Books, we've got books! Book stack book review

Books, we’ve got books!

My editor’s column in the June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine offers a few reading suggestions for the long hot summer. Each of the three I mention is compelling in its own way. I’m sure I’ll have some more suggestions as we move into the fall.

One of the books I mention is titled The Widow Wave. If you’d like an excellent and more substantial review of that book, head over to the Tennessee Bar Journal, where lawyer-reviewer David Wade explains what makes the book terrific.

It’s summer, and the reading is easy. Here are a few suggestions.

Yes, you are allowed to read books in the fall too—or any other season. But it’s a magazine mainstay to offer summer-reading choices. So sue me. But first read these books, after which you’ll be able to sue me better.

If you like your legal works legally accurate and insightful, launch into a book written by an Arizona lawyer and former law prof, aptly named Law Prof. Author Kenney Hegland takes us on a jaunty ride.

Law Prof by Kenney Hegland book cover

Hegland may have taught many of our readers when he professed at the UA Law School, and he impresses and intrigues in this novel. The book tells the tale of a retired law professor who re-emerges from retirement to assist his trial-lawyer daughter with a wrongful-death case. And so he plays the role—armchair adviser—that all of us readers play. He is one of us, our navigator.

Hegland may have had law students in mind as he wrote. The “law” parts are carefully explained, and the discursive sidebars make all the issues—even clear ones—more clear.

The ride may not be highly challenging for experienced trial lawyers, but it is rewarding and well written. And if there is a young lawyer in your life, passing on a copy of Law Prof could amuse and educate all in one.

The Rules of Action by Landon Napoleon came out last year but remains a favorite. It’s 1970s Phoenix, and a lawyer doggedly pursues a case regarding terrible neglect in nursing homes. Ripped from the headlines, it will satisfy the reader who wants the legal details correct but imbued with noir pot-boiling.

The Rules of Action by Landon Napolean book cover_opt

Adding to readers’ pleasure is the accurate Arizona legal history and the suspicion that you know the lawyer described within. Muse away.

Finally, The Widow Wave is a nonfiction retelling of a trial following the death of five men on a commercial fishing boat off in the Pacific Ocean off San Francisco. The author is Jay Jacobs, an attorney and former sailor and officer in the merchant marine. He represented the captain’s widow when she was sued by one of the men’s survivors.

No physical evidence, no eyewitnesses, and a three-week jury trial make for great reading. Just as gripping is Jacobs’s willingness to reveal his trial missteps. Experienced lawyers will appreciate tracking the trials’ shifting fortunes. And younger ones will benefit from a true tale of trial tactics, warts and all.

The Widow Wave by Jay Jacobs book cover_opt

What are you reading this year? Write to me at

We all deserve a lighter end to our week, and that’s why we have “Change of Venue.”

Today, we point you toward a website that aims to provide legal information. Though there may be many of those out there, two things caught my eye about this one.

First, it is authored by Kenney Hegland, a law professor at the University of Arizona Law School. He is a respected legal scholar. Even better than that, he can write well. As an example, read his story “Rethinking Living Wills,” which Arizona Attorney published in 2004. (The complete issue is here.)

That may be worth the price of admission right there.

Even more than that, his press release caught my eye. I get a lot of these, but few come with accolades by Dr. Andrew Weil, or feature encomia such as “the down-home philosophy and wit of Will Rogers.”

Kind of gets ya, doesn’t it?

Click here to go to his site.

(We should probably point out that we do not endorse any particular lawyer or information-providing site. Consult your lawyer before seeking legal advice. Or something.)

Here is the release:

U of A Law Professor Introduces Website Offering Video

Law and Advice for Savvy Seniors and Families

Should you get a Living Trust? A Reverse mortgage? Will your Living Will be followed? How can you leave money to a disabled relative? What if a parent is beginning to lose it? What about their driving; what about home care? How can you be sure they aren’t being abused? And, if death comes, what about the first few weeks?

Short video segments, found at, offer law and advice on specific problems likely to be encountered as we grow older. There is even occasional poetry and humor and several are free.

The videos are hosted by Kenney F. Hegland, the James E. Rogers Professor of Law at the University of Arizona. His three decades teaching law have included stints at the University of San Diego’s London Program and at UCLA and Harvard. Two of his books are popular in the nation’s law schools, and, on a quest to make law accessible to the public, he has written nine law-related videos which are distributed to high schools by The Discovery Channel.

Realizing that we are all likely make serious, expensive, and heart-breaking mistakes unless we anticipate problems, he teamed up with a nationally known elder lawyer to write New Times, New Challenges: Law and Advice for Savvy Seniors and their Families.” Dr. Andrew Weil calls the book “engaging, even entertaining and uplifting” and recommends it to patients, friends and loved ones. The Director of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging writes that the book has the “down-home philosophy and wit of Will Rogers, wryly enriched by poetry, humor, and existential musings.”

Professor Hegland brings this down-home philosophy and wit to the videos. Several are free: on important family discussion; on raising grandchildren; on volunteering; and on identifying and coping with elder abuse. There is even one on sex.

Other segments include: Avoiding Probate; Wills; Trusts; Home Care for the Elderly; Identity Theft and Scams; Driving; Essential Documents: Advance Health Care Directives; Dealing with Doctors and Finding Lawyers; Disability in the Family; Legal Capacity; Deciding for Those who Can’t; Death in the Family; Disgruntled Heirs; Remarriage. They are available at $2.67 each.

“When I started teaching Elder Law, eight years ago, I was shocked on how many of life’s problems can be avoided or dealt with successfully. Everyday I hear stories of families torn apart, trying to cope with a tangle of heart-retching problems. Like so many of us, they assumed that tomorrow would be like today. It won’t be. I’m not modest in my goals. With the information provided in the book or on the website, seniors and their families will, quite simply, lead happier, less stressful, lives.”

Professor Hegland is happy to give interviews. He can be reached at or