State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute bannerHere’s where the rubber hits the road: You know an attorney whom you think is going to tear up the profession (in a good way). Or you suspect you’ve got the leadership DNA within yourself. But how to channel it?

An ideal development tool is on offer by the State Bar of Arizona, which is seeking applicants for its 2014-15 Bar Leadership Institute class.

For my money, this has been one of the Bar’s programs that has had the most impact on ensuring the profession’s future.

But get off the stick, leaders: The application deadline is tomorrow, June 20.

No worries: The Bar makes the process pretty easy. Here’s some more background.

As the Bar describes it, the Bar Leadership Institute is an award-winning nine-month professional development program. Since its inception in 2007 the BLI has prepared more than 100 attorneys for leadership positions within the Bar and the community-at-large. Program sessions cover a variety topics ranging from leadership, ethics and career development, to conversations with judges, government attorneys, in-house counsel and executives. Sessions occur monthly starting with a weekend retreat in September.

Attorneys selected to participate receive:

  • Up to two years of CLE credit
  • Leadership and related education and training in an experiential and mentoring learning environment
  • Opportunities to foster relationships with the State Bar of Arizona, partner bar associations, government and community leaders

Applications—available online here—will be accepted through June 20, 2014.

For questions or additional information, contact Elena Nethers, the State Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Advisor: Elena.Nethers@staff.azbar.org

It’s been my pleasure to work with BLI students and graduates, and I’ve always been impressed. Here’s hoping you offer up a name (maybe yours!) to participate.

State Bar of Arizona BLI graduates 2013

2013 BLI Graduates—Back row, L to R: Brad Martin, Blair Moses, Elizabeth Kruschek, Buck Rocker, Doreen McPaul, Ray Ybarra Maldonado. Front row, L to R: Chris Tozzo, Tabatha LaVoie, Nicole Ong, Laura Huff, Annamarie Frank, Cid Kallen, Jessica Sanchez. Not pictured: Heather Baker.

The newest class of the State Bar of Arizona Bar Leadership Institute graduated last Friday. As always, it was a noteworthy event marking the accomplishments of a talented group of lawyers.

You may already know about the BLI, but here is a description of the program:

BLI graduation 2013 1 sign“The Bar Leadership Institute is a nine-month program designed to foster the professional growth and enhance the leadership skills of a diverse group of Arizona attorneys. The purpose is to increase participation and visibility in the State Bar and the community-at-large among historically under-represented groups, with an emphasis on racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability and geographic diversity. In 2009 the Bar Leadership Institute was selected by the American Bar Association to receive its prestigious Partnership Award.”

More detail is here.

Speakers at the graduation stressed the qualities of leadership exemplified by the attorney graduates.

State Bar President Amelia Craig Cramer praised the attorneys, and she thanked them for their continued participation in the work of the Bar.

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, May 10, 2013

State Bar of Arizona President Amelia Craig Cramer, May 10, 2013

CEO John Phelps urged the graduates to value the friendships and connections they forged through the BLI program.

“That network of leaders is something special,” he said. “Take advantage of that friendship; nurture it. You’ve had the opportunity to connect with others in this special program.”

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, May 10, 2013

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, May 10, 2013

With a laugh, he concluded, “You’re part of the club now. Be sure to use your club membership.”

Elena Nethers, the Bar’s Diversity and Outreach Advisor, reminded graduates, their families and supporters that the BLI is designed to “enable people to attain their full potential.”

This year, she reported, the 14 graduates arose from a pool of 60 applicants.

Bar Governor Lisa Loo praised the program and the attorneys, taking the time to introduce audience member Henry Ong, a Bar member since 1972. He has been an active participant in the activities of multiple bars, Lisa pointed out. And for good measure, he is the father of Nicole Ong, one of this year’s BLI grads.

Also attending the event was BLI chair and attorney Booker Evans, Jr.

If you are interested in being part of this successful initiative (for yourself or someone else), be sure to share and complete the Bar Leadership Institite application for the coming year’s class. The application is due by June 28.

State Bar Governor Lisa Loo and BLI chair Booker Evans, Jr., at the 2013 BLI graduation

State Bar Governor Lisa Loo and BLI chair Booker Evans, Jr., at the 2013 BLI graduation

At first glance, “law” and “camp” appear to be an odd couple. But the State Bar of Arizona has combined them into what promises to be a cool event this Friday.

At the 2012 Summer Law Camp, about 60 high school students will explore the law and possible legal careers. It is designed to expose high school students to the law in a fun and interactive way.

The Law Camp will be staged in two places—Phoenix and Tucson. The first event will be in Phoenix this Friday, June 15, at the Phoenix School of Law. (More on the June 28 Tucson event later.)

Organizing the Law Camp is the Bar’s Diversity & Outreach Advisor, Elena Nethers.

To guide the students, a large number of Arizona lawyers signed on to donate their time. I’ll provide a list of the generous lawyers when it becomes available.

Here are some of the activities planned for the day:

  • Should It Be a Crime?
  • Identifying and debating laws that are relevant to youth (curfews, uniform, school searching lockers etc.)
  • What students can do now to prepare for college
  • An attorney panel discussing their background and why they chose a career in law
  • The ever-popular mock trial exercise 

If you or anyone you know is participating as a volunteer lawyer at this event, I’d love to hear your thoughts after Friday’s Law Camp. And congratulations on your decision to contribute.

News from the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar’s Bar Leadership Institute is now accepting applications for the 2012-2013 class.

The Bar Leadership Institute is a nine-month educational program that each year prepares participants for leadership positions within the Bar and our community at large. Applicants from historically under-represented groups (racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and disability) who are active in community service and have demonstrated leadership ability are encouraged to apply. The Bar Leadership Institute was selected by the American Bar Association to receive its prestigious partnership award in 2009. Since its inception in 2007, the BLI has fostered the professional growth and enhanced the leadership skills of more than 75 diverse attorneys. These graduates have gone on to assume leadership positions within the Bar, the legal community and their local communities.

If you are interested in applying, more information about the program and the online application form are available here. If you know of an attorney who would be a good candidate for this program, please refer him ore her to the Bar’s website as well. Applications must be submitted online before the June 27, 2012, deadline.

If you have any questions or need more information, feel free to contact Elena Nethers, the Bar’s Diversity & Outreach Advisor, at Elena.Nethers@staff.azbar.org.