Volume 16, No. 5 | February 28, 2017

eye on ethics

Q:I entered into a fee agreement to represent a client in a personal injury claim. We met twice, then the client disappeared. For the last six months, I have tried to contact the client via phone calls, letters, and emails, but have received no response. The statute of limitations on his claim will run in six months. May I withdraw from representing this client?

A: Yes, as long as you have made reasonably diligent efforts to contact the client, and you protect the client's interests upon withdrawal. See ERs 1.3, 1.4, 1.16(d). Whether protecting the client's interests includes filing suit to toll the statute of limitations depends on the facts and circumstances of any given case. See Ariz. Ethics Op. 01-08 for further discussion.

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member news

BLI Graduates Freddy Saavedra and Jessica Sanchez Named as Top Lawyers Under 40 by HNBA: The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) announced that State Bar of Arizona members Freddy Saavedra and Jessica Sanchez have been selected to receive the prestigious "HNBA Top Lawyers Under 40" Award. The "Top Lawyers Under 40" award honors accomplished lawyers who have demonstrated professional excellence, integrity, leadership, commitment to the Hispanic community, and dedication to improving the legal profession. The State Bar of Arizona offers hearty congratulations to Freddy and Jessica, both graduates of the Bar Leadership Institute!

In the news

Pair Who Led Racist Attack on Boy's Party Sentenced to Years in Prison: A man and a woman were sentenced Monday to 13 and six years in prison, respectively, for joining a group of Confederate flag supporters who in 2015 drove around a small Georgia community threatening people, including a gathering of African-Americans celebrating a young boy's birthday. Read more on the pair's sentence here.

Supreme Court Justices Appear Skeptical of Law Barring Sex Offenders From Social Media: Several U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday appeared to side with a North Carolina man who was convicted for violating a ban on social media use by registered sex offenders. Several justices raised questions during the oral arguments about the law's impact on First Amendment rights. Read more about this case here.

from the bar

Today's the Last Day to Submit Your Petition to Run For Election to the Board of Governors: Two Board Districts will hold elections May 4-19. Active Members are encouraged to run for election to the State Bar of Arizona's Board of Governors. For information on the Districts holding elections and a nomination package - which is due by Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - click here.

Apply for Vacancy on the Pima County Superior Court by March 3: Applications are being accepted for a vacancy on the Superior Court in Pima County, created by the retirement of Judge K.C. Stanford. The judicial application has been revised, and includes all new instructions and questions. If you applied for a recent vacancy in Pima County, you will need to reapply to be considered. Click here to learn more about the vacancy and how to apply.

Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney Ron Aucutt Featured in AZCLE Program Next Week: This exciting program will cover contemporary issues in advanced estate planning in Arizona including prospective federal transfer tax legislation, decanting, trust protectors, and asset protection trusts. Ron Aucutt will address tax legislation, while other speakers will discuss modern decanting, trust protectors, and consider asset protection trusts, geared specifically for Arizona practitioners. This high-level program should be enormously helpful to the Arizona estate planning professionals. Click here to register for this program that will be held on March 7, 2017.

Nominate a Colleague for Annual State Bar Awards: Here's your chance to see that deserving colleagues are recognized for their contributions to the legal profession. Nominations for the 2017 State Bar awards are now being accepted through March 22, 2017 at 5 p.m. Visit the Bar's awards page for more information and the nomination form.

There's Still Time to Get Involved in the Merit Selection Process: Apply by Wednesday, March 28 to serve on the Pinal County Commission on Trial Court Appointments. Applicants must reside in Pinal County Supervisorial District 2. The Commission screens judicial applicants and submits nominations to the Governor for his ultimate appointment to fill positions on the Pinal Superior Court bench. For candidate criteria and an application click here.

Client Protection Fund Board Seeks Trustee: Apply by March 29 to serve as a Trustee of the State Bar's Client Protection Fund. The Fund's purpose is to promote public confidence in the administration of justice, and to preserve the integrity of the legal profession by reimbursing people who have sustained losses caused by the dishonest conduct of lawyers admitted and licensed to practice law in Arizona. Each lawyer licensed to practice law in Arizona contributes $20 per year to the Fund. The Trustees act as fiduciaries of monies deposited in the fund, invest those funds, and pay claims in appropriate cases. For more information and an application click here.

Get Engaged in Selecting Scottsdale City Judges: Apply by March 29 to serve on Scottsdale's Judicial Appointments Advisory Board. Applicants must reside in Scottsdale. Volunteer Board members screen and recommend municipal court judicial candidates to Scottsdale's City Council for its selection. For more information and an application click here.

Help Select Surprise City Judges: Apply by March 29 to serve on Surprises Judicial Selection Advisory Commission. Applicants must reside in Maricopa County. Volunteer Commissioners screen and recommend municipal court judicial candidates to Surprise's City Council for its selection. For more information and an application click here.

Diversity and Inclusion Conference Program Highlight - National and Regional Infrastructure Development and its Impacts on Indian Country: Indian tribes, lands and sacred sites are often impacted by transportation, energy and utility projects that largely serve off-reservation communities. Tribal perspectives on projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline and Arizona's Loop 101 (Pima Freeway) & 202 (South Mountain Freeway) will be presented in the 1.5 hour CLE program. Spring Training for Lawyers is State Bar of Arizona�s most affordable CLE conference and offers a variety of CLE programs and networking opportunities. For more information and to register click here.

Five Nominees for the Arizona Court of Appeals Announced: The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments has recommended five nominees to Governor Doug Ducey for two openings on Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals created by the retirement of Judge Patricia A. Orozco and the appointment of Judge Andrew W. Gould to the Arizona Supreme Court. View the nominees here.

Applications Being Accepted for a Vacancy on Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals: Applications are being accepted for a vacancy on Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals, created by the retirement of Judge Joseph W. Howard. The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review applications, interview selected applicants, and recommend at least three nominees for the vacancy to Governor Doug Ducey. The application deadline is March 31, 2017. More.

State Bar Contributes to Online Military Family Law Guide: For the past few years, members of the Military Legal Assistance Committee (MLAC) have worked on a project that just became live. It is a collaboration with the Texas Bar Association regarding state laws of interest to service members and attorneys. That site is available now for viewing at militaryfamilylawguide.com. A number of attorneys on and off the MLAC committee worked to create and respond to the questions from the Texas Bar Association, including but not limited to Therese Martin, Rebecca L. Owen and Rebecca Elliott.

Are You An Attorney Who Has Good News to Share? Have you recently been recognized for contributions you make to the communities you serve? Is your firm raising money or collecting food for charity over the holidays? Are you a leader who is being recognized for advancing the legal profession? If so, we want to hear about it! Email Alberto Rodriguez to be considered for inclusion in a future issue of eLegal under Member News.

Help Consumers by Writing Law-Related Tips! The State Bar of Arizona seeks attorneys in all practice areas to offer consumer tips via its social media platforms. We'll be sharing tidbits of information to help consumers begin addressing their legal issues associated with family law, landlord/tenant, estate planning, personal injury, immigration, and DUI among others. If you're interested, email Alberto Rodriguez for more information.

Practice Tip - How to Avoid Disqualification by Ethical Screening: Click here for information from Member Discount Provider Ahern Insurance Brokerage.

Need Help with Student Loan Debt? You are invited to attend this 30-minute SoFi educational webinar on Friday, March 10, 11:30 a.m. The webinar will discuss the student loan universe and various debt repayment options (both federal and private). You may ask questions in an anonymous forum. Click here to register.

Want Double Reward Points? Apply now and earn double reward points on purchases for the first 60 days with the no annual fee Platinum Rewards State Bar of Arizona MasterCard. See full terms and conditions here.

Save on Avis, Budget and Hertz Car Rentals, Practice Management Software and More: Click here for the full list of companies offering discounts to State Bar members.

court decisions

Arizona Court of Appeals
Division One
Division Two

February 6, 2017 - 1 CA-CV 15-0580 - Brandon and Jennifer Orosco v. Maricopa County Special Health Care District
1. Whether, when a party makes two successive offers of judgment, neither of which is accepted, and the verdict is less favorable to the offeree than either one, sanctions under Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 68(g) are calculated from the date of the first offer. 2. Whether fees paid to a private process server for service of a notice of claim, pursuant to A.R.S. � 12-821.01, and service of a summons and complaint are taxable costs pursuant to A.R.S. � 12-332(A)(1). Read Opinion.

February 22, 2017 - 2 CA-CR 2016-0386-PR - State of Arizona v. Jose E. Leyva
Whether the trial court abused its discretion in summarily denying defendant's claims, pursuant to Rule 32.1(a), Ariz. R. Crim. P., that his attorney was constitutionally ineffective and that his guilty plea, allegedly entered when he was "especially vulnerable" to the persuasive efforts of his attorney and family members, was involuntary. Read Opinion.

9th Circuit Court of Appeals

February 27, 2017 - 14-16139 - L.J., a Minor v. Pittsburgh Unified School District
In an amended opinion in an action brought by a student and his mother under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the district court's summary judgment for defendant school district is reversed where: 1. the student was eligible for special education and related services; 2. the student was disabled under three categories defined by the IDEA; but 3. the district court erred in its ruling the student did not need special education services because of his satisfactory performance in general education classes. Read Opinion.

February 27, 2017 - 14-10004 - United States of America v. Nicholas Lindsey
In a mortgage fraud prosecution, convictions of wire fraud under 18 U.S.C. section 1343, is affirmed where: 1. negligence is not a defense to wire fraud, and evidence of lender negligence is not admissible as a defense to mortgage fraud; 2. intentional disregard of relevant information is not a defense to wire fraud, and evidence of intentional disregard by lenders is not admissible as a defense to mortgage fraud; 3. evidence of individual lender behavior is not admissible to disprove materiality, but evidence of general lending standards in the mortgage industry is admissible to disprove materiality; and 4. the district court did not deny the defendant the opportunity to present a complete defense. Read Opinion.


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