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, I’ll offer a few more in a series of posts describing legal seminars at the upcoming State Bar Convention. (All the detail is here. And the complete Convention brochure is here.)

What follows are questions I asked seminar chairs, followed by their responses.

Today, I share the responses of chairs for all-day programs on Friday, June 17.

Click on the seminar title to read more detail as published in the Convention brochure. (Note: Not all seminar chairs responded.)

8:45 a.m. – 5:15p.m.

F-55: Bankruptcy

Chair: Krystal Ahart

F-55 Krystal Ahart

Krystal Ahart

Who should attend?

All bankruptcy practitioners should attend this day-long event, which will cover a broad range of consumer & commercial topics, including student loans and real property issues, healthcare bankruptcies, and disgorgement of fees. Student loan issues, both in and out of bankruptcy, are quickly becoming a hot topic item, and attendees will get to hear from “THE Student Loan Lawyer,” Joshua Cohen, who is a true expert in his field. A case law update will also be included, as well as an hour of ethics in the form of a debate\hearing.

F-56: Labor & Employment Law: The Present State and the Future

Co-chairs: Kathryn Hackett King, Magdalena Osborn, Jennifer Phillips

Who should attend this seminar?

Both in-house and private practitioners who routinely deal with labor and employment law issues.

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

Labor and employment law is constantly developing due to new administrative regulations, state and federal legislative action, the Supreme Court’s input, and of course, new judicial rules and procedures. This seminar educates attendees about some of biggest changes, and how they affect our day-to-day practice.

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 “the rules of the game” in labor and employment law change from one day to the next. Staying up-to-date on these changes is the key to providing quality legal services.

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

Some legal changes have a grace period allowing people time to adjust—others do not. It would be a mistake to “wait and see” before working with clients to ensure compliance.


State Bar of Arizona Lawyers on Call BK 05-13-14

Volunteer attorneys participate in the Lawyers on Call phone program, May 13, 2014, on the topic of bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Here is a follow-up to a State Bar event, by my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

The State Bar of Arizona, and 12 News hosted the Lawyers on Call public service program on Tuesday, May 13.

The following is a recap of the program, which focused on bankruptcy and foreclosure issues.

The volunteer attorneys were: Anthony Clark, Diane L. Drain, Richard A. Drake, Tracy Essig, Margaret A. Gillespie, Peter Gustafson, Jeff Katz, Steven Keist, Vincent R. Mayr and Jim L. Webster.

Volunteer attorneys answered 76 calls on bankruptcy and foreclosure issues. An additional 25 consumers were assisted via social media, which gave us a total of 101 people who were helped. Although calls were plentiful, phone lines weren’t as busy as in the past. Volunteers thought it was a good indicator that bankruptcies and foreclosures are on the decline.

Here is a sample of consumer questions:

  • How do I know if I should file bankruptcy?
  • How do I file bankruptcy? Should I hire an attorney or do it myself?
  • Are there alternatives to filing bankruptcy?
  • Can I get rid of student debt if I file for bankruptcy?
  • What are the repercussions to filing bankruptcy or foreclosure?
  • How can I get rid of creditor phone calls?
  • Will I lose my car or home if I file for bankruptcy?

Social media continues to be a successful element of Lawyers on Call.  25 consumers asked their questions via the 12 News Facebook page, and attorney Diane L. Drain responded with her recommendations/advice.

Eight of the 11 attorneys were first-time volunteers.

Next month, volunteer lawyers will answer consumers’ landlord and tenant questions on Tuesday, June 3.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorIf the mark of a great blog post is a gorgeous graphic, I’m starting off the week with an epic fail.

But gauging posts by their relevance and praiseworthy content, this kind of offering is among my favorites.

Once again via my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, I pass on the great news of Arizona attorneys who stepped up to offer free legal advice. (As I’ve said before, no other profession that I’m aware of does so on such a routine basis.)

On Thursday, September 26, the State Bar of Arizona joined with Univision 33 to host the consumer call-in program Abogados a Su Lado. This most recent public service program covered bankruptcy and foreclosure issues.

Congratulations to the lawyers who stepped up to participate:

Those generous lawyers—all four were first-time participants—answered 67 calls during the two-hour phone bank. The following is a sample of the questions received:

  • Do I qualify for bankruptcy?
  • How does bankruptcy work?
  • Do I need an attorney to handle my bankruptcy or can I file on my own?
  • I’m behind on my house payment, how long before the foreclosure process begins? Can I save my home from foreclosure?
  • Am I automatically entitled to half of our assets if I file for divorce?
  • How do I qualify for a home loan modification?
  • The home I rent is being foreclosed on. What are my rights?

Congratulations and thanks to all the attorneys.

Lincoln_by John Holcomb

Abraham Lincoln would want you to share news of the State Bar’s great Law Day event. (painting by John Holcomb)

The State Bar of Arizona has a rich tradition of participating in Law Day, that annual national event reminding all of us how valuable the rule of law can be. And this year, they continue that commitment.

I have been privileged to moderate the Bar’s Law Day event a few times. In 2008, our topic was judicial merit selection, and we had a blast with a talented panel of speakers who are lawyers and judges. When I moderated, I had the chance to ask challenging questions that (I hope) led panelists to explore the topic fully.

I recall being offered a deep scowl when I devil’s-advocated a former Bar President panelist with the question, “So why not sign on to Senate confirmation of judges? Our current system came from Missouri, not from Moses.”

The next year, I was the moderator of our program centered on the screening of competing Law Day videos created by high school students. Much of it is a blur, but I do recall that I wore a beard and stovepipe hat to honor Abraham Lincoln. (Good times. No photo survives.)

So my Law Day affection is deep and abiding, and that’s why I am looking forward to this year’s offering by the Bar (no moderating required).

The Bar’s events will occur on Saturday, April 27, and they aim to provide the highest possible testimony to the value of our legal system—by providing actual legal information to those who need it most.

State Bar of Arizona logoThe very ambitious programming will cover four-plus legal topics, and the information will be provided at five locations around the Valley and in Tucson. There will be no charge.

More information on the clinics is here, or contact my colleague Alberto Rodriguez at 602-340-7293 or

And if any lawyer-readers want to participate by offering her or his services, for one session, a half-day or (dare I ask it?) a full day, also contact Alberto. He is seeking lawyers who can provide information in the following focus areas: landlord/tenant; immigration (there will be sessions in both Spanish and English); divorce, child support and paternity; and bankruptcy and foreclosure. 

Abe Lincoln would have been proud.

And for those who join me in being pleased at the Bar’s commitment to legal services and the value of lawyers and law, let me share one anecdote that I read at my Law Day moderator gig in 2008:

“During the Suez Invasion of 1956, the British Prime Minister was careful to exclude opinions that disagreed with his approach. He specifically instructed that Sir Gerald Fitzmaurice, the very distinguished Legal Advisor to the Foreign Office, and who had strongly and consistently advised that the British action was unlawful, should not be informed of developments: ‘Fitz is the last person I want consulted. The lawyers are always against our doing anything. For God’s sake, keep them out of it. This is a political affair.’”

That quality—of independent and honest counsel—is more valuable and more in need than ever before. Remember to share around the Bar’s Law Day agenda and encourage participation.

If you are seeking some lunchtime learning, a few upcoming webinars may fill the bill. The following are co-sponsored by Fordham Law School and The National Law Journal.

They are free to “attend,” but pre-registration is required. (See below for web registration details.)

And are any of the topics something you’d like to see covered in Arizona Attorney? Let me know, and we could slot an article.

Here is the information from Fordham:

Ethical Issues for Criminal Practitioners
October 2, 2012 at 1 p.m. Eastern

Panelists will focus on the ethical issues that often arise during criminal cases and the recent developments in ethics and professional responsibility.  Speakers include: Hon. Jed S. Rakoff, Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; Bruce Green, Professor and Director of the Louis Stein Center for Legal Ethics at Fordham Law School; Rita M. Glavin, Partner at Seward & Kissel LLP; and Sylvia Shaz Schweder, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

The Foreclosure Crisis in the Courts
October 16, 2012 at 1 p.m. Eastern

Discussion will center on important trends in foreclosure law in the wake of the housing crisis. Speakers include: Nestor Davidson, Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Urban Law Center at Fordham Law School; Bruce J. Bergman, Partner at Berkman, Henoch, Peterson, Peddy & Fenchel, P.C.; and Meghan Faux, Director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at South Brooklyn Legal Services.

Navigating Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Law
October 30, 2012 at 1 p.m. Eastern

President Obama’s recent prosecutorial discretion initiative, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) relief process will be the focus of discussion. Speakers include: Jennifer Gordon, Professor of Law at Fordham Law School; Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director at the National Immigration Law Center; and David A. Martin, Warner-Brooker Distinguished Professor of International Law at the University of Virginia School of Law and Deputy General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security (2009-2011); General Counsel, Immigration and Naturalization Service (1995-1998).

The Boundaries of Fair Use After Cariou v. Prince
November 13, 2012 at 1 p.m. Eastern

Panelists will analyze the decision waiting to be made in Cariou v. Prince and the impact the case will have on the boundaries of visual art, fair use, and freedom of expression, particularly in visual art. Speakers include: Sonia Katyal, Joseph M. McLaughlin Professor of Law at Fordham Law School; Dale Cendali, Partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Virginia Rutledge, Attorney and former Vice President and General Counsel for Creative Commons; and Christine Steiner, Special Counsel for Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

To register, go to,, or to register.


  • October 2, 2012 (Ethics)
  • October 16, 2012 (Foreclosure)
  • October 30, 2012 (Immigration)
  • November 13, 2012 (Fair Use)

Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Eastern

My State Bar of Arizona colleague Alberto Rodriguez provided the following in regard to Tuesday evening’s Lawyers On Call program:

The following is a recap from the February 7 Lawyers On Call public-service program.

Date: February 7, 2012

Topic: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Issues

Volunteers: Eight Attorneys (Brian Blum, Diane Drain, Doug Edmunds, Tracy Essig, Macie Hawkes, Kristin Mathers, Leonard Sominsky, and Madeleine Wanslee)


Volunteer attorneys answered an impressive 158 calls on bankruptcy and foreclosure issues.

Most-frequently-asked questions were:

  • How do I modify my current loan?
  • How do I avoid foreclosure? What are my options? Can I simply walk-away?
  • Is a short sale a good alternative to a foreclosure?
  • What are tenant rights after a foreclosure?
  • What is the process of a bankruptcy? Should I pursue it?
  • How do I deal with debt collectors?
  • What types of bankruptcy are there? How do I know which is right for me?

Three of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers. They were satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the Lawyers On Call public service program. Calls were consistent from 5 to 7 p.m., which led to another successful phone bank.

Interesting call of the evening: Macie Hawkes received one call from an individual residing in Massachusetts. He mentioned that he had been researching free legal advice and stumbled upon the State Bar’s Lawyers On Call public service program. He set his calendar—taking time zone into consideration—and patiently waited a few weeks for his chance to speak with one of our volunteer attorneys.

Lawyers On Call has helped 158 Arizonans in 2012 and more than 1,526 Arizonans in 2011. The program has helped more than 14,010 people in the eight years that 12 News KPNX -TV has broadcast the program.

The next Lawyers On Call will be held on May 8, 2012, and will address divorce and child support issues.

For more on Lawyers On Call, click here.

Lawyers on Call is a public service program sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona and Phoenix’s 12 News KPNX TV. On the first Tuesday of the month, members of the public can have their legal questions answered by volunteer lawyers.

Tonight, the topics are foreclosure and bankruptcy.

Thanks in advance to the lawyers who are pitching in pro bono to answer questions:

  • James Andrews II
  • Richard Chambliss
  • Tracy Essig
  • Scott Hyder
  • Susan Johnson
  • Jeff Katz
  • Cristina Perez
  • Shawn Stone
  • Andrea Wimmer

More information is here and here.

Tim Burr graced the magazine cover of Arizona Attorney a few years ago. That’s when he made waves as he helped to bring admission on motion (rather than by bar exam) to Arizona’s (dry) shores.

This week, I see he’s landed on another forward-thinking beachhead, this time at the ASU Law School. As the school reported, he and Mary Ellen Natale have been hired as faculty to address issues related to the foreclosure crisis.

Tim will be director of the new Foreclosure Mediation Unit, “which will provide impartial mediation services between lenders and residential borrowers facing foreclosure.”

Mary Ellen Natale

Natale directs the new Homeowner Advocacy Unit of the Civil Justice Clinic, “in which student attorneys will represent families who are at risk of foreclosure or victims of mortgage fraud scams and engage in advocacy and community outreach on foreclosure law and related issues.”

Previously, Tim Burr practiced commercial alternative dispute resolution and real estate law with Jennings, Strouss & SalmonFennemore Craig, and Morrison & Hecker. Natale was an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s University School of Law and has several years of housing law experience with legal services programs in New York and Ohio.

Here is more information on both programs. And more information about Burr and Natale is at the law school’s website. Congratulations—and good luck—to them and the school.

And here’s some more information on our 2008 photos of Tim by the terrific Karen Shell: The inside shot has him leaning over a wall map that I took down and borrowed from our family room—I think it worked pretty well there! And the cover shot—with him holding map puzzle pieces—demanded that we confirm the states he held in his hand actually were reciprocal to Arizona. After all, you and I both know someone would have noticed—and complained—if we got it wrong!