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History of the Arizona State Bar

 

The Arizona Territory was formed in 1865 and already lawyers were practicing law in three judicial

districts. In 1895, the first statewide bar association was created and regular meetings began

occurring. In 1902, bar dues were raised from $1 to $5. Also in 1902, the bar led the rewriting of a civil

code for the Territory and in 1904 strongly promoted the admission of Arizona and New Mexico as

one state into the Union. Arizona became the 48th state in 1912.

 

The Arizona Bar Association was first incorporated in 1906 and in 1912 it adopted the ethical rules of

the American Bar Association and began official admission procedures for the practice of law. The

University of Arizona College of Law was created in 1925 to expand upon what had previously only

been a department of study.

 

The State Bar of Arizona was created as an integrated or "mandatory membership" organization in

1933 by an act of Legislature to serve the legal profession and the public. At that time there were 654

attorneys and 22 judges in the state and only 175 belonged to the voluntary Arizona Bar Association.

The State Bar of Arizona began holding annual conventions, except in 1945 during World War II.

 

In 1948 the State Bar of Arizona opened its first Office at 234 North Central Avenue in Phoenix and

hired its first employee, Mrs. Doris Odom, as secretary. Slightly more than 1,000 attorneys were

licensed to practice law in Arizona at that time.

 

The first Executive Director was hired in 1954. Don Phillips served for 10 years before handing over

the reins to Eldon Husted whose tenure lasted from 1964 to 1982. Husted prepared the first annual

budget for the association in 1965 and it totaled $78,000. When Husted left in 1982, membership

numbers had climbed beyond 7,000.

 

In 1973, the Arizona Supreme Court drafted Rule 31 which created joint oversight by the legislature

and supreme court over the State Bar. That joint oversight ended in 1983 when the Legislature

'sunsetted' the 1933 State Bar Act.

 

Today, the State Bar of Arizona is still located in downtown Phoenix (at 111 West Monroe) but the

organization's 80 staff members serve more than 14,000 licensed attorneys and manage a $6 million

budget.