AG hopeful Pat Murphy hasn't taken Pa. bar test

Posted: January 12, 2012

HARRISBURG - Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for state attorney general, has acknowledged that he never took the Pennsylvania bar examination and has not tried a case in the state's courts.

Murphy told the Associated Press this week that 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 Minnesota's bar exam because fellow officers told him he would get the results sooner.

Murphy, of Bucks County, 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.

He said he tried cases for the Army in federal, military and foreign 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.

Murphy, 38, faces opposition in the April 24 Democratic primary from former Philadelphia prosecutor Dan McCaffery and former Lackawanna County prosecutor Kathleen Kane.

McCaffery campaign spokesman Josh Morrow criticized Murphy for opting out of the only bar exam that tests students' knowledge of Pennsylvania law.

Meanwhile, the race for the Republican nomination for attorney general appears to be over.

Montgomery County state Sen. John Rafferty said Gov. Corbett told him that he's backing Rafferty's foe, Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed.

Rafferty said he respects Corbett's status as the titular head of the state Republican Party and will step aside.

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