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4:58 AM Sun, Sept. 23rd

County bar members elect local to state board

Bar members who practice law in Yavapai County elected Raymond Hanna to the State Board of Governors, the self-regulating governing body for bar members.

Hanna is among 10 lawyers recently elected to serve as representatives on the State Board of Governors. There are currently 29 people on the Board of Governors and all but four of the 29 are lawyers. The lawyers are elected on a staggered schedule, by district, and serve a two-year term.

Hanna, who specializes in criminal and personal injury law, filled the District 2 seat that represents Yavapai County bar members. He ran against Bruce Rosenberg for the seat formerly held by Raymond Brown.

There were fewer than 200 people eligible to vote, only bar members can participate. Hanna said he wrote letters to every bar member.

"We're elected by the attorneys but our role is really for the Supreme Court," Hanna said. "We have to help them (the Supreme Court) and what they want."

Hanna said the Board of Governors has many functions and programs. Among other things, it regulates admissions to the bar, provides a mentor system and continuing education for lawyers, it handles disputes on fees and sanctions lawyers for unethical behavior.

Hanna said the Board of Governors utilizes these types of programs to improve people's perceptions of lawyers.

He said he intends to focus on making continuing education programs for lawyers. Continued education for lawyers is mandated by the Supreme Court.

Educational courses included topics such as professionalism and ethics. Hanna said lawyers are required to take the ethics class every four years.

"I want to make it (continuing education) easier for us to do and make it easier to report (to the Supreme Court) what we do," he said.

He said the Board of Governors provides a self-regulating body of government that bar members are responsible to.

"Without it, we would be more under the authority of the Legislature," he said. "That way we don't have non-lawyers telling lawyers how to run your bar."

He also said he would like to work his way up into an officer's position in the State Board of Governors.

"I want to stay active in the state bar," he said.

Contact C. Murphy Hebert at mhebert.@prescottaz.com.