Attorney George Chen, named the State Bar of Arizona 2015 Member of the Year.

Attorney George Chen, named the State Bar of Arizona 2015 Member of the Year.

The State Bar of Arizona has announced the winners of its 10 annual awards. The honorees will be recognized at the Bar Convention’s June 26 luncheon.

I was pleased to see Bryan Cave lawyer George Chen was named Member of the Year. Among many accomplishments, George is currently the President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. His full bio is here.

You can read the names and affiliations of all the winners here.

And you can read the entire Convention brochure here (and register to attend here).

The information about the Friday luncheon is here.

Screen-shot of State Bar Governors election for Pinal County, which closes this Wednesday, May 20.

Screen-shot of State Bar Governors election for Pinal County, which closes this Wednesday, May 20.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum—the election forum, that is.

This month, elections are open for State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors positions for attorney from Pinal County, which is District 8. If you’re in that district and haven’t voted, get to it; all voting is online, and polls close at 5:00 pm this Wednesday, May 20.

More detail about the election is here.

There are a few noteworthy things about that page. First, the functionality is pretty cool. Clicking on the candidates causes their photos to increase in size and their candidate statement to appear. Nicely done by someone in the Bar’s IT world.

But the other interesting things is about the candidate statements themselves. One of the candidates opted not to post a statement (though he may have sent something to voting attorneys directly, as he is permitted to do). And the other candidate statement—well, I’ll get to that in a minute.

The statements (or lack thereof) surprised me, as we published statements for each of the candidates in the print version of Arizona Attorney. You can read them online here. And below is a screen shot of those statements in the May issue.

Pinal County candidate statements in the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Pinal County candidate statements in the May 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine.

So the changes in the online versions caught my attention. And in fact, one of the statements takes an election tack I have never seen before. As Bret Huggins writes:

“I find myself in a pleasant predicament. I was nominated for the position of Pinal County representative on the State Bar Board of Governors before I found out Denis Fitzgibbons would be a candidate as well.”

“Denis Fitzgibbons is a wonderful lawyer and a very good man.  Denis would be an excellent representative for all of us practicing in Pinal County.”

“Denis runs a prestigious and successful law firm with his brother Dave in Casa Grande. Their practice is primarily business and civil litigation. The law firm has several lawyers and a quality support staff.”

Mr. Huggins has more to say (and you should read it). But he concludes, “I would not be disappointed in the least if I lose this election to such a strong opponent.”

I will be very interested to see how this election concludes. But has anyone seen such a dialogue in Bar elections? If so, I’d like to know. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Law Day photo recap by Alberto Rodriguez

Law Day photo recap by Alberto Rodriguez

On Saturday, April 25, the State Bar of Arizona once again held its annual Law Day legal-aid clinics. There, more than 20 attorneys volunteered ther time and expertise to assist more than 200 consumers.

The following update comes from my colleague Alberto Rodriguez:

“On Saturday, April 25 the State Bar of Arizona held the 2015 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics where 21 of its members offered free one-on-one legal consultations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at two locations in Phoenix.”

“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 headquarters and St. Matthew Parish in central Phoenix. This year, the Bar partnered with ABC15 and Univision Arizona to promote the day-long clinics, which proved to be overwhelmingly successful.”

“Volunteer attorneys provided 216 consultations during law clinic for the 208 consumers who were seen. In addition, many attorneys offered pro-bono legal services after the clinic to consumers who needed additional help.”

To read more about the Law Day clinics—including links to media coverage and the names of all the volunteers—click here.

Deschutes Brewey logo

Did someone say free samples?

Short, sweet, and on tap: A bevy of State Bar lawyer groups are hosting a mixer tonight, Thursday, April 30. The April networking event is titled Draft With Drafts Night.

Where: The Vig Uptown, 6015 N. 16th St., Phoenix 85014

Time: 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm (and later if it’s any good)

Your hosts: State Bar Young Lawyers Division, Tax Law Section, In-House Counsel Committee, and the Arizona Jewish Lawyers

Because?: Networking, happy-houring, free beer sampling from Deschutes Brewery and complimentary appetizers and desserts (that’s called “burying your lead”)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorCorporate sponsors:

More information about YLD is here.

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_Color“Free” may never have sounded more enticing. But that word describes an event this Saturday, April 25, when you can ask lawyers questions for free!

That’s when the State Bar participates in Law Day and when its attorney volunteers give of their time and expertise in the fourth annual Law Day Legal Aid Clinics.

The one-on-one sessions are available in the following areas:

  • Divorce & Child Support
  • Immigration
  • Wills & Trusts
  • Bankruptcy & Foreclosure

The event will be staged at two locations. For more information, click here.

And be sure to share this link with those who might benefit. All of the information on the site is available in both English and Spanish.

The event is sponsored by the State Bar, ABC-15 News, Univision Arizona, and St. Matthew Catholic Parish in Phoenix.

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.)

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