Arizona Legal Services Organizations

Rule 38(f) of the Rules for Admission allows eligible attorneys working for approved legal service organizations to practice law in Arizona under limited circumstances. Please also see the Arizona Government Attorneys page for attorneys practicing on behalf of funded indigent defense office.

Attorneys who were admitted to the practice of law for at least two years in another jurisdiction and who are employed by an approved Arizona legal services organization that provides legal assistance to indigents in civil matters, free of charge, may be admitted to practice before all Arizona courts.

Approved Legal Services Organization
An “approved legal services organization” is a non-profit legal services organization that has as one of its primary purposes the provision of legal assistance to indigents, free of charge, in civil matters. The Arizona Supreme Court must approve a legal services organization. Organizations are required to file a petition with the Clerk explaining:

  • The structure of the organization and whether it accepts funds from its clients.
  • The major sources of the funds used by the organization.
  • The criteria used to determine potential clients’ eligibility for services performed by the organization.
  • The types of services performed by the organization.
  • The names of all members of the Arizona Bar who are employed by the organization or who regularly perform legal work for the organization.
  • The existence and extent of malpractice insurance that will cover the Rule 38(e) attorney.

Petitions for approval are sent to the organization to the Chief Bar Counsel of the Arizona Bar.

Attorneys may only practice in Arizona for clients of the approved legal services organization where the attorney is employed. Attorneys cannot accept any compensation for such services except the salary provided to the attorneys. Part-time employment is permitted. Legal services attorneys may not provide services for compensation other than those for the legal services organization where they are employed.

Attorneys who have been practicing in Arizona for less than two years will be supervised by an attorney who is an active member of the Arizona Bar. The supervising attorney must be employed full-time by the approved legal services organization and will act as a supervisory attorney pursuant to Rule 42 Arizona Supreme Court Rules, ER 5.1.

Attorneys are required to file with the Clerk of the Arizona Supreme Court an application that includes:

  • A certificate that the applicant is presently licensed to practice law, the applicant has fulfilled the requirements of active bar members for at least two years preceding the date of the application, and the applicant has not been disciplined for professional misconduct by the bar of the highest court of the state, territory, or the district during the past five years, or during the time of licensure, whichever is greater.
  • Employer Affidavit. A statement signed by an authorized representative of the approved legal services organization that the applicant is employed by the organization.
  • A sworn statement signed by the applicant that he or she has:
    • Read and is familiar with the Rules of the Supreme Court and the applicable Arizona statutes relative to attorney conduct, and the attorney will abide by those provisions.
    • Submits to the jurisdiction of the Arizona Supreme Court for disciplinary purposes, as defined by the Arizona Supreme Court Rules
    • Has not been disciplined by the Bar or courts of any jurisdiction during the past five years.

Authorization expires if the applicant no longer works for the approved legal services organization. In such cases, the authorized representative must file a notification of termination with the Clerk of the Arizona Supreme Court and the Arizona Bar specifying the date the employment terminated. The notification will be sent within 10 days of the termination. If the attorney leaves an approved legal services organization for another, the attorney is required to file a notification of new employment.

Attorneys must comply with the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirements.