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.

social media heart love

… but maybe it’s just me.

How do lawyers and social media go together? You’d think pretty well, but the mashup recipe is more complicated than that.

A recent survey explored lawyers’ views of that media so social, and there may be a few surprising findings. You can read the story related to the survey here.

(And what’s up with the lack of questions about blogging, which is probably the primary digital game-changer? In its defense, this survey appears to focus on social-media channels or tools, rather than content-generators like blogs. Maybe the next survey …?)

Here is one of the findings:

“Strategy. There’s a 12 percent gap between the two age groups when it comes to using social media as part of their marketing strategy—69 percent of over-30 lawyers say it’s in their strategy, compared to 57 percent of younger lawyers.”

Besides that, we see attorneys are also comfortable with Linkedin, which on the social media spectrum is a warm blanket and fuzzy slippers. (Not to be judgy or anything.)

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

And all of that definitely resonates with my own experience.

I have presented before to attorneys and law students on the topic of social media. I went in assuming young folks would yawn, knowing all this stuff. And I thought older attorneys would scoff or otherwise cast aspersions on the topic.

What I discovered, though—especially in relation to blogging—was quite the opposite.

Many of the younger people I spoke with spurned blogging, while the older folks had detailed questions to enhance their blogs’ reach.

I previously wrote about one such interaction here, and that has led me to adjust my thinking on the challenges faced by a younger generation of lawyers.

What I mean is, they have been bludgeoned for years with news stories making them fear that a single digital misstep can damn them for eternity to unemployment. As we know from other research, people who have slogged their way through economic downturns are understandably cautious about upsetting their financial apple-cart. And so we hear from large numbers of young legal professionals declining to blog or do much else online that is perceived as public.

Long term, I believe that’s an unfortunate result. For as we know, career strategy is just another term for differentiation—and blogging done well can differentiate you.

Do you hope to be a thought leader? Get out of your foxhole.

What do you find interesting in the survey results? Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

Findings from a 2016 social media survey of lawyers (via Attorney at Work).

nnaba National Native American Bar Association logo

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure to meet with Mary Smith, lawyer and Immediate Past President of the National Native American Bar Association.

The specific reason we met was to tape a CLE Snippet, “a unique opportunity to hear directly from the author of an article in the upcoming Arizona Attorney Magazine.”

The topic of our conversation: a recent groundbreaking survey of Native American lawyers, available here.

Last April, I attended the annual Indian Law Conference of the Federal Bar Association, held in Scottsdale. There were some terrific panels, but I was particularly interested in a report about the first-ever survey of Native attorneys.

Panelists for April 9, 2015, “Strength in Numbers: Native Attorneys from Pre-Law to Practice,” L to R: Helen B. Padilla, Director, American Indian Law Center, Inc.; Mary L. Smith, Special Counsel and Estate Trust Officer, Office of the Special Deputy Receiver, and then-President, National Native American Bar Association; Dr. Arin Reeves, CEO, President, Nextions; Makalika Naholowaa, Attorney, Microsoft Corporation; and Francine M. Jaramillo, Staff Attorney, American Indian Law Center, Inc. (Photo by Federal Bar Association)

Panelists for April 9, 2015, “Strength in Numbers: Native Attorneys from Pre-Law to Practice,” L to R: Helen B. Padilla, Director, American Indian Law Center, Inc.; Mary L. Smith, Special Counsel and Estate Trust Officer, Office of the Special Deputy Receiver, and then-President, National Native American Bar Association; Dr. Arin Reeves, CEO, President, Nextions; Makalika Naholowaa, Attorney, Microsoft Corporation; and Francine M. Jaramillo, Staff Attorney, American Indian Law Center, Inc. (Photo by Federal Bar Association)

Mary presented on the survey along with a great panel. The early reports about the survey were that it explored subjects that previously have been shared openly too little. The ultimate survey results more than bore that out. At the conference and afterward, I spoke with Mary about sharing a summary of the results in Arizona Attorney. She kindly agreed, and her article is in the September magazine.

When we met, Mary was kind enough to indulge our tradition of a photo:

Attorney Mary Smith and Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo, August 25, 2015.

Attorney Mary Smith and Arizona Attorney Editor Tim Eigo, August 25, 2015.

In my videotaped dialogue with Mary Smith, I mentioned how impressed I was with the survey. Not only was the survey smart and the responses candid; the report also folded in numerous personal stories and compelling sidebars. I recommend the survey to anyone interested in improving the legal profession or in launching and reporting on survey results.

The videotape will be available here after September 1. I hope a few of you get to watch it, as well as the article on the topic in the September Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Too much? Many lawyers say they want to see more formal attire around the office.

Too much? Many lawyers say they want to see more formal attire around the office.

I am survey-crazy this week, having covered two others in posts this week. And on Change of Venue Friday, what could be more appropriate than survey results regarding casual dress in the law office?

The helpful people at Robert Half Associates surveyed lawyers on the question of professional dress. And they report:

“Managers in the legal field may be pushing back on more casual workplace attire at their law firms and corporate legal departments. In a new survey, 73 percent of lawyers report having a business casual attire policy at their workplace; however, half of these same attorneys would prefer their colleagues to dress more formally in the workplace.”

In their summary, the Robert Half folks noted:

Lawyers were asked: “In general, would you prefer legal professionals dress more formally or casually in the office?” Their responses:

  • Much more formally: 8%
  • Somewhat more formally: 42%
  • Neither more formally nor more casually: 22%
  • Somewhat more casually: 21%
  • Much more casually: 3%
  • Don’t know/no answer: 5%

Because we all love them, I share below an infographic that RHA created depicting the survey results.

Do these results resonate with you? Has the law office gotten too casual? Or is that simply yearning for a time better left behind?

Have a wonderful—and powdered-wig-free—weekend. And here’s that infographic (click to biggify):

Robert Half Legal_Business Casual Attire infographic

Facebook Like thumbs upI’ll admit I was surprised by a headline that recently crossed my desk: “Majority of Law Firm Managing Partners Embrace Social Media”

Really, I thought? So all of that fearful fretting I hear is not representative?

Reading deeper into the release and the survey on which it was based yielded some welcome nuance. No, the conversations I have heard from law firms are not atypical: Many still dislike the medium.

What “The 2014 Managing Partner Social Media Survey–Part 1” makes clear, though, is that managing partners are “overwhelmingly embracing social media, specifically the professional social network LinkedIn.”

Well, if we’re thinking of Linkedin as a social media channel, I guess I’d have to agree. It is a space in the cloud world in which wearing a belt and suspenders is still welcome. So it may surprise few that “more than 90 percent of managing partners have LinkedIn accounts.”

Dig down a bit and the useful survey also reveals that “while 39 percent felt social media is a ‘new and exciting way to interact with others,’ 35.6 percent saw the innovation as a ‘necessary evil’ but said that they would ‘learn to adapt.’”

Belt? Check. Suspenders? Check. Social Media? Um...

Belt? Check. Suspenders? Check. Social Media? Um…

A necessary evil. That’s more like it. Can you hear the kicking and screaming?

Read and download the report here.

And here are some useful takeaways:

  • While 39 percent of respondents overall had a favorable view of social media, this number was 75 percent for managing partners under 40.
  • All managing partners under 50 reported having a LinkedIn account, compared to 86 percent of those 50 and over.
  • The vast majority of managing partners set up their LinkedIn accounts on their own.
  • On average, most managing partners access LinkedIn once a week.
  • Of the few managing partners who reported not being on LinkedIn, the majority cited an inability to see the benefits of the network.
  • Most managing partners belong to four to five LinkedIn Groups.
  • However, 40 percent of managing partners are mainly observers in the Groups to which they belong.

(OK, I really tried to read that third bullet point without smirking. Good on them!)

Part 2 promises to cover “firm-wide social media policies and practices.”

Knight Fdn First Amendment bullhorn cropped

This week, let’s hear what people are thinking. In the next three days’ posts, I’ll share data from recent surveys.

The first comes to us from the Knight Foundation, which sponsored a survey of young people on their views regarding the First Amendment. Happily, they are generally supportive of the basic right (thank goodness for small wonders). In fact, they may be more supportive of it than are adults.

That is actually a reversal of views that have been expressed over the past decade. The Knight folks optimistically indicate that “increased digital news consumption and classroom teaching are driving the change.” The national study of 10,463 high school students and 588 teachers was released last month, on Constitution Day.

The Knight folks continue:

“[The survey] found only 24 percent of students said that the First Amendment goes too far in guaranteeing the rights of religion, speech, press assembly and petition. In comparison, a Newseum Institute survey that tracks adult opinions on the first amendment showed that 38 percent of adults feel this way. This marks a shift: 10 years ago students (35 percent) were more likely than adults (30 percent) to say that the First Amendment goes too far.”

The report also provides great insight into impressions of privacy and surveillance.

Below is an infographic based on the report. And the whole report is available for downloading here.

Knight Fdn First Amendment infographic

Psst. If you think privacy law is a growing practice area for attorneys, you're one of the few.

Psst. If you think privacy law is a growing practice area for attorneys, you’re one of the few.

Magazine folks and legal commentators all try to assess (OK, “guess”) where the legal profession is headed. And one of the important elements in that horse-race is determining what practice areas are growing—and which are shrinking.

Last week, legal staffing firm Robert Half International issued another of its studies of lawyer perception. This one reported on attorney responses to questions about areas that will have the most revenue opportunities in the future.

I was not surprised (nor was anyone) that “Litigation” and “General business commercial law” held onto the top two berths (59% and 31% of respondents, respectively, view those as growth areas). That fact may be true, but it doesn’t illuminate much about law practice. Even otherwise-educated lawyers, who know that those broad terms encompass a wide variety of practice areas, routinely select those umbrellas when surveyed.

So we’ve been taught to look instead at what came in at Numbers 3, 4 and so on.

Health care law is seen by a pretty resounding 14% of lawyer respondents to be a growth opportunity. Now that’s interesting. After that, bankruptcy/foreclosure (8%) and labor & employment (7%) follow.

Surprising to me is that “privacy, data security and information law” languishes at just 4%. Really? We are inundated with a barrage of news that reveals how significant those areas are in every area of modern life. I think that attorneys who can marshal the experience and knowledge to guide that conversation have to be making a winning gamble. Apparently, though, only few lawyers want to roll the dice.

Read more about the survey results here.

And what do you think the growth areas are? And once you identify them, are you able to mobilize to develop new lines of work?

Infographic_Robert Half growing practice areas

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, interviewed by CBS5 regarding a free seminar on protecting yourself against workplace violence in the legal profession.

State Bar of Arizona CEO John Phelps, interviewed by CBS5 regarding a free seminar on protecting yourself against workplace violence in the legal profession.

How substantial is violence in the legal profession? And how much is security at the top of lawyers’ minds?

“Very” appears to be the answer to both questions. That is based a recent survey that sought the views of Arizona attorneys.

In the November issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we will publish an article by Steve Kelson, a lawyer and the survey’s organizer. I am reading a draft of the article now, and violence and the threat of it are more pronounced in the profession than I would have supposed.

As attorneys struggle with those concerns, the State Bar of Arizona decided to confront the issue head-on. Besides the survey publication next month, the Bar is offering a free seminar tomorrow that you may want to attend. It’s called “Expecting the Unexpected: How to Prepare You and Your Staff for Violence in the Workplace.”

It will occur at noon tomorrow (Tuesday, August 20). You can view the program live at the Bar office in Phoenix, simulcast in the Tucson Bar office, or via livestream from wherever you are.

Before I give the details, you may also want to watch a brief news story that describes the risks and in which Bar CEO John Phelps is interviewed.

The news story also points out that the seminar has been opened up to attendees nationwide; as of the story’s airing, there were 375 registrants (and that includes far more people, as many law offices have registered as an entity and will gather many staff for the viewing).

Here is the detail you need about the free seminar.

Workplace violence happens.

How will you respond?

Lawyers, judges and public figures are at increased risk for workplace violence. Knowing how to respond is a necessity in today’s world. Join the State Bar of Arizona and InReach, a leading provider of online continuing education management solutions, for a free seminar designed to promote personal safety and create a safer work environment. 

During this program, you will hear from:

  • a police sergeant trained to counteract shooters and apprehend violent offenders,
  • a former police officer turned litigator,
  • a lawyer experienced in disaster preparation and
  • a psychologist who is an  expert in situational awareness.

SEMINAR CHAIRS:

FACULTY:

  • Sgt. Phil Brailsford, City of Mesa Police Department
  • Amy D. Paul, Psy.DCrisis Preparation and Recovery, Inc.
  • John Phelps, CEO/Executive Director, State Bar of Arizona

WHEN: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, Noon to 1:15 p.m.

LIVE SEMINAR: McAuliffe CLE Center, State Bar of Arizona, 4201 N. 24th Street, Phoenix

TUCSON SIMULCAST: Southern Regional Office, 270 N. Church Ave., Tucson

WEBCAST: Live streamed to your office or home computer

This seminar is a member service and does not qualify for MCLE credit.

thumbs down button dislikeLet’s get the bad news over early in the week, shall we?

A report issued last week reveals that lawyers are held in pretty profound distaste by many Americans (until they need a lawyer, I assume).

As the report from the Pew Research Center says:

“While there have been modest declines in public appreciation for several occupations, the order of the ratings is roughly the same as it was in 2009. Among the 10 occupations the survey asked respondents to rate, lawyers are at the bottom of the list. About one-in-five Americans (18%) say lawyers contribute a lot to society, while 43% say they make some contribution; fully a third (34%) say lawyers contribute not very much or nothing at all.”

“Nothing at all.” Sheesh.

Media reaction that I’ve seen has been muted (maybe because they felt no surprise). And the press being as self-involved as any other profession, the area they seemed to focus on was the sharp decline in Americans’ views of journalists.

Salon managed to do both: navel-gaze at its own profession while writing a headline that disemboweled attorneys: “Poll: Journalists only slightly less despised than lawyers”

Pew Research Center profession table 2013

Don’t see lawyers? Keep looking down.

Touché.

The American Cities Business Journals examined the survey mainly in regard to its take on—you guessed it—business executives (who deserve more respect, one writer claims). But even as Washington Bureau Chief Kent Hoover decries the poor ranking of business leaders (valued by 24 percent of respondents), he still takes a moment to mention lawyers:

“Only 18 percent of Americans think lawyers contribute a lot to society, which comes as no surprise. Lots of people have detested lawyers since at least the days of William Shakespeare, who put these immortal words in the mouth of Dick the Butcher: ‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’”

Hardy-har-har.

Lost amidst the numbers is the fact that business executives have risen in respondents’ eyes since 2009. Sure, their numbers aren’t great, but the impression they leave with people has increased over the past four years. (In fact, business execs are the only profession of the 10 studied whose perception was improved!)

Shall I list the business scandals and economic disasters wreaked by business mismanagement and worse in that time period? Wow.

But I don’t write today to fault the business community for its success in the public-perception game. But given recent criminal Wall Street activities that have rocked our nation to its core, and the valuable role lawyers have played throughout U.S. history, I have to wonder about how U.S. history is taught. And do Americans ever read a newspaper, or watch a news report?

Well, now I just sound like a curmudgeon. Why don’t you get a big cup of coffee and read the entire Pew study here?

Let’s hope the week improves.

Is the attorney job picture improving in Arizona? A recent study says yes.

Is the attorney job picture improving in Arizona? A recent study says yes.

Do you have all your financial and law practice questions answered? I didn’t think so.

In the September issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine, we will include an article that points toward a few answers. The piece will preview some of the findings from the State Bar of Arizona Economics of Law Practice Report.

The Bar surveys its members and compiles the data every three years. The 49-page book contains detail on billing rates, salaries, staffing, collectibles and more.

To preview our preview, I point you to an article the Arizona Republic ran this week. It explains a few of the significant findings (with a predictably specific headline on a topic that is pretty complex). Read the Republic article here.