I'm guessing your dog doesn't greet clients at your law office. You may want to rethink that. (Meet Rosie, Ruth Carter's companion.)

I’m guessing your dog doesn’t greet clients at your law office. You may want to rethink that. (Meet Rosie, Ruth Carter’s companion.)

If you’re like most lawyers, your office probably did little or nothing to mark National Doughnut Day.

Well, that’s a shame.

If that’s the case, then your office must not be that of Arizona attorney Ruth Carter. Ruth has many attributes and high points in her brief career—including being named an ABA Legal Rebel and being an author of multiple books. And now we can add pastry-sharer.

I mentioned doughnuts, so let’s get to it.

Ruth is aware of the great value in social interactions. And why not: One of her areas of focus is flash-mob law. So a day dedicated to fried-dough goodness seemed to her as good a time as any to gather her myriad circles in her new law offices. A Venn diagram with smiles and Bosa doughnuts at the center, you might say.

Every exuberant, Ruth Carter greets guests at her Doughnut Day open house.

Every exuberant, Ruth Carter greets guests at her Doughnut Day open house.

The June 6 event gave attendees the chance to visit with folks in different but affiliated industries. And we all got to catch up with what Ruth has cooking in her own practice. Smart move, that.

Plus, her wonderful Basset, Rosie, was present, as always.

Thanks, Ruth, for kicking off our June well. Here is the thank-you note I posted after the sweet, sweet event.

Doughnuts = the circle of life (or something, my thank-you note tried to convey).

Doughnuts = the circle of life (or something, my thank-you note tried to convey).

And how do you gather people informally in and around your practice? Doughnuts work, but they’re only one idea. Share yours!

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Relax the Back rising (standing) desk, as displayed at the 2014 State Bar Convention.

Relax the Back rising (standing) desk, as displayed at the 2014 State Bar Convention.

This morning, Arizona lawyer Ruth Carter writes in the great Attorney at Work blog about standing desks. In that piece, she gets the positive viewpoints of many lawyers who have experienced them.

Read that here.

And if you’re at the State Bar Convention, stop by Booths 32 and 33 (lower level), where exhibitor Relax the Back displays not just super-comfy work chairs, but also a standing desk. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

And yes, Relax the Back is displaying chairs (lots of 'em!) at Convention this year. Take a load off.

And yes, Relax the Back is displaying chairs (lots of ’em!) at Convention this year. Take a load off.

ABA Journal cover preview (via former Journal editor @edadams)

Today, I send out a brief but heartfelt “Congratulations” to an Arizona lawyer who has made national headlines—in a good way!

This week, we learned that attorney Ruth Carter has been named a “Legal Rebel” by the ABA Journal. Although I strive not to spill much ink over other magazines’ competition results, I happily make an exception for Ruth.

You should go to the Journal’s Legal Rebels page (go ahead and give them the page views; they could use it!). There, the editors open by describing the kind of people they sought:

“Lawyers who are helping change the profession in ways both big and small. These are the innovators—the folks who’ve found a different path, some new way to blend the needs of their clients or their practice, or even their own needs of personal expression, into the way they practice the law.”

The editors searched high and low, and they found 11 people worthy of the Legal Rebel moniker. And how many are from Arizona? Just Ruth. And how many have ever been from Arizona, in the ranking’s history? Just Ruth.

Ruth Carter (photo by Don McPhee)

I have known Ruth for a few years, since when she was a law student. I’ve been pleased to see her grow into a confident practicing lawyer, one with her own practice and boisterous approach to the law.

Ruth has also written for us, on blogging. See the good advice she gives to bloggers here.

Well spoken as always, Ruth wrote her own reaction to the Legal Rebels announcement, posted on her firm website. I urge you to read it, and then to bookmark her page. It might come in handy to know a lawyer who has some rebel in her.

(You’ll probably also enjoy Ruth’s blog post describing her photo shoot for the ABA Journal.)

Ruth Carter (photo by Don McPhee)

Congratulations, Ruth—I continue to expect great things!

Even TV's Modern Family enjoys a good flash-mob.

Happy Change of Venue Friday. Today, I’m interested in the intersection of communal activities, crime and choreography.

Of course, I’m talking about flash mobs, those wacky syncopated routines that lead passers-by to drop their jaws and wonder how line-dancing got cool all of a sudden. (Free suggestion of the day: Don’t do a Google image search for “flash.”)

But it is cool, as we know if we watch any TV or music video. And there is something amazing about the rhythmic release that accompanies a crowd acting in unison.

Unfortunately, like vodka slipped into the punch at a school dance, some people have to ruin a good thing. And that is giving flash mobs a bad name.

An AP story this week noted that some criminals are using flash mobs as a cover for their own nefarious activities.

As the story says,

“Flash mobs started off in 2003 as peaceful and often humorous acts of public performance, such as mass dance routines or street pillow fights. But in recent years, the term has taken a darker twist as criminals exploit the anonymity of crowds, using social networking to coordinate everything from robberies to fights to general chaos.”

Well, as the famed choreographer George Balanchine was once heard to utter, “Gimme a break!” “Darker twist”? (Though that does sound like a cool name for a dance move.)

Ruth Carter

If that’s not enough, we now have the U.K. riots providing another opportunity to demonize not only flash mobs, but also social media, public gatherings, speaking in groups, sharing ideas—and maybe even leaving your house.

One voice against this hijacking of the term “flash mob” is Arizona law school graduate (and soon  lawyer) Ruth Carter (whose blog The Undeniable Ruth you really should follow). She examines the history of flash mobs and cautions against rushing to conclusions.

I wish Ruth luck in her battle for education. But she’s taking to an embattled rampart; just the other day I spotted another story on the topic, this one out of Pennsylvania. In the article, Philadelphia’s mayor uses the term “flash mob” to describe criminal activity.

That’s unfortunate. Because the first step in over-criminalizing behavior is often to rename legal activities, to brand them as illicit, and to appropriate a long-accepted term for your own purposes.

To counter that, click on some of the links in Ruth’s blog post. They will make you smile. And be sure to watch the following video, about a “frozen” flash mob that entranced and amazed commuters in New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

No crime, no looting, no vandalism. Just inspiration, creativity and stunning ingenuity. Flash me some of that anytime.

Have a great weekend.

Last week, lawyers who noted that the Arizona bar exam was in full swing may have gotten a prickly feeling on the back of their necks. I know I did. I recalled, in vivid detail, sitting for three days in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, trying to channel my inner Learned Hand.

Congratulations to all of those who navigated their way through the exam. It, and the preparation that precedes it, are defining elements of a lawyer’s career. Well done.

For some insight into last week’s travails, read Ruth Carter’s recap. Ruth is a graduate of the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. And she also was kind enough to point us toward this news story, about a very pregnant Northwestern grad who exited the exam to have her baby—but not before first completing the bar exam.

Focus, people!