Scott Bales retired from Arizona Supreme Court in 2019 after fourteen years of service, including a five-year term as Chief Justice from 2014 to 2019. He then served as the Executive Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver through July 2020.
Bales was named by the American Judges Association as the 2018 recipient of the Chief Justice Richard W. Holmes Award of Merit, which recognizes “outstanding contributions to the judiciary.” He also received the 2018 Ernest C. Friesen Award of Excellence, presented annually by the Justice Management Institute to an individual who has demonstrated vision, leadership, and sustained commitment to the achievement of excellence in the administration of justice.
Prior to joining the court, Bales practiced law in Arizona as both a private and public lawyer. He was a partner in firms that later became Osborn Maledon P.A. and Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, where his practice focused on appellate and complex litigation.
Bales served as Arizona’s Solicitor General from 1999–2001. He also was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Policy Development, a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and a Special Investigative Counsel for the Justice Department’s Inspector General.
He clerked for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Joseph T. Sneed III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Bales has taught as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.
EDUCATION: Michigan State University, B.A.; Harvard University, M.A.; Harvard Law School, J.D.