Monday, December 3, 2018

Maricopa County Treasurer calls to dismantle the mandatory Arizona State Bar

Royce T. Flora – Treasurer
P R E S S  R E L E A S E
December 3, 2018

After a disappointing, but not surprising, response from the State Bar of Arizona regarding a formal complaint against an Arizona attorney, Maricopa County Treasurer Royce T. Flora has announced his support of legislation to eliminate mandatory Bar membership.

In mid-November, Mr. Flora received a letter from an attorney threatening to publicly humiliate the Treasurer’s Office and the Treasurer if Mr. Flora didn’t remove a legally sanctioned fine against his client. Mr. Flora filed a formal ethics complaint with the State Bar of Arizona against the attorney for the threat and for practicing law in an area in which the attorney was unfamiliar.

The response from the Bar was delay and then dismissal.

Mr. Flora passed his concerns regarding the Bar’s lack of action on to the Arizona Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over the Bar. 

It has become all too obvious that the State Bar of Arizona is being choosey who they decide to discipline and who they do not. It appears that politics is part of that decision. Several years ago, the Bar brought harsh formal charges against former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and several members of his staff. In particular, one of his staff was disciplined despite the fact she was working under the direction of an experienced supervisor. Her license was suspended.

The Bar has a set of Ethics Rules that seem to be applied to some attorneys but not to all. I’m calling on the Legislature to eliminate mandatory membership in the State Bar of Arizona. Clearly they can’t be trusted to apply their rules fairly to all. 

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