Phoenix Startup Week logo-page0001

Those of us at our desks this week are clearly doing innovation wrong. That’s all I can conclude as Phoenix Startup Week is kicking off. Time to get our creative on.

Don’t know what the week entails? Here’s a description:

Phoenix Startup Week is a five-day celebration of our community happening February 23-27th 2015. Over 130 free events created by other entrepreneurs to give back and make our community better. Each day will focus on a certain part of the valley:

  • Feb 23 – Downtown Phoenix
  • Feb 24 – Downtown Scottsdale
  • Feb 25 – Tempe
  • Feb 26 – North Scottsdale
  • Feb 27 – Arcadia Biltmore

So my note to you today is already what we call “late.” But there is still time to get out of your box and into someone else’s creative session.

The complete details are here, and you can register here.

They’re on Facebook too.

As a service to all the readers who think that my blog posts must be legal in some way, I provide the following community service. Here is a list of the attorneys who are speaking at Startup week events, and the title of their presentations. I leave it to you to head over to the Internets and locate the time and place of their wow-ishness:

  • Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton: Kickoff
  • Brian Burt, Snell & Wilmer: How To Negotiate Contracts
  • Ruth Carter, Venjuris PC: The Lawyer Is In! Open Q&A on Starting a Business, Contracts, & Social Media Law
  • Joe Chandler, Fennemore Craig PC: Beyond Start-Up: Evolving Legal Challenges as Your Business Grows
  • Michelle Gross, Booth Udall Fuller PLC: Patent Basics for Entrepreneurs
  • Laura Rogal, Jaburg Wilk: You Have An Idea—Now What? Protecting Your IP For Startups

(I apologize in advance if I missed any lawyers in the extensive speaker list. Nobody’s perfect.)

And for some fun, please enjoy this essay titled “5 Reasons Your Lawyerless Startup Is Doomed From the Start” by Raad Ahmed. It’s rip-out-and-save useful.

Finally, you may agree with me that there is more to the entrepreneurial life than the legal side. So if you have a moment, do seek out and attend sessions by the following great people, whom I’ve had the great pleasure to know and learn from personally:

  • Amy Donohue, NetworkingPhoenix, social media workshop coach: Twitter 101 Workshop
  • Park Howell, President of Park&Co: Conjure Your Innate Power as a Storyteller
  • Christina Noble, architect and owner of Contour Architecture: Creative City: How Architecture Impacts Collaboration

Let’s get Started.

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The Zanes law firm hosted a school-supply giveaway at its Tucson office on August 2.

The Zanes law firm hosted a school-supply giveaway at its Tucson office on August 2.

Those of us who recently packed some children off to school will appreciate this item, regarding a Tucson law firm that assisted teachers with a school-supply giveaway.

The Zanes law firm hosted its fourth annual giveaway on Saturday, August 2. That morning, the parking lot of its office at 3501 East Speedway Boulevard served as the sharing spot where 200 teachers gathered.

Below are some more photos from the event. And you can read more about the firm’s community efforts here.

Is your law firm or law office engaged in great community activity? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Zanes School Supply Giveaway_02

Zanes School Supply Giveaway_03

Zanes School Supply Giveaway_04

April Fool's hoax taillights for horses

Would you believe your horse requires a taillight? Many did.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Yeah, I know it was yesterday. But only amateurs prank on the day everyone expects it.

In fact, I have no pranking plans today. But two fools-related elements looked too good to wait another year to share. And yes, they are connected to the law, for the diehard legal fans out there.

The first element reminded me of an old trick: convincing the unwary that a ridiculous new law has been passed.

A hilarious one you’ve probably heard is that an Italian city now requires taillights on horses. As a result, gullible Milanese residents dutifully trotted over to repair shops to affix the required luminary.

(More “stupid laws” are categorized at the Museum of Hoaxes.)

In defense of these folks, have you ever viewed what comes out of legislative bodies? Sure, we occasionally get a Clean Water Act or universal suffrage. But there are some howlers too.

Anyway, here is the second item I enjoyed related to April Foolss Day—this one even more closely tied to lawyers.

This story details how Ska Brewing is suing fellow Colorado firm Oskar Blues. The offense? Using Ska’s “s-k-a” right in the middle of the name “Oskar.” The nerve. Clearly infringement.

Here’s the opening of the Times-Call story:

“Ska Brewing and Longmont-based Oskar Blues teamed up on an April Fools’ Day press release Tuesday, announcing that Ska would be pursuing litigation over Oskar Blues’ use of the Durango-based brewery in its name.”

“‘They’re using our whole name,’ wrote Ska president and co-founder Dave Thibodeau in the made-up press release. “It’s right in the middle of their name, like we wouldn’t notice as long as they put an ‘O’ at the beginning and an ‘R’ at the end. Well, we’ve noticed now.’”

The reporter noted that the prank even included a Photoshopped picture of the “ska” being blacked out of an Oskar Blues sign.

April Fool's hoax Ska Brewing

Thanks to a Photoshop gag, letters are being blotted out of a competitor’s sign. April Fools.

Of most charming impact to attorneys, though, is this comment from the “plaintiff”:

“‘Once we figured out what those guys had done, we didn’t want to let another day pass without paying some lawyers,’ said Thibodeau. ‘Obviously bringing lawyers in immediately is the only way to resolve any conflict, so we hired a bunch of them. Hopefully they did too.’”

 Be sure to read the whole article here.

Let’s hope all your pranks are as cooperative as this one. And next April Fools’ Day, if you get a call from a client with a big promised payday, why not wait a day before expending resources on your conflict check? You’ll be glad you did.

Happy non-prank Wednesday.

Booker T. Evans is in the house -- as he emceed (and sang) for the Battle of the Lawyer Bands, June 20, 2013.

Booker T. Evans is in the house — as he emceed (and sang) for the Battle of the Lawyer Bands, June 20, 2013.

The Thursday night party has become a loud and raucous staple of the Bar Convention. As I write this late Thursday night, my ears still ring as testament to that fact.

I did not get photos of all the bands in action—I must confess I was enjoying conversation too much to snap pictures. But I did get a shot of one band (Guilty as Sin) while on stage. Expand your imagination to place your own favorite band in that space.

Guilty as Sin on stage at the Biltmore for the State Bar of Arizona Battle of the Lawyer Bands, June 20, 2013.

Guilty as Sin on stage at the Biltmore for the State Bar of Arizona Battle of the Lawyer Bands, June 20, 2013.

The evening’s host was lawyer Booker T. Evans, and he took a few moments between acts to serenade the appreciative crowd. Quite the crooner, that one.

Battle of the Lawyer Bands big check

Yes, that’s a big check, destined for those with a big sound.

When it comes to the band-battle portion of the evening, I had a surprise in store. Because I pay attention too little, I did not realize that real cash-money is at stake. I understood that the audience voted, but I had guessed that bragging rights were at stake, not dollar signs. But as I sat with colleagues just outside the Grand Ballroom (so that we could hear each other), I saw staff gathering up three of those Publishers Clearinghouse-type checks.

I immediately thought two things: I must take my voting privilege seriously. And I should have been far more diligent in my sixth-grade guitar instruction. Live and learn.

All the bands were great, and here are photos of the third, second and first-place winners.

Leon Silver accepts the third-place check for Guilty as Sin.

Leon Silver accepts the third-place check for Guilty as Sin.

Second-place winner Los Big Grandes

Second-place winner Los Big Grandes

First-place The Gotes

First-place winner The Gotes

And let me end with another shot of the inimitable Booker Evans.

Booker T. Evans

Booker T. Evans

Rock on.

It was last fall that we launched our inaugural Ideas Issue. Our concept was that many lawyers have an idea that may be less fully formed than a full feature article, but that may be insightful nonetheless. And so our September 2010 issue highlighted a variety of ideas. They ranged from traffic laws, to Legislator qualifications, to an approach to eradicate the sex trade.

Now it’s time to think about ideas again. Our Call for Ideas from last year was pretty darn good, so here it is again:

Have you ever said, “There ought to be a law” (or a policy, or a regulation)? An upcoming issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine will give you the chance to share your thought—in the “’Ideas Issue.”

This feature story will be dedicated to the thinking of Arizona lawyers and legal leaders. Ideas can be on virtually any topic: jury instructions, obscenity, criminal procedure, immigration, patents, admiralty rules, law practice “in the cloud,” ethics, malpractice, war crimes. You name it. Send us your (im)modest proposals on these or any idea.

Perhaps best of all, each idea will be brief—use no more than 200 words to share your brainstorm.

“There ought to be a law.” We’ve all said it. Now help transform the profession—or even the country.

Post your Ideas here or send them to arizona.attorney@azbar.org. And here’s an idea: Submit by the end of June.