While the State Bar of Arizona can take up causes that directly relate to the administration of justice, its ability to take a stand on other issues is severely limited. Because we are a mandatory bar, the courts have decided a number of cases that state bar dues cannot be used to support certain types of causes.
The areas in which the State Bar can be engaged include:
- Questions concerning the regulation and discipline of attorneys
- Matters relating to the improvement of the functioning of the courts, judicial efficacy and efficiency
- Increasing the availability of legal services to society
- Regulation of attorneys' clients trust accounts
- Education, ethics, competence, integrity and regulation as a body, of the legal profession
Additionally, the following criteria are to be used to determine the type of legislative matters that a mandatory bar may become actively involved with when an issue appears to fall outside of the specifically identified areas listed above:
- That the issue be recognized as being of great public interest
- That lawyers are especially suited by their training and experience to evaluate and explain the issues
- The subject matter affects the rights of those likely to come into contact with the judicial system
The State Bar of Arizona identified issues of greatest importance to the legal community in its Strategic Priorities 2010. Among those issues are competency, ethics, professionalism and the administration of justice.
Challenges to these themes have resurfaced many times during the State Bar's history. When the need arises, task forces are charged with researching how other bar associations across the country are dealing with similar concerns.