chocolate gavel and Scales_of_Justice Valentine

Justice has never been so sweet.

Short and o so sweet today, just to remind you that it is Valentine’s Day, and to be sure to love the one you’re with. And if that someone is a lawyer, here are a few messages that may help you on the path to legalistic bliss.

First, head over to the occasionally cheeky Washington State Bar Association “Sidebar.” There, you will spy a few ideas that may put you in the canoodling mood.

OK, perhaps the object of your affections can resist your offer of a chocolate gavel, or collar stays etched with sweet nothings.

If their resistance is firm, then snark may win the day. At least, that’s how it works with journalists. I hope you enjoy some of the humorous paths to the heart as crafted by reporters and editors. (Yes, one of them says, “You’ve scooped my heart.” Don’t judge.)

editor Valentine wish
Enjoy your evening. Here’s hoping you decide to sleep in on Friday.

Chief Justice Berch and one of the happy couples

On Change of Venue Friday, it’s my custom to share something a bit far afield from law practice. It’s the digital version of casual Friday.

But this week, Change of Venue takes you from law practice all the way to … the Arizona Supreme Court.

Hmmm? What? What could be more, well, legal than the state’s highest court?

True, I admit. And yet this week the Court plunged into an endeavor so wild that I couldn’t ignore it, especially on a Friday.

The unique occurrence, you may have heard, was simply this: Chief Justice Berch married, en masse, approximately 90 couples.

Who are those people? They are the couples who found a Centennial/Valentine’s Day mashup irresistible, who braved an almost-rainy day to gather and pledge their troth with 178 strangers.

The machinations that had to occur to allow this to happen must have been significant. Marriage licenses had to be obtained, and multiple public agencies had to coordinate. If a step in the process was missed, a couple could find themselves bound together by good feelings only, rather than by the power of the state.

Given those challenges, attendees agreed that the marital operation came off nearly flawlessly. (I suppose you could say the marital was carried out with martial precision.)

To add to the grace with which Chief Justice Berch and Superior Court Clerk Michael Jeanes (and their terrific staff) carried out their task, the Chief’s warm and well-written remarks were perfectly pitched to an outdoor occasion of joy and mirth. Well done. (I’ve asked to get a copy of the Chief’s remarks; I’ll share them when I get a copy.)

(For a less romantic take on Valentine’s Day, you should see the ad that 99 Cents Stores puts out on the loving occasion. Want to see it, don’t you? Then stumble on over to my Tumblr page.)

I’ve placed a few photos from the Court’s wedding here. But to see all of them—and there are a bunch—head over to the Facebook page of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Have a great—and romantic—weekend.

In an upcoming post (and in Arizona Attorney Magazine), I’ll write about today’s debate on criminal sentencing reform, hosted at the ASU College of Law.

But on Valentine’s Day, I had to make note of one holiday moment that occurred before the debate began.

As Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery strode up to the dais, he said with a smile, “Don’t start my time!” And then he reached beneath the podium to retrieve a bouquet of roses.

“My wife is rarely able to come out to see me at work because she takes care of our young children,” he said, bounding up the classroom steps. “But she’s here today, so I wanted to wish her Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Here is a blurry shot of his surprised but pleased spouse.

The debate then got started, which was considerably less wrapped in loving ribbons. More on that later.