The talented and courageous are encouraged to enter the magazine's arts competition.

The talented and courageous are encouraged to enter the magazine’s arts competition.

There is ONE WEEK left for Arizona lawyers to submit to our annual Creative Arts Competition. But because the holidays are so crazy, why not submit now, rather than on the evening of January 15, the deadline?

We welcome entries in the following categories:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Humor
  • Music
  • Visual Arts: Painting, Photography, Drawing, Sculpture

We will publish the winners in the May 2018 issue.

Send submissions to and queries to the editor at

And do you like reading rules? We’ve got them.

For inspiration, here is last year’s issue with the 2017 awesome winners.

2018 Creative Arts Competition call for artists

NABA-AZ Native American Bar Association of Arizona  banquet brochures

I am working hard this week to catch up with a few great events I recently attended. Each reminded me how vibrant and healthy Arizona’s legal community is—if we could only take the time to look.

Way back on September 27, I had the privilege to attend the annual Native American Bar Association of Arizona Seven Generations Dinner, held at the Radission Fort McDowell Resort. As always, organizers took the time to recognize leading lights in their midst:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert Clinton, Foundation Professor of Law, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU
  • Community Award: Hon. Diane Enos, President, Salt River–Pima Maricopa Indian Community
  • Member of the Year: Diandra D. Benally, Assistant General Counsel, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation
NABA-AZ 2014 award winners (L to R): Diandra Benally, Robert Clinton, Diane Enos

NABA-AZ 2014 award winners (L to R): Diandra Benally, Robert Clinton, Diane Enos

When he spoke, Robert Clinton admired the fact that “the cadre of Native scholars has grown.” He compared the current day with four decades ago, and was clear in his larger goal: to have Indian country represented by Native attorneys. “Today,” he said, “there is a large cohort of talented, trained Native lawyers.” Nationwide, he said, there are more than 3,000 Native American attorneys.

Diane Enos, the 23rd President of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, told attendees that “Most people I know went into the practice of law because they believed in service.”

Her own service goes back decades. The onetime reporter covered the community for the Scottsdale Progress. She described the steps taken by her tribe to keep secret their decision-making about the then-planned Pima Freeway. The memory of that opacity frustrates her to this day.

“Our people have the right to know what’s going on in their own government, to have a say in what happens.”

Her interest in transparent process led Enos to law school. While there, she ran for a tribal council position as a second-year law student, ultimately being elected to four terms.

You have to act,” she said, “or else who will act?”

Finally, Enos reminded listeners what’s most vital to communities.

“The right of self-representation and dignity are most important. We are all just a part of this whole stream of giving.”

Sculpture from the NABA-AZ annual event

Sculpture from the NABA-AZ annual event (click to enlarge)

Happy Change of Venue Friday, when we examine some non-legal material on our casual Friday.

The State Bar Convention ended three weeks ago, but this past Wednesday a 40-pound memory of the event was delivered to my office.

The bronze sculpture that adorns my desk sits almost three feet tall and glowers—without eyes—at anyone who crosses my threshold. It was created by Arizona artist John Dawson, and I can’t exactly explain what I like about it. But let me try.

Maybe what I like is the same characteristic that has almost uniformly led visitors to grimace at the piece.

It appears to be a businessman, stern of visage, whose fingers are folded together, in certainty or judgment.

He doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, and there may be no better representation of, I don’t know, the sterility of Wall Street or the rapacity of unvarnished greed. Bringing the impression home is the fact that his head, his face, is incomplete. Or rather, it appears that it was once complete, but then a portion was wrenched free violently.

Sure, that may make some recoil from the old fellow. But to me it makes him more an Everyman. The less a Person he seems, the more personal the sculpture becomes. Not seeing his eyes makes me think, that could be me. Maybe I should curb my own impulses toward certainty and judgment.

John Dawson

Of course, those are characteristics that editors cherish, so I’m unlikely to eradicate them entirely. In fact, I had been planning to take the sculpture home rather than leave him in the office. But seeing the adverse reaction of many people I work with has made me reassess: If he can evince that much displeasure just by sitting there, he’s staying. The curmudgeon in me is loving that.

By now you’re likely wondering what all this has to do with the Convention. Well, the short of it is that I won the bronze at the Convention’s cool silent auction. All the proceeds benefited the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center, which was an additional advantage.

For more on John Dawson’s work, click here and here.

Here are a few more photos of the sculpture. Or stop by anytime to see it. Despite appearances, he—and I—will be happy you did.

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