AZ Black Bar logoLast fall, I attended and wrote about the annual banquet of the Arizona Black Bar. Held at the Phoenix Art Museum, it included well-deserved awards as well as a timely and compelling keynote speaker. (I wrote about the evening here.)

Memories of that event lead me to happily share the Black Bar’s announcement regarding this fall’s annual event. Thus, the 2015 Hayzel B. Daniels Scholarship Award Dinner will be held on Thursday, October 22, from 5:30 to 9:00 pm, once again at the Phoenix Art Museum.

I’ll share more detail in a minute, but note first that the ABB is seeking nominations for its prestigious awards. As the ABB says, it created the ABB Excellence in Diversity Awards “to recognize attorneys, law firms, corporations, academic institutions and other agencies which have gone above and beyond the call of duty to promote, implement, and advance diversity and inclusion in the Arizona legal profession.”

Ignore the fact that the submission deadline appears to be September 1; I’ve learned that the ABB has moved the deadline back to September 15. So send some nominations their way.

Aiming for timely topics again, the theme of this year’s program is “Changing the Game: Sustainability in the Legal Profession.” That matches the keynote speaker, Rose McKinney-James, “one of the nation’s foremost experts on solar energy.” The ABB describes her in detail here:

“Ms. McKinney-James served as a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team with responsibility for the U.S. Department of Energy and served as Team Lead for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Ms. McKinney-James was the first African-American to win a statewide primary in Nevada during an earlier candidacy for Lieutenant Governor. She is currently the managing principal at McKinney-James & Associates and Energy Works Consulting, LLC of Las Vegas.”

Rose McKinney-James

Rose McKinney-James

To learn more of McKinney-James, view or download the PDF announcement and attend the 2015 Hayzel B. Daniels Scholarship Award Dinner.

Tickets and the sponsorship form are here.

Good advice on World Environment Day: Raise your voice, not the sea level (I see what they did there!).

Good advice on World Environment Day: Raise your voice, not the sea level (I see what they did there!).

NOTE: This post was updated at 5:45 pm on June 5, 2014, to reflect the fact that the cell phone donation drive will no longer be held at the State Bar Convention. Instead, it has been postponed to later this year.

On World Environment Day (yes, today!), I’m happy to share something green from the upcoming State Bar of Arizona Convention.

Let’s start with the big news: The Task Force on Sustainability is holding a cell phone recycling drive later this year. Details are being finalized as we speak, but it appears that depending on the condition of the phone, they can be donated to local charities or, if not useable, then responsibly recycled. (Last I heard, the Task Force members were aiming to donate the usable phones to domestic violence shelters).

The State Bar of Arizona Convention green reminder

The State Bar of Arizona Convention green reminder

Will there be a great raffle with a great prize possibility to urge you to donate? … Perhaps, but no news as of press time. But you weren’t considering donating simply because an iPad might be a possibility, were you? Of course not!

If such a wonderful device were to be provided as a raffle prize, I know it would come from the generous folks at Jennings Strouss & Salmon, where Task Force member Shanna Orlich is an associate. (No pressure, Shanna!)

More big news: I have been told and have it on good account that there will be a model green law office set up at Convention. Come on in and view it. It’s like IKEA with pleading paper! Among other ideas the diorama may suggest to you is a visual demonstration of the amount of paper your law office may go through in a single year. (Get ready to feel reamed.)

Finally, because the Bar Convention is a place of active (not just passive) learning, be sure to attend the three (three!) seminars that touch on green topics:

Attorney Jennifer Mott: Helping to green the bar.

Attorney Jennifer Mott: Helping to green the bar.

Congratulations to the entire Task Force for impressive work. And a special kudo to Task Force Chair Jennifer Mott, whose passion and drive for this topic are global in scope. (Don’t you just love her delightfully unstuffy law firm headshot?—outside in the sunshine even there!)

Read the entire Convention brochure here.

In recent years, the Bar has made its own efforts at making the learning environment itself more sustainable. Click here to read a few Convention sustainability FAQs.

Green initiatives at SBA 2014 Convention

(Click to biggify.)

ASU Lincoln Ethics Symposium 2013

Here is some news about a symposium that would certainly be worth your time: On November 12, Arizona State University’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics holds an event that asks, “Are We Smart Enough to Save Ourselves? Are We Kind Enough to Save Each Other?”

“Hundreds of students and community members will question their collective conscience about timely and troubling human rights and sustainability issues during Arizona State University’s 4th Annual Lincoln Ethics Symposium. This year’s popular forum is scheduled 9 a.m. to noon November 12 on the Tempe campus.”

“‘The real take-home of the symposium is that ethical issues are challenging but also fun to engage,’ said Professor Jason Robert, interim director of ASU’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. ‘And there are no easy answers no matter how simple the questions might appear.’”

ASU Lincoln Center logo“According to Robert, the Lincoln Ethics Symposium inherits its topics annually from the high-profile summer education series at Chautauqua Institution. Chautauqua is a not-for-profit community in southwestern New York dedicated to exploring the best in human values and the enrichment of life.”

“‘Every summer, a group of Lincoln professors and fellows spend a week at Chautauqua engaged in a series of conversations,’ Robert said. ‘Last year, we looked at the ethics of cheating, while this year, we had the opportunity to explore markets and morals through the lens of human rights and sustainability. Next year, our focus will be the ethics of privacy.’”

“Designed for students and the community, the 4th Annual Lincoln Ethics Symposium at ASU is free and open to the public with limited seating in Memorial Union’s Ventana Ballroom. Interested persons should contact Programs Director Kelly O’Brien at with questions and to confirm attendance. Information about the Lincoln Center is available here.

More information about the free 9-to-noon event is here.

State Bar goes green, paperless, no more printed CLE materialsRecently, the State Bar of Arizona made the paperless plunge—declining to provide written materials at continuing legal education seminars.

What do you think of this paperless initiative as it applies to CLEs? I’ve heard from a few attorneys who think it’s a way for the Bar to offload printing costs to members. But, in my experience, that view is in the minority. The mass of people I’ve spoken with said things like, “About time” and “No big deal.”

Do you agree? Is the Bar correct to get on the sustainability bandwagon? The move has to save thousands upon thousands of printed pages every year. Is that positive enough to offset a few inconvenient negatives?

What follows are a few of the Bar’s frequently asked questions. Be sure to read all of them here.

1.     Since there are no hard copies to pick up, how will I get my materials?

You will receive an email prior to the seminar containing a link to your materials. If you prefer to take a printed copy to your seminar, please print it before you arrive at the seminar. No hard copies will be available for pick up at the seminar. 

2.     Which email address will materials be sent to?

Materials will be sent to your email address on file with the Bar.  Please make sure your email is updated with the Bar to ensure receipt of the materials.

3. What if I want a hard copy of the seminar materials?

A limited number of hard copies will be available for an extra charge.

4. I’m already paying to attend the seminar, so why do I need to pay for printed materials?

As a cost-saving measure, as well as to move forward with the SBA’s green initiatives, the CLE department is providing registrants their seminar materials in an electronic format. The advantage of “going green” serves multiple benefits:

  • Allows the Bar to keep registration fees at the 2008 price;
  • No more lugging around materials;
  • Easy access to materials.

5. If I want to purchase a hard copy of the seminar materials, how much will it cost?

Prices for hard copy materials will be between $20 – $40, depending on the manual.

Park Howell

Park Howell, always looking up.

I sure love a good story.

That’s why, back in November, I found myself sitting in a Phoenix conference room chatting with a small group of people about how best to interest others in our story and to persuade listeners or readers to act on our story.

The conference room was at the advertising firm Park & Co., and the workshop was nimbly led by the firm’s principal, Park Howell. (He blogs here; more on that in a bit.)

He is an adept storyteller himself, and he walked the group through the steps of crafting a tale that leads readers and viewers to a conclusion. In the workshop, he used a 68-year-old video to demonstrate that “the brain is helpless to the suction of story.”

Confused? Here is how Park Howell describes it:

“In 1944, psychologists Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel created this animated film to test the brain’s compunction to create stories, even out of the most crude stimuli. Of the 114 people that watch this short film, 113 of them knitted together a story of what was happening, and only one said it was just shapes moving around a screen.”

That video and Park’s words struck a chord with me, and I think they would do the same with anyone who has ever argued to a jury. As jury consultant Dru Sherrod told us in a recent Arizona Attorney Magazine, “Jurors bring to the trial this whole lifetime of collected stored scripts. When jurors hear something in the trial that evokes a stored script, they immediately map that life experience onto the trial information.”

So we know on an intellectual level that “story model research” is correct when it instructs about the power of stories to persuade. But practice is what’s needed—and what Howell offered our small group.

park & co logoOn this Change of Venue Friday, I invite you to see more of the stories he spins in his own blog. Whether you are interested in sustainability, marketing or simply in stories well told, take a look. I’m suspecting you may opt to bookmark his insights or opt for the RSS feed.

A recent post of his reminded me that the use of the word “green” may be getting a bit green around the gills. What’s needed, he argues, are not mere catch-phrases, but “genuine stories of sustainability.” True enough, I think, for every industry, including law.

After reading that, head over to his firm’s “Backstories” page, where you can see a selection of the impressive work they have done for clients, many in the most sustainable of industries.

Have a great weekend.

April draws to a close, and with it, our coverage of green topics for lawyers.

Mind you, I’m sure we’ll cover more on the topic in the coming year. But as we approach May 1, the Arizona Attorney Magazine digital edition rolls over to a shiny new issue we call “June.” (Yes, the May issue will still be there, but right now there’s no hunting-for-it to deal with.)

So enjoy some sustainable reading here. Thanks again to lawyer Jennifer Mott for her amazing writing accomplishment.

And in case you don’t receive the print issue in your mailbox, I share below my column from the May issue. As you’ll see, we at the magazine are examining our own carbon footprint. Are you? Is your law firm or employer?

Have a great weekend. Here’s my column:

Recycling Ideas

A time of economic troubles may seem an odd occasion to visit a topic like green law offices.

After all, lawyers everywhere are scrambling for the best ways to survive and thrive in a global downturn. Trees and how to save them may not be top of mind.

But as our coverage this month by lawyer Jennifer Mott explains, the green law office is not so much about trees as it is about growth—of your practice and efficiency. (OK, it’s also a bit about the trees.)

(Click on the magazine page to make it larger.)

Today, there are some glimmers in the economic news that indicate a meager recovery may be in the offing. As that develops, lawyers will seek savings and smart practices wherever they can. And what we’ve dubbed “Earthwise Lawyering” may be a place to start.

On the ever-rising seas, we are all in the same boat, and I have to confess that we too have a ways to go. The State Bar of Arizona has made environmental inroads with methods as simple as window films to increase efficiency. But at Arizona Attorney, we still abide by the truism, “It takes a forest to raise a magazine.”

Jennifer’s coverage has been a spur to rethink our own paper use.

Years ago, we examined the option of fully or partially recycled paper. But the cost was substantially higher, and fellow magazine-folk said the quality was spotty. Neither was the result we wanted in our member magazine.

In 2012, though, cost is down and quality is up. Therefore, we will explore with our printer the use of various eco-friendly papers. Perhaps we might even achieve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification (more information is at

Would you welcome such an outcome in your magazine? And have you made your own legal–environmental strides? Tell us your story at


You may remain unmoved by the (melting) iceberg that is sustainable law practice. But here is a green story we all can support.

For more than a decade, I’ve had the pleasure of reading the work of law students, courtesy of an annual competition at the University of Arizona Law School. And let me tell you—these greenhorns can turn a phrase.

The Richard Grand Legal Writing Competition is named for (and funded by) a UA Law alum whom I’ve written about before. This year, the winners in his competition (in prize order) are: Jared Jorde (2L), Matthew Chandler (2L), Joseph Austin (1L) and Benjamin Harville (3L) (tie), and Annie Ross (1L). (More detail on the competition is here:

The other competition judges were Justice Robert M. Brutinel, Arizona Supreme Court; Commissioner Wendy Morton, Maricopa County Superior Court; and attorneys Troy Larkin, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Jeremy A. Lite, Quarles and Brady LLP.

Thank you to the Law School for including me in this tradition once again. And congratulations to the winners.

Earth Day may be this weekend, but green issues have been on my mind a lot this spring.

That may be due a recent Solar Summit I attended, or my test-drive of a Nissan Leaf. Or it may be because of the great April issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine. In it, lawyer Jennifer Mott provided a wealth of information for lawyers seeking a little sustainability in their practice.

You can read the whole April issue here.

On this Change of Venue Friday I provide a few quick links to Arizona options available to people looking to celebrate Gaia, nature, Earth, parks, forests, public spaces, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Let’s start with Tucson, where a festival has been dedicated to the cause.

And here is a list of events in Flagstaff.

In Phoenix, Local First Arizona has compiled a list of activities.

Meanwhile, over at ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability, they celebrated Earth Month (show-offs). They’ve held a wide variety of events since April 1. But on Saturday, April 21 there is a (wait for it) … Solar Oven Cook-Off. Here’s the information. No detail on whether you bring your own hot dog (or tempeh).

An example of a solar cooker

Have a great weekend.

This month in Arizona Attorney Magazine, we have a few stories related to our cover story on lawyers and a greener law practice.

The great content, by lawyer Jennifer Mott, explores not environmental law, but how to make your own law office more sustainable.

Today being Change of Venue Friday, I considered what related content I could share, and then I thought—my day with Leaf.

Well, it was more like a morning, and the Leaf, of course, is the Nissan Leaf.

Last fall, Nissan conducted a national road-show to tout its high-profile Leaf.

The Leaf, in case you haven’t heard, is an all-electric vehicle. I was reminded of that fact last year on Twitter, when I mentioned “Nissan’s newest hybrid.” Within minutes, I had received a hand-slap tweet from a Nissan PR flack (I call them “Leaf blowers”), who reminded me that it was not a hybrid but purely electric. Live and learn.

(To follow their announcements, follow them here.)

In October, my 15-minute Leaf test drive at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe was preceded by about an hour of show-and-tell. A spokesman explained the drivetrain, the battery cell, the refueling station, even the solar panel on the roof of the car.

"My" loaner Leaf and me

The drive itself? Just OK. It was too brief to develop much of an impression. But I can offer one bit of praise: It performed like most any car I’ve driven, even conventionally powered ones.

One feature of the car that weighs heavily on potential drivers of the Leaf is the worry we all feel about running out of juice before reaching a recharging station. And this spring, the Nissan website provides graphics (like those below) to quell those fears. Does it convince you?

Over time, have you opted for different vehicles to conserve energy? Let me know what you think of your choice.

Some more photos are below.

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Has a focus on environmental sustainability become a central part of what businesses do? Or does it remain an outlier, a nice added benefit if you’ve got the time and inclination?

Those questions come to mind as two events approach on my calendar.

The first is a networking event tonight that aims to gather Phoenix business and other folk in the shared endeavor of sustainability (and yes, there will be food and beverages too).

Hosted by Rogue Green and the Green Chamber of Commerce, the event is just one of a growing roster that tries to pull the green focus to the center rather than the periphery. (If you’re there, stop by and clink a green glass.)

Here at Arizona Attorney Magazine, we are just beginning to put together our April issue. In the same month as Earth Day occurs, we will include content that aims to do the same with lawyers and law practice. (Our main story is currently titled “Making the Case for a Greener Law Office.”)

Is this a growing concern in your law practice or other business? Do clients and customers expect at least a modicum of sustainability from you? Or do all of the myriad challenges of your work push green to the back burner?

We hear much talk about environmental awareness these days. But fold in a conversation on ethics? That’s a new twist.

“Sustainability and Ethics” was the title of a Friday program at Arizona State University. It was part of a daylong event sponsored by the Women Law Students’ Association at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The panelists were:

Ed Fox, APS, and Kris Mayes, ASU Law School, at February 11 event

In the April issue of the magazine, we will have more about this great panel. In the meantime, there are more photos on the magazine’s Facebook page.