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Presidents' Message

2017 - 2018 President
Charles Callahan, Esq.
Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC 

Yes, you read that correctly – I am your AADC President for the coming year. I imagine some of you are asking, “How did this happen?” In light of recent election results, though, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. To assuage some concerns, I can assure you that I am not an avid Twitter user…

In all seriousness, I am honored to have the opportunity to serve Arizona’s defense bar as AADC’s President. We have seen tremendous changes in the way we practice law, not only through advances in technology, but also through changing attitudes with respect to balancing our personal and professional lives. These changes in the way we practice law also seem to have affected how, and how often, we interact with our colleagues. As you have no doubt noticed in recent years, the AADC Board has enhanced the way in which AADC programs are offered and information is shared (e.g., web conferencing for luncheon CLEs, the expert witness list serve, social media presence, etc.), in recognition of the ever-increasing time demands on our members’ personal and professional lives, but still with an eye toward honoring our Mission Statement of educating members and the judiciary of issues that are important to the defense bar.

No Substitute for Personal Interaction

One casualty of these shifts in the practice of law, and particularly the pervasive use of technology, has been the amount of time spent personally interacting with our colleagues. Through the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the opportunities I had to interact with judges, other defense lawyers, and plaintiff lawyers was invaluable in my legal development. At that time, every court hearing, no matter how routine, was not done by conference call – it was held at the Court (usually off the record in the Judge’s chambers), which meant that the time with the judge was necessarily preceded and followed by discussions with opposing counsel in the reception areas, elevators, and court hallways. Attorneys would also have to physically meet in a conference room, or at lunch, to discuss case issues or defense strategies, whereas now those tasks are accomplished simply by clicking “Reply All.” After work, there were several well-known watering holes where judges, defense attorneys, and plaintiff attorneys, alike, could be found sharing stories and experiences, or just being social.

Those days are gone, for sure, and whether that is “good” or “bad” is largely irrelevant because it is, simply, reality. However, the decreasing opportunities for social/semi-professional interaction highlights the importance of making the most of the chances we do have for personal dealings with the bench and colleagues. The question we at the AADC Board have asked is, “How can the AADC enhance the opportunities for interaction between contemporaries, experienced and young attorneys, and the bench, while not unduly encroaching on personal and professional schedules?”

We will continue to offer new ways for members to avail themselves of information and resources through the AADC website and continued rollout of the AADC LinkedIn page, and we will also keep making attendance at the CLE luncheons available through web conferencing. As you will see in the coming year, however, we will consolidate some of the CLE programs in a way that will allow our members to receive the same information and benefits, but space the programs out in a way that will, hopefully, permit more time for attendance at the “big,” signature events where, as younger lawyers, many of us began or further developed the personal relationships that are critical for our profession.

NEW Venue for Fall Kickoff!

The first signature event of the AADC year, of course, is the Fall Kickoff on September 28, 2017 (watch your email for the announcement and registration). This year we have decided to branch out and will host the event at the new Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, an impressive facility regardless of your collegiate allegiances. One of this year’s honorees will be Doug Christian, a Past President of AADC and prominent member of Arizona’s defense bar. Bringing back a tradition from years past, we will also be “reaching across the aisle” and honoring Pat McGroder, a leading plaintiff attorney, for his consummate professionalism and contributions to the practice of law in Arizona.

The second signature event (or, more accurately, events) is the December Judicial Reception – one in Phoenix (at Bitter & Twisted) and one in Tucson (at the Arizona Inn). In recent years, the attendance by members of the judiciary has been tremendous, and by reducing the number of intervening AADC events, we hope to make member attendance at this year’s receptions reminiscent of years past. With the sheer number of relatively new members of Arizona’s bench, not to mention the number of judges who have advanced to higher courts, I have found these opportunities for personal interactions just as important in my 25th year of practice as they were in my 5th year of practice.

We have plans for the Spring events as well, but that can wait because I have already taken up too much of your billable time. We hope to see all of you at the Fall Kickoff, and I welcome any suggestions any of you have as to how the AADC can better serve its members. Here’s to a great AADC year!

Charlie Callahan

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