“Every big company has somebody like you. Somebody to wave his tiny fists in the air so we can all pretend to listen before we go do whatever it is we were going to do anyway.” – Vinny Duto, Alex Berenson’s The Night Ranger.
No surprise, it’s infernally hot again in Arizona. Almost five years ago, I moved here from a place where the wind howls liked Satan’s hound.
While his hound has gone, sweating in “Satan’s crotch” is no better.
So ten days ago when I was elsewhere seeking temporary relief from the inferno, someone asked me three times that week, to consider and reconsider running for the State Bar’s Board of Governors. And three times it was “No, No, and Never.”
And a rooster didn’t even crow once.
I might have cornily quoted Sherman — but I’d have meant it: “If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.”
The reasons are the same as two years ago even assuming there’s a snow ball’s chance of getting elected. And re-invoking Groucho Marx, the Board hardly needs my help to further perfect “the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
Then there’s this. In my opinion, by enforcing a Code of Conduct requiring Board member loyalty and “respect” for “the validity of the Board’s decisions and their value to the organization, even if not in the voting majority,” the Bar imposes a prior restraint on my snark. Indeed, the Code further requires Board Members to “uphold and enhance the reputation and public image of the Bar.” And since this blog reeks with past, present and future irreverence about “your friendly state bar,” my opinions alone should disqualify.
To be clear, however, this doesn’t mean someone else shouldn’t run for the Board to let the air out of the Bar’s bloated bureaucracy. You want bloat? The Arizona Bar has the 10th highest yearly dues and is first with a bulging ratio of one staffer to 158 members.
Pabulum and potted plants.
And as for Board Candidates, I don’t mean the usual social-climbing suspects mouthing pro forma pabulum about “representing lawyers” — but who really run to burnish a resume or to self-pleasure an overweening ego.
Someone else should also replace the somnambulant ‘career’ governors, those status quo apologists who exude all the transformational leadership of a potted plant.
Nonetheless, whoever decides to take up the gauntlet to transform the Bar will face an uphill battle. He or she will be outnumbered — just one out of 19 lawyers on a Board of 30. For the protective Bar bureaucracy, just trying to reorient the Arizona Bar to adopt a “lawyer-customer service” mission would be radical transformation enough.
So realistically, the preferable option is to convert the Bar from mandatory to voluntary. Now there’s a fight worth having. It would at last compel the Bar to become lawyer-friendly — or else face members who vote with their feet.
__________________________________________________________________ Photo Credits: “Muzzled Pooch,” by Richard Smith at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution.