Exposing the State Bar of Arizona
* On a photo refers to a blatantly ignored
Conflict of Interest
Got a Complaint against the SBA?
Diego "Spineless" Espinoza
Ceci "Food Stamps" Velasquez
Martin "Quezadilla" Quezada*
Attorneys who want to practice law in Arizona must pay the State Bar of Arizona mandatory member dues.
The State Bar of Arizona uses this money to regulate the practice of law and to engage in other activities,
including lobbying and other political activity.
HB 2221 accomplishes two things:
First, so long as the State Bar regulates the practice of law, HB 2221 subjects the State Bar to public
Second, HB 2221 protects attorneys’ free speech rights by requiring that mandatory dues be used only
for regulation. The bill allows the State Bar to continue to collect voluntary dues to pay for its other operations.
HB 2221 respects the free speech rights of attorneys
The Goldwater Institute opposes conditioning the practice of law on bar membership because coerced membership violates the rights to free speech and free association guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions. HB 2221 limits the violation of the free speech rights of attorneys by requiring the State Bar only use mandatory dues for the direct regulation of the practice of law.
Limiting attorneys’ forced funding of the State Bar only to regulatory activities is not a radical proposition. 18 states—Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont—already regulate attorneys without compelling membership at all. These states demonstrate that violating attorneys’ free speech rights is unnecessary to ensure the practice of law is safely regulated.
HB 2221 increases transparency of the State Bar
While the State Bar plays a large role in regulating the practice of law, it is not subject to ordinary transparency measures such as public records laws. HB 2221 addresses this problem by subjecting the State Bar to the normal public records requirements all other regulatory agencies in the State are subject to.
The State Bar can already engage in lobbying on activities unrelated to the regulation of the practice of law; HB 2221 does nothing to change this
Under Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990), the State Bar cannot compel attorneys to fund the Bar’s lobbying activities unrelated to regulating the practice of law. But nothing in that case prevents the State Bar from collecting voluntary funds from attorneys to engage in any political activity that it wants. Just because the State Bar presently has a policy that it will not engage in political activities beyond those authorized in Keller, there is nothing to stop the Bar from changing that policy tomorrow. As a result, HB 2221 has no bearing on whether or not the State Bar will expand the array of political activities it chooses to engage in.
HB 2221 allows the Arizona Supreme Court to continue to delegate regulatory functions to the State Bar
The Arizona Supreme Court has interpreted the Arizona Constitution as giving the Court authority to regulate of the practice of law, including the power to determine who may practice law and under what conditions. HB 2221 respects that interpretation. The bill allows the State Bar to receive funds related to regulatory functions. HB 2221 does not, however, dismantle the State Bar, prevent the Supreme Court from delegating regulatory functions to the State Bar, or require attorneys to join the State Bar to further its regulatory functions. If the Arizona Supreme Court would like to maintain the regulatory structure as it presently stands, it can. All HB 2221 does is increase the Bar’s transparency should it continue to function as a regulator and prevent attorneys from being forced to fund the State Bar’s activities beyond regulation.
"The State Bar claims that it is a non-profit, private corporation, and denies that it is subject to the procurement laws (and public records requests). It claims that it wants to provide services to those in the public who cannot afford to retain lawyers to go to court with them, but sends no money to the community legal services organizations which actually provide these services.
Guess what the Arizona Bar Foundation, however, was going to get? $60,000. That’s right. The charitable arm of the bar got $60,000 to “serve” the public need for low cost or free attorneys for representation. I don’t know what money was donated to low cost or free legal services by the Foundation, but I do know it has spent $15,000 on a moot court program. I guess lots of donuts and coffee are purchased, because I know that the attorneys who participate are not compensated for their time or work."
House Concurrent Memorial 2002 is set for a vote tomorrow, February 23, 2016. The resolution asks the Arizona Supreme Court to modify its rules related to the State Bar to ensure compliance with Keller and the protection of the First Amendment freedoms of Arizona attorneys. It further asks the Court to establish improved transparency measures concerning the practices and policies of the State Bar in spending member dues.
House Bills 2219 and 2221 passed out of the Rules Committee today. The Bills are on the calendar of the Committee of the Whole (COW) tomorrow Tuesday and Wednesday. The COW is an informal session of the entire House membership acting as one committee. The COW session involves debate, amendment, and recommendations on the Bills on the House Calendar.
According to Chief Sponsor Rep. Anthony Kern, voting on HB 2219 and HB 2221 is expected Thursday, February 25, 2016.
Lupe "No Virgin" Contreras
Sally Ann Gonzales
Robert "Hot" Meza*
STATE BAR PRESIDENT
Geoffrey "Kiss Ass" Trachtenberg
Geoff claims that a State Bar "presidency is meaningless" without a Mandatory dues.
STATE BAR CEO
John "$250K a Year" Phelps
Phelps believes that "compelling attorneys" to "pay to play" makes the State Bar one of Arizona's most powerful unions.
"The State Bar has been lobbying against the voluntary bar bills every day. The Bar is telling House Members the bills violate constitutional separation of powers. This is incorrect. The bills respect the Arizona Supreme Court's authority over lawyer regulation. What's more, the Arizona Legislature, a coequal branch of government under Arizona Constitutional Article III, has authority to protect constitutional rights and ensure government transparency while respecting the Supreme Court’s role in attorney regulation. Furthermore, ensuring that Arizonans are accorded free speech protections provided by the Arizona Constitution is not the exclusive duty of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Arizona Legislature also has a duty to protect free speech and individual liberties guaranteed under the Arizona Constitution."
John "250K" Phelps
Richard "Dicky" Andrade*
Ceci "Food Stamps" Velasquez
Juan Jose "J J" Mendez
The individuals below are a few of the players behind the Deception at the State Legislature.
Currently at the State Legislature: Bills in Support of Free Speech and greater Transparency at the State Bar of Arizona.
Joe "Pink Underwear" Arpaio
Left to Right: Rick DeBruhl (Lobbyist), John Phelps (SBA CEO) and Former State Legislator Ceci Velasquez take down anti-corruption bill at the legislature. The State Bar was successful in lobbying of Velasquez (who was convicted on food stamp abuse).
The Entire Content of this Website is based on reports from multiple sources - Attorneys, Consumer, and former AZBAR staff.
In some cases, the names of the contributors have been withheld, due to the fear of RETALIATION by the State Bar of Arizona.
Copyright © AZBarWatch. All Rights Reserved.