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News from the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona’s Board of Governors is accepting applications from nonlawyers from outlying counties to fill one seat on its board. The application deadline is Friday, March 18, 2016. 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 position may be from any county within Arizona except Maricopa County 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 accounting, or who have previous experience serving on professional boards, are especially encouraged to apply.

Members of the Board of Governors attend approximately 10 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 18, 2016. 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.

State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, 2015-16

State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors, 2015-16

caller ID spoofing scam

Today I share news from the State Bar of Arizona about a new spoofing scam that is afoot.

If that sentence sounds funky to you, it’s because it’s simply a new and different way to “exploit the attorney/client relationship and defraud consumers of their money.”

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorYou can read all the information here.

And if your outlook was not fraught enough, turn to this helpful piece on additional cybersecurity tech tips to avoid getting “the willies.” The risks include ransomware, pfishing, and even the threat your own employees may represent.

Finally, here is my previous coverage of a panel discussion last summer that managed to cause quite a few willies. Live and learn.

scam alert roadsign sign

State Bar of Arizona dues are due on or before Feb. 1, 2016.

State Bar of Arizona dues are due on or before Feb. 1, 2016.

On the very top of the front cover of Arizona Attorney Magazine’s January issue (the space we call an eyebrow), we reminded Arizona Bar members of an important deadline: February 1 is when the annual statement and dues are required to be filed.

Because everyone can stand another reminder (and because I suddenly remembered my own California Bar dues this past Friday!), I share the news with you again.

All the detail, and a place to get started online, are here.

Our January magazine 'eyebrow' shares the dues news.

Our January magazine ‘eyebrow’ shares the dues news.

Paying dues may be the least-enjoyable part of any membership. But it sure makes February 2 feel better.

Today is all about cornhole. The game, not the metaphor for the risks of holiday work parties.

Today is all about cornhole. The game, not the metaphor for the risks of holiday work parties.

By the time you read this, I may be engaged in revelry the likes of which Western civilization has never witnessed. Yes, that means I’ll be at my workplace’s annual holiday party.

Fortunately, just yesterday I was able to benefit from reading a helpful compilation of tips on surviving and thriving at your office party.

Yes, the essay is aimed at law office parties. But I think the messages Adrian Ballinger conveys are universal:

  • Think before you talk and act.
  • Stay hydrated, but ixnay on the intoxication.
  • Chat with folks—even some you don’t normally work with—but don’t overdo it. They can only take so much of you.
  • Don’t overstay your welcome. They’re co-workers, not family.

For too many of us, office parties are an opportunity for unfortunate missteps.

Probably his most important advice—ignored too often—is that you are AT WORK while you’re at a holiday party. Disregard that counsel at your peril.

So Adrian’s advice was great, but our own workplace—the State Bar of Arizona—has the added wrinkle that there will be competitive sport involved—cornhole, to be precise.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the game, I offer the research gleaned from Wikipedia. Plus my own advice: Be careful Googling cornhole at work. Be ready to avert your gaze.

Our estimable party committee (they have a more formal name, but I like that one) must have anticipated the rivalries that will ensue when we gather at the restaurant Culinary Dropout at The Yard. (A photo of cornhole at The Yard is below.)

The cornhole field of battle at The Yard. Eight people enter ... and eight people leave. (I know, not too dramatic, right?)

The cornhole field of battle at The Yard. Eight people enter … and eight people leave. (I know, not too dramatic, right?)

How do I know? Well, via email, they provided … the rules of cornhole.

Um. The rules of tossing a beanbag into a hole?

Not just that. It turns out 16 bullet points are needed to explain the intricacies of those cornhole regulations.

Understand, I am not being critical. I know exactly why they’re acting this way: Because crazy competitive.

Many folks here at the State Bar of Arizona are likely in Olympic-level practice sessions, all while I sit at my desk and type. God bless ‘em, they WILL crush the cornhole competition.

Meanwhile, I’ll be looking for a Moscow Mule at The Yard’s accommodating bar. Because the holidays are about all of our diverse interests. And the kids. Always the kids.

Enjoy your own holiday parties. And be careful out there.

The only kind of stubborn I like to encounter in a bar: the Moscow Mule.

The only kind of stubborn I like to encounter in a bar: the Moscow Mule.

State Bar of Arizona lawyers answer family-law questions, Nov. 10, 2015.

State Bar of Arizona lawyers answer family-law questions, Nov. 10, 2015.

On Tuesday, November 10, the State Bar of Arizona and 12 News hosted the Lawyers on Call public service program. There, eight attorneys volunteered their time and expertise to answer viewers’ questions on family law issues.

The following update comes from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorEight attorneys volunteered their time:

  • Taylor Anderson, Anderson & Cabrera Law Group
  • Ryan Borges, The Borges Law Firm
  • Rebecca Browning, Browning Law Office
  • Tabitha Cabrera, Anderson & Cabrera Law Group
  • Craig Cherny, Canterbury Law Group
  • Kina Harding, The Harding Firm
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Diaz, Rodriguez & Associates
  • Jennifer Shick, Shick Law Offices

12 News logoThe lawyers answered 156 calls during the two-hour phone bank.

Sample consumer questions:

  • How do I file for a divorce? Do I need an attorney?
  • Can I stop paying alimony/spousal support?
  • How long do I have to be married to get alimony/spousal support?
  • How do I enforce court-ordered child support? Can I modify child support?
  • How do I modify a parenting plan/parenting time?
  • Do I have any rights as a grandparent?

Four of the eight attorneys were first-time volunteers. Congratulations and thanks to all who participated.

Consumer assistance SBA 10-08-15

For this Monday morning, here is some heartening news from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

The State Bar of Arizona was one of many organizations who participated in ABC15’s “On the Road with Let Joe Know,” a consumer assistance event held on Thursday, October 8, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Tempe Marketplace. The Bar recruited volunteer lawyers who answered participants’ questions regarding consumer issues.

Topics covered included family law, employment law, construction law, and products liability.

There were five volunteer attorneys:

  • Denise Blommel, Denise M. Blommel PLLC
  • Dave Degnan, Degnan Law
  • Robert L. Greer, Baird Williams & Greer LLP
  • Maya Milovic, Law Office of Maya Milovic PLC
  • Javier Sobampo, The Sobampo Law Firm PLLC

The volunteer attorneys provided 52 one-on-one consultations during the two-and-a-half-hour phone bank.

Sample consumer questions:

  • Do I qualify for worker’s comp? How do I file for it?
  • What can I do for nonpayment of wages earned?
  • How do I enforce child support?
  • Do I qualify for spousal maintenance?
  • What do I do when a contractor abandons a job?
  • What can I do when a contractor provides defective workmanship?
  • My vehicle’s warranty isn’t being honored; what can I do?
  • Dealer won’t repair my vehicle although it is covered through an extended warranty; what can I do?

Joe Ducey, consumer reporter for ABC15, reported that more than 300 consumers were seen by more than 35 providers.

We thank ABC15 for including the State Bar of Arizona in this invaluable consumer event.

It’s always good to see an Arizona Justice in the news.

Last week, I mentioned a draft report from an Arizona Supreme Court committee that examines many elements of the State Bar of Arizona. And this week, task force chair and Arizona Justice Rebecca White Berch spoke on the PBS program Horizon about the group’s work.

Justice Berch also invited viewers to read the report and to send their own comments via email to bargovernance@courts.az.gov.

Justice Berch and Horizon provide the email for public comment on the task force report.

Justice Berch and Horizon provide the email for public comment on the task force report.

The task force’s website includes detail about its members, information about its many meetings, and a link to the draft report.

You can link directly to the report here.

On Horizon, Justice Berch discussed why the task force chose to keep a mandatory bar (with one dissent), and how important it is for all attorneys to pay for the various programs whether they use them or not.

I have a link to the Horizon program with the Justice Berch interview, though I hesitate to have you click it. AZPBS is notorious for posting a link that should work but really won’t be ready for days (<buffer> <buffer> <buffer>). Fingers crossed on this link.

Justice Rebecca White Berch speaks with Horizon host Ted Simons, Aug. 18, 2015.

Justice Rebecca White Berch speaks with Horizon host Ted Simons, Aug. 18, 2015.

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