Tag Archives: american bar association

Downtown Law School Announces New Name

Phoenix School of Law, a private law school located in downtown Phoenix, is pleased to announce its new name:  Arizona Summit Law School. The new name highlights the ambition and drive of the students, faculty and staff at Arizona Summit Law School, collaborating to accomplish more, and ascend toward their personal “Summit.” This concept exemplifies the school’s mission of delivering student outcomes, preparing graduates for successful careers and improving diversity within the legal community.

The American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school, which opened in January 2005, offers traditional and non-traditional law students the opportunity to succeed through its student-focused curriculum and highly engaged faculty.  The practice-ready curriculum equips graduates with the practical skills and ethical instruction, leadership, management and interpersonal skills necessary for career success. Arizona Summit Law School accommodates students’ diverse needs with options, including full-time and part-time day and evening classes; trimester schedule for graduation in two years; and individualized bar-pass instruction through learning diagnostics and mentoring; and experiential learning opportunities via externships, internships and clinics.

“We look beyond test scores by taking the time to get to know our students’ ambition and work ethic as factors to grant admission,” stated Arizona Summit Law School Dean Shirley Mays. “The new name highlights our commitment to the success of our students who come from diverse backgrounds and stages in life and provides a supportive academic environment where civic-minded leaders and community advocates are nurtured,” she added.

“A core value of our institution is the pursuit of continuous personal improvement, an attribute that we share with our students,” stated Scott Thompson, President of Arizona Summit Law School.  “When we began discussing a name change more than a year ago, alumni, faculty, staff and stakeholders agreed this differentiating characteristic should be incorporated into our name and brand identity,” he added.

The new name and identity were developed in collaboration with Off Madison Avenue, an Arizona-based marketing and branding agency, and Landor Associates, an Illinois-based naming agency. In addition to its new name, Arizona Summit Law School revealed its new logo, web site and advertising campaign.

Brooke Watton - color

Watton Rejoins Gallagher & Kennedy as Associate

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full service law firm, today announced that Brooke K.A. Watton has rejoined the firm as an associate, practicing in the areas of commercial litigation, personal injury and general business law.

Watton is currently a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the American Bar Association and the Maricopa Bar Association, where she previously served on the Board of Directors for the Corporate Counsel Division.

Watton earned her J.D. with the “Highest Distinction in Pro Bono” and her M.B.A. in 2010 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned her B.S. with distinction in 2006 from the University of Colorado, Boulder as a Boettcher Scholar. Watton is currently a certified mediator under the Nebraska Dispute Resolution Act.

Brooke Watton - color

Watton Rejoins Gallagher & Kennedy as Associate

Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A., a full service law firm, today announced that Brooke K.A. Watton has rejoined the firm as an associate, practicing in the areas of commercial litigation, personal injury and general business law.

Watton is currently a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the American Bar Association and the Maricopa Bar Association, where she previously served on the Board of Directors for the Corporate Counsel Division.

Watton earned her J.D. with the “Highest Distinction in Pro Bono” and her M.B.A. in 2010 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She earned her B.S. with distinction in 2006 from the University of Colorado, Boulder as a Boettcher Scholar. Watton is currently a certified mediator under the Nebraska Dispute Resolution Act.

intern

Unpaid Internships A Possible Doorway to Trouble

Internships can provide many mutual benefits – the student gets to work and learn in a real-world environment, and the employer gets low-cost (or free) labor. But before you make the business decision to hire an intern, be aware of the legalities that are involved. Here are a few tips to help you and your business stay in-line with the Department of Labor.

Before you hire an intern, reach out to your local community college or university and speak with the career services department. They are a great resource for setting up internships and helping you make sure you comply with the rules related to interns. If they are unable to help you, then you need to do some homework before you start advertising your internship. First, you need to create the framework of the position that you will be hiring for, including qualifications required, anticipated duties and time frame of the internship. Once you have set these parameters, then you will want to create some documents that clearly spell out the details of the internship; be sure to allow a space for both you and the intern to sign the agreement. An attorney can help you and oversee the process of creating these documents, including the preparation of an internship manual. Proper legal documents will give you and the intern clear answers, direction and expectations during the internship period.

You may have been warned by others not to hire interns because it is illegal. It’s not. It just so happens that the Department of Labor has begun cracking down on businesses, both large and small, for their improper use of student interns.  The general rule is that a private, for-profit business cannot “employ” an unpaid intern. There are six distinct criteria (or “rules”) that the business and the intern must meet in order for the internship to be considered valid.

  1. The first and most often violated rule is that the intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff. For example, if you are a marketing company that is stretched thin and are debating whether to hire another account coordinator or to bring on an intern, it is probably best that you hire the account coordinator.
  2. Tied directly to this first rule is the second:The employer that is providing the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operation may actually be impeded. Unfortunately, this is as straightforward as it sounds.
  3. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern. At this point, you are probably thinking there is no way that you can benefit from an unpaid intern and that all of the rules are overwhelming; don’t throw in the towel just yet. Here is an example of work that would follow the first three rules. We will use a marketing firm as our example company:

Amy is brought on as an intern and is assigned to work with Rebecca, the senior account executive. Rebecca gave Amy the information about one of her top accounts and explains that, together, they are going to prepare the marketing strategy for that account. In the past, Rebecca has always done these presentations by herself. This time she will guide Amy through the process, teaching her how and why she takes each step she does in preparing the presentation. During the process, Amy is allowed to come up with the great idea that could ultimately change the account forever, which doesn’t violate any of the first three rules.

  1. 4.     The intern understands that they are not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.
  2. 5.     The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.

These rules are much easier to follow and state that you must be upfront with your intern. Explain to the intern that the internship is not a promise of future employment and that they are not getting paid for their work. Depending on their school’s policy, they may be able to receive credit, but there is no compensation. This leads to the final rule.

6.  The internship, even though it occurs in the facilities of the employer, needs to be similar to training that would be given in an educational environment. This states that the intern’s job cannot be getting coffee, making copies and filing; you must make their time with your company educational. The training you are providing should be training that the intern can take and apply to any other company within the same industry, and the broader the education and experience you provide, the better.

In summary, if you are not sure whether or not your company can properly administer an unpaid internship program, it is best to reach out to either a local university or an attorney that works in labor law. The attorney specializing in labor law can review your internship plans and ensure that you are following the Department of Labor guidelines to keep you, your company and the intern out of trouble.

 

Brent Kleinman, managing attorney at Kleinman Law Firm, is an active member of the Maricopa County Bar Association and American Bar Association. Kleinman Law Firm is a Valley-based business law firm that specializes in hospitality law, real estate law and criminal defense, including DUI expertise. For more information on Kleinman Law Firm, please visit http://kleinmanlawaz.com/ or call 602-354-4809.

State budget crisis - AZ Business Magazine July/August 2011

The State’s Budget Crisis Is Further Straining The Judiciary System

When talk turns to the state’s budget crisis, the discussion almost invariably focuses on the impact funding cuts will have on Arizona’s health and education systems. Among the general public, however, little to no thought is given to the effect budget cuts are having on the state’s judicial system.

“The state’s lack of resources promises to remain a challenge for several years,” says Timothy Berg, managing partner at Fennemore Craig. “However, it is important to remember that there are pronounced constitutional, social and economic dangers in rendering the Arizona court system ineffective by undue budget cuts.”

According the Arizona Judicial Branch, there were more than 2.6 million filings in Arizona courts in 2010.

“To make matters worse, the total number of persons working full-time in the Arizona judicial system decreased from 9,684 in 2009 to 9,379 in 2010 — a 3.1 percent decrease,” says David E. Funkhouser III, an associate at Quarles & Brady. “Thus, an already-strained judiciary is being forced to work more with less.”

As it is, the state’s judicial system receives just above 1 percent of the general budget, according to Don Bivens and Trish Refo, partners at Snell & Wilmer. Just a few years ago, Bivens says that allocation stood at 2.75 percent, a number still inadequate for the judicial branch’s needs.

“Funding state courts is a challenge all across America, as state courts face additional cuts to already inadequate budgets,” Refo adds. “Indeed, the situation is of such concern that American Bar Association President Steve Zack has formed a blue ribbon task force … to address the funding crisis in our state courts. State courts cannot fulfill their constitutional mandate to provide justice without adequate resources to do so.”

According to Snell & Wilmer, 80 percent of Arizona’s funding of the justice system goes to probation services. The remaining 20 percent is allocated across the supreme court, the appellate courts, and partial judicial salaries in local superior courts throughout the state. At least one county, Maricopa, is now shouldering the full burden for superior court salaries.

As Berg points out, cutting funding for the judicial branch will create an ineffective civil court system, which will have serious economic and social consequences on the state.

“Arizona’s judiciary is the arbiter of disputes involving government, corporations and individuals,” he says. “If businesses and entrepreneurs are unable to have their disputes resolved in a fair and timely manner, it is reasonable to expect that, over time, they will look to locate in other states.”

Thomas Irvine, a shareholder at Polsinelli Shughart, contends that the situation with civil cases will
likely become more dire as the court system continues to do more with less.

“Even with the 2012 opening of the new downtown criminal courthouse, we are out of courtrooms,” Irvine says. “Management miracles, as accomplished by the superior court in the last decade, cannot — without more — keep up with growth. There will be a need for more judges, staff and courthouses.”

In Maricopa County alone, Bivens of Snell & Wilmer says the clerk’s office has laid off 182 clerks. As a result, the court system is learning to work smarter.

“That loss of person power has accelerated the change over to electronic filing of court records, which, while causing commotion in the short term, will likely save millions in the future as the courts move from the laborious task of preserving mounds of paper for every court case, to filing and storing all court records digitally,” Bivens says.

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that funds for the judicial system are growing more and more scarce. To make up for the loss in tax revenue, fees for court filings have increased 44 percent during the last two years, according to Snell & Wilmer. Irvine of Polsinelli Shughart emphasizes that the funding cuts and fee increases are not just a problem for the legal community.

“Arizona business must take the lead in supporting adequate budgets and resources for the courts,” he says. “Justice, victims, our community and the low priority of business cases demands that this effort be made. Slowing down the dance of justice is out of the question.”

Arizona Business Magazine July/August 2011

Phoenix School of Law Relocating to Downtown Phoenix

Phoenix School Of Law Relocating To Downtown Phoenix

The Phoenix School of Law announced today that it will be relocating to Downtown Phoenix in the One North Central building, located at the corner of North Central Avenue  and East Washington Street.

In a lease that begins Aug. 1, the school will eventually occupy 205,130 square feet of the building’s 13th-20th floors and a portion of the first floor. The relocation is a result of the school’s dedication to enhancing its learning environment, commitment to improving student outcomes, and its increasing student enrollment.

“Phoenix School of Law’s announcement to relocate to downtown is great news, bringing long-term jobs that benefit the entire city,” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said.  “By continuing to build on our knowledge based economy, we strengthen our workforce and create opportunities to reinvest in our community.”

“Phoenix School of Law is extremely excited for our move to downtown Phoenix,” said Scott Thompson, president of the school. “This strategic initiative provides the foundation for the next phase of our institution, and will build on the attainment of full accreditation granted last summer by the American Bar Association.”

The new campus will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, a fully operational mock courtroom, a legal clinic and a law library with an expansive physical collection of legal resources, and a variety of electronic databases.

“Attracting educational institutions is key to enhancing downtown Phoenix’s redevelopment and renaissance efforts,” said District 8 Councilman Michael Johnson, in whose district the school will relocate. “Students, faculty and staff will be ideally located in the heart of the state’s legal, government and business districts with convenient access to light rail, retail and other amenities.”

“Our location in the heart of the legal community and justice system maximizes our students’ ability to utilize many resources in the downtown area,” said Shirley L. Mays, Dean of Phoenix School of Law.  “As a law school with nearly 1,000 students and employees, our presence downtown confirms our commitment to Phoenix and will benefit both the city and the broader community.”

The Phoenix School of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association, and is the only law school in Arizona where students can choose from full-time, part-time day, or part-time evening programs.

The Phoenix School of Law will be leasing One North Central from its owner, Mitsubishi Estate New York, Inc.  for the next 10 years, with an option to extend for an additional five years. Jay Hoselton, senior director of Cushman & Wakefield, was the broker for the transaction. Lewis & Roca, LLM served as the legal advisor.