Notice of Proposed Amendments to Utah Court Rules

The Supreme Court invites comments to proposed amendments to the following court rules. The comment period expires July 31, 2013.

Summary of proposed amendments

Revises the rules to more thoroughly address problems with misleading and inaccurate lawyer advertising, both potential and existing, in order to better protect the public. The changes are designed to help lawyers comply with the new rules, as they are more specific than current requirements. The basic components of the proposed rules provide fuller definitions of what constitutes false and misleading legal service communications. The proposed rules would tie compliance requirements to the Bar’s annual licensing renewal form. The new rules would require the lawyers to annually submit any Universal Resource Locator (URL) they use in advertising and to submit such advertising as mass mailings. There is no requirement for prior review of any advertising.

A Judicial Invitation

by Judge Lynn W. Davis
“Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.”
– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
For a long time I have contemplated how we could pay greater tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I wish to encourage the Utah State Bar and its members to be more involved in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It has been my experience that we each can play a more supportive and impassioned role.

Opportunities to be involved abound in our communities. Utah Valley University, for example, now in its eighteenth annual celebration, has invited Julian Bond to be its guest this year. Last year Ambassador Andrew Young was featured. Two years ago, the Brown sisters of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 74 S. Ct. 686 (1954), were honored guests. The University, as part of its “being engaged” philosophy, welcomes and encourages lawyers to be involved in presentations and panels, as well as serving as speakers and moderators. The work of the Martin Luther King Advisory Board has been exceptional and serves as an example after which our own efforts could be patterned. (more…)

Message from the Chair

by Danielle Davis
As the new Chair of the Paralegal Division, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the 2011-2012 Board of Directors and myself.
Chair-Elect – Thora Searle attended Weber State University and has spent thirty-three years working in the legal field. She worked as a legal assistant to William Thomas Thurman at McKay, Burton & Thurman for twenty-one years and currently works as a Judicial Assistant to Judge Thurman at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Utah. She has served several terms as a Director of the Legal Assistant Division/Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar serving several years as the Secretary and the Membership Chair. Thora’s husband of forty-eight years passed away in January of this year so her time outside of work is devoted to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandson. She loves to spend time with them and enjoys watching them participate in soccer, softball, dance, and tumbling. (more…)

Mission of the Utah State Bar

by Robert L. Jeffs
To represent lawyers in the State of Utah and to serve the public and the legal profession by promoting justice, professional excellence, civility, ethics, respect for and understanding of the law.
As President of the Bar, I have reflected on the Bars Mission almost daily. I dont know which of our Bar leaders had the foresight to pen those words, but I think it captures the essence of the goal I hope we all individually and collectively strive to achieve.

By the time you read this message, my term as President of the Utah State Bar will be coming to a close. I can honestly report to you that I have thoroughly enjoyed serving the Bar and its members. Having experienced Bar staff and dedicated Commissioners to work with makes the job of Bar President manageable. That is not to say I didnt get my share of irritating calls from the public complaining about the questionable pedigree of their lawyer or berating me about the injustice of the justice system and demanding that as Bar President, I need to change the law, remove a judge, or disbar their opposing counsel. I also received my share of calls or e-mails from myopic Bar members who believe the Bar is nothing more than a pestilence, that the Bars Mission is misguided. Instead, they advocate that the Bar should not promote ethics, professionalism, or service to the public. But those calls come with the territory. Nevertheless, I suspect my wife and law partners will appreciate more than I that my term is up. Soon I will turn the reins over to the able leadership of Rod Snow and Lori Nelson. (more…)

Civility Matters

by Robert L. Jeffs
Sitting in a deposition of an opposing party, I run through the options available to me as opposing counsel makes his tenth speaking objection designed to coach the witness on how he should respond to my question. I have already asked my colleague to limit his objections pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure. My options include: 1) reach across the table and constrict opposing counsel’s windpipe so no more sound comes out; 2) inform counsel that if he continues to coach his client, he will do so without his front teeth; 3) comment on opposing counsel’s pedigree and invite him to meet me at the Courthouse to continue our discussion. Recognizing that my list of options may be influenced by my rising temperature, I decide I should take a recess to reconsider my options. (more…)

Get Involved!

by Robert L. Jeffs
One of the “perks” of being Bar President is the opportunity to meet with or speak with so many of the leaders of the Sections, Committees, and Divisions of the Bar about the projects and initiatives they are working on for the benefit of their members and the public. Like many of you, prior to my Bar service, I suffered from the myopia that is a symptom of the significant time commitments of a busy law practice. This last month, Isaac Paxman from the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section told me about the new Topic Bank launched by the Litigation Section through its website. This project helps law students identify important, interesting, and current topics for research and writing in law journals or law school projects. (more…)

The Pro Se Quandary

by Robert L. Jeffs
On October 13, over 300 new attorneys were admitted to practice in Utah. With the economic downturn, many law firms have curtailed hiring and, in some circumstances, laid off attorneys. As a result, the numbers of unemployed and underemployed attorneys, as well as attorneys who are trying to establish a new practice, have swelled.

While the decision of firms to limit their hiring may be due, in part, to decreases in demand for certain types of legal services, the demand for legal services in Utah in areas such as divorce, bankruptcy, etc. is actually increasing, as reflected in the substantial increase in court filings. In addition, the courts are being inundated with pro se litigants. That flood of pro se litigants bogs down the courts as the clerks’ offices and courts try to shepherd cases without the expertise of attorneys. Other areas of practice such as foreclosures, loan workouts and modifications, collections, and business liquidations, to name a few, have also experienced increased demand. Yet, those same potential clients see our services as unattainable and beyond their means. (more…)

New Lawyer Training Program:First Year of Implementation

by Tracy Gruber
Once again, the Utah State Bar is expanding its membership, admitting over 300 new lawyers in October 2010. Fortunately, these newly-minted members of the bar will not be alone as they embark on the next stage of their professional development. The experienced members of the bar will be there to guide, assist, and mentor the new lawyers through the New Lawyer Training Program (NLTP).

It is difficult for the new lawyer to face the reality that law school does not fully prepare recent graduates to practice law. After all, three years of intensive study, up to $100,000 in expenses, typically in the form of student loans, not to mention the many stressful months of preparing for the bar exam should prepare one for the profession. However, numerous studies continue to demonstrate that despite successfully teaching legal doctrine and analyses, and preparing one to “think like a lawyer,” law schools consistently fall short in providing the skills necessary for new lawyers to practice. The nature of the modern legal education is such that practical legal skills training is not the focus of the law school curriculum. Although this focus is changing with the expansion of law school clinical and externship programs, limited access to these programs for law students has failed to address the problem. (more…)


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: (A summary of the cases is attached to the e-mail.)
State v. Hernandez, case no. 20090080-SC
State v. Morris, case no. 20090835-SC

WHEN: Wednesday, November 3, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. to approx. 12:00 p.m.
WHERE: J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University
WHO: Utah Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice Christine M. Durham, Associate Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant, Justice Thomas R. Lee, Justice Ronald E. Nehring, and Justice Jill N. Parrish. (more…)

Mandatory CLE Rule Change

Effective January 1, 2008, the Utah Supreme Court adopted the proposed amendment to Rule 14-404(a) of the Rules and Regulations Governing Mandatory Continuing Legal Education to require that one of the three hours of “ethics or professional responsibility” be in the area of professionalism and civility. Should you have questions regarding your CLE compliance, please contact Sydnie Kuhre, MCLE Board Director at or (801) 297-7035.
Rule 14-404. Active Status Lawyers
(a) Active status lawyers. Commencing with calendar year 2008, each lawyer admitted to practice in Utah shall complete, during each two-calendar year period, a minimum of 24 hours of accredited CLE which shall include a minimum of three hours of accredited ethics or professional responsibility. One of the three hours of ethics or professional responsibility shall (more…)

Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee Seeks Applicants

The Utah State Bar is currently accepting applications to fill vacancies on the 14-member Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee. Lawyers who have an interest in the Bar’s ongoing efforts to resolve ethical issues are encouraged to apply.
The charge of the Committee is to prepare and issue formal written opinions concerning the ethical issues that face Utah lawyers. Because the written opinions of the Committee have
major and enduring significance to members of the Bar and the general public, the Bar solicits the participation of lawyers who can make a significant commitment to the goals of the Committee and the Bar.

If you are interested in serving on the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee, please submit an application with the following information, either in résumé or narrative form: (more…)

Utah Tax Review Commission to Meet

On Friday, May 1st, 2009 at 1:00pm the Utah Legislature will be hosing a meeting of the Utah Tax Review Commission. This meeting is currently scheduled to be held in room 445 of the State Capitol. The agenda for the meeting is below.
Utah Tax Review Commission
Utah Legislature
Friday, May 1, 2009 • 1:00 p.m. • Room 445 State Capitol
1. TRC Business

  • Call to Order
  • Approval of minutes of January 15, 2009 and February 18, 2009 meetings
  • Update on Severance Tax Collections and Deposits into the Permanent State Trust Fund
  • 2. Review of Tax Related Legislation Enacted During the 2009 General Session
    3. Review of Study Items for the 2009 Interim (more…)

    2006 Spring Convention Awards

    2006 Spring Convention Awards
    The Board of Bar Commissioners is seeking applications for two Bar awards to be given at the 2006 Spring Convention. These awards honor publicly those whose professionalism, public service, and public dedication have significantly enhanced the administration of justice, the delivery of legal services, and the improvement of the profession. Award applications must be submitted in writing to Maud Thurman, Executive Secretary, 645 South 200 East, Suite 310, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, no later than Monday, January 16, 2006.
    1. Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award – For the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession.
    2. Raymond S. Uno Award – For the Advancement of Minorities in the Legal Profession.

    The Young Lawyer

    Federal Judge Dee Benson Will Speak at Law Day 2001 Luncheon at the Grand America Hotel
    The Utah State Bar and guests will recognize Law Day 2001 on May 1st, highlighted by a luncheon at 12:00 noon at the new Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

    The Honorable Chief Judge Dee V. Benson, United States District Court for the District of Utah, will be the key note speaker. Judge Benson has served on the Federal bench since 1991 when he was appointed by President Bush. Prior to that, Judge Benson served as legal counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1984 to 1986, as Senator Orrin Hatch’s Chief of Staff from 1986 to 1988, and as United States Attorney from 1989 to 1991. For Law Day 2001, Judge Benson is expected to speak on the origins of Law Day. Judge Benson is always a popular speaker whose comments are certain to educate as well as entertain. (more…)