The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass will be the site for the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass will be the site for the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

Today, another in a series of posts describing legal seminars at the upcoming State Bar Convention. (All the detail is here.)

I contacted seminar chairs seeking their response to four questions about their upcoming panel. Here are the questions I sent:

  • Who should attend this seminar?
  • What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?
  • How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)
  • What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Today, I share the responses of those whose seminars are calendared for the first afternoon of Convention, Wednesday, June 15. (Note: Not all seminar chairs responded.) Click on the seminar title to read more detail as published in the Convention brochure.

Wednesday, June 15, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

W-11: ADA Employment Law Trends and Issues

Co-chairs: Charity Collins, Daniel Thulin

Who should attend this seminar?

According to the EEOC’s complaint statistics, in 2015, ADAA complaints constitute 30 percent of discrimination complaints filed and that number is on an upward trend. Any attorney, paralegal or law student that has an interest or works in discrimination or employment law would greatly benefit.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

One main takeaway for attendees: After 25 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act is here to stay and that having a cursory knowledge of the law can lead to malpractice.

How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)

The ADAA is celebrating its 25th anniversary but employment for persons with disabilities remain anemic. At the same time, disability complaints by employees to the EEOC continue to rise. Lawyers need to know the following to avoid giving poor advice to employers and properly advising and representing employees:

  1. When a job applicant/employee and employer should disclose a disability
  2. The “interactive process” when considering reasonable accommodations
  3. Understand types of reasonable accommodations
  4. To what extent employers must provide reasonable accommodations
  5. The Arizona Attorney General’s complaint and resolution process.

What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Many believe the ADAA is overly burdensome on employers and requires expensive accommodations. The seminar will dispel this misconception.

W-13: Conflict Considerations in Estate Planning and Trust & Estate Administration and Litigation

Co-chairs: John R. Fitzpatrick, Kathryn A. Munro

Who should attend this seminar?

Any lawyer that represents individuals and families. Our clients are aging or their parents are aging and challenges associated with aging and disability affect all areas legal representation. Criminal, family, juvenile, elder and probate law and special needs and estate planning attorneys would benefit from the seminar.

A record-number of legal seminars are on offer at the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

A record-number of legal seminars are on offer at the 2016 State Bar of Arizona Convention.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

The clientele we serve is aging and more likely to be disabled or experience a period of incapacity. Attorneys need to adapt and understand the implications of aging and disability in their legal representation to better serve clients and to protect their practice.

How is this seminar timely?

The number of Americans ages 65 and older will double over the next 30 years to 80 million.  A significant number of our aging population will suffer from some form of Dementia. One-quarter of all U.S. divorces involve people over 50. And Arizona has a larger aging population than most states. As people live longer they are more likely to experience periods of incapacity and need a guardian or have someone acting as their power of attorney. This creates challenging ethical issues for attorneys and this seminar is focused on preparing attorneys to handle those issues.

What is the most common misconception about this issue?

Attorneys often do not consider the issues of aging and disability. They aren’t informed about Dementia and financial exploitation so they may not recognize it in their office. The attorney may unwittingly be assisting the exploiter if they can’t assess client’s capacity or if they don’t know how, when or where to obtain assessment.

lawyers on call

Next Tuesday, February 2, the State Bar and 12News are co-sponsoring a lawyer call-in program that may benefit someone you know—or it may even benefit you!

12 News logoThe topic for Lawyers on Call that night will be estate planning, wills and trusts. It runs from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. that evening, and the call-in number is 602-258-1212. More detail is here.

After the event, I’ll share the names of the lawyers who generously gave of their time at the event.

Estate Planning wills trusts

I often communicate the results of the State Bar’s Lawyers on Call events after they occur. But as I looked at the topic for tomorrow’s pro bono lawyer event, I thought that many of us may have family or friends who could benefit from calling in. Please feel free to share this with them.

Tomorrow’s topic is estate planning (wills, trusts, more). The number to call is (602) 258-1212 (note: lawyers are only available at that phone number from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the days when Lawyers on Call is featured). Here is Bar news about the upcoming Lawyers on Call.

“If you should pass away unexpectedly, will your children be cared for by someone you love and trust? If you become incapacitated, will your business continue to thrive and grow? Will your family have to deal with bureaucracy during a time of sadness? Ease the stress associated with untimely death or accidents by seeking advice from an estate planning attorney for free on Tuesday, July 1.”

“Volunteer estate planning attorneys will answer your questions on the State Bar of Arizona, 12 News, and azcentral.com’s Lawyers on Call public service program. You can discuss your wills, trust, and estate planning issues with them for free from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1.”

News today from my State Bar of Arizona colleague Alberto Rodriguez, regarding the Bar’s first call-in program of 2014.

The January 7 Lawyers on Call public service event was hosted by azcentral.com and 12 News. The focus was estate planning—wills and trusts. Here’s a recap.

AZ Bar Lawyers on Call 01-07-14 estate planning

Ten attorneys volunteered their time and experience to answer consumer questions:

  • Steve Evans
  • Michael Friedman
  • Lindsey Jackson
  • T. James Lee
  • Dianne McNamara
  • Norm Miller
  • Mark Moritz
  • Nicole Pavlik
  • Ronald Wilson

Six of the ten attorneys were first-time volunteers.

All together, they answered 204 calls on estate planning, wills and trusts. An additional 33 consumers were assisted via social media, which gave us a total of 237 people who were helped.

Here is a sample of consumer questions:

  • State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorWhat is the difference between a will and a trust? Which do I need?
  • Can I write my own will or do I need an attorney? How much does an average estate plan cost?
  • What should be included in a will or trust?
  • Can I make changes to my already existing will? If so, how do I go about it and how often?
  • How can I prepare to avoid probate?
  • I am not originally from Arizona, do I need to make changes to my will?

The azcentral.com and 12 News teams were successful in adding a social media component to the phone bank. Thirty-three consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, and attorney Nicole Pavlik responded with her recommendations/advice.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ tax law questions on Tuesday, February 4.

On this Change of Venue Friday, there may be no more random news to share with you than ongoing preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse. And that planning is occurring right here in Arizona (our state, a leader once again).

It was about a month ago that I heard about a unique Iowa Law Review article penned by an ASU Law Prof, Adam Chodorow. His article? “Death and Taxes and Zombies.”

Read the abstract here. I would wager that throughout the SSRN database, this is the only article with the following keywords: income tax, tax policy, estate tax, trusts and estates, zombies, undead, vampires, ghosts.

News of the article came from ASU Law Dean Doug Sylvester, whom I was interviewing for a September Q&A in Arizona Attorney Magazine. Our conversation was fascinating, but even more noteworthy for his uttering the word “zombies.” That, in my experience, is a first.

Professor Chodorow is taken with all the challenging tax consequences that may flow from a zombie apocalypse

Coverage of the zombie article has come from near and far. In fact, one of the most humorous news articles can be found on Forbes.com, where contributor Peter J. Reilly explores Chodorow’s piercing questions, like “What if your bride becomes a vampire?”

Here is a little of the brain-eating analysis from Professor Chodorow’s abstract:

“The U.S. stands on the precipice of a financial disaster, and Congress has done nothing but bicker. Of course, I refer to the coming day when the undead walk the earth, feasting on the living. A zombie apocalypse will create an urgent need for significant government revenues to protect the living, while at the same time rendering a large portion of the taxpaying public dead or undead. The government’s failure to anticipate or plan for this eventuality could cripple its ability to respond effectively, putting us all at risk.

“This article fills a glaring gap in the academic literature by examining how the estate and income tax laws apply to the undead. Beginning with the critical question of whether the undead should be considered dead for estate tax purposes, the article continues on to address income tax issues the undead are likely to face. In addition to zombies, the article also considers how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts. Given the difficulties identified herein of applying existing tax law to the undead, new legislation may be warranted. However, any new legislation is certain to raise its own set of problems. The point here is not to identify the appropriate approach. Rather, it is to goad Congress and the IRS into action before it is too late.”

Congratulations to Professor Chodorow for taking a legal swing at the undead problem. Have a wonderful, zombie-free weekend.