Ribbon-cutting on April 27, 2012. L to R: State Bar employee George Schader, Shirley McAuliffe, former Bar President John Bouma, Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch, former Bar President Alan P. Bayham, Jr.

On Friday, April 27, the State Bar of Arizona hosted a Phoenix ribbon-cutting for its newly configured first-floor offices. Included in the event was the dedication of the new Daniel J. McAuliffe CLE Center, named for a former Bar President and ethics expert.

(Here is my 2007 profile of the inestimable Dan McAuliffe when he became State Bar President, as well as a story I wrote when he died in 2010.)

In this post are a few photos of the event (all photos are by Bob Rink). The full set is available on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

Shirley McAuliffe in front of a State Bar case bearing memorabilia honoring her husband Daniel J. McAuliffe.

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Today is the birthday of Daniel J. McAuliffe, who passed away a year ago. In his memory, I am posting my Arizona Attorney editor’s column from May 2010.

You can read the column online here.

And see some images we posted last week here.

A Force at Rest

Dan McAuliffe passed away March 12. All indications are, the world is going to have a tough time without him.

There are a lot of reasons for that. On page 14, some of his fellows talk about Dan’s impact on the profession, and the vacuum he leaves in his wake.

For me, it came down to Dan’s judgment and his delivery. Those are the qualities I will miss most.

For example, in late 2008, a question arose about whether it was permissible for lawyers to accept credit card payments for fees they had not yet earned. It was an ethical dilemma, but also a real-world law practice problem.

That’s when Dan McAuliffe wrote an article setting forth the issues and an interim solution. The Dean of Arizona Ethics wrote practically, more elbow grease than ivory tower. And that’s what Arizona lawyers like most about him. As his partner John Bouma says, Dan was pragmatic, never dogmatic—a problem-solver.

Where others would take to the ramparts loudly, Dan would pick up his pen and draft a solution. Sometimes loudly.

And, darn it, he was almost always right. If he said something, you could usually bank on it.

At the Bar Convention about a year ago, I stood in the Biltmore’s Aztec Room during the President’s Reception. As I spoke with Dan and others, he interrupted himself to mutter, with his sideways smile, “Eigo, get a haircut.”

That one knocked me back a bit, but so powerful was his world view and so trustworthy his counsel that I took a good look: He was right—I was getting a bit shaggy. Apparently, his judgment could be trusted in most all domains. The next day, I got a haircut.

Well, the day after Dan died, I again sat in the barber’s chair and thought about this remarkable lawyer. Granted, depending on where you stood, he could be either a rock or an avalanche, but he was no wallflower.

As Judge Janet Barton says, Dan “devoted himself not only to the practice of law but to the legal profession. It was understood by Dan that the complete package is not only to bill a phenomenal number of hours, but to give back.” The complete package is very rare.

Soon after McAuliffe died, his Regis High School classmates sent a condolence letter and their memories of the budding attorney: “He was the genuine article.” “Even back then Dan was primer inter pares.” “He was, withal, our leader.”

Dan McAuliffe was a leader and a friend—to anyone who has ever become a lawyer and uttered the oath of admission to a bar, or to anyone who has ever relied on one of those lawyers. He is missed.

This afternoon at 3:00, a memorial service will be held at the Phoenix Art Museum for lawyer and former Bar President Dan McAuliffe, who passed away on March 12. I’m sure it will be a very moving event, with his friends and colleagues speaking about a man who meant a lot to law, practice, ethics and professionalism.

We just sent the May issue of Arizona Attorney to press, and it includes a story with commentary from bar members on McAuliffe’s legacy.

In that issue, I also write about Dan in my column. That column follows:

Daniel J. McAuliffe

Dan McAuliffe passed away March 12. All indications are, the world is going to have a tough time without him.

There are a lot of reasons for that. In this issue, some of his fellows talk about Dan’s impact on the profession, and the vacuum he leaves in his wake.

For me, it came down to Dan’s judgment and his delivery. Those are the qualities I will miss most.

For example, in late 2008, a question arose about whether it was permissible for lawyers to accept credit card payments for fees they had not yet earned. It was an ethical dilemma, but also a real-world law practice problem.

That’s when Dan McAuliffe wrote an article setting forth the issues and an interim solution. The Dean of Arizona Ethics wrote practically, more elbow grease than ivory tower. And that’s what Arizona lawyers liked most about him. As his partner John Bouma says, Dan was pragmatic, never dogmatic—a problem-solver.

Where others would take to the ramparts loudly, Dan would pick up his pen and draft a solution. Sometimes loudly.

And, darn it, he was almost always right. If he said something, you could usually bank on it.

At the Bar Convention about a year ago, I stood in the Biltmore’s Aztec Room during the President’s Reception. As I spoke with Dan and others, he interrupted himself to mutter, with his sideways smile, “Eigo, get a haircut.”

That one knocked me back a bit, but so powerful was his world view and so trustworthy his counsel that I took a good look: He was right—I was getting a bit shaggy. Apparently, his judgment could be trusted in most all domains. The next day, I got a haircut.

Well, the day after Dan died, I again sat in the barber’s chair and thought about this remarkable lawyer. Granted, depending on where you stood, he could be either a rock or an avalanche, but he was no wallflower.

As Judge Janet Barton says, Dan “devoted himself not only to the practice of law but to the legal profession. It was understood by Dan that the complete package is not only to bill a phenomenal number of hours, but to give back.” The complete package is very rare.

Soon after McAuliffe died, his Regis High School classmates sent a condolence letter and their memories of the budding attorney: “He was the genuine article.” “Even back then Dan was primer inter pares.” “He was, withal, our leader.”

Dan McAuliffe was a leader and a friend—to anyone who has ever become a lawyer and uttered the oath of admission to a bar, or to anyone who has ever relied on one of those lawyers. He is missed.

Dan McAuliffe died last Friday morning, March 12. So this world has been almost one whole week without him. And I’m not entirely confident how the world will fare in his absence.

Immediately upon learning that Dan had passed, I knew we had to publish a piece, even if it had to be a short one, in the very next issue of Arizona Attorney. Sure, he had been a State Bar President, but he was also an author, an ethics expert, a mentor, an adviser, an educator. And to many, many who knew him, he was a friend. We had to do a story, and soon.

So that was the efficient side of myself.

As the week wore on, though, I found myself immersed in the sundry other tasks that can take up my work life. I edited other copy. I spoke with authors about upcoming stories. I talked with magazine staff about a scheduled photo shoot. I straightened—and then re-cluttered—my desk.

But I resisted starting this task of penning a short memorial to Daniel J. McAuliffe. I engaged my brain in the task, but in more fits than starts. My gaze would drift from the information I had gathered about Arizona’s dean of legal ethics, and I would stare out the window at passing traffic.

That was another side of myself.

Understand, avoiding work is not entirely uncharacteristic of writers. There is always some excuse to delay the hard work ahead. And when a writer has himself for an editor, yikes, it can get almost mutinous, with the lazy writer strolling to get another coffee while complaining about his garret-like office, and the seething editor about this close to taking a red pen to his personnel roster.

But I could tell that this delay was different. I knew what it would be to call and interview those who knew and cared for Dan—it would be a privilege. And yet still I hesitated. And I’ve done this job long enough to know why.

Writing can be illustrative, by revealing something unique or otherwise unseen in everyday interactions. And in that way, it’s great. But it also is reductive—capturing moments, snapshots of a person, and hoping to God that they are representative of the whole. Who knows if you get it right? The writer is rarely sure. But at least, the writer consoles himself, there’s always another story coming around the bend.

But the world is a busy place, and though volumes could (and hopefully will) be written about Dan McAuliffe, they may not be written by me. This may be my last privileged moment to get Dan right.

The great writer Anne Lamott recalled a story that helped her on those damned-words-won’t-come days. When she was growing up, her brother sat frustrated at the dining room table, struggling with a school project. Their father asked what he was working on, and her brother replied that he had to do a report on the birds of North America. He was flummoxed by such an endeavor, overwhelmed by the massive task. Finally, he asked his dad for advice. “How do I do this?” he whined. Their father grew pensive, and then answered with the maddening truth. “Bird by bird,” he said. “Bird by bird.”

And so I will take my own job, step by step. Tomorrow, I’ll start with the simple building blocks of any story. And I’ll call those who can tell me, through their grief, something essential about a remarkable man. I’ll take notes, perhaps make connections. And maybe the profound insights of his friends and colleagues, stitched together wearily with my own conjunctions and transitions, will give readers a tiny keyhole peek into what made Dan Dan.

Meantime, I look with not a little sorrow at my calendar, where a recurring reminder hovers on March 27. That is Dan’s birthday, and I had been looking forward to calling him and wishing him a great day. Another delay of mine, I suppose—one that I regret even more.

Time to get to work.