Posts Tagged ‘Butt-Numb-A-Thon’

https://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/b/BonnieHenderson/01/l/1451713664si0nf.jpgThis week signals the official start of summer, which also means — it’s state bar convention time! The annual silly season has begun.

In addition to being the last continuing legal education money grab for state bars before the fiscal year ends, it’s also the annual “orgy of self-adulation”like the Oscars for bar insiders and connected elites.

Lawyers you never heard of — chosen by who-knows-who — will get awards only recipients will care about.

And oh, yeah incoming bar leaders will fatuously speechify after being pompously sworn in.

The Texas, South Dakota and Wisconsin Bar Annual Conventions started this week. Next week Arizona holds its 2018 State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention.

Termed its “flagship event,” Arizona conventioneers can anticipate at least a partial antidote to the rest of the Butt-Numb-A-Thon with a Thursday Party and the State Bar’s “Lawyers Got Talent” Contest.” And the jokes almost write themselves — a lawyer amateur talent show.

Anyhow, if there’s a dance competition, I hope these guys show up. They’re among Arizona’s cheekiest, ineradicable personal injury advertisers. Ka-ching! — they even bought a full-page color ad in the convention brochure. And with dance steps like these, how can they miss?

The Naked Truth.

In truth, the silliness started months ago. In March, the Utah State Bar inadvertently emailed a photo of a topless woman to every lawyer in the state to herald its upcoming Spring Bar Convention.

ABA Journal recounted, “The message, sent to all active Utah lawyers, was intended to promote the bar’s spring convention, reported the Salt Lake Tribune, the Deseret News and Above the Law, which posted the email and the nude photo (not safe for work) here. The email also included photos of a clothed Lady Justice statue and a rock formation.”

Embarrassed bar officials tweeted “Apologies to all who received an inappropriate email from the Utah State Bar. We are aware of the situation and are investigating the matter.”

And underscoring how you can’t make this stuff up, the Utah Spring Bar Convention kickoff reception also featured, “the 16th Annual “Secret Lives of Lawyers” Silent Auction.” See “Utah State Bar sends every local lawyer an email of a topless woman.”

Parenthetically, the Utah Bar holds not just one yearly convention — but two. The Summer Convention is July 25-28 in St. George — undoubtedly with new safeguards to prevent another bare-chested recurrence.

‘How do I love me . . . let me count the ways.’

Generally speaking, bar conventions are not well attended. Well under 10% of the bar’s lawyers, for example, annually attend in Arizona and even fewer in Nevada. This is unlikely to improve, especially for Nevada, which continues to price itself out of reach of many members by holding conventions in expensive venues.

Last year’s convention was in Austin and the year before it was Hawaii. This year’s paean to self-congratulation is next month at Chicago’s iconic Drake Hotel. Registration for the Nevada Bar Convention comes in at a hefty $590 per registrant — likely the most expensive registration of any bar annual meeting this year.

Those paying the hefty fee on top of airfare and hotel expenses can at least look to their inclusion at the President’s Dinner. According to the convention brochure, “This semi-formal (black tie optional) event celebrates the recipients of the 2018 State Bar of Nevada’s Membership Awards and incoming bar President Rick Pocker, who will become the state bar’s 90th president. In addition to a plated meal, guests will be able to enjoy entertainment and dancing, as well as a red-carpet style photographed entrance.”

Not to be outdone, though, the Arizona Bar will similarly fete its incoming president and dole out member awards only the recipients care about. And why not? Patting yourself on the back is part and parcel of these annual meetings.

With a hat tip to my buddy, The Legal Watchdog, Wisconsin’s 2018 Annual Meeting & Conference starts June 21st and apparently still scrounging for attendees, bar cheeseheads mistakenly curtailed the registration deadline before extending it to the penultimate day.

And in a rather ironic programming twist, one of the plenary speakers is P.J. O’Rourke, “author, humorist, and political satirist.” I hope he includes some of his most quotable observations about hubris — “one of the great renewable resources” as well as his pointed observations on bureaucracy, greed, and power — in other words all the traits of a compulsory membership bar association.

I suspect, however, there may be limits to the silliness in Lake Geneva, WI. O’Rourke will probably leave out his lawyer jokes such as this chestnut: “During the mid-1980s dairy farmers decided there was too much cheap milk at the supermarket. So the government bought and slaughtered 1.6 million dairy cows. How come the government never does anything like this with lawyers?”


Credits: silly, bonnie henderson at morguefile.com; Thank You Gif via Tenor; Blog OMG! by Mike Licht at Flickr Creative Commons attribution; Shocking!!! “that guy isn’t wearing pants,” by Chuck Olson, Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.


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https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/87/Adriaen_Brouwer_-_The_Bitter_Potion_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg/359px-Adriaen_Brouwer_-_The_Bitter_Potion_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgBy now, regular readers know my regard for mandatory continuing legal education and why I periodically post free online CLE programs here. Not only is it mainly a money grab by compulsory membership bar associations, there’s no statistical evidence of a correlation, much less any causation between CLE and attorney competence.

More specifically, the California Supreme Court in People v. Ngo (1996) 14 Cal. 4th 30 observed: “Although the right to counsel clearly entails a right to competent representation by a licensed attorney, and although MCLE requirements clearly do relate to professional competence, in the sense they are intended to enhance the competence of attorneys practicing law in this state, the inference is unwarranted that any and all noncompliance with those requirements necessarily establishes an attorney’s professional incompetence or constitutionally deficient performance in representation following enrollment on inactive status.”

Just the same, to maintain their ticket to ride and avoid the kind of circumstances visited upon counsel for Tin Trung Ngo, compliance with mandatory CLE remains a necessary evil in most jurisdictions. But why pay hundreds of dollars per year for it? Why suffer gluteal paralysis attending an overpriced annual bar convention just to cram CLE ahead of fiscal year deadlines? Below find the latest installment of free online continuing legal education. The usual disclaimers about jurisdictional creditworthiness, continued availability, and content quality apply.



Practising Law Institute (PLI)

Prison Litigation 2016: Practical Strategies

“In-depth analysis of practical strategies for lawyers litigating prison practices and treatment of incarcerated persons.”


Jun. 2, 2016

1:30 PM Eastern (3.0 Hours CLE Credit)

Item# 171058
Format: Webcast

Attorney Protective

“Malpractice cases often stem from the same underlying issues time and time again. Lawyers who understand those issues can take steps to avoid them.”
Date: May 20, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM-1:05 Central Time, 1:00 PM-2:05 Eastern Time and 10:00AM Pacific Time
“Tips, best practices and practical solutions on topics including: model rules that apply to marketing, the importance of good client relations, marketing solutions, and how staff can assist in providing good client relations.”
Date: June 2, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM-1:05 Central Time, 1:00 PM-2:05 Eastern Time and 10:00AM Pacific Time
“Tips on how to avoid conflicts of interests and discuss what actions to consider should a conflict arise. The webinar will also include a review of applicable ethics rules.”
Date: July 22, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM-1:05 Central Time, 1:00 PM-2:05 Eastern Time and 10:00AM Pacific Time

Lawyernomics by Avvo

If you’re not on Facebook you’re committing malpractice

(1hr Ethics CLE in CA, FL, IL, OH, NV, PA, TX and WA) New York Approved Jurisdiction policy applies

Date: May 19, 2016 at 10am PT / 1pm ET

Ethical social media use in 3 easy steps

(1hr Ethics CLE in CA, FL, IL, OH, NV, *NY, PA, TX, and WA)

May 26, 2016 at 10am PT / 1pm ET


The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA)

Studio71 Webcasts (Self Study Credit)

Constitutionalizing” Your Objections in a Criminal Case

May 20, 2016

Effective Use of Headnotes in Openings, Closings and Witness Examinations

June 28, 2016

Other various programs at: Studio 71 Webcasts



Advanced Tips for Enhanced Legal Research on Fastcase (2016)

May 19, 2016

10-11 AM (MST)

Introduction to Boolean (Keyword) Searches (2016)

May 26, 2016 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM MST

For more free CLE webinars go to: http://www.fastcase.com/webinars/


Lexis Nexis University

Data Breach: A-Z Guide for Law Firms

Date: 05/18/2016

Time: 1:00pm EST- 2:00pm EST

Maintaining Attorney-Client Privilege and Confidentiality in the Digital Age

On-demand CLE

1.5 Hour CLE Credit (Ethics)

For more free on-demand programs go to: https://www.lexisnexis.com/university/Catalogue.aspx?MinPrice=0&MaxPrice=0&location=Web&PracticeArea=Corporate%20and%20Business%20Law


Credits: “The Bitter Potion,” by Adriaen Brower, at Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

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Such a Clown! | by *~Dawn~*

Talk about questionable timing. Within days of the coming vote by Arizona’s Senate on a Bill that protects attorney free speech by requiring mandatory State Bar of Arizona dues be used only for attorney regulation, comes a blast email from that Bar’s President soliciting participation in an online attorney compensation survey. “Our hope,” says the email, “is to learn more about the current economic climate so we can better understand and report on trends in the profession, and in turn, serve you better.”

Serve you better? Multiple unwarranted fee hikes later, one of the most imperious and expensive state bars in the country now asks? It’s a bit late to open that stable door after the horse has been sold for glue.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1c/1811_PoorAuthor_RichBookseller_byWashingtonAllston_MFABoston.jpeg/433px-1811_PoorAuthor_RichBookseller_byWashingtonAllston_MFABoston.jpegBut then that’s the Arizona Bar’s age-old leadership problem. It’s tone-deaf, insular, and bureaucratically backward. And at the risk of piling on, did I also say bloated, inefficient and nontransparent?

The State Bar of Arizona’s real predicament is that while purporting to serve its members — it also tells the public it polices them. Such too, is the member confusion when their regulator claims to want to better serve them. The Arizona Bar simply can’t reconcile the irreconcilable: the inherent conflict of interest of supposedly protecting and serving the public by regulating Arizona’s lawyers while — at the same time — serving as a trade association promoting the common interests of those lawyers.

Meantime, the Bar’s pending legislation worries have everything to do with self-interest. The loss of control over 100% of the mandatory fees paid by Arizona’s lawyers means an unwelcome paradigm shift.

HB 2221 would authorize the Bar to only collect voluntary membership dues for non-regulatory operations. This means that instead of relying on coercion for its funding, a voluntary Arizona Bar would have to attract members who are willing to pay for its services. To its dismay, the Bar would be forced to be competitive. It might need to truly trim overhead and lower its costs.

photoAs for its survey, it appears the Bar anticipates sparse participation. Otherwise, why deign to offer dubious incentives to take its online survey? Participants will be entered into a drawing for a chance to be one of three ‘winners’ of free registration to the Arizona Bar’s Annual “Butt-Numb-A-Thon” Convention“a value of $455 each.” Two additional winners will be selected to receive a $100 Visa gift card.

Besides fees paid to the vendor, the prize incentives mean the survey has an additional cost to members of $1565. The easiest money to spend is always somebody else’s.

It’s also unclear from the Bar’s email if this questionnaire replaces the triennial “Economics of Law Practice in Arizona” survey, which was last done in 2013. Three years ago, the median reported salary for an Arizona sole practitioner with an outside office was $100,000 while the home office solo median was $75,000. (By comparison, if you rely on the puny survey sampling in the Nevada Bar’s Young Lawyer Section Compensation Survey released this month, the median base salary of Nevada young lawyers was $90,000-100,000. The Nevada Young Lawyer survey was based on “160 voluntary respondents” or roughly 2% of the state’s total lawyer population).

In the past,the Arizona Bar has charged members $125 for its complete economics of law practice report. See It’s unknown if the complete results of this current survey will also be sold. For more about legal profession economics, see “How about a raise?”


Photo Credits: “Such a Clown” by Dawn Ellner at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License; “The Poor Author and the Rich Bookseller” by Washington Allston, Wikimedia Commons, public domain;“Riveting meeting,” by Mark Hillary at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution.

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The Eastern Seaboard may still be buried in ice and snow. But Spring beckons all the same. And come March — like swallows that supposedly always return to Mission San Juan Capistrano, U.S. lawyers receive their yearly state bar propaganda promoting that vestigial anachronism known as the annual state bar convention.

2015 Patrons ProgramLast month I received the Arizona Bar’s annual sponsorship solicitation letter ‘inviting’ members to underwrite the convention as “Convention Patrons.” Suggested donations range from $200 plus to $4000 plus. The Nevada Bar, where I also belong, likewise looks for convention sponsors. But not nearly as enthusiastically as Arizona’s Bar, which spends thousands of dollars in member dues to solicit each member by direct mail.

To pry open lawyer billfolds, the cover letter from Arizona Bar leadership that accompanies the patron contribution form extols (without corroboration) the convention as “consistently recognized as one of the finest in the nation” and asks members’ “help to maintain this position of prominence by returning the attached sheet with your contribution.”

Given such tireless entreaties, mandatory state bars never ever leave a lawyer’s consciousness. So notwithstanding that creaky old song about swallows coming back to Capistrano — likewise the truth is that swallows never ever leave Capistrano. They’re always around.

In the good ole’ summertime.

State bar conferences are usually held in summer preferably at climatically pleasant locales like, for instance, Seattle, Washington where the State Bar of Nevada’s Annual Meeting is set for July 9-11, 2015. Or lovely Sun Valley, Idaho on July 29th when the Utah State Bar’s Summer Convention features keynote speaker Citizens United author U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

All well and good — except locally. The Arizona State Bar holds its annual meetings in June and in Arizona — hardly a climatically pleasant locale that time of year. Summer around here means hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.

And alternating the venues between Phoenix and Tucson is of little use. The average June temperatures in each city easily surpasses 100 degrees°F. And in Phoenix, site of this year’s Butt-Numb-A-Thon, the June thermometer averages 104 degrees°F. The good news for the Bar is that by keeping the air conditioning cranked up, bored conferees don’t wander far from the all-you-can-eat CLE buffet or from the shameless self-congratulation ceremonies.

Getting cheeky.

Another way to keep ‘cheeks in seats’ — at least per the State Bar of Wisconsin, is to headline the event with the likes of humorist, actor, and author Mo Rocca. Wisconsin holds its 2015 Annual Meeting in June at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and a Kenosha lawyer apprised me about this year’s speaker.


But Mo Rocca? In 2010, the Wisconsin Bar featured retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor delivering the keynote address. But in 2015, it’s the sobriquet sharing “Mo” whose fame comes via CBS Sunday Morning and frequent stinting as a panelist on NPR’s weekly quiz show, “Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me.”

The other NPR quiz show panelists Tom Bodett and Paula Poundstone were probably busy. At any rate, they didn’t invite Dick Cheney who stirred up Wyoming lawyers when he was keynote speaker at last year’s Wyoming State Bar Convention.

So no matter years of lackluster attendance and past pronouncements about the demise of the annual cheesehead lawyer convention, it appears its death was “greatly exaggerated.” Instead, the Wisconsin Bar has come roaring back — with Mo Rocca.

Ready. Fire. Aim.

But in Arizona, no worries. Keynote speaker? Who knows? Last year, according to the bar’s website, the principal address was also by a humorist but leastways, that fellow was also a lawyer even though nobody I know had ever heard of him. Of course, the same may later be said of Mo Rocca.

If the Arizona Bar hasn’t thought of it, NBC News Anchor Brian Williams is probably available now that he has six months of extra time on his hands. Or maybe that’s not such a good idea since his honorarium would most likely top Mo Rocca’s.

But for now, those waiting with ‘bated breath and whispering humbleness‘ will simply have to wait longer for the identity of the keynote speaker. The schedule hasn’t been fully announced for Arizona’s 2015 feast of self-congratulation, even though there’s a theme. Reminiscent of “Ready, Fire, Aim” — it’s “Ready, Set, Practice.”

In the end, however, it makes scant difference. Like some 90 percent of my colleagues, I won’t be showing face at the convention — so all those marketing appeals will go for naught.


Photo Credits: 010 022.jpg by butkovicdub at Morguefile; IMG_4895copy.jpg By carmemlucia at Morguefile; Mo Rocca by Infrogmation (talk) at Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license; Dick Cheney by DonkeyHotey at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution; Brian Williams by DonkeyHotey at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution.

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It’s annual state bar convention time this week. And as usual, along with some 16,000 non-attending Arizona lawyers, I won’t be among the approximately 9% of active Arizona lawyers darkening the portals of the bar convention hotel. The Bar, though, should be pleased that some 1,700 of its souls will attend all or part of .

photoI won’t be there and I won’t miss the glad-handing, back-scratching, and ego-massaging. Or that the usual awards will be presented with the appropriate applause followed by the obligatory rubber chicken entrée.

In fairness, most attendees will attend not to apple-polish or to ‘show face.’ Some will find time to network, even if it’s only at potty-breaks between program sessions. But most will attend the convention because of commiserated procrastination.

https://i1.wp.com/farm2.staticflickr.com/1027/1055088803_4c006094be_n.jpgThe procrastination refers to the June 30th fiscal year deadline to comply with the state bar’s annual mandatory 15 credit hours of continuing legal education. For procrastinators who waited almost until the end, its glazed eyes and glazed donuts and day-long seminars adding up to the Arizona Bar’s version — minus the fun — of the Butt-Numb-A-Thon.

And no fools they, that’s why the Arizona Bar schedules its annual lawyer confab in the unholy, infernal month of June — just a week shy of the CLE compliance deadline.

And although most lawyers will be working, I know at least one buddy who will instead be taking his granddaughter to the circus — certainly a much more enjoyable venue and a more meaningfully memorable way to spend a day.

No price increase on survey results.

https://i0.wp.com/farm3.staticflickr.com/2668/3778245872_2c1b028dc0_n.jpgCoincident to the convention, the Bar also announced this week its tri-annual lawyer economics survey report.

I must’ve missed the announcement. But someone was nice enough to tell me that according to yesterday’s local paper business headline, “Survey: Lawyer salaries on rise” — I got a raise!

But historically speaking, since roughly 3/4 of all private practice lawyers nationwide are either solos or in firms of 2 to 5 lawyers, I now know why I missed the news. I forgot to give myself a raise.

The lawyer economics report is, of course, the same report that in 2010, I posted, And yes, the Bar earlier emailed out virtually the same survey questionnaire to produce this year’s 45-page “2013 Economics of Law in Arizona” report.

And like before, it’s still for sale although there’s small comfort. The Bar held the line and didn’t raise the price. It’s the same as 3 years ago at $125 — tax and shipping not included. Graciously, the Bar’s Website, provides a Free report “snapshot.”

“We few, we happy few . . . .”


But the bottom line? Well, lawyers are a little more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Median annual salaries are up 11% from last time, to $100,000, which a dentist buddy volunteered was “pretty low.” Leave it to another rarefied professional to rain on the Bar’s parade.

All the same, per the report, “average income for full time attorneys is now $143,403.” The median billing rate is up five greenbacks to $255 per hour.

And according to the flack’s soundbite at the Bar: “Attorneys in Arizona are not only making more money than they were three years ago, they’re also slightly more optimistic about the future.”

https://i2.wp.com/farm4.staticflickr.com/3390/3605810646_137434ca6a_n.jpgTo its credit, however, the Arizona Republic Business article did make passing mention of the still bleak lawyer job market and the glut of young lawyers still churning out of law schools. I doubt those folks count up in the Bar report’s glowing full-time income average — the qualifier, of course, being “full-time” rather than underemployed lawyer and part-time barista.

For those eager but still jobless fledgling legal eagles, there may instead be no warm optimism but at least, cold comfort — not in irrelevant surveys — but in the old saw, “Since I gave up hope, I feel much better.”


Photo Credits: “Riveting meeting,” by Mark Hillary at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution; “007 meets with his team leaders,” by Bill Strain at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution; “Frankarr can has donuts. nom nom nom,” by Nick Hodge ” at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution; “Looking up,” by Ian Munroe at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution; “The Morning Mad Hair & how to deal with it in three easy steps,” by atomicjeep at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution; “Bug-eyes,” by Rochelle Hartman at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution.

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