Top 10 Great Things About Being a Utah Lawyer

election2013_JGilsonIn Dave Letterman-like fashion, for my final “President’s Message,” I would like to share ten great things about being a Utah lawyer. It’s good to remind ourselves about the positive side of our profession.

10. The attorney-to-population ratio is (slightly) higher in Utah than the teacher-to-student ratio and higher than the national average.

As of May 31, 2015, there were 11,838 licensed attorneys in Utah (9,148 active; 2,690 inactive). This is an increase of 201 from May 31, 2014. The population in Utah is about 3 million. So, there is approximately one Utah lawyer for every 253 Utah residents. There are approximately 1,294,000 lawyers in the

e.Bulletin for June 2015


Don’t miss the Summer Convention in Sun Valley July 29-August 1. See the schedule for the motivating keynote speakers, informative CLE, and numerous opportunities to interact with colleagues, friends, and family. Register online by June 26 for the early discount. Sun Valley Lodge and Inn are filling up fast: call 800-786-8259 for reservations (8 am to 9 pm). Also see the many other close lodging options. Convention highlights include:

  • US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s keynote on Thursday morning
  • Judges & Lawyers Mixer on Friday evening
  • Sun Valley now offers the best of the old and new with a major remodel

The Bar Commissioners are seeking nominations for the 2015 Bar Awards. These awards have a long history of publicly honoring those whose professionalism, public service, and personal dedication has significantly enhanced the administration of justice, the delivery of legal services, and the profession in general. Please submit your nominations to Christy Abad, 645 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111 or, to be received no later than Wednesday, June 10, 2015. View a list of past award recipients.

e.Bulletin for March 2015



In April, we will have an opportunity to vote for a new Bar President-elect and Third, Fourth, and Fifth Divisions Bar Commissioners.  Please visit election details for information on the candidates.  Here is the field of excellent candidates:


  • President-elect:  Robert Rice and Tom Seiler
  • Third Division Commissioner (two openings):  Kate Conyers, Janise Macanas, and Michelle Mumford
  • Fourth Division Commissioner (one opening):  Liisa Hancock and Tom Seiler
  • Fifth Division Commissioner (one opening):  Aaron Randall and Katie Woods

Also in April, the Magna Carta Traveling Exhibit will be touring Utah.  Local Bar associations are putting together some great events in St. George, Orem, Logan, and Ogden; click here for the exhibit schedule.  And for those on the Wasatch Front, please stop by after work on Friday, April 3, from 4 to 6:00 p.m. to see the exhibit and enjoy a reception at the Utah Law and Justice Center, 645 S. 200 E, SLC.  We are planning a Magna Carta Gala Celebration on the evening of April 14 at Rice Eccles Stadium, where Chief Justice Durrant and Governor Herbert will be speaking.  Please write to if you are interested in attending.  We are looking forward to hearing what Utah students write about Magna Carta; please encourage students in grades 8-12 to participate by March 30.  For information, see competitions.

e.Bulletin for December 2014


election2013_JGilsonSeason’s greetings!

Please join us in helping local shelters this Friday, December 19 for the 25th Annual Food and Clothing Drive.  Drop off your items at the Bar from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the back doors of the Bar where volunteers will help you unload your donations.  Click here for details.

I’m pleased to announce that the Bar has established a Commission on the Future of Legal Services in Utah to evaluate issues resulting from developments in technology and globalization, as well as changes in demographics and economics.  The charge and scope of this Futures Commission is to “gather input, study, and consider the ways current and future lawyers can provide legal and law-related services to the public, especially to individuals and small businesses.”  If you have thoughts on this issue, please contact me or co-chairs Nate Alder, or John Lund,

e.Bulletin for September 2014


Classes are now available for the third annual September 17 Constitution Day Teach-in, for grades 5 through 12, with availability September 15-19.  Most classes are less than one hour long.  Helping young people understand the role of lawyers and the justice system is very enjoyable, makes a big difference in the classroom, and generates a lot of good will for our profession.  Click here to select a class to teach.  It’s easy to do: teach your own lesson or follow the lesson plan devised by the Bar’s Civic Education Committee (Co-chaired by Ben Hathaway and Gabe White).  An optional program review will be at the Law & Justice Center on Thursday, September 4, at 5 p.m. or Friday, September 5, at Noon; on-line video available next week; one-hour CLE credit for any option.  Click here for lesson plan and CLE registration.

E.Bulletin for August 2014


Thanks to all those who attended the Bar’s Summer Convention, in Snowmass Colorado, July 16-19.  There was great CLE and opportunities to meet with other lawyers and judges, plus enjoy the outdoors.  Special thanks are due to Troy Booher for chairing this outstanding convention.  See these links for information about the Bar’s new leadership and our award winners, including Judge of the Year James L. ShumateLawyer of the year Charlotte L. Miller, and special awards to the Young Lawyers Division, Civics Education Committee, and Intellectual Property Section.  Please save the dates for next summer’s convention, which will be in Sun Valley on July 29-August 1, 2015.

President’s Message: Fall Forum Awards


I am pleased to announce the recognition of the following people for outstanding service to the community and the profession. Awards will be presented at the Fall Forum.



  • Professionalism Award, given to a lawyer or judge whose actions and deportment represent the highest standards of courtesy, fairness and civility: William S. Britt.
  • Community Member of the Year Award, to recognize outstanding service toward the creation of a better public understanding of the legal profession and the administration of justice, the judiciary or the legislative process: Robert Austin, Education Specialist at Utah State Office of Education.
  • Outstanding Mentor Award, presented to an inside mentor from the January and July 2012 New Lawyer Training program: Brent H. Bartholomew.
  • (more…)

e.Bulletin for September 2013


commissioner_Jensen_CurtisI hope you had an enjoyable summer. At our last commission meeting we reviewed and assessed our performance on last year’s objectives as well as how we can continue to improve the programs currently being implemented by the Bar. We also had a great discussion on some of the challenges facing our profession in the coming years and how we can be better prepared to deal with these challenges. As a commission, we have identified specific objectives to focus on for the coming year. We will continue to promote the Pro-Bono and Modest Means programs. We have been very pleased with the success these programs have had since their launching, but realize that efforts must be made to assure their continued success.  Some of the objectives we have identified and will be focusing on for the coming year include:

An Exciting Start to a Great Year

commissioner_Jensen_CurtisThe Summer Convention in Snowmass was an exciting beginning to my tenure as new Bar President. From serious break-out sessions to fun times with the family and colleagues in the Rockies and from learning about the difference between mastodons and mammoths to hearing about how the courts failed in Nazi Germany—I was constantly reminded about the value of our profession and the great people we get to work with at the Utah State Bar. It will be my honor and privilege to serve you for the coming year. I look forward to working with your commissioners as we continue to identify the important needs of our membership and continue to implement those programs that will best serve and assist you in your daily practices.

Thank You for Letting Me Serve the Profession


In my last e-bulletin I wanted to thank all the people who have made this year so successful. Thanks to Rob Rice and his committee for the yeoman’s work they have done on the pro bono commission. Thanks to Rob Jeffs for his inspiration and John Lund and Judge Su Chon for all the hours of work devoted to getting the Modest Means/Lawyer Referral program underway and working. Thanks to the Bar staff who have worked in extraordinary conditions while the HVAC system is being replaced and to Steve Burt, commission member and architect, for managing the contracts and bids for the work. Thanks to Angelina Tsu and Benson Hathaway for getting 174 lawyers and judges into classrooms on Constitution Day teaching on the constitution. Thanks to Rob Jeffs for heading up the new member benefits project to improve what the Bar can deliver to our members.


The Legal Profession Today and Into the Future

Bar President Lori NelsonI recently attended a conference that seemed to imply that the sky was falling regarding law practice as we know it. The message was that lawyers and firms need to plan and adapt or fail. Every generation of attorneys has been confronted with change. We are no different. Lawyers have always risen to the challenge, and I am pleased to note that many of the changes recommended by other presenters, and presented below have already been adopted by Utah firms, law schools, and the courts. Based on the theory that knowledge is power, I thought I would share with you the thoughts of Frederic S. Ury and Thomas Lyons, who posited that there are five major trends impacting the practice of law: Globalization; Technology; Nature of clients; Demographics; and Legal education.

President’s Message: Balance

Bar President Lori Nelson

President’s Message
by Lori W. Nelson

When I was thinking about what to write, a good friend suggested I write about balance. I took that to mean work/life balance. As I thought about work/life balance, it occurred to me that the way we define the topic changes the discussion. After all, isn’t work part of life? To discuss the topic as if work and life are separate and happen in isolation of each other ignores reality. We spend a huge amount of every day devoted to our profession, and it is part of life. I believe a much better way to define the topic is Life Balance.

Utah State Bar President’s Message January 2013

Utah’s Lawyer Legislators

Not many of us are aware of the tremendous personal and financial sacrifices associated with being a lawyer-legislator. Long hours, limited family time and the difficulty of juggling demands make it prohibitive for most lawyers to run for office. Add time-consuming campaigns every other year, and becoming a legislator loses much of its appeal. Lawyers pay a big price, both personally and professionally, to serve in the legislature. Most claim a huge loss in time available for their families and a diminished earning capacity because of the tremendous amount of time required at the legislature and at the law office. Nonetheless, attorneys play a vital role in the legislature by virtue of the fundamental training they receive in law school. An attorney comes into the job with the knowledge and experience of the law and a lawyer’s unique ability helps them to watch for language in legislation that may be misconstrued and lose its original intention. Utah’s citizenry is well-served having 22 lawyers work as legislators.

The Jewels on the Hill

by Rodney G. Snow
Thank You
This is my last President’s Message to the Bar. I have had the privilege of meeting many of you, including dozens of our new lawyers. I have made new friends, for which I am grateful. I continue to be impressed by the untold hours of quiet service many of you render for the benefit of the Bar and our community. For that and so many other reasons it has been an honor and pleasure to represent you as your Bar president.
Service is both a responsibility and a reward that comes with being professional. It is what distinguishes a profession from just another business. (more…)

President’s Message

Education on the Fundamentals of Our Government and Democracy is on Life Support: We Can Help
by Rodney G. Snow
As a nation, we are facing some of the most difficult decisions that have challenged us in a long time. Resolving today’s issues requires a citizenry that understands the fundamentals of our democracy. Unfortunately, education regarding our system of government has been lacking for many years. As reported by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics at the University of Pennsylvania, the “lack of high-quality civic education in America’s schools leaves millions of citizens without the wherewithal to make sense of our system of government.”1 While most high school graduates can name the three judges on American Idol, very few can provide you the number or the names of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Surveys conducted over the past decade by the Annenberg Public Policy Center resulted in the shocking findings listed below. (more…)