The State Bar of Arizona is the integrated (mandatory) bar association of the U.S. state of Arizona. The Arizona Supreme Court licenses lawyers, while the State Bar administers the regulation of the practice of law. The State Bar, under the direction of the Court, establishes procedures for the discipline of lawyer misconduct and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. The Bar is a government-granted monopoly: Through the Rules of The Supreme Court of Arizona, the privilege to practice law in Arizona is granted solely to "active member of the state bar."
It is governed by a 30-member Board of Governors: four non-attorney, public members appointed by the Board; three at-large members appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court, 19 attorney members elected by fellow Bar members in their districts; and four ex-officio members (immediate past president and the deans of Arizona's three law schools.)
The Bar is a private/non-profit funded through membership dues and service fees; it is not a state agency and receives no taxpayer funding.
The State Bar was organized to advance the administration of justice, provide for the regulation and discipline of persons engaged in the practice of law; foster integrity, learning, competence, and public service within the legal profession. Its active membership includes more than 17,000 lawyers, both in-state and out-of-state. Total membership (including categories for inactive, judicial, retired and others) is more than 22,000 making it the largest professional association in Arizona.
Consumers look to the State Bar as a resource of information about the legal system, including how to find and hire a lawyer, alternatives to trial, and how to handle a dispute with a lawyer. All of these topics can be found on the Bar’s website at www.azbar.org or through free brochures (published by the Bar) available at local libraries and at the State Bar offices in Phoenix and Tucson.
Lawyers on Call is a public service program sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona and Phoenix's 12 News KPNX TV. Members of the public can have their legal questions answered by volunteer lawyers. The Bar also partners with Univision to provide a similar service for the Spanish-speaking community.
The State Bar promotes the work of its sister organization, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education. The Foundation supports pro bono volunteer work by Arizona lawyers, including the "Wills for Heroes" program, which provides free wills to first responders. Other programs of the Foundation include Kids Voting, Project Citizen, AZLawHelp.org, We the People, LawforSeniors.org, and LawforKids.org.
Lawyer Regulation In addition to providing member services, the State Bar acts in the capacity of a consumer protection agency. The “Find a Lawyer” tool on www.azbar.org includes the name of anyone ever admitted to the State Bar, along with their current status and a record of their discipline history, if any. There are detailed explanations of disciplinary sanctions on the website, along with a complete description of the disciplinary system.
In 2010 the lawyer regulation process was reviewed by The State Bar of Arizona, the Arizona Supreme Court and respondents’ counsel representatives. A streamlined system, launched in January, 2011, has resulted in marked improvements in resolution at the Intake stage. The vast majority of charges against lawyers, which might include such things as failing to return calls promptly, can be quickly resolved with a call or letter to the lawyer. These minor charges do not require full investigation. Instead, the resources of the State Bar can be devoted to more serious charges which can take months to investigate.
To protect lawyers from frivolous complaints, the Rules of The Supreme Court of Arizona allow the Bar to:
- dismiss minor complaints (about lawyers) without formal proceedings; and
- expunge public record of dismissed complaints after six months.
Serious ethical violations may result in a variety of sanctions or diversion, with disbarment being the most severe form of sanction. The State Bar publishes these sanctions on its website and notifies media outlets in the sanctioned lawyer’s jurisdiction.
The entire lawyer regulation process is monitored by the Attorney Regulation Advisory Committee of the Arizona Supreme Court. Its Annual Report is posted at http://www.azbar.org/lawyerconcerns/disciplineprocess/reportsoflawyerdiscipline.
The changes to the State Bar of Arizona's attorney discipline procedures have been criticized at http://www.azaacpr.org.
Professional Development The State Bar of Arizona provides a variety of professional development opportunities for its members, ranging from the Bar Leadership Institute, Arizona College of Trial Advocacy, 28 practice area sections, Law Office Management Assistance, Member Assistance Program, and Young Lawyers Division.
Read more about State Bar Of Arizona: History
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