A State Bar of Arizona seminar on Thursday, June 25, will focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Arab Middle East

A State Bar of Arizona seminar on Thursday, June 25, will focus on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Fair warning: Next week will largely be all State Bar Convention news/all the time. I alert you to that to ensure you’re ready and well hydrated.

The hashtag is #azbarcon

But in advance of that great annual event, I share news about a program I’ve heard much about. Amidst what may be the bread-and-butter of lawyer conferences—updates and nuts-and-bolts sessions on developments in practice and substantive-law areas—a few programs are harder to categorize but sometimes offer a unique and valuable view.

One of those seminars promises to be a robust dialogue about legal pitfalls and possible solutions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has continued for more than a generation. Its description is in the image below and described online (though the online version has a faculty list that has been altered since press time). The program is presented by the Bar’s World Peace Through Law Section.

Excerpt from the State Bar of Arizona Convention brochure, World Peace Through Law Section seminar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Excerpt from the State Bar of Arizona Convention brochure, World Peace Through Law Section seminar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

More information on the Convention is here.

And the full Convention brochure is here.

In what may be a preview of the complexity of a topic on which strong advocates argue, its (overlong) title is “The Israeli–Palestinian Conflict Moves From the Battlefield and the Conference Room to National and International Legislative, Diplomatic and Judicial Bodies.”

Tony Zimbalist, the Vice Chair of the WPTL Section, described the seminar for me:

Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams

“Its subject is the new forms that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has taken in recent months. It features speakers representing the full spectrum of perspectives on the conflict, including those of the ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace’ advocacy group J Street and the Palestine Liberation Organization.”

“The J Street representative will be Dylan J. Williams, Vice President of Government Affairs. A member of the New York Bar, he served as Counsel for Foreign Relations, Trade and Immigration to former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME).”

According to seminar materials, J Street “advocates for American leadership to end the Arab–Israeli and Palestinian–Israeli conflicts peacefully and diplomatically. … Williams is responsible for developing and executing the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement’s legislative strategy in Washington.”

David Schoen

David Schoen

Also on the panel is lawyer David Schoen, a member of the national board of the Zionist Organization of America. He also is “a founding member of the Center for Law and Justice, a member of a committee formed under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to defend Israel’s security fence, and Co-Chair of the Middle East and Africa Subcommittee of the ABA’s International Litigation Committee.”

Offering the Palestinian view will be George Bisharat, a Professor of Law at the University of California–Hastings College of Law. He is a frequent commentator on law and politics in the Middle East. He has also “worked with the Palestinian Legislative Council to develop and reform its judiciary system and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Palestine Studies.” In 1989, the University of Texas Press published his book Palestinian Lawyers and Israeli Rule: Law and Disorder in the West Bank.

George Bisharat

George Bisharat

Bisharat came to law professoring after serving as a deputy public defender in San Francisco and having earned a J.D. and a Ph.D. (anthropology and Middle East studies) from Harvard. He was born in Topeka, Kansas but says he came to better understand his Palestinian identity in the 1967 war.

Daniel Rothenberg

Daniel Rothenberg

Full disclosure: Bisharat was my law school criminal-law professor (and yes, I did well in the class). I also came to know him well as he was a faculty adviser on a team trip to Rhode Island (in 1992 or so) for a trial-advocacy competition with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Perhaps that background suggests why I’m happy to also note that Bisharat is an accomplished blues singer and harmonica player. I will point you toward his musical chops in another blog post … promise!

As Tony Zimbalist adds, “Moderating what sparks these panelists will be ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg, Professor of Practice at the School of Politics and Global Studies and Lincoln Fellow in Ethics and Human Rights Law.” (I’ve written about Dan Rothenberg numerous times, including here.)

In what promises to be a week packed with great legal programs, I’m looking forward to how this compelling topic can be addressed in a timely and revealing way.

asu bonn un climate change negotiations polar bear

The climate is changing, along with the increasing impressiveness of law students.

I recall law school as periods of intense work surrounding by longer stretches of incomprehensible reading, periodic nervous gazing at my checkbook register, and coffee. Much coffee.

So when I heard about another approach, I had to take notice.

This week and next, a group of ASU Law School students will be in Germany, where they will present their own research on climate change as it relates to the law and international agreements.

And while they’re doing this, they will blog.

ASU Professor Daniel Bodansky

ASU Professor Daniel Bodansky

Did I mention I was good at drinking coffee?

In any case, the students and their faculty members will be abroad from June 3 to June 14.

Here is how the law school’s own Janie Magruder describes the exploits of these talented people:

“A group of professors and students from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University will present their research on international legal regimes at a global climate change negotiation organized under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 3-14, in Bonn, Germany.”

“The law students—Daniel Crane, a May 2013 graduate, 3Ls Evan Singleton and Michael O’Boyle, and Ashley Votruba, a student in the J.D./Ph.D. Social Psychology program—will address participants on June 5. They will be accompanied by Professor Daniel Bodansky, the ASU Lincoln Professor of Law, Ethics, and Sustainability, and Daniel Rothenberg, a Professor of Practice in the ASU School of Politics and Global Studies, and the Lincoln Fellow for Ethics and International Human Rights Law.”

ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg

ASU Professor Daniel Rothenberg

“The students’ work resulted from an independent research project this past spring, taught and supervised by Bodansky and Rothenberg, housed in the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, and funded by the ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. They were chosen from 20 applicants for ‘The Future of Climate Change Negotiations Project,’ during which they learned about the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and other elements of the larger effort to use international law and regulations to address global climate change.”

Both of those professors are amazing scholars, so I’m sure the students are getting the learning experience of a lifetime.

Read more about the trip here.

And as I said, they’ll be posting on a blog throughout their time in Germany. Why don’t you bookmark their page to keep tabs on them. Who knows; they may even allow comments and questions (giving us all a pen pal abroad!).

“Not just a book but a bit of a project” was the understatement that Daniel Rothenberg brought to his reading at Changing Hands Bookstore on April 25.

In the long effort to ferret out what had occurred during a horrific time in Guatemala’s history, Rothenberg had served as an assistant to the chief commissioner on a truth commission—in Guatemala, it was officially titled the “Commission for Historical Clarification.”

Rothenberg is a Professor at the ASU Law School, as well as the Executive Director of the Center for Law & Global Affairs.

I wrote about Rothenberg’s new book “Memory of Silence” in the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. As I pointed out, the book is a welcome version of what had been a 12-volume commission report, all in Spanish. That longer report is available online here.

In his talk at the Tempe bookstore, Professor Rothenberg described the “iconic elements” of Guatemala’s state repression:

  1. Hundreds of massacres, typically in rural areas.
  2. The display of mutilated bodies as a deterrent to dissent.
  3. The use of civil patrols, which often pitted neighbors against neighbors.

That last element—forcing civilians to become a part of the terror apparatus—was one of the most striking findings. And it is an element that is used time and again by despotic regimes.

Daniel Rothenberg at Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, Ariz., April 25, 2012

Rothenberg went on to describe recent efforts to bring some of the worst offenders to justice. Those efforts include a prosecution of Efrain Rios Montt, who now faces a second genocide trial.

I am pleased to report that Professor Rothenberg will be on a panel at the upcoming Convention of the State Bar of Arizona. It will be titled “Lawyers in the Aftermath of War and Human Rights Abuses.” The panel is sponsored by the Bar’s World Peace Through Law Section. Convention registration is available here.

Here is my column from the June magazine:

Lawyers without borders is the shorthand I used this month as we were developing this issue, specifically the part that features the global journeys of Arizona attorneys. What took them overseas, we wondered? And what experiences awaited them?

To my surprise, attorneys and the service they perform abroad arose again in April, when I attended a moving bookstore presentation. The writer was Daniel Rothenberg, a law professor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. His newly released book is Memory of Silence: The Guatemalan Truth Commission Report.

Rothenberg had worked as the assistant to the lead commissioner charged with examining the large-scale atrocities in that country. The result was a 12-volume report, in Spanish. He has written a compelling book that, happily, is more concise than the report’s 4,400 pages. Ultimately, he said, the Commission found that the horrors inflicted by the state were “so severe and so focused on the indigenous population that they met the legal standard of genocide.”

Packed house at Changing Hands Bookstore, April 25, 2012

The best estimate is that more than 200,000 were killed—mostly civilians—and 50,000 more were “disappeared.” There were thousands of extrajudicial executions, torture, rape and forced displacement.

Listeners at Changing Hands Bookstore leaned forward in their seats as Rothenberg described death on a large scale in a poor country: “Massacres like this are intimate and physically difficult and protracted. They forced civilians to become part of the terror apparatus, to become implicated.”

As the packed room listened to the remarkable narratives of so many survivors, I was reminded of words written by another great writer, Philip Gourevitch. In his breathtaking book detailing the genocide in Rwanda in which Hutu people sought to eradicate the entire Tutsi population, the New Yorker writer explained that a story of atrocities is unbreakably linked to a story of power and the narratives that feed it:

Power largely consists in the ability to make others inhabit your story of their reality, even if you have to kill a lot of them to make that happen. … Hutu Power leaders understood this perfectly. If you could swing the people who would swing the machetes, technological underdevelopment was no obstacle to genocide. The people were the weapon, and that meant everybody. … This arrangement eliminated any questions of accountability that might arise. If everybody is implicated, then implication becomes meaningless. Implication in what?

Congratulations to Professor Rothenberg on his work in Guatemala and on his book.

On March 14, a researcher spoke at ASU Law School about his experience with human trafficking. But Charles Katz’s experience is not merely theoretical, however. His work—by him and his team—showed quite a bit of derring-do.

That night, Katz talked about the work he and others had done in the Philippines to assess the growth or decline of human trafficking in response to an interdiction effort known as Project Lantern, sponsored by the Gates Foundation. The evening’s conversation veered from eye-popping stories about the conditions in which young sex workers live, to eyelid-challenging sidebars on sample size and researcher bias.

All in all, a night at the university.

Charles M. Katz

Kidding aside, the presentation was well done, even if social scientists may have benefited more than the lawyers in the room. The lecture explained well the goals of Project Lantern—decrease child trafficking and increase local capacity to address it going forward.

Especially intriguing was the development of a “her space,” a location where the women and young girls who were found in brothels or elsewhere would be treated as victims rather than as criminals.

That discussion reminded me of a 2011 State Bar Convention seminar titled “Is Justice the Abuser?” There, some panelists talked about the challenges even American police departments have addressing sex workers as possible victims. Clearly, such a thing requires quite a mental shift. But without it, victims may be victimized twice.

Projects like this sound like they may be making an impact. Project Lantern included proposed changes at every level of the justice system, from policing, through prosecution and post-trial release, and even in statutory changes.

Unfortunately, as in most cases, the initial focus and research is just on the street-level policing. More research will have to be done to determine if all elements of the Philippine justice system have built their capacity to decrease or eradicate trafficking.

More photos are on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

One side note: I have come to appreciate the creative and imaginative programming to come out of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at ASU Law School. Professor Daniel Rothenberg is the Center’s Executive Director, and I tip my hat to him and his staff for their work.

I’d recommend you add the following upcoming Center event to your calendar:

  • On April 4 from 3:30-4:30, David Scheffer, Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law from Northwestern University School of Law will discuss his experiences as the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, his experiences negotiating the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court and current challenges of international criminal justice.

Questions about the Center or its events? Suggestions on content for the future? Email cflaga@asu.edu    

Howard Cabot

In the February issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, I wrote about Howard Cabot and a great ASU Law School program at which he spoke. But I wanted to add a few things.

(In case you missed it, I pasted in below my editor’s column.)

Howard spoke that evening about the power of the sabbatical to refresh and re-energize. When the idea first started to gain traction at law firms, a bug was discovered in the system: Lawyers who went away for six months to “rest, relax and to get recharged” did not return. Life “on the outside” was simply too appealing. Reducing it to four months (a three-month sabbatical plus a month’s vacation) did nothing to reduce the attrition level. So finally his firm struck an agreement with those desiring a sabbatical: They had to return from their sabbatical and remain for t least two years, or they would forfeit some compensation. Giddyup.

Now, Cabot said, he compiles enough “credits” to take a sabbatical every seven years. Most recently, he took three months off-though he had enough credits for eight.

Before the ASU audience, Cabot was extremely willing to explore his own personal reasons for endorsing the sabbatical:

“The practice of law is difficult—dealing with the billable hour while keeping your family together. I had been at the firm 10 to 13 years, and I was growing short-tempered and was losing my focus.”

Until a firm partner told him, “Go away, Howard. You’re not doing anyone any good here.”

“Is it OK just to go away and golf?” Cabot asked ASU listeners rhetorically. “Yes, if you need to, by God, do it.”

He and his wife made other choices. For the first sabbatical, they traveled abroad to study at Worcester College, Oxford. With their kids, they took the Grand Tour. Most important, though, “We all had breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day. We got to know each other as a family again. It saved us as a family.”

Their second sabbatical involved volunteer work in Eastern Europe, where they were able to trace their Jewish roots.

In those trips, Cabot says he learned a few overarching lessons: Life really goes on (“The world can get along pretty well without you.”). And the sabbatical can be used to prepare clients for new lawyers—after all, life changes.

Fourteen years later, Cabot was in need of another sabbatical, which is when he was approached about Guantanamo litigation.

“You learn as a young lawyer that there is a code for cases to avoid.” This, he saw later, may have been one of those cases. At the time, though, he was asked if he “would mind helping out” on a case that should only require a bit of his supervisorial duties.

The only thing Cabot hadn’t counted on was that his client—Noor Uthman Muhammed—would be one of only 10 detainees who were indicted for war crimes. “Of 800 or so in and out of Guantanamo, he’s 1 of 10.”

To illustrate the seriousness of the situation, Cabot reminds listeners that 5 of the 10 were implicated in the 9-11 attacks.

ASU Law School Interim Dean Doug Sylvester, Center for Law and Global Affairs Executive Director Daniel Rothenberg, and Perkins Coie partner Howard Cabot

ASU Law School Interim Dean Doug Sylvester, Center for Law and Global Affairs Executive Director Daniel Rothenberg, and Perkins Coie partner Howard Cabot

Cabot described his work as a lawyer on behalf of his client in that matter. But a unique view into that work may come from Cabot’s son, who is a writer for Esquire Magazine. He wrote two features about his dad—read them here and here.

Back at ASU, Howard Cabot was eloquent as he described his wrestling with ethical dilemmas, as a Jewish American representing a man who opposed the state of Israel and whom the government contended was an enemy of the United States.

Finally, he concluded, “Who but we as lawyers will take on unpopular causes? If we don’t take on the higher issues—like torture and prolonged detention—are we any better than our supposed enemies?”

That case led Cabot and his wife to another sabbatical. As he described his travel pitch, “Let’s go to places that know about unlawful detention and torture: Buenos Aires, Morocco, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Sarajevo, Israel, Capetown, Johannesburg.”

To help them prepare for the trip Daniel Rothenberg gave them huge binders of background material. That work by Rothenberg, the Executive Director for ASU’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, allowed the couple to get a running start on their education.

In regard to law-firm sabbaticals, Cabot’s takeaway at his talk was pretty simple: He is a strong advocate of “living a whole life.”

“If the people with you don’t find that important, find different people.”

(More photos for this story are on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.)

Here is my column from the February issue:

Please Release Me

Raise your hand if you’d like to take a sabbatical. Anyone?

I write this on the third day of a new year, and my hand is high in the air. Perhaps immediately after a welcome break and a return to work is the wrong time to ask.

The notion of a sabbatical arose thanks to a unique event at Arizona State University. There, a successful large-firm lawyer extolled the virtues of—down time. Will wonders never cease?

The speaker melded the time-off idea with his own experience representing a detainee housed in Guantanamo Bay—quite the synopsis.

Congratulations to Perkins Coie partner Howard Cabot, who joined the topics surprisingly well. He offered candid insights into his own path toward rejuvenation, and even shared what he could about his imprisoned client.

The event was presented by the Center for Law and Global Affairs, and its Executive Director, Daniel Rothenberg, adeptly engaged Cabot in a far-ranging dialogue.

As Cabot called it, the sabbatical is like a schmita—a Hebrew term signifying how it’s best to allow fields to lie fallow for a season so they may regenerate their nutrients (a literal translation is “release”). His experience with lawyer sabbaticals started at Brown & Bain, which had borrowed the idea from Latham & Watkins. At the firm, Cabot said, Jack Brown, Paul Eckstein, Randy Bain and others “developed a culture that saw a lot of good in taking a break.”

In his long career, Cabot is pleased to have taken three extended breaks, each of which involved travel and mind-broadening experiences. His most recent included the representation of a Guantanamo detainee—a release in more than one sense.

Later in 2012, we will publish the results of a unique survey of Arizona lawyers—on their professional happiness. Until then, consider some well-deserved time away, and enjoy the ninth verse of the wisdom of Tao, which Howard Cabot shared:

Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about other people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.

This evening, Perkins Coie partner Howard Cabot will describe his work on the global stage.

As Daniel Rothenberg, Executive Director for the school’s Center for Law and Global Affairs, describes it, Cabot, a well-known local lawyer and adjunct at the College of Law, will discuss his commitment to taking 3-4 month sabbaticals as an integral part of being a partner at a major law firm. The sabbatical system he supports is practiced by a handful of firms and requires that partners spend the time away from the firm doing something substantive and engaging.

Cabot recently returned from a trip to Argentina, Bosnia, Croatia, Israel and South Africa, where he spoke about his experiences defending a Guantanamo Bay detainee while learning how local advocates used the law and courts to face authoritarian repression, conflict and apartheid.

The goal of this event is to open up a conversation about the nature of a career in corporate law while providing a personal case of the value of linking domestic legal practice with a comparison of how others around the world face questions of human rights and the rule of law.

Dean Douglas Sylvester will introduce Cabot, and Rothenberg will manage the interview portion, which will be followed by questions.

More detail is here.

I hope to see you there.

From the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law:

Daniel Rothenberg

A lack of awareness, communication and understanding of the multiple levels of law related to human trafficking, the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, have stymied efforts to combat it by law enforcement, the judiciary, policy-makers, academics and social service and community groups.

The need for improved integration of these laws is the focus of a national conference, to be held on Friday, March 11, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. “Combating Human Trafficking: How Coordinating International, Federal and State Law can Prevent and Punish Exploitation While Protecting Victims,” will be from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus.

For a conference schedule and list of speakers, and to register, visit here.

The interdisciplinary conference is presented by the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs and the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, and by the American Society of International Law. The event is being convened by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), and Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (ret.), Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence at the College of Law. It will mark the debut of the College of Law’s Project on Federalism and Separation of Powers in a Global Era.

“It is clear that the same old paradigms won’t work to combat the complex, global problem of human trafficking,” said Paul Schiff Berman, Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “This conference is therefore a pioneering effort that seeks new models for cooperation and coordination among local, national, and international actors.”

Sarah Buel

“Combating Human Trafficking” will bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world to address the need for enhanced coordination of laws in defining the crime of trafficking, prosecuting perpetrators, developing promising interventions and preventing trafficking.

“There’s a lot of interest in this, and we’re trying to coalesce that interest, and focus our efforts and energy so that Arizona becomes a case study for how to properly address human trafficking,” said Daniel Rothenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs. “We want to become the national example of how to bring together diverse interests and players, even though not everyone agrees on the elements – the research, law enforcement and the assistance to victims — of this problem, for a serious, thoughtful discussion,”

Sarah Buel, Faculty Director of the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, said the issue of human trafficking is especially crucial in Arizona because the state is a hub for trafficking crimes. But the state also is home to concerned faculty, scholars, students and alumni at ASU, community partners, law enforcement and interested parties determined to eradicate trafficking through strategic regional, national and international planning.

“We have tenacious, passionate, multidisciplinary advocates seeking to strengthen, reinvigorate and broaden existing networks,” Buel said. “And we are confident that this conference will dramatically increase victim safety by developing more effective law, policy and practice.

“For the 13-year-old girl now forced into sex trafficking on the streets of Phoenix, this conference can engender new hope.”

In addition to Justices O’Connor and McGregor, the program features an impressive list of participants, anchored by Roxana Bacon, former Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, delivering the morning keynote, “Why Trafficking Matters,” and Alice Chamberlayne Hill, Senior Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will give the afternoon keynote address.

The panels are:

  • Overview of Trafficking
  • Trafficking Prosecution at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
  • Trafficking Prevention and Protection at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
    Successful Programs
  • What Can be Done to Confront Trafficking in a More Coordinated Fashion?

Rothenberg said the conference is aimed at a broad audience, both individuals who work to prevent human trafficking, punish exploiters and protect victims, and people who are interested in human trafficking as a social issue.

“We hope this conference will help educate people about the fundamental problems of trafficking,” he said, “but also suggest there’s an array of complex, serious programs at multiple levels of jurisdictions, to compare them, and to suggest that one of the ways these programs are likely to be even more successful is through greater integration of these different levels of law.”

Read more about the conference here.

Register here.