New Arizona law will require state bar to pay attorney fees in lost legal discipline cases

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A new law requires the State Bar of Arizona to pay legal fees of lawyers targeted for legal discipline who prevail in their ethics cases.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed the bill into law Monday, report the Associated Press and Bloomberg Law.

The law requires the bar to pay legal fees and costs in the discipline cases that it loses after a final disposition by the presiding disciplinary judge or the state supreme court. The fee and cost requirement doesn’t apply to cases dismissed by the bar before final disposition.

The original bill also would have required the bar to pay for the winning lawyers’ investigation costs, loss of future earnings and damage to reputation, according to the AP. But those provisions were removed from the bill.

The bill followed allegations by Republican Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich that the bar complaint process had been “weaponized.” He entered into a diversion agreement in February to resolve allegations that he took actions contrary to the interests of state agencies represented by his office in two matters. One of those matters involved election litigation.

The law takes effect 90 days after lawmakers adjourn, according to Bloomberg Law.

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