Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, has acknowledged he never took the Pennsylvania bar examination and has not tried a case in the state’s courts.
Murphy said he took Minnesota’s bar exam after graduating from Widener University Law School in Harrisburg in 1999.
He said he was entering the Army Judge Advocate General Corps and decided to take the Minnesota test because fellow officers told him he would get the results sooner.
The Bucks County resident was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 2004 based on his passing the Minnesota exam and five years as an Army lawyer. The only professional qualification the Pennsylvania Constitution requires for the attorney general is that he or she be a member of the state bar.
In the Army, he said he has tried cases in federal, military and foreign courts — in the United States, Iraq and Bosnia — but not in Pennsylvania’s civilian courts. Since leaving the Army in 2004, he has worked for the Philadelphia law firms of Cozen O’Connor and Fox Rothschild, where he is a partner.
“I’ve been involved in active litigation, but I have not been the one making arguments in court on behalf of clients,” he said in a telephone interview. “I miss the courtroom. I did it as an Army captain in the JAG Corps, and I was damn good at my job.”
Murphy, 38, faces opposition in the April 24 Democratic primary from former Philadelphia prosecutor Dan McCaffery and former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane.
Murphy served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was defeated by Republican Mike Fitzpatrick in 2010.
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