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.

Dr. William Meinecke, Jr., State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19, 2013.

Dr. William Meinecke, Jr., State Bar of Arizona Convention, June 19, 2013.

We hear too often the true statement that we may be doomed to repeat the unlearned lessons of history. But an upcoming program at the State Bar, on Thursday, April 16, may provide tools and insights to avoid that trap of amnesia.

Titled Lessons From the Holocaust,” its speaker is Dr. William Meinecke, a historian for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s leadership development programs. He also wrote Nazi Ideology and the Holocaust (2007).

I covered Dr. Meinecke’s appearance at a previous State Bar Convention here.

Here is information from the Bar about the April 16 event:

“The Holocaust is much more than an unspeakable horror from WWII or a chapter in a history book. The study of the Holocaust provides important insight into the consequences when the mission of the police, judiciary, and the legal profession is transformed from protecting the rights of individuals to actively abusing basic human civil rights. Using legal decrees, judicial opinions, and case law of the period, participants study the role of these professions in the destruction of democracy and the establishment of the Nazi German state.”

“Participants are challenged to examine their own roles and responsibilities as members of professions that hold the public trust, protect society, and influence the health of our democracy by studying the decision making, the opportunities, and often the failures of their counterparts in Nazi Germany that helped lead to mass murder.”

The event has become popular enough that an overflow room is being filled. More information and registration information are here.

More about the Museum is here.

Paired with the event will be the display of an information-filled poster series, on loan from the American Bar Association and the German Federal Bar. The gripping series is titled “Lawyers Without Rights: Jewish Lawyers in Germany Under the Third Reich,” and it will be available for viewing in the State Bar member lounge on Monday through Thursday in the week of April 13. (Registration for the Holocaust CLE event is not required to view the posters.) I have just received background material on this amazing project, and I will provide more detail on it as soon as I know more.

The following photo is taken from the project.

Munich lawyer Dr. Michael Siegel marched by the police through the city's streets after complaining about the treatment of a client. (Photo from German Federal Bar and American Bar Association.)

Munich lawyer Dr. Michael Siegel marched by the police through the city’s streets after complaining about the treatment of a client. (Photo from German Federal Bar and American Bar Association.)

12 News logoI regularly report on the activities of Lawyers on Call, a State Bar public service program hosted at the ofices of 12 News, the Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. At the events, volunteer lawyers answer consumer questions on various topics. On Tuesday, March 31, the event focused on tax laws. In a moment, I’ll share the names of the generous volunteer attorneys. But first, it’s worth noting that this version of Lawyers on Call included a new development: the use of a streaming video app, Periscope, to better address some consumer questions. To add to the functionality, this past month’s event also includes a video recap (see it at the end of this post). I am very impressed by the video’s quality, achieved via free apps. That makes me think I should try my hand at some videos myself! State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorThe Lawyers on Call news comes, as always, from my innovative colleague Alberto Rodriguez: Five attorneys volunteered their time and expertise on March 31, 2015, to offer legal advice on tax law. The attorneys were:

The lawyers answered 118 calls, 23 questions via Facbook, and a handful on Periscope, a streaming video app that had 55 participants. Sample consumer questions:

  • How do I report on gaming winnings?
  • How does the Affordable Health Care Act affect my file/return?
  • What are the penalties if I file late or file an extension?
  • How does filing bankruptcy affect my 2015 file/return?

Several callers reported scam activity—receiving phone calls from individuals claiming to be an “IRS” representative who request personal information and payments. Facebook continues to be a successful component of Lawyers on Call, as attorney Derek Kaczmarek answered 23 questions posted on the 12 News fan page. In addition, the 12 News social media team launched the use of Periscope, an interactive streaming video app where participants could ask their questions live. Four out of the five attorneys were first-time volunteers. All volunteers were extremely satisfied with the quality of the questions overall and were excited to have participated in the Lawyers on Call public service program. Here is a terrific video recap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n83m1ZbclBs&feature=youtu.be

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorNews from the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors is accepting applications from non-lawyers from throughout the state to fill one seat on its Board. The application deadline is Friday, March 6, 2015. Participation of public members is essential to the State Bar’s mission of serving the public and its efforts of making sure the people of Arizona have a strong voice in the legal system.

A total of four public members, who serve three-year terms, sit on the 30-member Board. The Board establishes the vision, mission and policies of the association and ensures that there are sufficient resources for its management and operations.

Applicants for the public member positions may be from any county within Arizona and:

  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have resided in Arizona for at least three years
  • May not be an active or inactive member of any bar association
  • May not have, other than as a consumer, a financial interest in the practice of law

Individuals with experience in human resources or finance are especially encouraged to apply.

Members of the Board of Governors attend approximately ten all-day meetings each year. Meetings are usually held on the third Friday of the month at the State Bar’s office in Phoenix. Preparation in advance of the meetings, including review of related materials, is essential. In addition, members attend the Bar’s annual convention in June and a two-day retreat in July. Board members also serve on standing Board committees. Travel and meal expenses are paid for all meetings, but there is no other compensation for service as a Board member.

An application form must be submitted to the State Bar by Friday, March 6, 2015. The form can be found online here or by contacting Nina Benham at (602) 340-7329 or by email at Nina.Benham@staff.azbar.org.

Attorney Jennison Cox showing off her well-earned heavy medal after a 1:50-ish half marathon.

Attorney Jennison Cox showing off her well-earned heavy medal after a 1:50-ish half marathon.

If you guessed that I’m writing about the P.F. Chang’s annual Marathon because last Friday was National Chopsticks Day, you’d be mistaken—but it does make it more fun.

My goal today is to heap some praise on those who ran in the State Bar of Arizona team at that recent Asian-restaurant-sponsored event. Called The Bar Flys, the hardy band is headed by team captain David Sandweiss.

As David so generously shared:

“A special salute should go to SBA Bar Flys who ran with me last Sunday: Jennifer Sonier, Nicole Kaseta, Meredith Vivona, Pat Sallen, Lisa Panahi, and Ariel Worth (even though she scratched due to a bad cold on race day). This year’s fundraiser was to benefit the Arizona Summit Law School ‘Return to Community’ scholarship fund.”

Here are some more photos of the team runners:

Bar Fly and attorney Stefan Palys with his daughter in the family reunion area after running the full marathon.

Bar Fly and attorney Stefan Palys with his daughter in the family reunion area after running the full marathon.

David Sandweiss with past members from different years of the Univ. of Michigan women’s track team. They have their own alumni club and pick one event a year to have a running reunion. This year they chose the Arizona P.F. Chang's event. One of them, in her low 40s, finished third overall in the women’s half marathon in 1:15. The guy in the red hat photobombed the group.

David Sandweiss with past members from different years of the Univ. of Michigan women’s track team. They have their own alumni club and pick one event a year to have a running reunion. This year they chose the Arizona P.F. Chang’s event. One of them, in her low 40s, finished third overall in the women’s half marathon in 1:15. The guy in the red hat photobombed the group.

And as long as you’re interested in that whole national day dedicated to chopsticks, here is some CLE-like material.

(And while we’re on the subject, I got an email this weekend from Pei Wei urging me to celebrate the national day on Monday, when it was really Friday. Somebody somewhere’s got their calendar mixed up.)

An Arizona public-information campaign sponsored by Clear Channel features billboards educating on human trafficking.

An Arizona public-information campaign sponsored by Clear Channel features billboards educating on human trafficking.

If you drive through the Valley of the Sun, you may have spotted a number of billboards that highlight the tragedy of human trafficking.

Sponsored by Clear Channel Outdoor, the signs were touted earlier this month by new Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who (with Cindy McCain) unveiled an anti-human trafficking campaign. You can read more about the Clear Channel partnership here.

According to a press release:

“These efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking come just weeks before the Super Bowl comes to town. The influx of fans serves as an opportunity for traffickers, but also for law enforcement to seek the public’s help in combating this terrible crime.”

“The United States Department of Justice considers Phoenix one of the top human trafficking areas in the country. Most victims are forced into sex trafficking before they are 15 years old.”

“While the spotlight of the nation’s largest sporting event is on Arizona, Brnovich intends to make it clear that his office will be ramping up efforts to end this crime against humanity.” “‘Enslaving innocent children for sexual exploitation and profit is despicable,’ said Brnovich. ‘This type of crime against some of our most vulnerable must never be tolerated.’”

(More from the release is at the bottom of this post.)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorLawyers who seek more information on the challenges faced by these crimes might want to attend a State Bar CLE on January 27. It is titled “Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery in Arizona.”

As it’s described:

“This program will focus on the growing trend of human trafficking in Arizona and throughout our country. With the Super Bowl planned for February 1, 2015 in Glendale, this topic is more relevant than ever. Attendees will have an eye-opening experience to hear from a victim of childhood trafficking.

Topics:

  • Overview of what human trafficking is.
  • Discussion about the prevalence of human trafficking nationally, in Arizona, and surrounding the Super Bowl, including statistics and several real world case examples.
  • Overview of some of the common signs and indicators surrounding human trafficking.
  • Discussion about the recent federal Arizona District Court decision enjoining Arizona’s Human Smuggling law, and the implications of that decision on other Arizona anti-human trafficking laws.
  • Overview of federal immigration programs that may permit the victims of human trafficking to remain in the country while assisting in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking offenses.
  • Overview of other Arizona criminal laws that may be implicated in a human trafficking situation.
  • Discussion about some of the other available resources on the topic of human trafficking.

The instructors are:

  • Bill Hughes, Chief Criminal Deputy for Yavapai County, Arizona, and a past President of the Yavapai County Bar Association
  • Arizona Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer
  • Carolyn Jones, a speaker on the topic of sex trafficking

You can get more information and register here.

And here is the rest of the Attorney General’s release:

“General Brnovich has hired Zora Manjencich to coordinate anti-human trafficking efforts for the Attorney General’s Office. Manjencich spent nine years at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office handling high- profile sex crimes in the East Valley. She tried and convicted a child predator who was featured on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and earned the Crime Victims’ Rights Special Award.”

“Cindy McCain believes Brnovich’s presence at the event will highlight his commitment to thwarting human trafficking in Arizona, just three days into his term.”

“‘Mark and I have discussed this issue in depth and I know he is committed to aggressively prosecuting those who dare to traffic our children for sex,’ said McCain. ‘I am grateful for his commitment and look forward to working with him in the coming years to stop trafficking in our state.’”

AZ Bar access to justice immigration event 12-22-14

The State Bar of Arizona continues to play a significant role in educating consumers about immigration law. It couldn’t come at a better time.

Previously, I mentioned a few events the Bar scheduled in December to help the public understand the ins and outs of the recent presidential Executive Order on immigration. Today, I offer a follow-up to the event held on December 22. Just three days before Christmas, more than a dozen lawyers offered their time and expertise to a packed-to-the-rafters crowd. It was scheduled in a way to accommodate consumers who have jobs and other daytime obligations, so it’s even more impressive that the attorneys attended until 10:00 p.m. Well done and congratulations.

The forum’s format opened with a 45-minute presentation on the topic by attorney Ezequiel Hernandez, followed by the opportunity to speak with individual lawyers.

Univision_Arizona logoKeep in mind that the December 22 event followed on the heels of a phone bank organized by the Bar the day after the President’s Executive Order (a phone bank held on a Friday night and that included some dedicated volunteer attorneys).

I can’t help but feel that the Bar is probably a long way ahead of other organizations in regard to educating folks on this breaking topic.

Here’s the update:

Thirteen volunteer attorneys came together on Monday, December 22, to offer free legal advice at an informational session and legal assistance clinic hosted by the State Bar of Arizona and its partner Univision Arizona at St. Agnes Church in Phoenix. This access to justice program, held from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., was organized to inform consumers, dispel myths, and combat consumer fraud related to immigration law and deferred action.

Approximately 550 consumers attended the access to justice event, and 286 families participated in one-on-one consultations with volunteer attorneys.

The 13 volunteer attorneys were:

  • Marysol Angulo, Hernandez Global
  • Emilia Banuelos, Banuelos Law Office
  • Seth Draper, Salvatierra Law Group
  • State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorJudy Flanagan, Judy C. Flanagan, PC
  • Lisette Flores, Friendly House
  • Jaime Garcia, Garcia Law Group
  • Marni Guerrero, Guerrero Jefferies Law Group
  • Ezequiel Hernandez, Hernandez Global
  • Claudia Lopez, Law Office of Claudia P. Lopez PLLC
  • Jose L. Penalosa, Penalosa & Associates
  • Cynthia J. Perez,  Hammond Law Group
  • Juan Rocha, Rocha Law Office
  • Ray Ybarra Maldonado, Law Office of Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado
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