Steve Hirsch (photo: Quarles & Brady)

Steve Hirsch (photo: Quarles & Brady)

Today, I offer congratulations to lawyer and leader Steve Hirsch, who will be honored by the William E. Morris Institute this evening, Thursday, Oct. 20.

Steve is a longtime member of the State Bar Board of Governors—and a genuinely nice guy.

William E. Morris Institute for Justice logoTonight’s event is from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the University Club, 39 E. Monte Vista Road, Phoenix. The RSVP period is officially closed, but more information may be available from the Institute’s Ellen Katz at eskatz@qwestoffice.net or call 602-252-3432. I’m sure Ellen is swamped with details today, so don’t tell her I urged you to call!

Steve recently was also honored with his induction into the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fameanother remarkable achievement.

And if you do find some way to attend tonight’s Morris Institute event, it’s worth noting that the Institute qualifies for the qualifying charitable organization tax credit. This year the tax credit limits increase to $400 for an individual and $800 for a married couple. Support like that is the kind of leadership Steve would appreciate.

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Tim Hogan speaks at the University Club, Phoenix, Oct. 29, 2015.

Tim Hogan speaks at the University Club, Phoenix, Oct. 29, 2015.

Last week, an organization that does great legal work took a moment—as it does every year—to honor a lawyer for work that goes above and beyond.

Congratulations to the William E. Morris Institute for Justice for taking that moment on Thursday, October 29, to honor Tim Hogan, Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.

The event at the University Club was the Morris Institute’s annual Phoenix fundraiser, but it was also an opportunity to hear from some of our legal community’s smartest folks as they weighed in on Tim and his impressive legal career.

Among those who spoke was the Sierra Club’s Sandy Bahr, who recounted numerous times Hogan had collaborated with others on important litigation.

You probably couldn’t put it better than Bahr did as she said, “Tim is a friend to Arizona.”

Sandy Bahr, University Club, Phoenix, Oct. 29, 2015.

Sandy Bahr, University Club, Phoenix, Oct. 29, 2015.

Paul Eckstein spoke warmly about Tim Hogan, “the legal polymath.” Eckstein said there’s hardly an area of law Hogan hasn’t touched, including education, finance, school funding, consumer protection, utility rates, environmental protection, the constitutionality of laws (I stopped writing after a while!).

Eckstein reminded attendees that “60 Minutes is in the waiting room” were once the words most feared by powerful people. Smiling, Eckstein said that dreaded sentence has been replaced by “Tim Hogan has just sued us.”

Paul Eckstein, University Club, Phoenix, Oct. 29, 2015.

Paul Eckstein, University Club, Phoenix, Oct. 29, 2015.

When Hogan rose to offer his obligatory remarks, the typically taciturn attorney would have none of it. He reminded listeners that, “We’re all in this together, and we all contribute to each others’ successes.”

Virtually every lawsuit named that evening, Hogan said, was a collaboration between organizations and multiple lawyers. In particular, Hogan praised the Morris Institute’s Ellen Katz, who has advanced so many cases and causes in Arizona.

William E. Morris Institute for Justice logoHogan’s wry sense of humor was on display, though, when he admitted it was sometimes necessary for him to be absent from settlement discussions, as “Some other folks just self-incinerate when they see me.”

He also reminded the group that he routinely gives Ellen Katz a hard time for not charging for this annual event. (Her response, as always: a smile.)

The experienced Hogan used his remarks to tell attendees that they needed to contribute however they could, and to step up to help communities with little: “Next to English-language learners,” Hogan said, “poor people are probably those who are most despised at the Arizona Legislature.”

In the same week, Tim Hogan was inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame. Congratulations again to Tim and the many communities his work benefits.

We may already be into February, but it’s never too late for a resolution—especially when it involves access to justice.

Here I share my editor’s column from the January 2015 Arizona Attorney Magazine. You can read the entire (terrific!) issue here.

Kevin Ruegg (left) and Lillian Johnson were honored at a November 2014 Morris Institute for Justice event.

Kevin Ruegg (left) and Lillian Johnson were honored at a November 2014 Morris Institute for Justice event.

 

Are you a big advocate of New Year’s Resolutions?

Me either. But a recent event has me rethinking my position.

In late November, a parade of respected lawyers and judges gathered to laud some folks who have offered tremendous service to the legal profession, and to those who rely on it. Through their incredible contributions, the two individuals also have served the cause of increasing access to justice—even through the toughest of times.

Kevin Ruegg, of the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, and Lillian Johnson, of Community Legal Services, were the people recognized that night at the University Club in Phoenix. And the kind and accurate words offered in their praise highlight our good fortune in Arizona. But they also highlight the unmet need (and our shared 2015 resolution; more on that soon).

The assembled speakers were luminaries themselves, and they called themselves privileged to be asked to praise the two women.

Judge Joe Kreamer said that they care deeply about those who require legal services—and just as deeply about those sitting in front of them or working in their offices.

Judge Kreamer told listeners how Lillian is committed to the collaborative aspects of access to justice, and attorney Marc Kalish added, “Anyone who has ever served on the CLS board ends his or her service with one emotion: love.”

I think it can safely be said that is a rare characteristic indeed of board service.

Of Kevin Ruegg, Todd Lang said, “She’s a healer for our community and for her staff. She has made a difference in so many ways.”

It is accurate, I believe, to apply an element of Todd’s praise to Kevin, Lillian and Ellen Katz, Executive Director of the William E. Morris Institute for Justice: They are “among the special heroes for justice.” (Todd brought smiles when he described the passionate but mild-mannered Katz as “relentless and remorseless.”)

That night, we also heard remarks from Chief Justice Scott Bales, Judge Larry Winthrop, and Judge Roxanne Song Ong (who said she headed up the “Kevin Ruegg Fan Club”).

So what do we take away from the fact that two of the most humble but hardest-working people in Arizona were honored?

For that—our Resolution—I turn to Todd Lang.

He reminded everyone that those who gathered that night had already given much. The room was filled with folks committed to legal aid, and access to justice, and legal education. Badgering those people to do more is probably not the solution.

Perhaps you fall within one of those esteemed groups. If so, thank you. But if not, digging deep and giving what you can to a legal aid organization can make a tremendous difference. And for both groups, you may still have a Resolution to offer: As Todd said, “Get your friend to give.” That’s right, commit to becoming an unabashed advocate for access to justice issues. Decide today that you will become a royal pain to colleagues and friends in 2015, the one they can count on to beat that lonely drum.

You never know; you may start a band.

 

Morris Institute for Justice LogoThis Friday provides an opportunity to hear from two legal experts who are also terrific presenters. It all happens on the afternoon of May 16, when Lynda Shely and Patricia Sallen speak on ethics issues and technology.

The three-hour presentation is titled “30 Ethics Tips Before Using Any Technology” and isoffered by the William E. Morris Institute for Justice on Friday, May 16, from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. It is co-sponsored by Lewis Roca Rothgerber

The event will also be live simulcast to Tucson.

Lynda Shely is an attorney at the Shely Firm PC, and Patricia Sallen is Director of Special Services and Ethics/Deputy General Counsel of the State Bar of Arizona.

The in-person presentation will be at:

Lewis Roca Rothgerber

201 East Washington Street, 3rd floor

Phoenix, AZ 85004

 

The live simulcast can be viewed at:

Lewis Roca Rothgerber

1 South Church Ave., Suite 700

Tucson, AZ 85701

 

As the Institute says, “The CLE fee is a $150 donation to the Institute (paid in advance or at the door), of which $50 may be tax deductible. The Institute qualifies for the ‘working poor tax credit.’”

RSVP by May 13 to Ellen Katz at eskatz@qwestoffice.net or 602-252-3432 ext. 2, or register online by making your $150 donation through the MIJ website (click “Donate to MIJ”).