ALI Council
Elected Member

The Hon. Scott Bales

Denver, CO
Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at Univ. of Denver
Michigan State University
Harvard Law School

Scott Bales is the Executive Director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at University of Denver. He served on the Arizona Supreme Court (2005-2019), serving as Chief Justice from 2014 to 2019.

Justice 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, Justice Bales practiced law in Arizona as both a private and public lawyer. From 2001 to 2005, he worked at Lewis & Roca, where his practice focused on appellate and complex litigation. As Arizona’s Solicitor General from 1999 to 2001, he handled major appeals in state and federal court, oversaw the enforcement of Arizona election laws, and supervised the preparation of legal opinions on issues concerning state government.

Justice Bales also was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, a Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Policy Development 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.

Justice 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.  

The Hon. Scott Bales Image
Areas of Expertise
Criminal Law
Appellate Practice & Procedure (Litigation)
Public Law (Administrative)