The AWLA honors attorney Lynda Shely, October 2015.

The AWLA honors attorney Lynda Shely, October 2015.

A legal leader was honored earlier this month at a great event hosted by the Arizona Women Lawyers Association.

Lynda Shely is well known and widely respected as an attorney, ethics expert, and educator. Among other roles, she has served as the State Bar of Arizona’s Ethics Counsel—and has written numerous times for Arizona Attorney Magazine. As such, she was an ideal choice for the AWLA’s 2015 Ruth V. McGregor Award—the first that the award has been given.

On the evening of October 8, an over-capacity crowd jammed the parlor, dining rooms and hallways of the University Club in midtown Phoenix. They were all there to signal their appreciation of Shely and their agreement with the selection committee’s choice.

In accepting the award, Shely opened her brief remarks by saying, “I’m proud to be a lawyer.”

“I wish the public could see how hard lawyers work,” she continued. She has ample evidence of that, she said, among it the many ethics questions emailed to her in the wee hours of the morning.

As someone who is sought out for her ethics advice, Shely said she knows that when she hears from a fellow attorney, that person is probably not having a great day.

She reminded the audience that they should strive to treat others with kindness, “even those who may be the most obnoxious people.” After all, Shely said, we have no way of knowing what challenges they are facing in their work and personal lives.

Congratulations to Lynda Shely, a worthy recipient in so many ways.

Lynda Shely and her husband Robert, University Club, Phoenix.

Lynda Shely and her husband Robert, University Club, Phoenix.

2014 State Bar of Arizona Convention brochure cover hires_optIn advance of the Bar Convention, I contacted seminar chairs seeking their response to four questions about their upcoming panel. Here are the questions I sent:

  • Who should attend this seminar?
  • What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?
  • How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)
  • What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Today, I share, in two separate posts, the responses of those whose seminars are calendared for tomorrow, Thursday, June 12. (Note: Not all seminar chairs responded.) Click on the seminar title to read more detail as published in the Convention brochure.

What follows are the seminar responses I received for the morning programs.

Thursday, June 12, 8:45 am

T-17: Roadblocks to Reentry: Employment Obstacles Following Conviction and a Guide To Ease the Transition

Chair: Gary Restaino

Who should attend this seminar?

Gary Restaino

Gary Restaino

Criminal defense attorneys, legal aid attorneys and employment law attorneys should attend this seminar to better understand the barriers (including employment) faced by defendants reentering society from a period of incarceration, and the opportunities available to assist them.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

The biggest takeaway may well be the power of second chances.

How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)

One of the key current events with respect to this seminar is the growing “Ban the Box” movement, in which certain employers (either through voluntary action or local ordinances) push the background check process farther into the employee selection cycle, in order to enable a former criminal defendant to develop a rapport with the employer in lieu of outright rejection based on criminal history.

Thursday, June 12, 8:45 am

T-19: The Annual Ethics Game Show

Chair: Lynda Shely

Who should attend?

Lynda Shely

Lynda Shely

Anyone who needs 3 hours of ethics credit while having fun, wants to learn the latest ethics news, and earn a prize … several ethical rules changed this year – do you know how they apply to your practice?

What is the one main takeaway from attending?

No, it’s not the prize – it will be the latest ethics and risk management tips for all firms, including some checklists and templates.

What is the most common misconception about ethics?

IT IS NOT BORING – it can be fun and informative and everyone takes away not only a prize but useful ethics information to share with their offices.

Thursday, June 12, 10:30 am

T-20: The Unblinking Eye: High-Profile Cases and Cameras in the Courtroom

Co-Chair: Judy Schafert

Who should attend this seminar?

Judy Schaffert

Judy Schaffert

Practitioners who try cases, both criminal and civil; public lawyers; lawyers who represent potentially controversial or notorious clients; people who care about the public or the media; politically active practitioners; and anyone who cares about the courts as public institutions.

What is the one main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?

Cameras have entered the courtrooms of our state, but when and how involves more implications and decisions than many might expect.

How is this seminar timely? (That is: Why do attorneys need to learn more about this topic right now? What’s going on now in the world or in law practice that makes this topic important?)

There has been a recent change in Arizona court rules — and the technology continuously leapfrogs.

What is the most common misconception about this issue? In other words, what do lawyers think they know, but don’t?

Many lawyers do not appreciate the extent to which cameras in the courts implicate their duties, and their clients’ and witnesses’ rights, especially under the new rules.

Morris Institute for Justice LogoThis Friday provides an opportunity to hear from two legal experts who are also terrific presenters. It all happens on the afternoon of May 16, when Lynda Shely and Patricia Sallen speak on ethics issues and technology.

The three-hour presentation is titled “30 Ethics Tips Before Using Any Technology” and isoffered by the William E. Morris Institute for Justice on Friday, May 16, from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. It is co-sponsored by Lewis Roca Rothgerber

The event will also be live simulcast to Tucson.

Lynda Shely is an attorney at the Shely Firm PC, and Patricia Sallen is Director of Special Services and Ethics/Deputy General Counsel of the State Bar of Arizona.

The in-person presentation will be at:

Lewis Roca Rothgerber

201 East Washington Street, 3rd floor

Phoenix, AZ 85004


The live simulcast can be viewed at:

Lewis Roca Rothgerber

1 South Church Ave., Suite 700

Tucson, AZ 85701


As the Institute says, “The CLE fee is a $150 donation to the Institute (paid in advance or at the door), of which $50 may be tax deductible. The Institute qualifies for the ‘working poor tax credit.’”

RSVP by May 13 to Ellen Katz at or 602-252-3432 ext. 2, or register online by making your $150 donation through the MIJ website (click “Donate to MIJ”).

Steve Little and Lynda Shely speak on professional dress, Bar Leadership Institue, Perkins Coie, Phoenix, March 24, 2012

Last Friday, I told you about an event I was attending as a clothing model. (The demands on the lawyer-ati never end, I tell you!) Here’s a brief update on our appearance before the 2012 class of the Bar Leadership Institute.

Those lawyers who are selected to participate in the State Bar of Arizona’s Bar Leadership Institute are offered a wide variety of speakers and instruction on a great many topics. I am expecting that our meager offering in regard to professional dress will not be one of their year’s highlights.

Nonetheless, I was pleased to be able to pitch in, along with lawyers Lynda Shely (the session’s moderator), CLE Director Lisa Deane, Member Assistance Program head Susan Kayler and Bar Counsel Steve Little.

Aside from Lynda, the four of us were paired up in a good-bad formation (Steve bad, me good; Lisa bad, Susan good). And just like the Silver Screen, I suspect it’s far more enjoyable to play a villain than a hero. Steve, for instance, went to town with his impersonation of a bedraggled attorney who was seriously in need of a makeover. (Steve, that was an impersonation, right?)

Lisa Deane also did what she could to look downtrodden, though I don’t think she is really able to look less than put-together. I was dismayed to see that her “gnarly” look appeared to be no worse than the way I dress most days in the office. (See, the life lessons benefited not just the BLI participants!)

The attendees looked mildly attentive, but they were also superbly dressed, so what did they need from us? I suspect that our life-modeling, along with my suggestions as to where to buy good vintage (“used”) menswear (The Well-Suited Man, in Phoenix and Scottsdale), left them more bemused than enlightened.

Oh well, we tried.

Today, let me share part of my From the Editor column from the February 2008 Arizona Attorney Magazine. In it, I discussed our cover story, Judge Timmer’s article on professionalism—including how to dress.

It’s always hard looking back at your previous work. For instance, I think the column is OK, but I sound like I’m at least 200 years old. What a curmudgeon! Oh, well—read on (more photos at the bottom).

It is New Year’s Day as I write this (for our February issue), and this month’s magazine may reflect some of my own hopes for law practice in 2008.

Our cover story explores a host of issues that were never addressed as we labored through three years of law school. But these are the issues that may make law practice for you—and your colleagues—a blessing or a curse, depending on your approach.

Beginning on page 12, Judge Ann Timmer examines the steps and missteps that many of us have made in the past. Some of the “traps for the unwary” she unearths include how to accept (and decline) work, how to dress, how to interact with others—even how to joke. Perhaps if we had had the benefit of what “seasoned” lawyers know, we would not have made those mistakes (as much).

That article and others like it remind me of the old lesson about the rules—not the Ethical Rules, but the rules of civility. The inexperienced see them as dated obstacles to efficiency, and as mechanical in the extreme. In fact, they are nothing more than courtesy made visible, gentle reminders that civility and kindness exist to make those around you (remember them?) feel at ease.

I suppose it boils down to a question we should all put to ourselves: “Would you want to work with you?”

If it takes you a few minutes to answer, read and save the article. It’s good stuff.

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Just last month, I took a moment to wish Dan McAuliffe a happy birthday. Though he passed away a year ago, he is still on the minds of many in the Arizona legal community.

That was clear yesterday, as a remarkable CLE commemorated his life—and his love for the intersection of media and ethics.

Throughout the morning, a packed audience sat in the State Bar of Arizona CLE Center—named in honor of McAuliffe—and watched selections of the man’s favorite legal movies and TV shows. All of the clips were taken from his own collection, some of which, the moderator told us, appear to have been videotaped with a handheld device while the TV broadcast a show.

Peppered among the clips, of course, was discussion about what was professional or, more likely, unprofessional, in the clips.

Shirley Wahl McAuliffe speaks as Pat Sallen (center) and Ed Novak listen, April 27, 2011

Panelists were selected for their knowledge of ethics and of Dan.

Larry Cohen recalled how he had offered his own version of ethical lessons from the movies, only to be heckled by a fellow he later came to know was Dan. They met and “agreed it would be a lot more fun to do the programs together.” All that Dan required, Larry said, was that programs had to contain clips from “My Cousin Vinny” and the opening statement from “And Justice for All.”

“Dan made ethics accessible to people by making it fun,” Larry added.

Also on the panel were lawyers Lynda Shely, Ed Novak and Jim Lee. It was moderated by the State Bar’s Ethics Counsel, Pat Sallen. Each was adept at seasoning their ethical lessons with stories of Dan and his influence on the profession.

The event opened with clips from McAuliffe’s favorite lawyer movie: “My Cousin Vinny.” As Dan’s widow Shirley Wahl McAuliffe said, “Any movie that can take a pro hac vice application and turn it into a running joke” would earn Dan McAuliffe’s love.

If you haven’t seen it, get out there and rent it. But until then, enjoy this clip from a courtroom scene.


Lynda Shely speaks on the ethical rules

This week, I posted some more photos from a great past event—the State Bar of Arizona Solo and Small-Firm Conference. And then I read a story in the New York Times that got me thinking about law school and law practice, which reminded me of the conference all over again.

The conference was last November 18 and 19, and it brought together presenters who could speak best to issues that affected those lawyers.

It kicked off with co-chair Paul Ulrich describing the conference goals:

  • “To help us all in our practice in these changing times.”
  • “To achieve a more focused, profitable practice.”


Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch at the conference

Arizona Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch also spoke at the conference opening. She talked eloquently about the dire economy the nation faces, in the face of which many new lawyers decide to open up their own shop.

“I encourage all of you with experience to take these new folks under your wing. Times are tough, and they’ll need your help.”

This weekend’s New York Times told a sad tale of the legal marketplace. Titled “Is Law School a Losing Game?” the story explained how “Since 2008, some 15,000 attorney and legal-staff jobs at large firms have vanished, according to a Northwestern Law study. Associates have been laid off, partners nudged out the door and recruitment programs have been scaled back or eliminated.”

In the face of these facts, any conference dedicated to solo lawyers is especially well timed.

Slide from the Solo and Small-Firm Conference

Based on other data, Chief Justice Berch noted that most people who require a lawyer’s services will likely hire a solo lawyer or small firm. And that comes with a responsibility.

“Arizona citizens must depend on you for the bulk of legal services. Their image of the justice system is formed by their interactions with you.”

Presenters at the two-day conference included lawyer Lynda Shely, law firm marketer Jeff Lantz, the State Bar’s Susan Traylor, and Catherine Sanders-Reach of the American Bar Association. They headed up panels on topics as diverse as ethical marketing tips, fee agreements. Going paperless, and even a program titled 61 Tips in 60 Minutes. And Tucson lawyer Kathleen McCarthy gave a variety of ergonomic and exercise tips to improve your day (and your posture).

Here’s hoping that this becomes an annual event.

Kathleen McCarthy gives the audience her all

More photos are here.

Ethics Game Show

With Rick DeBruhl as the emcee, and Lynda Shely and Pat Sallen as ringleaders, the annual Ethics Game Show was once again a raucous—yet educational—good time.

The esteemed panel, plus three volunteer-savants from the audience, answered ethics questions a la Jeopardy. The popular seminar was packed to the gills. In fact, a sea of people yearning for ethics information in a game-show format covered every chair and even lined the floor surrounding the huge ballroom.

Here are a few photos.

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