An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

An April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event at the Arizona Supreme Court gathered advocates and legal experts to addr4ess access to justice issues.

Our offices will be closed for the Fourth of July holiday on Friday, July 3. But before I head for the hills, I’ll share one more post for this week, this one written by my prolific colleague Alberto Rodriguez.

His piece is in regard to a noteworthy event held earlier this spring. Arizona Forward was a gathering of people and organizations committed to access to justice. Held at the Arizona Supreme Court on April 3, 2015, speakers included American Bar Association President William C. Hubbard.

Now, the event organizers have released their report, which Alberto summarizes for us here (more event photos are at the end of this post; click to enlarge and to view them in a slideshow):

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Speakers at the April 3, 2015, Arizona Forward event included (L to R) State Bar CEO John Phelps; ABA President William Hubbard; Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales; State Bar Governor Jeff Willis; and State Bar President Richard Platt.

Legal professionals and community leaders are one step closer to solving the shortage of accessible legal services in Arizona. Arizona Forward, a day-long conference held in April that focused on finding new and better ways to deliver legal services, has released its findings, which included the following.

To move Arizona forward in the future delivery of legal services to its citizens, the significant changes in demographics, economies and technology must be considered by leaders from all sectors of the community-at-large.

  • (We) need to consider further augmentation of the legal services profession, beyond licensed document preparers, to include greater use of non-lawyers and paraprofessionals.
  • (We) need to communicate more effectively to those who need legal services about access to the legal system and recognize when legal advice is needed.
  • (We) must harness technology in every imaginable way to reach and assist those in need of legal services.

The underlying theme in the report was the need for increased communication. Advancements in technology will help to tackle this communication barrier. As technology continues to advance, it will play a key role in ensuring that it provides the gateway in linking those who need legal services to those who can provide it. Mobile and virtual technology are two elements being considered.

As Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales has said, “Having meaningful access to legal services is vital to fulfilling the promise of justice for all. The goal of Arizona Forward is to find new, innovative solutions that advance justice for all Arizonans.” That first step was taken, and the first goal met by the State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court, the American Bar Association and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, who co-sponsored the event, along with community leaders from across the state, was to identify the issues and offer attainable solutions.

For more information on Arizona Forward and to read the report, click here or contact Carrie Sherman at 602-340-7201. To learn more about the nationwide initiative led by the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services, click here.

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Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

Ariz. Vice Chief Justice John Pelander

An event this Saturday, April 18, brings together legal leaders and others to assess the experiences of the most recent Arizona county to use the judicial merit-selection system.

Pinal County is the place, and the event will be held at the Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, Ariz.

The speakers will include retired Ariz. Chief Justice Ruth McGregor and State Bar President Richard Platt. Lunchtime remarks will be delivered by Vice Chief Justice John Pelander.

The event runs from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, and it’s free. Breakfast and lunch will be served. But registration is required, which you can do here.

That page also includes the complete program and list of speakers.

It is sponsored by numerous groups, including the State Bar of ArizonaArizona Advocacy Network and Justice at Stake. The organizers clearly want the conversation to range beyond the county line; they indicate the day’s dialogue will include “Pinal County’s judicial system, AZ’s Merit Selection System and national cases impacting Fair and Impartial Courts.”

My understanding is that the Court and the State Bar have had a difficult time encouraging attorneys to forward their names to be considered for the judicial nominating commission in Pinal County. The system has been used in other counties for a long time, but it may be getting its sea legs in Pinal. Perhaps forums like this will spread the word about merit selection’s value.

On Tuesday, after the formal State Bar Board photos, Bar CEO John Phelps invited two leaders to participate in what has become a photographic tradition at Convention: the choo-choo photo.

Here it is.

Leaving the station: Whitney Cunningham, Richard Platt, John Phelps

Leaving the station: Whitney Cunningham, Richard Platt, John Phelps

Who is captured? From left, here is State Bar 2013-14 President Whitney Cunningham, 2014-15 President Richard Platt, and John Phelps.

I presume there is an underlying message about organizational change and a parade of talented leaders, some coming, some going.

But why should I presume? Instead, I’d like to know what you think.

Yes, it’s a caption contest. Tell me how you would title this photo. But, because lawyers, we have rules:

  1. Nothing obscene.
  2. Nothing you wouldn’t share with your mother.

OK, I guess I’m saying the same rule twice. But you get the picture (see what I did there?).

(You need not be a lawyer to submit a caption.)

I will take submissions three ways: posted below (always a risk); tweeted with the hashtags #caption and #azbarcon; or emailed to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

What’s the prize? How about a $20 Starbucks gift card, and the praise and admiration of your legal colleagues (and your mother).

Who’s the judge? I’m the judge. But all complaints will be heard by your mother.

Deadline: 9:00 am, Friday, June 13, 2014.

Whitney Cunningahm presides over his last board meeting as President, June 11, 2014, Tucson. Ariz.

Whitney Cunningahm presides over his last board meeting as President, June 11, 2014, Tucson. Ariz.

Here’s an easy way to start your Convention morning: Enjoy some photos from yesterday’s Board of Governors meeting. (More photos are below.)

And don’t forget that you can participate too. Send me brief stories or story suggestions. Or if you have convention photos, we’d be glad to share them with readers.

And don’t forget to tweet from convention. Use the hashtag #azbarcon.

Questions or suggestions? Reach the Editor, Tim Eigo, on-site at the Westin La Paloma, at 602-908-6991.

State Bar of Arizona Officers, 2014-15: (L to R): Alex Vakula, Bryan Chambers, Richard Platt, Lisa Loo, Geoffrey Trachtenberg

State Bar of Arizona Officers, 2014-15: (L to R): Alex Vakula, Bryan Chambers, Richard Platt, Lisa Loo, Geoffrey Trachtenberg

At its regular annual meeting at the State Bar Convention this afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors confirmed its slate of officers for the coming year. The new roster includes the newest officer, Secretary/Treasurer Geoffrey Trachtenberg, elected today:

  • President: Richard T. Platt
  • President-Elect: Bryan B. Chambers
  • First Vice President: Lisa Loo
  • Second Vice President: Alex Vakula
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Geoffrey Trachtenberg

Following board bylaws, the new slate of officers assume their positions at the close of the annual meeting.

Follow more news via this Convention Daily and on Twitter, hashtag #azbarcon

The new Board of the State Bar of Arizona, June 10, 2014, Westin La Paloma, Tucson

The new Board of the State Bar of Arizona, June 10, 2014, Westin La Paloma, Tucson

New Leadership Team

Tuesday’s Board of Governors meeting included a short break—for a photo shoot.

While the professional photographer hired by the State Bar worked tirelessly to get some official portraits of the Board and the new officer team, I snapped my own lower-quality shots.

Here is a photo of the full Board for the 2010-11 year.

State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, 2010-11

And here are some shots of the leadership team.

State Bar 2010-11 leaders: Back, L to R: Secretary-Treasurer Richard T. Platt, President Alan P. Bayham Jr., Second VP Whitney Cunningham. Seated, L to R: President-Elect Joseph A. Kanefield, First VP Amelia Craig Cramer

State Bar 2010-11 leaders (sans jackets): Back, L to R: Secretary-Treasurer Richard T. Platt, President Alan P. Bayham Jr., Second VP Whitney Cunningham. Seated, L to R: President-Elect Joseph A. Kanefield, First VP Amelia Craig Cramer