On June 5, a panel of four corporate counsel addressed the challenges of diversity and inclusion that are faced by the legal profession.

The event, hosted at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, was sponsored by the Arizona Collaborative Bar, the South Asian Bar Association of Arizona, the Iranian American Bar Association, and the State Bar of Arizona.

The attorney–panelists were:

  • Sharad Desai, Litigation Counsel, Honeywell International Inc.
  • Maacah Scott, Staff Counsel Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Art Lee, Deputy General Counsel, University of Arizona
  • Ashley Kasarjian, Senior Corporate Counsel – Employment, Republic Services

Greg Gautam, a partner in Snell’s Phoenix office, moderated the discussion.

Among the questions posed:

  • How do the employers ensure they are reaching and identifying diverse candidates?
  • Why does your firm value diversity and inclusion? Does it start with your top executive?
  • How do you support lawyers who are parents?
  • How do you address the unconscious biases we all have?
  • What efforts does your firm make to mentor young lawyers?

Surrounded by an audience of more than 50 attorneys who attended this lunch-hour session, panelists warmed to the topics.

Desai described his company’s commitment to providing secondment opportunities – which is how he originally joined Honeywell. And Kasarjian stressed the value of holding multiple panel interviews to ensure that a candidate interacts with a broad swath of current employees.

Scott acknowledged that inclusion is a slow process – which may appear not to be advancing well in the profession. She pointed out that mindfulness about these issues is important. For instance, using non-gender-neutral language, even accidentally, sends a negative signal to listeners and slows progress.

Interactions like that occur far too often, panelists said.

“If you find yourself in a place with a lack of diversity,” Kasarjian said, “it’s not your fault. But it is your problem.”

And unconscious bias puts those on the receiving end at a disadvantage – a “different starting point that you have to explain yourself out of,” said Kasarjian. Desai recommended everyone take one of the many available Implicit Association Tests. “Acceptance [that biases are real] is the critical step. You then can begin to negate them.”

Panelists also spoke about how everyone in an organization can be an ally for diversity.

Art Lee offered advice to diverse lawyers: Reach out widely to a broad group of attorneys for ideas and mentorship. There will be lawyers in that group who may be extremely helpful on your path.

Scott agreed and urged lawyers to “recognize allies who may not be diverse.”

Kasarjian recalled the words of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor when she visited Arizona in 2017. It may be difficult to do, the Supreme Court jurist said, but we all must work to advance those people who may be different from us. “People who may not be walking your path” may still bring phenomenal value to the profession and to your workplace. And both the profession and your organization suffer if that talent is not nurtured and included.

State Bar of Arizona sexual harassment seminar 05-09-18 image 1

Next Wednesday, May 9, a free seminar offered by the State Bar of Arizona examines the timely issue of sexual harassment. Called “Changing the Conversations,” it will include lawyers, judges and other experts discussing workplace environments and culture and the associated behaviors we all have grown too familiar with in media reports.

The Bar adds, “The program is not intended to offer CLE credit as it will address sexual harassment as a workplace culture issue instead of a legal issue, and therefore has not been developed with MCLE rules in mind. It is available as a service to the legal community.”

The event will be offered in person at the Bar’s CLE Center, and as a webcast. It is free but registration is required. Click here for more information and to register.

Here is the seminar faculty:

  • Chief Justice Scott Bales, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Margaret H. Downie (ret.), AZ Commission on Judicial Conduct
  • Hon. B. Don Taylor III, Chief Presiding Judge, Phoenix Municipal Court
  • Denise M. Blommel, Denise M. Blommel PLLC
  • Samara Cerven, Psy.D.
  • Don Decker, President, InReach
  • Kim Demarchi, Partner, Osborn Maledon PA
  • John F. Phelps, CEO/Executive Director, State Bar of Arizona
  • Barry G. Stratford, Perkins Coie LLP

State Bar of Arizona sexual harassment seminar 05-09-18 image 3

This spring, the Bar also distributed a member survey regarding their experiences with sexual harassment – to which almost 2,000 Bar members responded. Among other findings, 71.4 percent of women respondents indicated they had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Overall, 43 percent of respondents indicated the same.

Arizona Attorney Magazine will cover the survey and its results in the September issue.

Abogados a Su Lado Phone Bank 06-15-17 pro bono State Bar of Arizona lawyers and UnivisionAZ

A small but mighty band of Arizona lawyers offered free family law advice at a June 15 phone bank.

News from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, Public Information and Community Outreach at the State Bar of Arizona:

The State Bar of Arizona and Univision Arizona hosted an Abogados a Su Lado (attorneys on your side) phone bank Thursday, June 15, 2017. This access-to-justice program was held to connect the Spanish-speaking community with volunteer attorneys who could help address their family law issues in their language.

sba_logo_color State Bar of ArizonaThe event, held from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., focused on family law. Here are the attorneys who volunteered their time and abilities:

  • Sylvina Cotto, Cotto Law Firm
  • Carlos Mendez, Slack-Mendez Law Firm
  • Daniel Rodriguez, Diaz Rodriguez & Associates
  • Javier Sobampo, Sobampo Law Firm

These volunteer attorneys answered 25 calls regarding family law issues during the two-hour phone bank.

Sample questions included:

  • How do I file for divorce? Do I need an attorney?
  • Does my spouse have to agree to a divorce? Can I file if my spouse is in Mexico?
  • I would like to give my mother guardianship of my children in case of emergency, how do I do that?
  • How do I petition for parenting time?

The State Bar thanks them for committing their time and experience to consumers through this access to justice program. It also thanks Univision Arizona for its continued partnership in providing this valuable program for the Spanish-speaking community.

Univision-Arizona logo cropped

Westin La Paloma 1

So would you like to know who won the State Bar of Arizona annual awards? Or would you rather be surprised when you settle into your luncheon seat at the annual Convention? (Don’t forget to register.)

Just in case: Spoiler alert! Stop reading if you’re in the second group.

The State Bar of Arizona has announced the winners of its prestigious annual awards. Here is the news from the State Bar:

sba_logo_color State Bar of Arizona
The State Bar of Arizona will recognize 9 individuals and one legal program for their contributions to the legal profession at the 2017 State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, June 14-16.

  • Member of the Year Award: Jo Ellen McBride, City of Phoenix
  • James A. Walsh Outstanding Jurist Award: Hon. Patricia K. Norris, Arizona Court of Appeals, Div. One
  • Tom Karas Criminal Justice Award: Stephen M. Weiss, Karp & Weiss PC
  • Michael C. Cudahy Criminal Justice Award: Hon. John S. Leonardo, U.S. Department of Justice
  • Sharon A. Fullmer Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award: Golden E. McCarthy, Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project
  • Award of Appreciation: Meredith Peabody
  • Award of Special Merit: Hon. Robert L. Gottsfield (Ret.)
  • Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Award: Arizona Collaborative Bar
  • Hon. John R. Sticht Excellence in Disabilities Accessibility Award: William R. Jones, Jr., Jones Skelton & Hochuli PLC (posthumous)
  • Outstanding In-House Counsel of the Year Award: Michael J. O’Connor, Salt River Project

The only award presented at convention that is not decided by the Board of Governors is the President’s Award. The president chooses someone who has made significant contributions to the Arizona legal community. This year, two recipients will receive this recognition:

President’s Award:

  • Sheena S. Chiang, Maricopa Legal Defender’s Office
  • Thom L. Hudson, Osborn Maledon PA

For a complete list of 2017 award descriptions and recipient bios click here.

 

sba_logo_color State Bar of ArizonaAn announcement from the State Bar of Arizona:

Members of the State Bar of Arizona have elected 10 attorneys to serve as their representatives on the Bar’s Board of Governors. The Board is the governing body of the State Bar, a nonprofit association that exists to serve and protect the public with respect to the provision of legal services and access to justice.

Thirty people serve on the Board of Governors, including four public members who are not attorneys. Board members are elected by district on a staggered schedule.

Below is a list of the newly elected Board members and returning incumbents. Their election will be confirmed by the certification of the results at the State Bar’s annual convention, June 14-16, 2017.

Elected Board Members

District 6 (Maricopa County) 

  • Benjamin P. Taylor, Taylor & Gomez LLP
  • Sam Saks, Smith Paknejad PLC
  • Jessica S. Sanchez, Tempe Union High School District
  • Jennifer R. Rebholz, Choate & Seletos
  • Pouria Paknejad, Smith Paknejad PLC
  • David Wm. Engelman, Engelman Berger PC
  • Tyler J. Carrell, Gallagher & Kennedy PA
  • Sara A. Siesco, Ely, Bettini, Ulman, Rosenblatt & Ozer
  • Robert J. McWhirter, The Law Offices of Robert J. McWhirter

District 8 (Pinal County)

  • Denis M. Fitzgibbons, Fitzgibbons Law Offices PLC

President, Young Lawyers Division

  • Daniel J. Mazza, Mazza Law Center PLC, Scottsdale

The president of the State Bar’s Young Lawyers Division is not elected, but automatically serves as a voting board member during his/her one-year term as YLD President.

Public Member

  • Jason E. Cobb of Compass Fiduciary Group LLC in Phoenix was selected by the board to fill one public member opening on the board.

This press release is also posted online here.

You can read more about the candidates, via their own statements, which we ran in the May issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

28 attorneys as well as multiple other volunteers assisted at Legal Clinics on Law Day, held in Arizona on April 29, 2017.

28 attorneys as well as multiple other volunteers assisted at Legal Clinics on Law Day, held in Arizona on April 29, 2017.

News from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez, Public Information and Community Outreach, at the State Bar of Arizona:

On Saturday, April 29, the State Bar of Arizona held the 2017 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics where 28 volunteer lawyers offered free one-on-one legal consultations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at two Valley locations.

Volunteer attorneys provided 214 consultations during five-hour law clinic to the 205 consumers who were seen. Several attorneys offered free follow-up services after the clinic to consumers who needed additional help.

State Bar of Arizona logoThe 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.

For the third year in a row, the Bar partnered with ABC15 and Univision Arizona to promote the day-long clinics, which were overwhelmingly successful.

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

Here is a list of the attorneys who assisted:

  • Taylor Anderson, Anderson and Cabrera Law Group PLLC
  • Marysol Angulo, Hernandez Global
  • Rebecca E. Browning, Browning Law Office PLLC
  • Tabitha Cabrera, Anderson and Cabrera Law Group PLLC
  • Craig Cherney, Canterbury Law Group LLP
  • Kristen DeWitt-Lopez, DeWitt-Lopez Law PC
  • Thomas W. Dorsey, The Law Office of Thomas W. Dorsey PLLC
  • Nina J. Edidin, My Az Lawyers
  • Pam Florian, Florence Project
  • Chris D. Graham, Christopher D. Graham PLLC
  • Cody L. Hayes, Hayes Esquire PLLC
  • Brant Hodyno, Brant Hodyno, Esq.
  • Bernard J. Johnsen, Bernard Justice Johnsen Law PLLC
  • Lisa Johnson Stone, Law Offices of Stone and Davis PC
  • Jeff Katz, Community Legal Services
  • Roman A. Kostenko, Law Office of Roman A. Kostenko PLC
  • Richard Lee, Community Legal Services
  • Jack L. O’Connor III, Curry, Pearson & Wooten PLC
  • Alane M. Ortega, Law Office of Alane M. Ortega PLLC
  • Daniel R. Ortega III, The Law Office of Daniel R. Ortega III
  • Christopher J. Piekarski, Piekarski & Brelsford PC
  • Jim T. Rayburn, Rayburn Law Office
  • Javier Sobampo, The Sobampo Law Firm PLLC
  • Fae Sowders, Sowders Law
  • Shawn L. Stone, Stone Law Group
  • Shufan Sung, Sung Law Group
  • Darren D. Whiting, Whiting Legal LLC
  • Jesi L. Wolnick, Manning & Kass Ellrod Ramirez Trester

A complete list of volunteers can be viewed here.

 

SBA program on dementia in the legal profession 04-07-17

This Friday, a program examines the growing problem of dementia in society—specifically its impact on attorneys and the legal profession.

It follows on the heels of a terrifically successful February program touching on the topic. That CLE reached more than 1,000 registrants nationwide (which I covered here). But this seminar on Friday focuses on the needs of and processes for Arizona practitioners.

Here is information about the program, titled “Spotlight on Dementia: Arizona Lawyers, Judges and the Practice of Law” (May qualify for up to 2 CLE/1 Ethics).

When: April 7, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Where: McAuliffe CLE Center, 4201 N. 24th Street, Phoenix

To Register:

Detail:

sba_logo_color State Bar of ArizonaAlzheimer’s and other dementias do not typically announce their arrival in a sudden manner. The gradual onset of the disease means that subtle changes in a person’s behavior or performance may not be initially recognized as dementia. Co-workers and colleagues are frequently one of the first to notice changes. This program addresses dementia issues as they pertain to attorneys and judges.

Program highlights include:

  • Recognizing symptoms of dementia, treatment options and ongoing care
  • Duties and obligations of Arizona lawyers and judges and practical approaches to follow if one suspects a colleague or client has dementia
  • Resources for patients, families and caregivers

Seminar Faculty:

  • Hon. Louraine Arkfeld, Tempe Municipal Court (ret.)
  • Justice Clint Bolick, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Hon. Louis Dominguez, Surprise City Court
  • Jan Dougherty, MS, RN, FAAN, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
  • Hon. Margaret Downie, Arizona Court of Appeals – Division One
  • James Fitzpatrick, Alzheimer’s Association, Desert Southwest Chapter
  • Marsha Goodman, Frazer, Ryan, Goldberg and Arnold, LLP
  • Lisa Panahi, State Bar of Arizona
  • Hon. Roxanne Song Ong, Phoenix Municipal Court (ret.)

Court Personnel: For additional viewing options please contact: Renu Sapra at 602-452-3015 or rsapra@courts.az.gov