Yesterday, I had the pleasure to visit with a group of law school professors. I talked about Arizona Attorney Magazine—and not so subtly urged them to consider writing for us.

My appearance was at the invitation of Keith Swisher, a Phoenix School of Law Professor and a member of the magazine’s Editorial Board. He had slotted me in to a lunch & learn kind of spot—and I sure appreciate it.

Talking about the magazine is something I enjoy. Besides getting our word out, it also forces me to recommit to the goals set out in our mission statement. I mean, you can’t say them aloud numerous times if you don’t believe them (I mean, assuming you’re not a politician).

Here are a few photos I took as folks were sitting down.

Here, by the way, is that Mission Statement. As I told the assembled professors, the important thing to note is that every one of the bullets is focused on lawyers and their practice:

  • Arizona Attorney helps our readers do their job better—more efficiently and profitably—through editorial content that is analytical and topical.
  • Arizona Attorney is a practical resource and a valuable tool for Arizona lawyers on matters related to their practice, the justice system, the regulation of the legal profession and the improvement of the quality of legal services.
  • Arizona Attorney magazine strives to be the number-one source of legal news and information and the best forum for Arizona lawyers.
  • Our content sparks stimulating discussion through the presentation of challenging and thoughtful ideas.
  • We take an active role in creating a community in which lawyers can better connect with each other.

My payment for the lunch talk was a delicious sandwich; that was expected. But what I didn’t expect was the breadth and variety of ideas that came my way once I was done speaking. All I had to say was, “That’s what I’ve got, but do any of you have any story ideas you’d like to share?”

Did they ever! I wrote them all down, and I’ll be slotting a good number of them for future coverage.

Thank you again, Keith!

Would you or your organization like to hear more about Arizona Attorney? Would you like to discuss how to get yourself or your ideas into the publication, either via an article by you or via a story that contains your idea?

Feel free to write me anytime at arizona.attorney@azbar.org, or call me at 602-340-7310.

Keith Swisher, Phoenix School of Law

Great news about an Arizona law professor came my way this week. Keith Swisher of the Phoenix School of Law has garnered a prestigious honor from the American Bar Association. And I am proud also to add that Keith is a wonderful member of the Editorial Board of Arizona Attorney Magazine. So, of course, to us it’s no surprise.

Congratulations, Keith. Here is the news, as sent to me by the law school.

PHOENIX SCHOOL OF LAW PROFESSOR TO RECEIVE ABA’S TOP PROFESSIONALISM AWARD

Assistant Law Professor Keith Swisher Honored For Professionalism and Ethics

Phoenix, Arizona (May 24, 2010) –  Phoenix School of Law Assistant Professor Keith Swisher is being honored with the American Bar Association’s 2011 Rosner & Rosner Young Lawyers Professionalism Award.  This is a national award, and it honors a young lawyer’s commitment to legal and judicial ethics, lawyer professionalism, client protection and professional regulation. 

“Professor Swisher epitomizes professionalism and ethics in legal education, as well as the entire legal community,” said Shirley L. Mays, Dean of Phoenix School of Law.  “This is a tremendous honor for Keith, and I speak for the students, faculty and staff when I say how proud we are of him.” 

The award will be presented during the National Conference of Bar Presidents/National Association of Bar Executives annual award luncheon that will be held in conjunction with the ABA Annual Meeting on Friday, August 5th in Toronto.  The Rosner & Rosner Award is presented along with the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards.   PhoenixLaw received the Gambrell Professionalism Award in 2009 for its General Practice Skills Course.  

Professor Swisher joined Phoenix School of Law in 2009, and currently teaches Professional Responsibility and Torts. Prior to PhoenixLaw, Swisher was an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University College of Law where he taught Legal Ethics/Professional Responsibility.  He also practiced law in Phoenix since 2005 with the firm Osborn Maledon.  He focused his practice on criminal defense, legal and judicial ethics, professional liability, and appeals.  Before joining Osborn Maledon, he was a judicial clerk for the Honorable William C. Canby of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Swisher serves on the State Bar Professionalism Committee and was also appointed to the Ethics Committee (more formally known as the Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct). In addition, Swisher serves on the Editorial Boards of ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct (since 2008) and Arizona Attorney (since 2005).  Swisher has also been appointed to handle indigent criminal defendants’ federal appeals. 

About Phoenix School of Law

Phoenix School of Law is Arizona’s only law school offering full-time, part-time day, and part-time evening programs. The School received full approval from the American Bar Association in June 2010.  PhoenixLaw’s mission pillars are to provide student outcome-centered education, produce practice ready graduates, and serve the underserved. For more information about PhoenixLaw, visit www.phoenixlaw.edu or call 602-682-6800.

[This story contains corrected copy, identified below.] 

PhoenixLaw Dean Gene Clark

The Phoenix School of Law was the venue for an important event last evening. Amidst a panel of distinguished speakers, the school celebrated the launch of the newest volume of its Law Review.

What? Not enthralled yet? Well, pay attention.

The Phoenix Law Review has reached the grand old age of three—that’s 3! And already, its staff are jumping into issues of significance to the state and its legal community.

The new volume is called the “Arizona Government Issue.” It includes “A History of the Arizona Courts,” written by the Arizona Chief Justice herself, Rebecca White Berch. So right there, it’s worth the price of admission.

Vice Chief Justice Andrew Hurwitz

Her excellent article is surrounded by eight others, only some of which I have begun reading. And that is because I just got a copy last night. In fact, the volume wasn’t even printed until the day before the launch symposium. Now that’s called hitting a deadline!

A law review, as they say, takes a village. But everyone present last night took the time to praise 3L Anthony Tsontakis. It was his idea more than a year ago to publish a volume coincided with the centennial of the Arizona Constitution.

Tsontakis describes himself as “a history kind of guy,” and he says his interest in government and elections grew through clerkships and internships at the Secretary of State’s Office (working with Joe Kanefield (an editorial board member of Arizona Attorney Magazine), at the Arizona Legislature and at the Goldwater Institute. (And another shout out to board member Keith Swisher, an assistant professor at the school and the volume’s faculty advisor.)

Anthony Tsontakis

Anthony Tsontakis says that he contacted 50 to 70 people about possible articles, and then saw them through to publication. Preparations this week required “three consecutive all-nighters” and “53 straight hours” of work (Attention, legal employers! Hard worker on deck).

Tsontakis says that he hopes “the volume will demonstrate that today there are three bona fide law schools in the State of Arizona.”

The work—in the volume and in the launch symposium—paid off. (In fact, when I toiled away on law review as managing editor of the Hastings Comm/Ent, we never had lobster ravioli. All rise for the great catering!)

The evening began with PhxLaw Interim Dean Gene Clark talking about “the magic of the success of this book.” He then introduced Nick Dranias, an attorney with the Goldwater Institute.

[The following three paragraphs contain corrected copy.]

Dranias is one of the volume’s authors. He wrote “The Local Liberty Charter: Restoring Grassroots Liberty to Restrain Cities Gone Wild.” He wins for most evocative title, and for getting things off to a rousing start. In his remarks, he said that the Arizona Legislature “is designed to do one thing well: gridlock and stasis. Well done!”

Nick Dranias, Goldwater Institute

Of course, Dranias was being complimentary, for he appreciates a body designed to “throttle back public passions.” Any body that fosters caution—“looking before you leap”—in terms of legislation is close to the heart of the Institute. 

Dranias was humorous and ironic when he clarified, “As much as we would like to put the pedal to the metal and have the legislative process generate a conservative libertarian utopia, it tends to generate gridlock instead, and by design. But we must yield to temporary evils to secure the benefits of a written constitution.” (his corrected eloquent words, not mine).

Vice Chief Justice Andy Hurwitz was up next, and he spoke from his experience in all three branches of government. He admitted that “I learn something new every time I read our Constitution.” And so did we.

In his wide-ranging remarks, he talked about the constitutional provisions that involve judges, and the history of the State Bar sending names to the Governor for final selection.

He recalled that, when he was Chief of Staff to Gov. Bruce Babbitt, the then-conservative State Bar would send one name only for each opening. But Babbitt wasn’t going to be fenced in, and the Bar later would agree to send more.

Justice Hurwitz also remembered a time when electing judges was the norm—and not always such a good one.

As a young lawyer at the firm later named Osborn Maledon, Hurwitz arrived at court one day on a matter—only to find his opposing counsel already engaged in conversation with the judge.

“Drawing myself up to my full height, I said, ‘Your honor, this is highly improper.’”

Christy Smith, Office of the Governor

But, he laughed, the judge simply replied, “Sit down, sonny. We’re not talking about your case. He’s also my campaign manager—we’re talking about my election.”

The Vice Chief Justice declined to say how the matter turned out.

Finally, Christy Smith spoke. She is Deputy General Counsel to Gov. Jan Brewer, and she encouraged law students in attendance to consider a life in public service. In fact, she believes that there should be more lawyers serving in the Legislature (no word on whether the Governor shares that view).

March 2009: The AZ Constitution

All in all, a momentous evening to honor a great accomplishment. Congratulations, and well done.

Read more about the Law Review of the Phoenix School of Law.

And read our own March 2009 story on the history of the Arizona Constitution, written by Hon. George T. Anagnost.