pass the torch succession planning for lawyers

“Effective January 1, 2016, Arizona lawyers must have a succession plan. Yes, that’s must.”

And so opens a helpful blog post written by Arizona ethics expert Patricia Sallen. Yes, you should read the rest, here. And then set up your own succession plan. And don’t forget to follow her blog for valuable tips and updates.

Meanwhile, bookmark and read another article by Pat on recent law-practice rule changes, which we published in the January issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

pass the torch lawyer succession planning wrestling pdO0XZE

Succession planning for lawyers requires careful thought, and it’s all in the hand-off.

In the offing are proposed rules that could affect law practice. Comments by March 27.

In the offing are proposed rules that could affect law practice. Comments due by March 27.

Today I’m happy to share news from my State Bar colleague Patricia Sallen. She is a Bar’s Assistant Executive Director and our resident Ethical Rule guru (I’m guessing she has a different title than guru). But she writes to alert attorneys to proposed changes that are percolating and that may be adopted, changes that could have broad effects on law practice.

The proposals come out of a Supreme Court-created “Committee on the Review of Supreme Court Rules Governing Professional Conduct and the Practice of Law.” That committee has filed a rule-change petition, R-15-0018. In her article, Pat explains in broad strokes eight areas of possible change.

You can read Pat’s excellent summary here.

Probably most important and timely:

“The State Bar will be circulating the rule-change petition to collect input from its stakeholders such as committees, sections and other interested organizations. If you as an individual lawyer wish to provide input to the State Bar (apart from those committees, sections and other interested organizations), please email your comments to by March 27, 2015.”

For more background, read the committee’s report here and read the rule-change petition here.

ethics scales of justice

Today I urge you to consider something that I understand is often on the minds of Arizona lawyers: whether the current ethical rules (among other things) are a help or a hindrance to the practice of law.

For a long time (OK, forever), I have heard some say that the ethics structure fails to keep pace with the realities of law practice. Now, you have an opportunity to offer your views.

Patricia Sallen is the State Bar’s Director of Special Services & Ethics/Deputy General Counsel, but I just call her our ethics guru. And she and others have heard similar statements, and they are examining whether Arizona ethics and the regulatory scheme are meeting all of their multiple challenges. Here is Pat:

“A new Arizona Supreme Court committee will look at whether Arizona ethical and other regulatory rules should be amended because of the changing nature of legal practice in a technologically enabled and connected workplace and the growing trend toward multistate and international law practice.”

“Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer is chairing the new committee. A copy of the administrative order establishing it is here.”

“The committee’s charge specifically includes examining whether the current regulatory model – regulating the practice of law based on a lawyer’s physical location – should be changed and whether conflict-of-interest rules for both private and public lawyers should be clarified.”

“Should the rules be changed? If yes, what would you change? Email your ideas, thoughts and suggestions (as well as any questions!)”

Time to share your thoughts.

cle snippets teaser logo

This teaser signifies a new and innovative way to combine magazine content with online learning.

The June issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine features the launch of an intriguing monthly collaboration—which offers more ways for attorneys to gain some useful legal knowledge.

It is called a “CLE Snippet” (I didn’t name it), and each one is planned to be a 15-minute video on a topic from the newest Arizona Attorney.

It started in June, and the inaugural video is drawn from our Eye on Ethics column, written by attorney Dave Dodge. He wrote this month on joint defense agreements. You can read his column here.

The online part of the snippet is the video, which this month is a Q&A between Dave and Bar ethics guru Patricia Sallen.

Yes, the Snippet is a CLE Department offering, so there is a cost. But you can go and watch some and decide if this abbreviated form of learning is for you.

cle snippets screen grab sallen dodge - Pat Sallen and Dave Dodge chat about joint defense agreements, in the inaugural CLE Snippet of the State Bar of Arizona.

Pat Sallen and Dave Dodge chat about joint defense agreements, in the inaugural CLE Snippet of the State Bar of Arizona.

We’re putting together our July/August issue now, so I can’t reveal what the next Snippet will be. But I hope you find it helpful and tune in.

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”).

Dec 2012 Arizona AttorneyWhat’s in a name? Shakespeare wondered. And a wise Arizona lawyer pondered the same question as she considered the state of law firm trade names. Through December 31, those marketing terms are a no-no. But after January 1, it’s another story.

Before it passes by your desk unnoticed, I wanted to point out our cover story in the current Arizona Attorney Magazine. It was written by Patricia Sallen, who is the ethics counsel for the State Bar of Arizona. (Pat’s also the Bar’s Director of Special Services and Ethics, as well as the Deputy General Counsel, but who can keep track?)

Her blissfully concise article is worth a read (see the entire piece here). Here’s how she opens it, with a few famous lines from the Bard:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.”

“And that which we call a law firm? Will a colorful and creative law-firm name smell as sweet as a lawyer’s plain name?

“Maybe Shakespeare had the answer, as Juliet continues in her famous dialogue from Romeo and Juliet:

“So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

Retain that dear perfection which he owes

Without that title.”

“Beginning in 2013, Arizona will see if law-firm names retain that ‘dear’—perhaps even quaint—’perfection’ now that they can be something other than lawyers’ names.

“The state that begat lawyer advertising (remember Bates v. State Bar of Arizona?) will, effective January 1, finally join the vast majority of U.S. jurisdictions and allow private law firms to use trade names. Arizona’s Ethical Rule 7.5(a) will mirror the American Bar Association’s Model Rule 7.5(a).”

The rule change occurred after a comment period that allowed folks to weigh in on both sides. How do you think the rule change will affect law practice?

Write to me at

And here are a few humorous lawyer-branding images, via this website.

law firm trade name drive-thru

law firm trade name shark

[i] 433 U.S. 350 (1977).

It may be too easy to say, but I cannot resist uttering the fact that the medical marijuana seminar is a high point of this year’s Convention. Attendance was well in excess of 200. In a state that has a new medical marijuana law but the legal battles still brew, many came out to get whatever guidance they could.

Panelists addressed the question of federal law preemption and compliance with the new state law. The session was well moderated by State Bar Ethics Counsel Patricia Sallen.

The July/August issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine will cover the same topic in two stories–one examining the federal-state nexus question, and another trying to provide guidance to employers who wish to keep a drug-free workplace. It will be out about August 1.

Pat Sallen, State Bar of Arizona


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.