Utah Sentencing Commission Seeks Representative

The Utah State Bar is seeking a representative to serve a one-year term on the Utah Sentencing Commission.  The Utah Sentencing Commission is a legislatively created body charged with establishing sentencing guidelines and developing policy recommendations regarding the sentencing and release of adult and juvenile offenders. The Sentencing Commission is comprised of 27 members representing all facets of the justice system, including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legislators, victims, law enforcement, treatment specialists, corrections officials, parole authorities and others.  The representative must be an attorney in private practice who is a member of the Bar and experienced in adult criminal defense.  Submit resumes to Christy Abad by email at christy.abad@utahbar.org.

Resumes must be received by 5:00 p.m., Friday, January 6, 2017.

SLCBA New Lawyers & Judges Reception

The Salt Lake County Bar Association
Cordially Invites You to Its

New Lawyers & Judges Reception

Thursday, October 20, 2016

5:30 to 8:00 PM

to Welcome the New Admittees to the Bar

Gallivan Hall

239 South Main Street, Salt Lake City

(Pay Parking Available Underneath Gallivan Center)

No Cost to Attend. Hors d’oeuvres and Drinks Served

RSVP to Ms. Jeri Tovey at jeri-tovey@rbmn.com or

(801) 531-2099 by October 18.



Utah Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments At S.J. Quinney College Of Law

WHAT: The Utah Supreme Court periodically holds court sessions in other locations to provide an opportunity to enhance public understanding of the court’s work and to provide law students with an opportunity to see the Supreme Court in session.

Cases to be heard are as follows:

  • 10 a.m. — Lancer Ins v. Lake Shore Motor 20160244-SC
  • 10:45 a.m. — Heslop v. Bear River 20150697-SC

(See link to the briefs below)

WHEN: Wednesday, September 14 at 10 a.m. to approx. 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: S.J. Quinney College of Law, Moot Courtroom, 383 South University Street, RM 6200, University of Utah

WHO: Utah Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Thomas R. Lee, Justice Christine M. Durham, Justice Deno Himonas, Justice John A. Pearce


One pool still photographer and one pool video camera will be permitted into the court session. To request to be the pool photographer, contact the Public Information Office Geoffrey Fattah at (801) 578-3994 by September 13.

University of Utah contact: Melinda Rogers (801) 608-9888

Case Brief Links:

Justice Court Judge Selection Meeting Planned

Morgan, UT—The Morgan County Judicial Nominating Commission has scheduled a meeting on Oct. 7, 2016, to select a candidate for the Morgan County Justice Court to replace Judge Tony Hassell who will retire effective Dec. 30, 2016. The commission will begin the meeting at 9 a.m. at the Morgan County Offices, 48 W. Young Street, in the Council Room on the East side of the building.

The early portion of the meeting is scheduled for public comment about issues facing the Utah judiciary and refinements or improvements to the system. Public comments will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Following the public hearing, the meeting is closed to allow commission members to select a slate of three to five candidates for the vacancy.

Individuals interested in appearing before the commission during the public comment portion of the meeting should contact Melisse Stiglich at (801) 578-3844 to request an appointment. Information on the Justice Court Nominating Commission members is available at www.utcourts.gov.

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SLTrib Op-Ed – Utah’s judges should reflect its population

Salt Lake Tribune Op-ed: Utah’s judges should reflect its population | The Salt Lake Tribune

Op-ed: Utah’s judges should reflect its population

| Courtesy Robert O. Rice, op-ed mug.| Photo Courtesy of  Robert O. Rice

The Utah State Bar supports The Salt Lake Tribune’s recent efforts to highlight the importance of a diverse Utah judiciary. (See “Ethnic, gender diversity is for the benefit of all,” on June 29 and “Can Utah diversify its judicial bench? Jury’s still out,” on July 9.)

Lawyers, who represent clients from all aspects of society, have a uniquely clear view of the importance of the background of judges who decide their clients’ cases. Perhaps the question becomes, then, what is our profession doing to promote a system of justice that reflects, in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, “a cross section of America.”  The answer is a great deal.

First, Utah lawyers are actively encouraging lawyers from diverse backgrounds to apply for the bench. Women Lawyers of Utah has developed a program to provide mentoring to its members applying for judicial vacancies. To help demystify the application process, Women Lawyers of Utah offers seminars and pairs applicants with someone who has experienced the nomination process.

Second, the Utah Minority Bar Association is also fully engaged in promoting diversity in Utah’s judiciary. Like Women Lawyers of Utah, the Utah Minority Bar Association actively seeks qualified candidates from its membership and encourages those lawyers to apply for bench openings. The Utah Minority Bar Association also recommends qualified members of the minority bar to serve on judicial nominating commissions.  Understanding that there is more it can do, it has recently created a Judicial Advocacy Committee to evaluate additional action to address this critical issue.

In our own organization, the Utah State Board of Bar Commissioners, lawyers have elected diverse leaders to make policy for lawyers across Utah. Of our 15 voting Bar Commissioners, nine are women. The Bar Commission also enjoys guidance from ex-officio members from the Utah Minority Bar Association and Women Lawyers of Utah and LGBT & Allied Lawyers of Utah. In short, the Bar Commission looks more like the rest of the state, which represents a substantial step toward promoting diversity in other areas of our judicial system.

The ranks of Utah lawyers are steadily growing with immensely qualified, diverse law school graduates from the J. Reuben Clark Law School and the S. J. Quinney College of Law and elsewhere. Clearly, our bar swells with talented lawyers from varied backgrounds educated within and without the state who will for years to come be ready to assume a position on the bench.

Gov. Gary Herbert deserves many accolades for his efforts to appoint women and minority lawyers to the bench, having appointed 20 women and four minority lawyers to the bench during his tenure. I’ve appeared before many of Herbert’s appointments, and I can attest to their strong qualifications and to the fact that the governor has appointed the most qualified applicants possible in every instance.

Herbert’s success in his judicial appointments, the Bar’s efforts to promote diversity on our bench and the steady number of diverse, qualified new lawyers graduating from our law schools is a sure sign of great things to come. Utah is exceedingly well-positioned to ensure that its state court looks more and more like the state it is intended to serve.

Email Scam Targeting Attorneys

June 24, 2016

State bars across the country are receiving reports of an email scam targeting attorneys using false notifications of disciplinary actions.

In the emails, the lawyer is instructed to click on a link to view a complaint, which loads a malicious software called ransomware that blocks computer access until a sum of money is paid.

Although we have not yet received reports of Utah attorneys receiving these emails, members should be aware that the Utah State Bar Office of Professional Conduct does not send initial notices of attorney discipline bar complaints by email and will not correspond with an attorney on a matter via email unless authorized by that attorney.

If you receive an email of this type, delete it immediately.

Utah State Bar


Section Events for May 2016


Annual Meeting
Time: May 20, 2016 / 8:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Location: The Grand America Hotel
555 So. Main St.
Salt Lake City, UT
Cost: $75 – Business Law Section Members, $120 all others
CLE Credit: 3 hours Reg. CLE Credit, 1 hour Ethics

Register at: https://www.utahbar.org/calendar/


  • May 17th 12:00-1:30pm – ENREL Annual Update
  • May 17th 9:00am-1:15pm – Annual Collection Law Seminar
  • May 19th 12:00-1:00pm – Elder Law and Estate Planning Legislative Update
  • May 19th 8:00am-2:00pm – Annual Real Property Seminar
  • May 20th 6:00-9:00pm – IP Section Annual Social
  • June 3rd 8:30am-4:45pm – Annual Family Law Seminar

For info on any of these events, contact the CLE department at CLE@utahbar.org or register online at https://services.utahbar.org/events


Utah Bar Section Events for April 2016

Paralegal Division

  • Paralegal Division 20th Anniversary Gala – The Paralegal Division will celebrate its 20th Anniversary as a section of the Utah State Bar on April 6, 2016. Please join us in a semi-formal celebratory evening featuring dinner catered by The Main Event and performances by Party Rock Project and Paul Draper.

Date: Friday, April 22, 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
Place: The Grand Hall at The Gateway, 18 North Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City
Cost: $40

Tickets can be purchased through the Utah State Bar (801-531-9077) or online at
For more information please contact us at 20thanniversary2016@gmail.com. 

Estate Planning Section

  • On April 19, 2016 the Estate Planning Section is excited to have Steve R. Akers present at 12:00 pm.

Steve R. Akers is truly exceptional, being one of the few that the titans of the estate planning world look to for insights and guidance. He is a past editor of the ACTEC Law Journal and a member of ACTEC’s Executive Committee, past Chair of the ABA’s Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, and a member of the Advisory Committee to and a frequent speaker at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. His annual tome “Heckerling Musings” presents highlights, summaries, and insights from Heckerling, as well as many of his own planning tips relating to the topics presented at the conference. He has developed incredible depth, expertise and wisdom in multiple areas of estate planning, and he’s a great presenter to boot.

Register at: https://www.utahbar.org/cle/section-events/

Young Lawyers Division

  • Join YLD for its annual speed networking event on April 27 from 5:30-7:30 at Squatters (147 W Broadway, Salt Lake City). Young layers and experienced lawyers will have an opportunity to network in this fun, fast-paced, speed dating style event. Appetizers and drinks will be provided. RSVP to Dani Cepernich at dnc@scmlaw.com by Monday, April 25. Please include how many years you have been practicing. Space is limited.

Litigation Section

  • Relieve your tension with an hour of free yoga every Friday at 2pm on the 4th floor of the Felt Building – 341 South Main Street (Zen room at Zimmerman Jones Booher).  Sponsored by the Litigation Section and open to all members of the legal community.  Yes, this means you.  We’d love to see you!
  • Litigator’s Running Group: Wednesday at 6 pm May- September- additional details to follow.
  • Zen In Zion’s May 14, 2016

A family-friendly networking reception & retreat.

  • Litigation Section Annual Meeting is June 10-11, 2016 in Moab!

We will have CLE, a social reception on Friday night with the judges who have received the 2016 Judicial Excellence Award and recreational activities on Saturday. This year, we’re starting a new tradition and will be presenting a trophy to one of our fellow litigators (think Stanley Cup for attorneys). Networking and CLE can be fun!

  • Salt Lake County Golf & CLE: August 12, details to follow.

If you are interested in receiving our announcements or have ideas, please email:

Heather L. Thuet

Chair of the Litigation Section




Relieve your tension   with an hour of free yoga every Tuesday at  2pm on the 4th floor of the Felt Building – 341 South Main Street (Zen room at Zimmerman Jones Booher).  Sponsored by the Litigation Section and open to all members of the legal community.  Yes, this means you.  We’d love to see you!

Section Updates for March 2016

Government & Administrative Law Section

  • Please join us for the Third Annual ALJ, Government & Administrative Law Conference this coming May 5, 2016. The conference will be held at the Utah Bar, and will include breakfast, lunch and up to 5 hours of CLE credit. $35 for ALJs and members of the Government/Administrative Law Section. Come learn about the fundamentals of UAPA, GRAMA requests, and how to effectively participate in drafting administrative rules.
  • The Supreme Court at a Crossroads: A discussion with Kannon Shanmugam.
    • Date: Thursday, April 7, 2015
    • Time: 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.
    • Place: The Alta Club, 100 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah

Cost: $40 for members of the Appellate Practice Section, the Government and Administrative Law Section, and the Utah Federal Bar Association, $50 for non-members.

Litigation Section

  • Rise & Shine – Setting the Stage at Trial: How to Write and Deliver a Compelling Opening Statement
    • Date: March 24, 2016
    • Time: 8:20am – 9:30am
    • Place: Federal Courthouse Jury Assembly Room- 351 So. West Temple
  • Litigation Section Annual Meeting is June 10-11, 2016 in Moab!
    • We will have CLE, a social reception on Friday night with the judges who have received the 2016 Judicial Excellence Award and recreational activities on Saturday. This year, we’re starting a new tradition and will be presenting a trophy to one of our fellow litigators (think Stanley Cup for attorneys). Networking and CLE can be fun!
  • Zen In Zion’s May 14, 2016

A family-friendly networking reception & retreat.

  • Salt Lake County Golf & CLE: August 12, details to follow.
  • Litigator’s Running Group: Wednesday at 6 pm May- September- additional details to follow.

If you are interested in receiving our announcements or have ideas, please email:

Heather L. Thuet
Chair of the Litigation Section



EBulletin for January 2016


I hope your 2016 is off to a great start and that your goals and good intentions have survived the first two weeks! If you have questions or comments about the information below (or any bar-related activities) please do not hesitate to contact me at my bar email address:utahbarpresident.angelinatsu@utahbar.org.


Please join us at the Alta Club this Thursday, January 14th from 5:00-7:30 p.m. as we put a new twist on an old Utah Law tradition: Bar Review—a social gathering for lawyers and judges hosted by the Bar, the Litigation Section, YLD, and ORANGE Legal. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and open bar. There is no cost to attend; RSVP to Kathy Spencer at kspencer@parrbrown.com.


How to Create a Lean Law Practice: Be more efficient to offset high overhead, disruptive technology, and economic changes. Monday, January 25 at the Bar; $35/$20-YLD. Details & registration.

Upcoming section luncheons and CLE seminars.


NLTPThe next New Lawyer Training Program Mentor Training will be January 21, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Bar. Free lunch included: 1 ethics and 1 professionalism credit. Register.


We are seeking nominations for the Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award for the advancement of women in the legal profession and the Raymond S. Uno Award for the advancement of minorities in the legal profession. Submit your nomination in writing to adminasst@utahbar.org by this Friday, January 15. You can also write to Christy Abad, 645 South 200 East, SLC UT 84111 or fax to 801-531-0660. Past award recipients.

Please nominate a deserving mentor for the new Mentoring Awards to be presented at the first Annual Breakfast of Champions on Wednesday, February 24, 8 a.m., at the Alta Club. Please submit your nomination in 400 words or less to Michelle Mumford by January 31.

Woman Lawyers of Utah is seeking nominations for the 2016 Christine M. Durham Woman Lawyer of the Year Award to recognize an outstanding woman member of the Bar for her professionalism, integrity, excellence, and dedication to furthering opportunities for women in the law. E-mail written nominations by 5:00 p.m. February 12.


We have retained Foxley & Pignanelli to provide lobbying and government relations services in accordance with Utah Court Rule 14-106. The 2016 General Legislative Session convenes January 25. If you are interested in assisting with our legislative efforts, please contact a chair of the Government Relations Committee, your section representative, or our new lobbyists.


We are accepting nominations for Bar Commissioners: two members from the Third Division and one member from the Second Division, each to serve a three-year term beginning July 2016.Signed Petitions by ten members per nomination due by February 2 by 5:00 p.m.


Law Day 2016This year marks the 50th anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona. On May 1 we will explore Miranda rights, as well as the procedural protections afforded to all of us by the U.S. Constitution. Please consider running an ad or writing an article for the Law Day Special Edition in the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune.  Previous Law Day Special Edition. Law Day 2016 content ideas.  Please contact sean.toomey@utahbar.org.

eBulletin for December 2015

Thanks to everyone who attended the Fall ForumThe Record did a nice set of articles on these issues from the convention:  the neuroscience of decision making, the importance of jury selection, and gender issues in negotiation.




Spring Convention Chair Trystan Smith has announced a great line-up of keynote speakers for the Spring Convention in St. George, March 10-12Lodging.

Join us for the Summer Convention in San Diego, July 6-9 at Loews Coronado BayInitial details.


We are seeking candidates for Bar President-elect 2016-17 (President 2017-18); notice due by January 1.

We are also interested in nominations for Bar Commissioners:  two members from the Third Division, and one member from the Second Division, each to serve a three-year term, beginning July 2016.  Petitions by ten members per nomination due by 5:00 p.m. February 2.


The Governor’s Office has announced a search for a new Director of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.  This is an important position for the judiciary and the practice of law; please encourage qualified people to apply.


Test your ability to quickly size up a client and a case:  participate in the Court’s Pro Se Calendar and help a new client on a limited basis as they are about to appear before a commissioner.  Learn more, enjoy some pizza, and bring your calendar:  Tuesday December 15 at noon with Commission Joanna Sagers, Matheson W36.

Shop at Amazon and support “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”  Link your Amazon account to AJFA.

And give the gift of justice this holiday season; AJFA received its third consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management and commitment to transparency and accountability, a rating received by only 14% of charities in the U.S.  Donate.


26th Annual Food & Clothing Drive on December 18 from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Chair Leonard Burningham asks us to open our closets and pantries this year and bring donations to the Bar where elves will be standing by to assist with unloading.  All proceeds go to The Rescue Mission, the YWCA Women & Children in Jeopardy program, and Jennie Dudley’s Eagle Ranch Ministry (she serves the homeless under the freeway).   More on helping. If you didn’t see his amazing story e-mailed this morning, please take a look now.


Group benefits and current deals (the first time you click on a “View Deal” you will be logged into benefits and subsequent clicks will take you to the specific offer).

From Leonard Burningham: 2015 Food & Clothing Drive Reminder

Dear Members of the Bar:

LWB_Thanksgiving_Photo     With this year being the 26th anniversary of our Food and Clothing Drive, I decided to spend Wednesday, November 25th, Thanksgiving eve and into the early part of Thanksgiving morning, on the street with the homeless. The experience indelibly etched me with so many different feelings and thoughts that I would like to share with you with the  hope that they will inspire increased participation in this year’s drive, the drop date of which is December 18, 2015, at the loading dock of the Utah Law and Justice Center.  Starting about three weeks earlier, I commenced the growing of a full and untrimmed beard.  I did not bathe for the final two days and used the long johns I had skied in the previous weekend; and I also used other clothing that I had previously worn and that had not been washed with a detergent.  I had an old backpack that contained one blanket, about a foot of floss, two antacid tablets and one of those miniature Tabasco bottles; this was all I could think of when I was leaving the house, and why the Tabasco bottle, who knows-maybe so I could use the antacid tablets.  Anyway, as I walked towards town, I thought about things like finding bathrooms, how to fit in, how I would be treated, and even my own safety, along with how cold the ground might be to sleep on.  It was raining by the time I arrived at Trolley Square, so I thought I would see how I was received there, and if there was a public restroom.  I had no issues with anyone, used the restroom and had a short conversation with a young man under the overhang of the building outside and out of the rain; the conservation was about the strange contraption he was using that turned out to be some kind of an electronic cigarette machine filled with oil-interesting, but kind of like carrying a small pistol around in your hand.  I continued walking downtown, donned a garbage bag that I poked holes for my head and arms, to keep dry, and went straight to the Rescue Mission. There were only a few people standing outside, and there were a few covered in blankets under the front stair case.  I walked in and was greeted directly, and asked if I could stay the night if I had no place to sleep; I was told that I could and that registration was from 5:50 pm to 6:00 pm (it was about 4:00 pm when I arrived), though I had no intention of taking someone’s bed.  From there, I proceeded through Pioneer Park, and was surprised to see only a few people who were sitting or lying on the ground with blankets, along with a few others who were just walking through the park or on the sidewalk.  I then walked the three or so blocks to The Road Home and the St. Vincent Catholic Community Center (across from each other at the south end of the Gateway Mall on 200 South and 500 West.  Both blocks were filled with about 200 people, many lying on the streets with or without blankets and most not properly clothed for the cold weather; the largest group was up against the wall at St. Vincent’s.  This kind of sets the stage.  During the evening and into the night, I walked to and from these shelters and the Rescue Mission and ventured along 100 South to 500 South and as far into the city as State Street, and in and out of Pioneer Park.

In The News – Utah Bar in Above the Law Article

Were We Wrong About This Law Firm? Probably, Yeah.

Gavel with American FlagAs some of you know, I attended the Utah State Bar Association’s Fall Forum a couple weeks back and regaled the crowd with advice on avoiding the pages of ATL. Or at least staying out of ATL for being this guy. Beyond that, Utah’s strict decency codes prevent me from discussing the speech further, but suffice it to say the whole affair ended with a drunk lawyer in a trash can, so a good time was had by all.

At the annual Utah Minority Bar Association gala, also held that week, the organization bestowed its Law Firm of the Year award upon Open Legal Services, a firm founded a mere two years ago committed to providing affordable legal services to underserved clients in Utah through a “Low Bono” model charging clients on a sliding scale based on household income. Formed by a pair of young attorneys and a dream, the firm just hired its seventh associate and is tackling an ever-increasing amount of the legal work for the majority — 51 percent — of Utah too rich to qualify for pro bono services and too poor to hire traditional private practitioners.

That’s when it struck me that Open Legal Services had already made its way into the pages of ATL like all those people I was lecturing about. A little over a year ago, in fact, columnist Keith Lee took issue with Open Legal Services because its founders came into their practice only a year out of law school — experience that Lee found wanting:

Perhaps the second largest problem facing new lawyers, outside of unemployment, is a lack of practical education on how to actually be a lawyer. While there are all sorts of suggestions on how to address this lack of real-world education, none of them are particularly good. And while something like OLS might be able to address this deficit, OLS does not. On the OLS website there is a lot of talk about “revolution,” but not much about the background or experience of the attorneys who make up OLS. A brief search on the Utah State Bar’s website shows that Argyle and Spencer were both admitted in October of 2013. They have been practicing for less than a year. Perhaps they focused on public service in law school. Maybe they summered at a public defenders’ office. But as it stands now, there is no way to tell. And even if they had, such experiences are no substitute for actually learning the practice of law under the guidance of an experienced lawyer.

Certainly a valid concern, but was it really a disqualifying one? As one commenter noted at the time:

Totally unfair and uncalled for to presume that people doing this firm are somehow not competent. It’s quite an accusation, and quite baseless.

As others have noted, there are tons of attorneys out there who boast about how many “years of experience” they have and are sloppy, unreliable, and clueless. There are plenty of new attorneys that are sharp, dedicated and willing to put in long hours to get things right.