Tom Brady courtroom artist, panned online, apologizes

A Tom Brady courtroom artist was panned online and has apologized. Because priorities.

It takes a lot to get large media outfits interested on a deep level with the justice system. Despite how central our courts and laws are to every area of life, it usually takes a special element—like a notorious murderess or, say, a football player—to garner serious coverage.

Well, if you combine a famous baller with what’s widely perceived to be a visual fail, you’ve got a story the press wants to cover.

That’s what happened as New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady sat in a courtroom. And the story that emerged was about the lack of artistic justice he received from a New York Times sketch artist.

You can see the artwork above. While the Patriots fans among my readers cry deep and abiding Tom Brady tears, I’ll simply say, first … I have always been a big fan of the courtroom sketch artist, and I’ve covered their exploits before. Whether you’re drawing John Gotti, Tom Brady, or some other dissembler (sorry to bring on more tears, Pats fans), the job of the courtroom artist is a tough one.

Obergefell v. Hodges sketch by Arthur Lien.

Obergefell v. Hodges sketch by Arthur Lien.

So evocative can a courtroom sketch be that we’ll be running one (by Arthur Lien) in the next Arizona Attorney Magazine. It depicts the Supreme Court as the ruling in the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges was announced. (And yes, we paid Art for his work!)

That’s why the NYT story irked as much as it informed. Brady was in federal court appealing his four-game suspension (The injustice! The horror!), and artist Jane Rosenberg did her best to quickly capture the essence of the sullied QB.

And, O the anger her work wrought, as people emerged to impugn her skill and wax poetic about Brady’s baby-faced visage.

Ultimately, the twittersphere would have its justice, as Rosenberg offered an apology of sorts:

“I’m getting bad criticism that I made him look like Lurch,” she said, referring to the Addams Family character. “And obviously I apologize to Tom Brady for not making him as good-looking as he is.”

Hey, Ms. Rosenberg, I’ve got a suggestion: Apologize for nothing. NOTHING.

After all, we have to be open to a deeper possibility. As an artist, Rosenberg was tapping a deep well of resonance. Maybe she drew not what was precisely before her, but what lay beneath.

Oliver Wilde offers an analogue in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Who’s to say what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Oliver Wilde's Dorian Gray is a pretty-boy, but the painting reveals a deeper story.

Oliver Wilde’s Dorian Gray is a pretty-boy, but the painting reveals a deeper story.

And I reached deep within and tried my own hand at drawing a likeness of Tom Brady, but this is the best I could do.

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Cue the ire of the Patriots’ fans and Brady defenders (some of whom—men and women both—have told me, “He’s too cute to be guilty,” reminding me the jury system—and the human race—is a crap shoot).

I offer a hat-tip to Tim Chester of Mashable for the story link.

Here’s wishing you a great—and fully inflated—weekend.

We may not all mean the same thing when we discuss workplace ethics. I'd like to hear your ideas, and stories too.

We may not all mean the same thing when we discuss workplace ethics. I’d like to hear your ideas, and stories too.

What are we talking about when we talk about ethics in the workplace? Like most important topics, it may be more difficult to define than we typically imagine.

At the end of this month, I have the opportunity to present on the topic of the ethical workplace. The audience will be organization leaders at the National Association of Bar Executives annual meeting, so my focus will go beyond “Please don’t steal the Post-Its” (though they shouldn’t). Instead, I’m aiming to discuss the ethical decision-points that leaders face daily—hidden as they may be among the workaday grind.

My presentation is nearly done, but I’d like to include some other examples of noteworthy leader ethics, so I invite you to write me at The anecdote may come from your own organization or from one you’ve heard about. And it can be for attribution or entirely anonymous. In fact, feel free to cast your story to me as a hypothetical. That works just fine.

To help you cogitate on this, here is my presentation description:

“Ethical Decision-Making: The Courage to Say No. Leadership requires making decisions that affect people and resources. This session’s speaker prompts us to consider how we make those important decisions, how to sustain an ethical workplace, and how to deal with the many pressures to do all things and be all things for our members and the public.”

Thank you for sharing your ideas and stories; I look forward to connecting with you!


Law practice is a stress-prone profession. We know this through research and experience. But what can be done when we—or our colleagues—are responding to the stress in damaging ways?

As much as we might like to see stress in law practice simply evaporate, that is unlikely to happen. And it is stress and its multiple outcomes that make a State Bar seminar this Friday worth considering.

The title is “Protecting Your Practice: Ethically Dealing with the Impaired Lawyer,” and you can get more information (and register) here. As you’ll see, the panel of experts will examine how you can address—and maybe help—a colleague who is exhibiting warning signs of impairment.

The seminar will be held on this Friday morning, December 12. Because you’re likely busy, I’ll lighten your stress level by copying in here the seminar description:

“With the demands and stresses of the profession increasing every day, lawyers have an increased risk of suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. If you encounter an impaired lawyer, what should you do? This program will teach you:

  • The warning signs of alcohol or substance abuse, mental health and stress-related issues
  • The ethical duties under ER 8.3 to report
  • Employment issues including HIPAA and ADA requirements
  • How to handle a client of an impaired lawyer
  • Guidelines for policies, procedures and practical advice

“Don’t wait for a crisis, learn how to avoid one.”

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorFaculty

  • Chair: James P. O’Sullivan, Tiffany & Bosco, PA
  • Chair: Roberta L. Tepper, Esq., Lawyer Assistance Programs Director, State Bar of Arizona
  • Nancy Greenlee, Esq.
  • Denise M. Blommel, Denise M. Blommel, PLLC
  • Christine Colwell, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
  • Dr. Dan Gross, Sovereign Health of Phoenix

So, how do we even know these are important and life-threatening issues? You told us, in the State’s Bar’s most recent member survey. (You can read the results here, in “Stress, Ethics, Professionalism Top Attorney Concerns.”)

And in our November 2012 story about that year’s member survey, even as members exhibited some optimism about the profession, research still described problematic aspects that face attorneys, among them depression, substance abuse and career dissatisfaction.

Later in the same issue, we shared candid remarks from attorneys, many of whom find the practice’s challenges—including law school debt—debilitating.

And don’t even take your colleagues’ word for it. In a 2013 issue, Dr. Martin Blinder explained many of those challenges in his article “Psychic Trauma, Emotional Burnout and the Practice of Law.”

A tip of the hat to Friday’s panelists, who aim to be part of the solution.

Do you think ghost-blogging by lawyers is misleading, unethical?

Do you think ghost-blogging by lawyers is misleading, unethical?

Here is a simple question for you on a Monday morning. It involves ghost blogging, the practice of some lawyers to post blog content on their own blog that was written by someone other than themselves.


My question arises from a few sources. It’s related to conversations I had at a Scottsdale conference last week. And it’s connected to an exchange that is evolving in a Linkedin group in which I participate.

Yes, I have my own opinions. But I’d like to hear from others and then we’ll chat more.

ethics scales of justice

Today I urge you to consider something that I understand is often on the minds of Arizona lawyers: whether the current ethical rules (among other things) are a help or a hindrance to the practice of law.

For a long time (OK, forever), I have heard some say that the ethics structure fails to keep pace with the realities of law practice. Now, you have an opportunity to offer your views.

Patricia Sallen is the State Bar’s Director of Special Services & Ethics/Deputy General Counsel, but I just call her our ethics guru. And she and others have heard similar statements, and they are examining whether Arizona ethics and the regulatory scheme are meeting all of their multiple challenges. Here is Pat:

“A new Arizona Supreme Court committee will look at whether Arizona ethical and other regulatory rules should be amended because of the changing nature of legal practice in a technologically enabled and connected workplace and the growing trend toward multistate and international law practice.”

“Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer is chairing the new committee. A copy of the administrative order establishing it is here.”

“The committee’s charge specifically includes examining whether the current regulatory model – regulating the practice of law based on a lawyer’s physical location – should be changed and whether conflict-of-interest rules for both private and public lawyers should be clarified.”

“Should the rules be changed? If yes, what would you change? Email your ideas, thoughts and suggestions (as well as any questions!)”

Time to share your thoughts.

2014 State Bar of Arizona Convention brochure cover hires_optIn advance of the Bar Convention, 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, in two separate posts, the responses of those whose seminars are calendared for tomorrow, Thursday, June 12. (Note: Not all seminar chairs responded.) Click on the seminar title to read more detail as published in the Convention brochure.

What follows are the seminar responses I received for the morning programs.

Thursday, June 12, 8:45 am

T-17: Roadblocks to Reentry: Employment Obstacles Following Conviction and a Guide To Ease the Transition

Chair: Gary Restaino

Who should attend this seminar?

Gary Restaino

Gary Restaino

Criminal defense attorneys, legal aid attorneys and employment law attorneys should attend this seminar to better understand the barriers (including employment) faced by defendants reentering society from a period of incarceration, and the opportunities available to assist them.

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

The biggest takeaway may well be the power of second chances.

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?)

One of the key current events with respect to this seminar is the growing “Ban the Box” movement, in which certain employers (either through voluntary action or local ordinances) push the background check process farther into the employee selection cycle, in order to enable a former criminal defendant to develop a rapport with the employer in lieu of outright rejection based on criminal history.

Thursday, June 12, 8:45 am

T-19: The Annual Ethics Game Show

Chair: Lynda Shely

Who should attend?

Lynda Shely

Lynda Shely

Anyone who needs 3 hours of ethics credit while having fun, wants to learn the latest ethics news, and earn a prize … several ethical rules changed this year – do you know how they apply to your practice?

What is the one main takeaway from attending?

No, it’s not the prize – it will be the latest ethics and risk management tips for all firms, including some checklists and templates.

What is the most common misconception about ethics?

IT IS NOT BORING – it can be fun and informative and everyone takes away not only a prize but useful ethics information to share with their offices.

Thursday, June 12, 10:30 am

T-20: The Unblinking Eye: High-Profile Cases and Cameras in the Courtroom

Co-Chair: Judy Schafert

Who should attend this seminar?

Judy Schaffert

Judy Schaffert

Practitioners who try cases, both criminal and civil; public lawyers; lawyers who represent potentially controversial or notorious clients; people who care about the public or the media; politically active practitioners; and anyone who cares about the courts as public institutions.

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

Cameras have entered the courtrooms of our state, but when and how involves more implications and decisions than many might expect.

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?)

There has been a recent change in Arizona court rules — and the technology continuously leapfrogs.

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

Many lawyers do not appreciate the extent to which cameras in the courts implicate their duties, and their clients’ and witnesses’ rights, especially under the new rules.

Morris Institute for Justice LogoThis Friday provides an opportunity to hear from two legal experts who are also terrific presenters. It all happens on the afternoon of May 16, when Lynda Shely and Patricia Sallen speak on ethics issues and technology.

The three-hour presentation is titled “30 Ethics Tips Before Using Any Technology” and isoffered by the William E. Morris Institute for Justice on Friday, May 16, from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. It is co-sponsored by Lewis Roca Rothgerber

The event will also be live simulcast to Tucson.

Lynda Shely is an attorney at the Shely Firm PC, and Patricia Sallen is Director of Special Services and Ethics/Deputy General Counsel of the State Bar of Arizona.

The in-person presentation will be at:

Lewis Roca Rothgerber

201 East Washington Street, 3rd floor

Phoenix, AZ 85004


The live simulcast can be viewed at:

Lewis Roca Rothgerber

1 South Church Ave., Suite 700

Tucson, AZ 85701


As the Institute says, “The CLE fee is a $150 donation to the Institute (paid in advance or at the door), of which $50 may be tax deductible. The Institute qualifies for the ‘working poor tax credit.’”

RSVP by May 13 to Ellen Katz at or 602-252-3432 ext. 2, or register online by making your $150 donation through the MIJ website (click “Donate to MIJ”).


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