State Bar of Arizona sexual harassment seminar 05-09-18 image 1

Next Wednesday, May 9, a free seminar offered by the State Bar of Arizona examines the timely issue of sexual harassment. Called “Changing the Conversations,” it will include lawyers, judges and other experts discussing workplace environments and culture and the associated behaviors we all have grown too familiar with in media reports.

The Bar adds, “The program is not intended to offer CLE credit as it will address sexual harassment as a workplace culture issue instead of a legal issue, and therefore has not been developed with MCLE rules in mind. It is available as a service to the legal community.”

The event will be offered in person at the Bar’s CLE Center, and as a webcast. It is free but registration is required. Click here for more information and to register.

Here is the seminar faculty:

  • Chief Justice Scott Bales, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Margaret H. Downie (ret.), AZ Commission on Judicial Conduct
  • Hon. B. Don Taylor III, Chief Presiding Judge, Phoenix Municipal Court
  • Denise M. Blommel, Denise M. Blommel PLLC
  • Samara Cerven, Psy.D.
  • Don Decker, President, InReach
  • Kim Demarchi, Partner, Osborn Maledon PA
  • John F. Phelps, CEO/Executive Director, State Bar of Arizona
  • Barry G. Stratford, Perkins Coie LLP

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This spring, the Bar also distributed a member survey regarding their experiences with sexual harassment – to which almost 2,000 Bar members responded. Among other findings, 71.4 percent of women respondents indicated they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Overall, 43 percent of respondents indicated the same.

Arizona Attorney Magazine will cover the survey and its results in the September issue.

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Nepal Justice System Delegation Returns to Arizona Supreme Court 2016_opt

Representatives from Arizona and Nepal meet.

News from the Arizona Supreme Court:

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) recently sponsored a second visit to the Arizona Supreme Court with members of Nepal’s judiciary. After a 2015 visit with the Arizona Supreme Court, the Nepal Supreme Court established an access to justice commission modeled on what they learned in the United States, including the example of the Arizona Supreme Court’s own Access to Justice Commission.

Earlier this year, the Honorable Ms. Sushila Karki became the first female Chief Justice of Nepal’s Supreme Court.

Nepal Chief Justice Sushila Karki

Nepal Chief Justice Sushila Karki

As part of the UNDP project entitled Access to Justice Commission (A2JC) Study Visit in Nepal, the Nepalese judges met with Chief Justice Scott Bales and local subject matter experts to discuss such topics as: strengthening access to justice, addressing domestic violence cases, increasing representation of women in the judiciary, and meeting the justice needs of minority communities. The day-long program included the following speakers:

  • Mr. Dave Byers, Director, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Scott Bales, Chief Justice, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Maurice Portley, Judge, Court of Appeals, Chair of Commission on Minorities
  • Professor Paul Bennett, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law
  • Mr. Michael Liburdi, Chief Counsel to Gov. Doug Ducey
  • Hon. Larry Winthrop, Judge, Court of Appeals, Chair of Commission on Access to Justice
  • Hon. Wendy Million, Judge, Tucson City Court, Chair, Committee on the Impact of Domestic Violence and the Courts
  • Mr. Marcus Reinkensmeyer, Court Services Division Director Case Management

“Nepal’s judicial leaders have embraced the goals of expanding access to justice and better addressing the needs of minorities, women, and victims,” Chief Justice Scott Bales said. “We shared with them how Arizona works to provide equal justice for all through court innovations and the work of our advisory committees, which are comprised of volunteers representing a wide range of perspectives.”

The representatives from Nepal included:

  • Justice Govinda Kumar Upadhya, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Justice Jagadish Sharma Poudel, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Hon. Additional District Judge Surya Prasad Parajuli, Kathmandu District Court
  • Mr. Shree Kanta Paudel, Registrar, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Mr. Kumar Ingnam, Member, Access to Justice Commission
  • Mr. Raju Dhungana, Section Officer, Nepal Supreme Court
  • Ms. Khem Kumari Basnet, Section Officer, Nepal Supreme Court

More about the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice is available here. The next committee meeting is scheduled for August 17, 2016.

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Ariz. Chief Justice Scott Bales

Ariz. Chief Justice Scott Bales

Great news this morning from the Arizona Supreme Court:

United States Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., has appointed Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales as a member of the Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction of the Judicial Conference of the United States. This 14-member committee is comprised of U.S. circuit judges, district judges, a bankruptcy judge, a magistrate judge, and four state supreme court chief justices, all of whom are appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States.

The Committee considers issues related to the structure and jurisdiction of the federal courts and the allocation of jurisdiction between state and federal courts, and it makes recommendations to the Judicial Conference, the policy-making body for the federal judiciary. The Committee also serves as a conduit for communications on matters of mutual concern between the federal judiciary and state courts.”

Chief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts

“Class actions and mass torts, immigration reform, diversity jurisdiction, and habeas corpus procedures are a few of the cross-jurisdictional issues the Committee has considered,” said Chief Justice Bales. “I look forward to contributing to vigorous discussions about state and federal issues that arise in our courts. It is an honor to be appointed by our nation’s Chief Justice.”

Chief Justice Bales was appointed for a three-year term beginning October 1, 2015, through October 1, 2018.

More information about the Judicial Conference of the United States is here.

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.

This Friday evening, you have the opportunity to meet a real, live historian!

Not grabby enough?

How about: Friday night is when you can chat up Bob McWhirter, author of many great Arizona Attorney Magazine articles and (most important) a new book from the ABA titled Bills, Quills, and Stills: An Annotated, Illustrated, and Illuminated History of the Bill of Rights.

As is evident, this guy knows his way around an adjective.

Bob also will offer a presentation that evening titled “Just What’s So Exceptional About America? Rights, ‘the People,’ and the Bill of Rights.”

He is a great writer. But his presentations are a creative tour de force (no pressure, Bob).

A full-service evening? You bet. And the icing on the cake? Bob will happily sign one of his books and sell it to you.

Arizona Attorney Magazine Feb. 2011 cover with Bob McWhirterAll of these things occur:

Where: Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix, 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix 85013 (near the intersection of Camelback and 3rd Ave.)

When: Friday, Sept. 18, 2015 (the day after Constitution Day!) at 7:00 p.m.

You can read more about Bob and his book here.

I also get a kick out of how the Changing Hands website features that terrific picture we shot of Bob for the magazine Q&A I did with him. As the topic was his legal work in El Salvador, we decided where better to hold our taped conversation that a Salvadoran restaurant? Legal learning has never been tastier. Here’s the story (and yes, I got him to explain his fondness for hats).

And if you’ve never been to this branch of Changing Hands, I urge you to head over Friday night. The venue includes the First Draft Book Bar, which is just what it sounds like.

Changing Hands First Draft Book Bar-logo

NOTE: I just got news that Bob will also be speaking tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Arizona Capitol Museum located in the Capitol building at 11 am. To commemorate the 228th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, he will speak on the Ninth Amendment—regarding rights retained by people not listed in the First through Eighth Amendments.

At that event, Chief Justice Scott Bales will also present. His topic will be the Arizona Constitution.

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.

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.

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[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.”