FROM THE EDITOR
A Publication of the State Bar of Arizona
LISA BORMASTER FON TES
MIK YEILA CORDERO
DAVID H. BEN TON, CHAIR
YUSRA B. BOKHARI
HON. THEODORE CAMPAGNOLO
PAUL F. DOWDELL
GREGOR Y GAU TAM
HON. RANDALL M. HOWE
COLLEEN M. JOHNSON
KARA L. KLIMA
JOSE V. LUJAN
TERRIE S. RENDLER
K YLE SHELTON
MICHAEL F. VALENZUELA
4201 N. 24th Street, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85016-6266
270 N. Church Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85701-1113
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VOLUME 54, NO. 2
As I write, today is Labor Day,
when we honor the working
woman and man, and reflect on the
nature of work. So I think about
the evolution of law practice—
robot lawyers, anyone? But mainly,
I think about my father-in-law,
who has put in a six-day workweek
longer than most of our readers
have been alive.
In a moment, I’ll share more
about Nick, 94 years old, a florist
who would chuckle at the very idea of charging customers an hourly
rate. And you know who else is starting to chuckle? Microsoft.
In August, the New York Times reported the tech giant is moving
away from the billable hour, that legal profession mainstay. As David
Howard, the company’s Deputy General Counsel, says, “We want to
create a situation that encourages our lawyers to be able to pick up the
phone—without going through bureaucracy or worry about how to pay
for it—and talk to the law firm about whatever is needed.”
Listen and you can hear lawyers groan as they assure themselves this
is a passing fad.
This is a fascinating trend story—and a canary in the coal mine.
When I relate stories like this to lawyers, many roll their eyes and insist
the profession’s best days are behind it. Meantime, other lawyers rub
their hands at the prospect of new opportunities.
I don’t want to be that guy who
says “There are two kinds of people
in this world.” But what makes
some people open to change, and
Perhaps the difference lies in how
we define labor. Maybe it’s less a
series of repeated steps and more like,
Meantime, in a more fragrant profession, Nick Nakagawa has
owned and operated Baseline Flowers in Phoenix since soon after
World War II. In those six decades or so, he’s had to roll with the
punches in a changing profession—how and when to grow, how
to compete with supermarket florists, how to import flowers daily
when the cost was better, and how to please a choosy clientele,
often purchasing for life’s biggest moments. But yeah, he’d laugh,
keep worrying about which increments to charge in.
Nick is still there serving customers, every day but Sunday.
Stop in to say hi. You can read more about the Baseline flower
history here, in a story written by one of Nick’s terrific daughters—and my wife: http://tinyurl.com/BaselineFlowers.
And to all the fearless folks transforming the nature of work,
Happy Labor Day.
Nick Nakagawa receives the Crystal Crescent
Award, Arizona State Florists Association,
July 30, 2017