Loyal to the democratic process? You may want to vote in a Bar election before it closes Wednesday afternoon. I voted sticker dog

Loyal to the democratic process? You may want to vote in a Bar election before it closes Wednesday afternoon.

[Note: This post was corrected to indicate that voting is done not on the State Bar website but via a link and credentials emailed directly to each affected Arizona attorney.]

Many of you may have done your civic duty and voted on some high-profile statewide propositions. But did you know that if you are an Arizona-admitted attorney in certain counties, you should be voting in another election too—one that determines who will sit on the State Bar Board of Governors?

And that online election closes at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, May 18.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAs the State Bar says:

“An election will be held this year to elect one member each from District 1 (Apache, Coconino, Mohave, and Navajo Counties), District 3 (Gila, Graham, and Greenlee Counties), District 4 (Cochise County), and District 7 (La Paz and Yuma Counties). Three members from District 5 (Pima and Santa Cruz Counties) will also be elected. Each elected member will serve a three-year term starting this June.”

So, yes, there are some contested elections. You can read how the candidates described themselves and their values here in Arizona Attorney Magazine.

And for even more functionality in reading about and seeing the candidates, go to the Bar’s user-friendly website here.

Finally, in order to cast your ballot, see the email sent directly to you from State Bar CEO John Phelps. That email contains a link to the ballot and your specific credentials to do so.

(Click to enlarge the images below.)

The BLI 2015-16 graduating class. From left to right:

The BLI 2015-16 graduating class. From left to right: Seated: Edward Myers III, Ivan Hannel, Rekha Nair, Sandra Bensley, Juan Flamand, Donielle Wright Standing: Virjinya Torrez, Jamiel Allen, Kristina Guerrero-Sisneroz, Pouria Paknejad, Mae Innabi, Candy Marrufo, Rebekah Bell, Kristin Whitaker, Alanna Duong Not pictured: Joanna Reihing

One week ago, a smart group of people graduated from the Bar Leadership Institute of the State Bar of Arizona. Congratulations to everyone involved!

Above is a photo of the BLI 2015-16 graduating class.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing many of the BLI’s graduates since its start in 2007, and I am routinely impressed by their talents and their accomplishments. Which takes me to today’s reminder: Applications for the 2016-2017 Bar Leadership class are now being accepted, through June 17.

You can read more about the program—and apply—here.

You should note that you may urge someone to apply, and you may apply yourself. And if you’re curious about whether you or others are a good fit for this BLI thing, read the information below.

The Bar Leadership Institute is a nine-month professional development program whose mission is to foster the professional growth and enhance the leadership skills of a diverse and inclusive group of lawyers.

Since its inception in 2007, the BLI has prepared more than 100 diverse attorneys for leadership positions within the Bar and the community-at-large. Program sessions cover a variety of topics including leadership development, ethics and career development and include conversations with judges, government attorneys, in house counsels and executives. Each participant in the class of approximately 15 students receives:

  • Up to two years of CLE credit
  • Leadership training and legal practice education in an experiential and mentoring learning environment
  • Opportunities to foster relationships within the State Bar of Arizona, partner bar associations, government and community leaders

Participation in the program is limited to attorneys with active status with the State Bar of Arizona. Program fee is $250; fee waivers are available for participants with a demonstrated financial need. Upon completion of the BLI, participants commit to one year participation in a State Bar committee or section or other professional association or community organization.

Click here for more information, or contact Elena Nethers at elena.nethers@staff.azbar.org

The BLI relies on referrals from lawyers and community leaders and applications by great candidates. Please share this with whomever you think would benefit from this transformative experience.

state-bar-of-arizona-bar-leadership-institute-banner BLI

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAn annual event, the report regarding lawyer discipline and admissions issues has just been released. The report covers multiple topics, including the types and amount of discipline meted out, the number of lawyers admitted to the State Bar of Arizona, trends in admissions, and more.

You can read the complete report here.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealAnd for some analysis, read what Patricia Sallen offers here. The former ethics counsel of the State Bar examines the lawyer-regulation data by the numbers.

2016 law day by State Bar of Arizona

Today, an update about a great Law Day event by my colleague Alberto Rodriguez: (What he does not mention in his recap is the huge amount of important and complicated work he himself put in to have the multi-site event come off flawlessly. Thank you and congratulations, Alberto!)

On Saturday, April 30, the State Bar of Arizona held the 2016 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics where 24 of its members offered free one-on-one legal consultations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at two Valley locations.

The clinics offered free legal consultations by members who practice Family Law, Bankruptcy/Foreclosure, Probate/Trust Law, and Immigration Law at State Bar of Arizona offices in central Phoenix, and Glendale Community College in the west valley. Once again, the Bar partnered with ABC15 and Univision Arizona to promote the day-long clinics, which were overwhelmingly successful.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorVolunteer attorneys provided 325 consultations during law clinic to the 306 consumers who were seen—a dramatic increase from last year’s 216 consultations. Several attorneys offered free follow-up services after the clinic to consumers who needed additional help.

The State Bar of Arizona expresses its sincerest appreciation to its attorney and logistics volunteers, along with its media and community partners. Thank you!

A complete list of volunteers, along with photos and media coverage, can be viewed here.

pro bono gavelToday, here is some news you may be able to use—and definitely news you can share. (And please do!)

The State Bar of Arizona is hosting its fifth annual Law Day Legal Aid Clinics this coming Saturday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This valuable event has become one of the Bar’s signature access to justice events.

Law Day 2016 poster in english v2-page0001Co-hosting the event with the State Bar are ABC15 and Univision Arizona.

What happens at the event? Volunteer lawyers will provide free legal consultations on the following topics: divorce and child support/custody, bankruptcy and foreclosure, wills and trusts, and immigration.

And how has the Bar made the day even more accessible? By providing the consultations at two locations: At the Bar offices in Phoenix and at Glendale Community College. Spanish-speaking translators will be available.

All the details, including specific addresses, are here. Or call 602-340-7337 for more information.

Law Day 2016 poster in spanish-page-0_opt

And again, please share this with whomever you think could benefit.

 State Bar diversity conference 2016 header

Today, a great conference opens in Phoenix that offers a wide variety of content regarding law practice as well as diversity and inclusion in the profession. It is the State Bar’s “Spring Training for Lawyers” (formerly called the Minority Bar Conference).

On the second day of the conference (Friday), I have the privilege to moderate a panel of general counsel on the issue of diversity in law practice.

Leading off the Friday sessions will be our plenary session titled “Knocking It Out of the Ballpark: How Corporate Legal Counsel Are Leading the Way to a Diverse Legal Profession.” Here is a list of the stellar panel:

  • David Falck, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation
  • Lori Chumbler, Senior Associate General Counsel, Walmart
  • Isabella Fu, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation
  • Dawn Valdivia, Assistant General Counsel, Honeywell International

As organizers describe our session:

“Join us for this interactive discussion featuring corporate legal counsel to discuss how having a diverse team of lawyers helps their companies achieve their business goals. They’ll share their best practices, lessons learned and how their legal departments are leading the way to a more diverse and inclusive legal profession.”

And leading off that panel discussion will be my own six-minute (or so) intro to where we are in the profession regarding diversity and inclusion. 6 minutes. Hmm. As I prepared for that task, I wondered how we can discuss diversity in 2016 without mentioning … the Oscars.

Seriously, I’m wondering. Because if there is a way to do it, I’ve failed. My presentation will allude to the uncomfortable relationship between the law and the Academy. Here are examples of images from my PowerPoint, which suggests the hashtag #LawSoWhite (and #male and #able-bodied and #cis, because let’s be real):

Oscars so white gif animated

Here’s hoping panelists—and the attendees—have a sense of humor.

Rihanna nope animated gif

For fairness’ sake, I point you to a recent article by friend and journalist Bill Wyman. His analysis of the history of the Academy awards appears in the Columbia Journalism Review and suggests the diversity picture at the Oscars is not nearly as bleak as many have made it. As Bill writes:

“An intelligent discussion of the issue was made much more difficult by a curious exclusion from just about all of the media coverage[:] The Academy Awards have actually greatly improved their recognition of minority actors. In fact, in recent years, their representation, while not exemplary, has climbed into the realm of the respectable. … The lesson here is that Hollywood is sometimes more complicated than its public portrayal.”

Read his whole article and decide for yourself.

All the detail about the State Bar conference is here. I hope you can attend.

The agenda for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

The agenda for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

The sponsors for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

The sponsors for Spring Training for Lawyers 2016

State Bar of Arizona conservatorship program heads off identity theft: General Counsel John Furlong interviewed by 12 News.

State Bar of Arizona conservatorship program heads off identity theft: General Counsel John Furlong interviewed by 12 News.

Bankers boxes and old files never looked so good.

Last weekend, 12 News interviewed State Bar of Arizona General Counsel John Furlong about its conservatorship program, which safeguards client files when a lawyer cannot.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAs the story asks: Clients give their lawyers a lot of personal information, but what happens to all of that data once an attorney dies or is suspended?

As it turns out, in the best circumstance, that data and those files end up in a warehouse maintained by the Bar.

The story—including video—is here. Be sure to share it, especially with those who may benefit from the information.

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