Contact: Rick DeBruhl, Chief Communications Officer
Phone: (602) 340-7335, Mobile: (602) 513-6385

Arizona Supreme Court Agrees to Extend Comment Period on Client Representation

PHOENIX - Aug. 16, 2011- The Arizona Supreme Court has issued an order granting the State Bar of Arizona's request to extend the comment period regarding its proposal dealing with lawyers who exhibit bias or prejudice while representing clients. The new deadline for the comment period is Nov. 1, 2011.

"The State Bar's goal in seeking the extension was to ensure that we had the opportunity to assess the proposal and give it the appropriate consideration required to make a recommendation that will ultimately lead the legal profession - in Arizona - in a positive direction, said State Bar President Joe Kanefield.

The change put forth by the State Bar would add language to rule 42, ER 8.4 stating that it is professional misconduct - after retaining a client - to "knowingly manifest bias or prejudice based upon race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or socioeconomic status in the course of representing a client when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice; provided, however, this does not preclude legitimate advocacy when such classification is an issue in the proceeding."

A key element to note in the revised rule is that it applies to clients who are already being represented by an attorney and does not prevent an attorney from refusing to take on a client because of conflicting philosophical or religious beliefs.

The original comment period deadline was May 20, 2011.

About the State Bar
The State Bar of Arizona is a non-profit organization that operates under the supervision of the Arizona Supreme Court. The Bar includes approximately 16,000 active attorneys and provides education and development programs for the legal profession and the public. Since 1933 the Bar and its members have been committed to serving the public by making sure the voices of all people in Arizona are heard in our justice system.

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