State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorAn annual event, the report regarding lawyer discipline and admissions issues has just been released. The report covers multiple topics, including the types and amount of discipline meted out, the number of lawyers admitted to the State Bar of Arizona, trends in admissions, and more.

You can read the complete report here.

Arizona_Supreme_Court_SealAnd for some analysis, read what Patricia Sallen offers here. The former ethics counsel of the State Bar examines the lawyer-regulation data by the numbers.

State Bar of Arizona Chief Bar Counsel Maret Vessella interviewed by KPHO reporter Dave Cherry

State Bar of Arizona Chief Bar Counsel Maret Vessella interviewed by KPHO reporter Dave Cherry

If you’re a lawyer, you may not make it a habit to hire other lawyers (but who knows?). However, a recent news story sheds light on the topic. I found it fascinating, and I encourage you to share it with anyone who’s engaged in an attorney search.

In the story, titled “Research lawyers just like you would contractors,” reporter KPHO Dave Cherry interviews Chief Bar Counsel Maret Vessella. She discusses the importance of checking for a lawyer’s discipline history before you retain someone.

So far so good.

But then she relates a story about a lawyer who got into discipline trouble after a client had already retained him. How many of us think about checking whether our attorney is still admitted to practice after he has already done work for us?

Not often, I’m sure. But I can see how it could be vital.

Go here to see the whole video.

ethics scales of justice

Today I urge you to consider something that I understand is often on the minds of Arizona lawyers: whether the current ethical rules (among other things) are a help or a hindrance to the practice of law.

For a long time (OK, forever), I have heard some say that the ethics structure fails to keep pace with the realities of law practice. Now, you have an opportunity to offer your views.

Patricia Sallen is the State Bar’s Director of Special Services & Ethics/Deputy General Counsel, but I just call her our ethics guru. And she and others have heard similar statements, and they are examining whether Arizona ethics and the regulatory scheme are meeting all of their multiple challenges. Here is Pat:

“A new Arizona Supreme Court committee will look at whether Arizona ethical and other regulatory rules should be amended because of the changing nature of legal practice in a technologically enabled and connected workplace and the growing trend toward multistate and international law practice.”

“Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer is chairing the new committee. A copy of the administrative order establishing it is here.”

“The committee’s charge specifically includes examining whether the current regulatory model – regulating the practice of law based on a lawyer’s physical location – should be changed and whether conflict-of-interest rules for both private and public lawyers should be clarified.”

“Should the rules be changed? If yes, what would you change? Email your ideas, thoughts and suggestions (as well as any questions!) tochangingpracticeoflaw@azbar.org.”

Time to share your thoughts.