Arizona Law logoThey say late notice is better than no notice at all, and so I pass on a legal event occurring at 4:00 today in Tucson.

Here’s the good news: You can attend via the power of live-streaming.

A panel discussion titled “Death of DOMA: Implications for Arizona? will be held at the James E. Rogers College of Law today (Wednesday, August 28) from 4:00 to 5:15 pm. It will occur in the Ares Auditorium (Room 164). Seating is first-come, first-served; there is no registration.

However, this program also will be live-streamed. To watch the program online, visit the home page and click on the DOMA panel link, which will become available shortly before the program starts.

Here is more information from the law school.

Law Professors Toni Massaro and Barbara Atwood will speak on a panel with attorney Steven Phillips about the Supreme Court decisions in Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry and the legal implications for attorneys and same-sex couples in Arizona. The program will be of general interest to lawyers and non-lawyers and conducted in a Q-and-A format.

Professor Emerita Atwood, family law scholar, and Dean Emerita Massaro, a noted constitutional law teacher and scholar, co-authored an opinion piece, “Gay Marriage: Let’s Talk,” published in the Arizona Republic in March, and they have frequently commented on these cases.

Attorney Steven Phillips, an alumnus of Arizona Law, is a Tucson attorney specializing in business and estate planning transactions and estate administration. A longtime Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, he is a frequent contributor and participant in programs of the State Bar of Arizona and the Tucson Tax Study Group, which he co-founded. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers.

The “Death of DOMA” panel is free and open to the public. Seating is first-come, first-served. No registration is required. Up to 1.25 hours of CLE credit are available.

Date: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Time: 4 – 5:15 p.m.

Location: James E. Rogers College of Law, Ares Auditorium (Room 164), 1201 E. Speedway, Tucson

The program is being cosponsored by the University of Arizona Institute for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies.

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English judge stuffy corporate

NOT how you want the public to view our courts.

“Comes now the blogger.”

Odd, right? Completely foreign?

Now you know how lay people feel when they have the misfortune to wander into an American courtroom when lawyers channeling Shakespeare decide to hold forth. Methinks it’s annoying.

That’s why a recent news story out of Tucson is so refreshing. As the Daily Star reports, a new project at the Superior Court for Pima County strives to make the legal process understandable to the public.

The project was spearheaded by Commissioner Dean Christoffel. In his job, he saw people “struggling to fill out forms dealing with divorce, child custody issues, child support, paternity and spousal maintenance.”

So Commissioner Christoffel sought out University of Arizona students “who could rewrite dozens of instructions provided to people representing themselves.”

Among the experts who helped with the “Simpla Phi Lex” project was Barbara Atwood, the Mary Anne Richey Professor Emerita of Law at the UA Law School.

The complete story is here. (And the University’s story is here.)

Here at Arizona Attorney, I still smile every time I re-read the two articles we were privileged to publish that Dean had written. (Read “A Ripping Good Yarn Told With Verve” and “Algebraic Apoplexy.”) This is a lawyer and court official who knows how to write!

Maybe it’s my own fascination, but we run a good number of articles about improving legal writing. Last month, we published a news story about an initiative to simplify the Justice Court rules. And our February issue had a cover story urging clarity rather than ornate language.

Congratulations to Dean Christoffel, as well as everyone affiliated with this new great project.