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a corresponding right to reject attorneys
who do not meet the requisite qualifications
established for membership, if it so desired.
In the 18 states that have a “voluntary
system” rather than Arizona’s mandatory
one, membership in the State Bar, or its
equivalent, is normally a very prestigious
honor. Membership is only extended to
those who are truly deserving of the privilege and, as a result, members are afforded
tremendous respect by the public, the judiciary, and their fellow lawyers. Furthermore,
because lawyers in voluntary bar states can
elect to join a statewide or local bar organization, or remain unaffiliated, this does
not mean that the core functions of our
present State Bar would be ignored. These
core functions—such as testing, admissions,
mandatory CLE, certification of specialists,
and lawyer discipline—are instead under-taken by that state’s Supreme Court. For
those lawyers in voluntary bar states who
do not choose to join a bar association, they
must nevertheless pay a licensing fee to the
Supreme Court of their state to support such
functions, which only averages somewhere
between $175 to $200 per year, instead
of the $475 annual dues that are presently
charged by the State Bar for the privilege of
practicing law here. Relief of this financial
burden would permit lawyers to more easily
afford membership in our local bar associations, who are struggling financially.
It is important for all lawyers to truly
understand the issues at stake in the Legislature’s efforts and not be misled by those
who have a vested interest in preserving
the status quo. Whatever the historic rationale for mandatory bars might have been in
the last century when our State Bar came
into existence, I believe the imposition of
mandatory bar membership on lawyers
under present-day circumstances is a clear
violation of their First Amendment rights,
which permits all citizens (even lawyers) to
decide who or what they wish to be associated with. Looked at in this way, the current
legislative efforts may result in a modern-day “Emancipation Proclamation” for lawyers as well as a great benefit to the public.
I write to express my gratitude to you for publishing the inspiring
feature from our State Bar President, Mr. Trachtenberg, chemist
of the mental world, defining the elusive periodic table element of
“happiness” (President’s Message, Nov. 2015).
As a player in the drama of life, how am I to
experience “happiness” unless I know of what
it is composed? Our State Bar President shines
the light on the matter. I, the reader, grasp his
thread of thought and weave it into the fabric
of my life. The reader is now as enlightened as
the author. We cannot be more grateful.
GREAT CHARTER ARTICLE
Every lawyer must be delighted with the wonderful article regarding Magna Carta’s anniversary at Runnymede (Nov. 2015). I was
particularly delighted to see the tribute paid
to Sir Edward Coke. As Attorney General for
Queen Elizabeth, he was brilliant, ruthless,
and played a key role in taking off the heads of
Essex, Raleigh, and others. Having thus been
of such good service to her, Elizabeth thought it in her interest to
appoint him as a Judge. But the good lady badly misunderstood
something. Coke’s service to her had been as an advocate. As a
Judge his advocacy for the Crown was gone. Instead, as Judge he
issued injunction after injunction against the Crown’s attempts to
make “Royal law.” Coke’s advocacy for the common law was such
that it nearly cost him his own head, but his point was made. The
debt which we as lawyers owe to him is incalculable.
May I, on behalf of the entire Arizona Bar, thank Pat Greene,
Esq., and Stan Lehman, Esq., for a wonderful lesson in “who we
are” and “where we come from”? The key to the preservation of
the rights and privileges embedded in the law lies in advocacy,
because the law does not call itself into being—it must be invoked,
born, nursed, and developed. We, as advocates in that process, can
take pride in the role we play in that blessing.
—Donald R. Kunz
TO BE FREE AT LAST
It is not often that I disagree with my esteemed friend and colleague Geoff Trachtenberg, however his President’s Message in
the November issue entirely misses the point about efforts in the
Legislature to enact significant changes in the way the Bar operates.
The Legislature is not intending “to dissolve the Bar” as President
Trachtenberg suggests. Entirely to the contrary, the Legislature is
attempting to improve the State Bar by not requiring the Bar to
accept all who apply. If the State Bar were a voluntary organization, rather than a mandatory one, not only would the attorneys
have a choice as to whether to join or not, but the Bar would have
6 ARIZONAATTORNEY NOVEMBER 2015
President of the State Bar of Arizona writing
about happiness? Does he think he’s a
therapist? Or does he need one? What does
that have to do with the practice of law in
The reason is because, in addition to
being grateful for the honor of leading the
This summer I was lucky enough
to travel through India, a place
that’s hot, chaotic, noisy, crowded
and overwhelmingly poor. It is
also a colorfully happy place where
people are remarkably kind to one
another, where even the desperately
poor wear the most unlikely smiles,
The State Bar of Arizona and the practice
of law in Arizona are not perfect, and indeed,
last year there was an attempt to dissolve the
Bar in our Legislature. Because we’re bound
to face that challenge again, I’d invite you
to reflect on how that would be a terrible
mistake. As someone who is licensed by four
bars and actively practices in those states, I
am constantly struck by the remarkable skill
and professionalism of the lawyers in our
state. The State Bar of Arizona is a key contributor to that end.
So when it comes to the State Bar of
Arizona or even the personal struggles we
face throughout the year, let’s not once
again have to relearn the lesson that “you
don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.”
Instead, let’s work to make your Bar and the
practice of law in Arizona even better.
I’m a student of happiness. Notice I didn’t say Zen
I’m still learning every single day, and many days I have to relearn the
same lessons over again. Nevertheless, I’m going to teach you one of the
most important lessons I’ve learned about happiness. Consider it the “yoga
of happiness,” something to exercise your body and soul daily.
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
There is nothing truer in the human condition. It’s true of people in
your life, freedom, health, justice, love, money, po wer, pets, reputation,
safety, security, success, and even “your stuff.” It’s every little thing, from
air in your tires to running water in your home. It all represents the nutrients of happiness and, until it’s missing, you never wanted it so badly.
You see, happiness is not a destination, and the dogged “
pursuit of happiness” is a sure sign you’re ( 1) not happy and ( 2)
never going to be happy while in such hot pursuit. Happiness is
also not a product or an end.
We all seem to know this intuitively, but we still seem to think
as though we’re on a road trip to a place called Happyville.
Or chiseling away, like Michelangelo, at a piece of marble to
uncover The David of Happiness that will naturally emerge. But
Happyville is not on the GPS, and it is certainly not an enduring, well-chiseled product of our efforts.
Happiness is gratefulness.
There it is. That’s it. That’s the important lesson I’ve promised. It’s simple, really. If we were all to begin each day by
recounting “how lucky” we are, we’d be a lot happier.
Why should this matter? Or, more important, why is the AZ AT
Thanks Made Visible
by Geoff Trachtenberg
An Indian auto-rickshaw driver—and countless other people—leads us to consider gratitude.