Searching for the Most Senior Arizona Attorney
up and a judge
would point at
one and assign
a case. The maximum fee per
case was $100.
Hayt was appointed to a first-degree murder and assault case. It was a two-day trial
and required a lot of prep work. The judge
would only pay him $75 for his time.
Later, a friend in Sun City invited Hayt
to join him in an estate planning practice.
“I enjoyed court work,” says Hayt. “If you
don’t go to court and try cases, you’re not
a lawyer; you’re an attorney at law or a
counselor, not a ‘real’ lawyer.” Hayt says
that one year, he persuaded the State Bar to
create a pictorial directory of lawyers, and it
was published for about 15 years. “I don’t
know why they stopped doing it.”
Asked what he liked best about the
practice of law, Hayt chuckles and says,
“Cashing checks.” He notes that he did his
best to win every case for every client, and
he earned many referrals as a result.
As for what advice he’d give new
lawyers, Hayt says, “I’d tell them, “Keep
your nose clean, obey the rules, try your
nose clean, obey
the rules, try
your very best
very best to win, to succeed, for
whatever clients you have. And if
you have bad cases, don’t take
them if it looks like a loser.”
Hayt would require each new
lawyer to learn how to play chess
and poker. Chess, so that the
lawyer can learn to analyze the
other side’s moves and respond.
Poker, so that the lawyer can learn
how to read the other side when
they are trying to hide the strength
or weakness of their case.
In the 1940s, Lester spent time overseas
in the Army and later as a civilian JAG
reviewing courts-martial. In addition to
English, he speaks French, German and
The most senior active lawyer licensed
in Arizona sums up his feeling about the
profession he’s served for more than 70
years: “I guess we are all practicing. Some
day, we’ll learn how to do it.” AZ AT
Hester Turner delivering brief remarks as she was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the faculty of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, October 5, 2012.
“It’s still a profession
if you make it so.”