the world.

On April 27, a delegation from Moldova came to the State Bar of Arizona. There, they heard about U.S. and Arizona processes regarding litigation, professional ethics, and lawyer discipline. Here is a photo of Bar Counsel Amy Rehm speaking with the Moldovan delegation.

State Bar of Arizona Bar Counsel Amy Rehm addresses a delegation of Moldovan judges and lawyers, April 27, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

State Bar of Arizona Bar Counsel Amy Rehm addresses a delegation of Moldovan judges and lawyers, April 27, 2015, Phoenix, Ariz.

On April 21, the Peoria Municipal Court and Tulane Law School hosted 35 judges from China in a cultural education forum. According to organizers, “The Court hosted a four-person panelist discussion addressing Access to Justice, both on a larger scale and also with a focus on limited jurisdiction courts. The panelists were led by the Hon. Presiding Judge George T. Anagnost and also included Dr. (attorney) Catherine Jiang, Mr. Patrick Scott (AOC / AZ Supreme Court), and Attorney / Judge Pro Tem Debbie Weecks.”

Finally, the Arizona Supreme Court in March met with eight members of Nepal’s judiciary. It was part of an initiative launched by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the government of Nepal. At the Arizona event, Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha worked with the UNDP’s Rule of Law and Human Rights Program to plan a series of discussions with Arizona’s court professionals.

Arizona Office of the Courts Director David Byers (rear) with the delegates from Nepal, March 2015. Nepal Supreme Court Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha is in the light-gray three-button suit in front of Mr. Byers.

Arizona Office of the Courts Director David Byers (rear) with the delegates from Nepal, March 2015. Nepal Supreme Court Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha is in the light-gray three-button suit in front of Mr. Byers.

Here is more news from the Supreme Court on the Nepal visit. Congratulations to all Arizona participants on your local ambassadorship.

“Nepal has a three-tiered court system similar to American courts in which there are trial courts, appellate courts and a Supreme Court.  Subject matter experts and Arizona’s five justices met with the delegates to answer their questions and provide information about Arizona’s progress in key areas. The delegates were particularly interested in how the courts address the needs of the poor and disadvantaged as well as victims of crime.”

“‘Senior Supreme Court Justice Shrestha and the UN representative selected Arizona because Nepal faces some of the same issues we are working to address successfully,’ said Chief Justice Scott Bales. ‘We noted the importance of seeking input and support from the community broadly, including leaders from outside the judicial branch. Some of our best innovations have come by including non-judicial members from the public, private, and non-profit sectors in various court initiatives.’”

“Justice Shrestha and seven colleagues from the Nepal judiciary spent a day and a half last week meeting with state court subject matter specialists before also visiting the Sandra Day O’Connor Federal Courthouse and the Superior Court in Maricopa County. Later in the week, the delegates met with Nepalese students from Arizona State University and representatives from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. They departed on March 5 for stops in Washington, DC and New York City before returning to Kathmandu, Nepal.”

“The representatives from Nepal included:

  • Senior Justice Kalyan Shrestha, Supreme Court
  • Honorable Judge Mr. Til Prasad Shrestha, Appellate Court, Hetauda
  • Honorable Judge Mr. Hemraj Pant, Appellate Court, Patan
  • Honorable Judge Mr. Radha Krishna Upreti, District Court, Rautahat
  • Mr. Lal Bahadur Kunwar, Joint Registrar, Supreme Court
  • Mr. Bhadrakali Pokharel, Bench Officer, Supreme  Court
  • Mr. Ratna Kaji Shrestha, Justice Sector Coordinator for the on Rule of Law and Human Rights Program, United Nations Development Program
  • Mr. D. Christopher Decker, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law and Human Rights Program, United Nations Development Program”

Back to that Moldova booklet. Here it is extended:

Moldova postcards extended

The postcard booklet extended: That’s a lot of feet of a beautiful country.

To claim it as your own, just write to me with a few paragraphs about your (a) visit to Moldova or (b) your desire to travel there. Fair warning: Your submission may be used as a guest blog post! I’m at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

The number-1 goal of the Arizona courts is access to justice.

The number-1 goal of the Arizona courts is access to justice.

How busy is your average day? How would you assess yourself on the helpfulness scale?

I hope you’re a typically helpful person, but when I saw what Arizona legal aid agencies do in a single day, I realized I’d have to step up to even come close.

The following terrific information came my way from Heather Murphy at the Arizona Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts. She passed on an analysis from the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education (or the Bar Foundation, if you prefer) that shows the activities of those agencies on just one day. As they say, what a difference a day makes.

As they indicate below, the agencies tracked the activity related to individuals seeking assistance for crises that only legal expertise can resolve. The help they offer is remarkable. The gap that remains is huge—and growing.

Heather reminds me that access to justice is one of the five priority areas in Advancing Justice Together: Courts & Communities, the five-year strategic agenda for Arizona’s statewide network of courts. You can read the strategic agenda here.

And more about the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice is here.

And here is the Foundation:

The phones started ringing early at legal aid agencies across Arizona, and kept ringing as people also walked in and requested help via an online portal: 597 Arizona families were calling out for legal help on this one day.

In honor of Governor Doug Ducey’s proclamation declaring April “Access to Justice Month,” Arizona’s three legal aid agencies organized a “What a Difference a Day Makes” campaign to bring attention to the importance of and need for access to legal resources and assistance. For 24 hours, Community Legal Services, DNA People’s Legal Services and Southern Arizona Legal Aid tracked the activity related to individuals seeking assistance for crises that only legal expertise can resolve. On Tuesday, April 14, Arizona’s legal aid organizations made an enormous difference:

  • In the lives of 509 individuals who were offered help in their legal crisis
  • With the 69 people given support in self-help legal clinics
  • With the assistance of 25 volunteer attorneys donating their time and expertise free of charge

Each day, the legal aid agencies across Arizona are making a difference in the lives of those they serve and in the communities where they live.  These unsung heroes should be thanked. But you best send a note, because their phone lines will be busy helping the next person in need.

In 2014:

  • The three Arizona legal aid agencies helped 31,605 Arizonans: 17,663 adults and 13,942 children.
  • Legal assistance was provided to Arizonans in each of the state’s 15 counties and Arizona’s 21 Native American tribes.

Community Legal Services, DNA People’s Legal Services and Southern Arizona Legal Aid provide legal assistance on various areas of law, including: family law with an emphasis on eliminating domestic violence; consumer; employment; housing and mortgage foreclosure; individual rights; health/medical related; and public benefits (access to government benefits such as unemployment insurance and social security disability benefits).

More information about all three agencies is below. Contact them to make a difference yourself:

In the offing are proposed rules that could affect law practice. Comments by March 27.

In the offing are proposed rules that could affect law practice. Comments due by March 27.

Today I’m happy to share news from my State Bar colleague Patricia Sallen. She is a Bar’s Assistant Executive Director and our resident Ethical Rule guru (I’m guessing she has a different title than guru). But she writes to alert attorneys to proposed changes that are percolating and that may be adopted, changes that could have broad effects on law practice.

The proposals come out of a Supreme Court-created “Committee on the Review of Supreme Court Rules Governing Professional Conduct and the Practice of Law.” That committee has filed a rule-change petition, R-15-0018. In her article, Pat explains in broad strokes eight areas of possible change.

You can read Pat’s excellent summary here.

Probably most important and timely:

“The State Bar will be circulating the rule-change petition to collect input from its stakeholders such as committees, sections and other interested organizations. If you as an individual lawyer wish to provide input to the State Bar (apart from those committees, sections and other interested organizations), please email your comments to rules@azbar.org by March 27, 2015.”

For more background, read the committee’s report here and read the rule-change petition here.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_Seal

[Note: This post was updated on March 2, 2015, to add the name of the Chair of the Business Court Advisory Committee, David Rosenbaum. I mean, I forgot the Chair! I’m sorry for the omission.]

A pilot program that creates a new superior court venue for commercial disputes was established by the Arizona Supreme Court this month. The three-year program will launch in July and function in Maricopa County.

The program’s details are set out in Administrative Order 2015-15, issued on February 18, and it followed on the work of a Business Court Advisory Committee, created by the Supreme Court in May 2014. This Administrative Order also adopts new Rule of Civil Procedure 8.1 and two new forms that practitioners and the court would use (included as an attachment to the order).

The three judges named to the new program for the pilot period are Judges Dawn Bergin, Roger Brodman and Christopher Whitten.

Rules 8.1(b), (c) and (d), included in the order (which you can read here), set out the case types that could be (and could not be) handled by the new venue.

Not to be lost amid the new development is the hard work and creativity of the original Court-created committee. You can read all their names and affiliations in Appendix A to A.O. 2014-48. But just to make it easier for you, congratulations and thanks to (alphabetically): Chair David Rosenbaum, Michael Arkfeld, Ray Billotte, Judge Kyle Bryson, Andrew Federhar, Glenn Hamer, Bill Klain, Mark Larson, Lisa Loo, Judge Scott Rash (appointed in A.O. 2014-58), Judge John Rea, Trish Refo, Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Mark Rogers, Nicole Stanton, Steve Tully, Steven Weinberger and Judge Christopher Whitten (appointed in A.O. 2014-58).

And here is a release from the Court:

“Civil commercial disputes may soon be handled in a new venue thanks to an Administrative Order by the Arizona Supreme Court that was signed this week. In May 2014, the Supreme Court established an 18-member advisory committee to study the feasibility of establishing a special venue within the Superior Courts to address the unique needs of businesses engaged in commercial civil litigation. The Superior Court in Maricopa County is in the process of launching a three-year pilot Commercial Court program.”

“‘This court recognizes that disputes between companies or involving the internal governance of businesses often raise issues that require specialized knowledge and that implicate potentially expensive discovery. By appointing experienced judges and establishing processes shaped for commercial civil litigation, we hope to show that these disputes can be resolved more efficiently and economically,’ Chief Justice Scott Bales explained.”

“The advisory committee cited several reasons that a Commercial Court would be beneficial to Arizona, including:

  • To make Arizona a more favorable forum for resolving business disputes;
  • To improve the business community’s access to justice;
  • To expeditiously resolve business cases and reduce litigation costs;
  • To improve the quality of justice; and
  • To gain the business community’s support for the State of Arizona’s dispute resolution system.”

“The pilot program is slated to begin July 1, 2015, giving the Superior Court in Maricopa County time to re-assign workload as necessary and implement other administrative steps in advance of taking on its first docket of cases.”

“The establishment of a Commercial Court is budget neutral and will be achieved through the use of existing judges and resources that are currently in place at the trial court level. Judges Dawn Bergin, Roger Brodman and Christopher Whitten are the three judges who will hear Commercial Court cases.”

“Once a case is assigned to Commercial Court, there will be a mandatory early scheduling conference to help address discovery issues and adopt an effective and efficient schedule for progress of the case.”

AZTurboCourt e-filing logoToday I share the following item from the Arizona Supreme Court about their next step in making Arizona an e-filing state. As they say, the automated case system launched on Tuesday in Pima County.

The next generation of court automation has arrived in the Superior Court in Pima County. AZTurboCourt is available for civil case initiation and civil subsequent filing in the Pima County Superior Court beginning February 17, 2015. Opening a civil case and submitting additional materials related to the case used to require a visit to the Clerk of the Superior Court. In-person trips to the Clerk to file a Pima County civil case will be a thing of the past with the launch of AZTurboCourt.

Law offices will need to establish an account in AZTurboCourt before making their first filing. Please be aware that it may take three to four days to set up your payment account. For information on how to register and set up a payment account please go here and click on the “Training Manuals” or “Tutorial Videos” link.

Live and online training classes will be available starting February 9. The training sessions will include step-by-step instructions on launching an account, e-filing a case, attaching documents, and other tips to ensure that an electronic submission is not delayed due to errors.

A training manual and self-paced training videos are available on our website here. There are several differences between the Maricopa County application and the Pima County application, so training is highly encouraged. To sign up for an in-person or WebEx training class, please visit here.

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