• Arizona Legal Legacies
  • Meet the legends behind the law – Interviews with Arizona attorneys

James M. Murphy

University of Arizona Law,
class of 1941

State Bar of Arizona
member since 1941

The Spanish Legal Heritage in Arizona
Laws, Courts and Lawyers: Through the Years in AZ

James Martin Murphy was born in Tucson, Arizona, May 26,1917. His mother, also born in Tucson, was a member of the Duffy family of teachers, after whom Duffy School was named. Murphy attended St. Joseph's Academy, Safford Junior High and Tucson High School, graduating in 1938. He then attended Notre Dame University from which he received a degree in business in 1938. Returning to Tucson, Murphy entered the University of Arizona Law school, receiving his law degree in June 1941. He then entered private practice with Carlos G. Robles for nine months until he received an appointment to the FBI. He served in the FBI until 1944, when he resigned and joined the navy. In 1946 Murphy was discharged from the navy and returned to Tucson, where he worked in the County Attorney 's Office for J. Mercer Johnson. A year later Murphy joined the law firm of Conner and Jones. He stayed with them until 1960, at which time he formed his own firm. After a year of solo practice, he took John U. Vinson as a partner and through the years other lawyers have joined the firm.

Murphy has been actively interested in Arizona history, especially the history of law and lawyers, and has written two books an the subject:  The Spanish Legal Heritage in Arizona and Laws, Courts and Lawyers Through the Years in Arizona. He has also written several articles for various journals. His interest in history also lead him to be active in the Arizona Historical Society, where he served as president of the society for several years. He has also been active in national and local bar associations and has held several offices, including president of the State Bar of Arizona.

Oral History Audio

Interviewed by James McNulty in 1988.

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