John Jay College logoI write today to seek your insight—and to share some good news.

In the coming months, I’ll be reporting and writing a story on the collateral effects of criminal convictions. I am interested in the effects not only on individuals, but on their communities.

Statistics tell us that many of us—you and me—may know someone who was caught up in the criminal justice system. Or we may know community leaders who could speak to the impacts that neighborhoods have felt when large numbers of previously incarcerated people return to their communities. Once there, those people may be unable to obtain consistent work or stable housing, given the conviction on their record. What do we do about this?

I’d appreciate hearing from you, now or in the future, for your insights or suggestions on angles to pursue. I’m at arizona.attorney@azbar.org. And my cell is 602-908-6991.

The article and the research/reporting that precedes it are largely made possible by the award of a fellowship, just announced, that I received from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a center at the University of Pennsylvania. As the State Bar has kindly reported:

“State Bar’s Tim Eigo Selected as John Jay/Quattrone Fellow: Tim Eigo, Editor of Arizona Attorney Magazine, has been selected as a John Jay/Quattrone Fellow and will attend the 11th Annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America in New York City. He will be joining 20 other journalists from across the nation as a fellow for a story he pitched on the ‘collateral, downstream effects of prior convictions.’ The John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium is the only national gathering that brings together journalists, legislators, policymakers, scholars and practitioners for candid on-the-record discussions on emerging issues of U.S. criminal justice.”

Quattrone Center on the Fair Administration of Justice logoHere is a link to the conference/fellowship press release, which includes the list of the other 20 journalists.

I am also pleased to report that a friend and great journo was also among those chosen: Kristen Senz is the Editor of the New Hampshire Bar News, and she’s been working on legal aspects of the opioid-use crisis. John Jay will be lucky to count her among the Fellows’ ranks!

So next week, I’ll be in chilly Manhattan to hear from smart people, some of whom may become story subjects and info-providers. I’m looking forward to it.

The conference is titled “Making Room for Justice: Crime, Public Safety & the Choices Ahead for Americans.” The complete program is here.

The Friday portion of the conference will be held in the moot court room of John Jay College.

The Friday portion of the conference will be held in the moot court room of John Jay College.

I previously received a fellowship in 2011, from John Jay/Guggenheim, that allowed me to attend the conference and then write on the topic of criminal-sentencing reform (I told you about it here.). That year and in 2012, I wrote numerous online stories and a cover story in Arizona Attorney Magazine about it. Here is the link to that issue/article (clicking on the image takes you to the story).

As I promised in 2011, I’ll report back after the conference. And I’ll try to keep warm.

 

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Erwin Chemerinsky Supreme Court book coverBefore November runs its course, I wanted to point out one item in this month’s Arizona Attorney you may have missed—a book review.

My fondness for book reviews—when well done—is unabashed. And this month, attorney Roxie Bacon examines a new book by Erwin Chemerinsky that dissects the U.S. Supreme Court.

Chemerinsky is Dean of the UC-Irvine law school, as well as an accomplished scholar and SCOTUS litigant. And his assessment of the Court’s standing is damning. He argues that the Court has fallen down on the job in regard to its most important missions.

You can read Roxie’s excellent review here.

Meantime, for those who think Chemerinsky and Bacon are being too hard on the High Court, consider the current thinking of someone who knows that tribunal well. Linda Greenhouse covered the Supreme Court for years for the New York Times (and I spoke with her once myself, here). Now, she merely shakes her head in dismay at the tortuous legal paths the Court’s majority have taken in significant cases.

Linda Greenhouse

Linda Greenhouse

You should read Greenhouse’s op-ed, and feel free to let me know if the assembled thinkers have overstated their case, or if you agree.

A grateful hat-tip to Kristen Senz of the New Hampshire Bar Association for mentioning Greenhouse’s essay.

How about a law office in an old cigar buidling? Puff on that idea! NHBAR historic building 1

How about housing your law office in an old cigar building? Puff on that idea!

How do we tell the story of law offices in historic buildings?

That’s something we’ve considered and attempted over the years at Arizona Attorney Magazine. I think (hope) that many of our readers agree with me that the life of the law may be illuminated by exploring the spaces we use for attorneys’ work. And when those spaces are vintage ones, we also manage to tell the story of our state.

Over the years, a lawyer I respect has urged me (a few times) to do such a story in the magazine. A history buff myself, I’m on board. But our challenge continues: There is no statewide inventory of historic structures that are now used as law offices.

So I keep beating the drum, urging lawyers to contact me with their buildings’ stories. (Send your information and photos to arizona.attorney@azbar.org.)

Meantime, I checked my mail this week and was greeted by a bar publication whose own exploration has yielded great fruit. Congratulations to the New Hampshire Bar Association for this month’s feature on historic law offices.

I spoke previously in praise of the NHBA’s premier publication. And now they’ve done it again. (Enough with the talent, already.)

In “Preserving the Past,” NH Bar News Managing Editor Kristen Senz and staff showed the results of scouring the highways and byways to find the best offices representing the topic.

Here is how their hard-copy pages came out. Note the great photos paired with the well-researched and detailed copy.

NHBAR historic law offices 1_opt

NHBAR historic law offices 2_opt

But this is 2014. So even if they’re writing about a 1700’s-era Colonial, publishers know they have to meet readers online too.

So if you don’t happen to have a print version of NH Bar News sitting around your office, you can go online to see the featured structures—and even more that wouldn’t fit in the publication.

You can view and read about all the historic buildings here. Well done (once again), New Hampshire Bar!

And now, you Arizona lawyers can help us tell the stories of your own vintage law offices. We’d love to hear from you.