State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorIn case you missed it, here is news about important changes to Rule 32, the Arizona Supreme Court rule that establishes and defines the State Bar. The changes were proposed by the Task Force on the Review of the Role and Governance Structure of the State Bar of Arizona, led by former Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch. The task force was created in 2014 (see the Order).

As the State Bar reports,

“The State Bar of Arizona’s consumer protection role has been enhanced thanks to a revised rule from the Arizona Supreme Court. The changes to Rule 32 … add language that refines the organization’s mission. While the State Bar has always focused its efforts on protecting the public, that language is now in the rule. The updated wording says, ‘The State Bar of Arizona exists to serve and protect the public with respect to the provision of legal services and access to justice.’”

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealOther changes affect the Board of Governors and the Board of Legal Specialization, among other things.

You can read about the changes here.

And the full rule change is here.

Loyal to the democratic process? You may want to vote in a Bar election before it closes Wednesday afternoon. I voted sticker dog

Loyal to the democratic process? You may want to vote in a Bar election before it closes Wednesday afternoon.

[Note: This post was corrected to indicate that voting is done not on the State Bar website but via a link and credentials emailed directly to each affected Arizona attorney.]

Many of you may have done your civic duty and voted on some high-profile statewide propositions. But did you know that if you are an Arizona-admitted attorney in certain counties, you should be voting in another election too—one that determines who will sit on the State Bar Board of Governors?

And that online election closes at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAs the State Bar says:

“An election will be held this year to elect one member each from District 1 (Apache, Coconino, Mohave, and Navajo Counties), District 3 (Gila, Graham, and Greenlee Counties), District 4 (Cochise County), and District 7 (La Paz and Yuma Counties). Three members from District 5 (Pima and Santa Cruz Counties) will also be elected. Each elected member will serve a three-year term starting this June.”

So, yes, there are some contested elections. You can read how the candidates described themselves and their values here in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

And for even more functionality in reading about and seeing the candidates, go to the Bar’s user-friendly website here.

Finally, in order to cast your ballot, see the email sent directly to you from State Bar CEO John Phelps. That email contains a link to the ballot and your specific credentials to do so.

(Click to enlarge the images below.)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color

News from the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors is accepting applications from nonlawyers from outlying counties to fill one seat on its board. The application deadline is Friday, March 18, 2016. Participation of public members is essential to the State Bar’s mission of serving the public and its efforts of making sure the people of Arizona have a strong voice in the legal system.

A total of four public members, who serve three-year terms, sit on the 30-member board. The board establishes the vision, mission and policies of the association and ensures that there are sufficient resources for its management and operations.

Applicants for the public member position may be from any county within Arizona except Maricopa County and:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have resided in Arizona for at least three years
  • May not be an active or inactive member of any bar association
  • May not have, other than as a consumer, a financial interest in the practice of law

Individuals with experience in human resources or accounting, or who have previous experience serving on professional boards, are especially encouraged to apply.

Members of the Board of Governors attend approximately 10 all-day meetings each year. Meetings are usually held on the third Friday of the month at the State Bar’s office in Phoenix. Preparation in advance of the meetings, including review of related materials, is essential. In addition, members attend the Bar’s annual convention in June and a two-day retreat in July. Board members also serve on standing board committees. Travel and meal expenses are paid for all meetings, but there is no other compensation for service as a board member.

An application form must be submitted to the State Bar by Friday, March 18, 2016. The form can be found online here or by contacting Nina Benham at 602-340-7329 or by email at nina.benham@staff.azbar.org.

State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, 2015-16

State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, 2015-16

A Supreme Court task force report on the State Bar of Arizona is described by Justice Rebecca Berch, via video available on the Court's website.

A Supreme Court task force report on the State Bar of Arizona is described by Justice Rebecca Berch, via video available on the Court’s website.

In July 2014, Chief Justice Scott Bales signed an administrative order creating a task force to examine “the mission and governance of the State Bar.” The new group was charged with drafting its report by September 1, 2015. That draft report is now available, and the Court is seeking comment.

The task force’s website includes detail about its members, information about its many meetings, and a link to the draft report.

You can link directly to the report here.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealAlso on the website is an introductory video by Justice Rebecca White Berch, who chaired the task force.

Among multiple recommendations, the task force recommends: a reduction in the size of the State Bar Board of Governors (from 30 to between 15 and 18); and clarification of the Bar’s primary mission, which is to serve and protect the public.

One of the elements discussed by the task force was whether the Bar should be maintained as an integrated (mandatory) organization. The task force recommended that it should (though the decision was not unanimous among task force members).

After reading the report, public comment on it can be submitted by email to BarGovernance@courts.az.gov.

You can read Chief Justice Bales’ original Administrative Order here.

More information about the report (and maybe some coverage in Arizona Attorney Magazine) will follow as we head into the fall.

Screen-shot of State Bar Governors election for Pinal County, which closes this Wednesday, May 20.

Screen-shot of State Bar Governors election for Pinal County, which closes this Wednesday, May 20.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum—the election forum, that is.

This month, elections are open for State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors positions for attorney from Pinal County, which is District 8. If you’re in that district and haven’t voted, get to it; all voting is online, and polls close at 5:00 pm this Wednesday, May 20.

More detail about the election is here.

There are a few noteworthy things about that page. First, the functionality is pretty cool. Clicking on the candidates causes their photos to increase in size and their candidate statement to appear. Nicely done by someone in the Bar’s IT world.

But the other interesting things is about the candidate statements themselves. One of the candidates opted not to post a statement (though he may have sent something to voting attorneys directly, as he is permitted to do). And the other candidate statement—well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

The statements (or lack thereof) surprised me, as we published statements for each of the candidates in the print version of Arizona Attorney. You can read them online here. And below is a screen shot of those statements in the May issue.

Pinal County candidate statements in the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Pinal County candidate statements in the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine.

So the changes in the online versions caught my attention. And in fact, one of the statements takes an election tack I have never seen before. As Bret Huggins writes:

“I find myself in a pleasant predicament. I was nominated for the position of Pinal County representative on the State Bar Board of Governors before I found out Denis Fitzgibbons would be a candidate as well.”

“Denis Fitzgibbons is a wonderful lawyer and a very good man.  Denis would be an excellent representative for all of us practicing in Pinal County.”

“Denis runs a prestigious and successful law firm with his brother Dave in Casa Grande. Their practice is primarily business and civil litigation. The law firm has several lawyers and a quality support staff.”

Mr. Huggins has more to say (and you should read it). But he concludes, “I would not be disappointed in the least if I lose this election to such a strong opponent.”

I will be very interested to see how this election concludes. But has anyone seen such a dialogue in Bar elections? If so, I’d like to know. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Whitney Cunningahm presides over his last board meeting as President, June 11, 2014, Tucson. Ariz.

Whitney Cunningahm presides over his last board meeting as President, June 11, 2014, Tucson. Ariz.

Here’s an easy way to start your Convention morning: Enjoy some photos from yesterday’s Board of Governors meeting. (More photos are below.)

And don’t forget that you can participate too. Send me brief stories or story suggestions. Or if you have convention photos, we’d be glad to share them with readers.

And don’t forget to tweet from convention. Use the hashtag #azbarcon.

Questions or suggestions? Reach the Editor, Tim Eigo, on-site at the Westin La Paloma, at 602-908-6991.

State Bar of Arizona Officers, 2014-15: (L to R): Alex Vakula, Bryan Chambers, Richard Platt, Lisa Loo, Geoffrey Trachtenberg

State Bar of Arizona Officers, 2014-15: (L to R): Alex Vakula, Bryan Chambers, Richard Platt, Lisa Loo, Geoffrey Trachtenberg

At its regular annual meeting at the State Bar Convention this afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors confirmed its slate of officers for the coming year. The new roster includes the newest officer, Secretary/Treasurer Geoffrey Trachtenberg, elected today:

  • President: Richard T. Platt
  • President-Elect: Bryan B. Chambers
  • First Vice President: Lisa Loo
  • Second Vice President: Alex Vakula
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Geoffrey Trachtenberg

Following board bylaws, the new slate of officers assume their positions at the close of the annual meeting.

Follow more news via this Convention Daily and on Twitter, hashtag #azbarcon

The new Board of the State Bar of Arizona, June 10, 2014, Westin La Paloma, Tucson

The new Board of the State Bar of Arizona, June 10, 2014, Westin La Paloma, Tucson