State Capitol News
9:34 am
Tue February 19, 2013

AZ Law School Requirement

It looks like the state's more than 17,000 lawyers aren't going to have to worry about unanticipated new competition. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

Right now, the rules set by the state Supreme Court say you have to graduate from an accredited law school and pass the Bar exam before you can hang out your shingle and take paying clients. Senator Rick Murphy sought to eliminate the first part of that.

"There are a lot of people who, frankly, don't need the seat time," Murphy said. "They're self-studiers, they're learners, they're smart. They could probably pass the Bar exam with a lot less than 2 or 3 years of study if they were just told what to study and here' a list of what you need to know."

When the measure came up for discussion this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee it drew the anticipated opposition of the State Bar of Arizona. But that was only part of Murphy's problem. He also got some kickback from Republican colleague Adam Driggs who graduated from law school at Arizona State University in 1993. Driggs said, "I've always thought that being able to memorize the black-letter law of different areas of the legal practice isn't necessarily indicative of being a good attorney."

Driggs went on to say, what law school teaches is not what the law says but how to find what you need and how to use that information for your clients. With the votes not there, Murphy shelved the measure.