iPadLast week I wrote about a paperless initiative of the State Bar of Arizona. As part of it, the Bar will no longer print hard copies of CLE materials.

As you might guess, I got an earful—though a good number of Arizona lawyers told me they supported the move.

One question that arose in the blog comments (where the good stuff usually lies) was in regard to the ability to annotate the electronic materials. After all, we’re all used to marking up our printed materials during the CLE presentation. What do we do if we are gazing at a PDF, and we con’t happen to own Adobe Acrobat Pro?

A blog post by Nicole Black this week provides some solutions for those accessing the PDFs on an iPad. She points to a few rather inexpensive tools that will have you commenting and noting before you know it. As she says, the four tools “are just a few of the many apps available for reading, storing, organizing, and marking up PDFs and other documents on your iPad.”

You can read her post at Lawyerist, here.

State Bar goes green, paperless, no more printed CLE materialsRecently, the State Bar of Arizona made the paperless plunge—declining to provide written materials at continuing legal education seminars.

What do you think of this paperless initiative as it applies to CLEs? I’ve heard from a few attorneys who think it’s a way for the Bar to offload printing costs to members. But, in my experience, that view is in the minority. The mass of people I’ve spoken with said things like, “About time” and “No big deal.”

Do you agree? Is the Bar correct to get on the sustainability bandwagon? The move has to save thousands upon thousands of printed pages every year. Is that positive enough to offset a few inconvenient negatives?

What follows are a few of the Bar’s frequently asked questions. Be sure to read all of them here.

1.     Since there are no hard copies to pick up, how will I get my materials?

You will receive an email prior to the seminar containing a link to your materials. If you prefer to take a printed copy to your seminar, please print it before you arrive at the seminar. No hard copies will be available for pick up at the seminar. 

2.     Which email address will materials be sent to?

Materials will be sent to your email address on file with the Bar.  Please make sure your email is updated with the Bar to ensure receipt of the materials.

3. What if I want a hard copy of the seminar materials?

A limited number of hard copies will be available for an extra charge.

4. I’m already paying to attend the seminar, so why do I need to pay for printed materials?

As a cost-saving measure, as well as to move forward with the SBA’s green initiatives, the CLE department is providing registrants their seminar materials in an electronic format. The advantage of “going green” serves multiple benefits:

  • Allows the Bar to keep registration fees at the 2008 price;
  • No more lugging around materials;
  • Easy access to materials.

5. If I want to purchase a hard copy of the seminar materials, how much will it cost?

Prices for hard copy materials will be between $20 – $40, depending on the manual.

Park Howell

Park Howell, always looking up.

I sure love a good story.

That’s why, back in November, I found myself sitting in a Phoenix conference room chatting with a small group of people about how best to interest others in our story and to persuade listeners or readers to act on our story.

The conference room was at the advertising firm Park & Co., and the workshop was nimbly led by the firm’s principal, Park Howell. (He blogs here; more on that in a bit.)

He is an adept storyteller himself, and he walked the group through the steps of crafting a tale that leads readers and viewers to a conclusion. In the workshop, he used a 68-year-old video to demonstrate that “the brain is helpless to the suction of story.”

Confused? Here is how Park Howell describes it:

“In 1944, psychologists Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel created this animated film to test the brain’s compunction to create stories, even out of the most crude stimuli. Of the 114 people that watch this short film, 113 of them knitted together a story of what was happening, and only one said it was just shapes moving around a screen.”

That video and Park’s words struck a chord with me, and I think they would do the same with anyone who has ever argued to a jury. As jury consultant Dru Sherrod told us in a recent Arizona Attorney Magazine, “Jurors bring to the trial this whole lifetime of collected stored scripts. When jurors hear something in the trial that evokes a stored script, they immediately map that life experience onto the trial information.”

So we know on an intellectual level that “story model research” is correct when it instructs about the power of stories to persuade. But practice is what’s needed—and what Howell offered our small group.

park & co logoOn this Change of Venue Friday, I invite you to see more of the stories he spins in his own blog. Whether you are interested in sustainability, marketing or simply in stories well told, take a look. I’m suspecting you may opt to bookmark his insights or opt for the RSS feed.

A recent post of his reminded me that the use of the word “green” may be getting a bit green around the gills. What’s needed, he argues, are not mere catch-phrases, but “genuine stories of sustainability.” True enough, I think, for every industry, including law.

After reading that, head over to his firm’s “Backstories” page, where you can see a selection of the impressive work they have done for clients, many in the most sustainable of industries.

Have a great weekend.

Here is a photo, which reveals a lot about the choices made in the planning for this year’s State Bar of Arizona Convention, which ends this afternoon.

Any guess about what you’re looking at?

Let me give you a hint. It was sent to me by Jennifer Mott. Jennifer is a favorite person of mine, for a lot of reasons. But you may know her best through Arizona Attorney Magazine, in which she reported and wrote some great articles on green law practice.

Does that help you guess?

The photo shows the printed materials for this year’s Convention.

No, I don’t mean sample of the materials, or the materials for the Wednesday afternoon sessions. I mean all of the printed materials.

In past years, that stack would be a mountain. But in a great initiative, the Bar has provided materials to attendees on a flash drive. If they want to print, they could, I suppose. But most lawyers I spoke with this week appreciated the green effort—and not having to schlep binders of materials with them through 108-degree heat.

Well done.