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AZ Senate approves bill that would make it harder to discipline lawyers

Arizona Senate Republicans have voted to require the state bar to pay attorney fees and other costs if the bar seeks to discipline a lawyer and ends up losing.

The measure approved Wednesday has the potential to discourage investigations of attorneys accused of ethical violations or other misbehavior.

Republican Sen. Vince Leach introduced the bill after Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs filed a bar complaint against Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Hobbs said Brnovich and lawyers in his office broke attorney ethics rules while representing her in cases related to the 2020 election. Leach says Hobbs “weaponized” the bar complaint process.

The executive director of the State Bar of Arizona says the bill is unworkable.