by Matthew L. Mitton
Invest in Yourself
I made a presentation last year to the Young Lawyers Division on practice management tips for new estate planning attorneys. I decided to tailor the presentation around practice management issues rather than to attempt to present a comprehensive primer on estate planning.
I mentioned to this group of new lawyers that the most rewarding thing I do as an estate planning attorney is meet with people with diverse, interesting and challenging needs and objectives. Like many of my colleagues, I am privileged to meet fascinating people who are happy to engage my services. I can’t think of a better way to practice law. I spend most of my days in consultations with clients that range from two to three hours. Why bring this up? I believe it’s critical to understand early in your practice what your strengths and weaknesses are before you find yourself in a state of torment. I know attorneys who don’t enjoy spending hour after hour in consultations with clients; they would rather spend hours in front of the computer drafting estate planning provisions or researching complex tax matters. If you are a technician, find a practice area where those talents and strengths are needed, and where appropriate, find colleagues that can add other dimensions to your practice where you lack.
The greatest complaint clients have expressed to me as they meet with attorneys is the inability to communicate complex legal terms and ideas in a “language” they understand. The estate planning experience can be emotionally charged and complicated to begin with. If the client doesn’t understand how their attorney and counselor at law can solve their legal challenges, the attorney-client relationship will fail and the efficacy of the plan will be at risk over time.
One of the best things that ever happened in my early practice was the opportunity I had to present estate planning topics to countless associations and groups throughout the state. Take every opportunity in your new legal career to speak and teach. Make certain you practice and hone the craft of effective communication. This skill may serve you better than any other skill I know. The other skill new lawyers must fight to develop is the ability to listen when you need to listen. After three years of law school, we are anxious to tell people what we know. In my opinion, the key to every successful estate planning engagement is rooted in your ability to be an empathetic listener and effective communicator. Don’t be afraid to discuss these skills with and solicit honest and constructive feedback from friends and family, or other colleagues.
Invest in Good Forms and CLE
If you are in a well-established firm with an existing estate planning practice group, you probably have great forms at your disposal; however, even the best forms can become outdated over time. Make it a point to review and update forms as a practice group at least once a year, if not more frequently.
In a small firm or solo practice, one of the most critical “practice management” decisions an estate planning attorney will make is choosing solid estate planning software and forms. In a recent conversation I had with a local banker, he remarked that most attorneys in the same geographic area would ultimately draft a “common” or “shared” trust agreement. While that might have been the case years ago, the proliferation of estate planning documents through myriad internet and publishing sources has led to a very robust “forms menu” for lawyers in every imaginable practice. The American Bar Association routinely sells estate planning documents and conducts CLE workshops in this area of practice. Practice management groups like WealthCounsel (wealthcounsel.com) and the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (aaepa.com) cater to lawyers and firms who not only want forms, but are also willing to pay for assistance in other practice management areas. These companies provide marketing assistance, law firm profitability analysis, case mentoring, and assistance with staffing and ongoing education support. It is not inexpensive to join and pay the monthly dues for this type of service, but each lawyer needs to decide how the “business” of their practice will operate.
The American Bar Association is a great resource for estate planning forms and CLE. You can purchase materials to assist with drafting trusts, wills, powers of attorney, and other estate planning-related documents. I recently discovered a website that “links” together estate planning web sites from around the country (estateplanninglinks.com). It was through this website that I found several great estate planning resources that I use almost daily in my practice. Whether I need May’s applicable federal rate or an estate planning contact in Maine, estateplanninglinks.com and other websites provide tremendous assistance.
Your ability to stay current, relevant, and educated in this practice area is largely based, in my opinion, on your participation in CLE events. The Salt Lake Estate Planning Council meetings take place the third Wednesday of every month and the Estate Planning Section of the Utah State Bar meets the second Tuesday of each month. Well-established attorneys in this practice area generously share with their colleagues invaluable information that you may not be able to find from any other source. ALI-ABA, NBI, Lorman, and others offer classroom and online CLE events. These sources are fairly expensive, but may offer, in certain circumstances, important information for a complicated case or unique estate planning topics.
Invest in and Design a System
While it’s a cliché to say that we never learned “this or that” in law school, we have the ability to forge our own unique law-practice course. It’s perhaps just as well that no one formula for practicing law is presented in law school. As a new attorney, I was fortunate enough to learn from dozens of seasoned lawyers what it meant to create a “systems-based” practice. In a traditional business environment, a system is typically an unflinching course all employees and management pursue to send a product or service out the front doors. Why should it be any different in a law practice? As a service-oriented practice, an estate planning attorney should create and manage a system that provides a predictable service and product for a client. While every system is different, there are fundamental components that should never be ignored. Another way to approach this is to put ourselves in the client’s shoes and analyze if they have questions like these: After our first consultation, I’m still wondering what’s next? The meeting with the attorney went well, but I am still not sure what it will cost or how long it will take to complete the documents. Should I call the attorney to ask these questions or will a staff member call me to follow up? Once a client begins to ask these and other questions about the engagement, the level of confidence drops and the attorney’s ability to keep a happy client begins to disintegrate.
Creating a system around the entire client relationship not only holds the attorney accountable for the client experience, but just as importantly, it holds the client accountable to participate in a confident and purposeful way. A good system should clearly address questions about fees, how estate planning forms are delivered and completed, the amount of time to complete the project, client-staff interaction, and more. I will say it again, if the client is asking, “I just don’t know what happens next,” the system is broken, or no system exists.
Decide how you will charge your clients. Will you offer a free initial consultation, conduct annual reviews, or bill for phone calls and e-mails? Whatever you decide, make sure you have a clear understanding with your clients, and when appropriate, put it in writing.
Invest in Your Staff
If Kathy or Carie ever leaves my practice, I will retire immediately. Kathy and Carie are members of my staff; however, I view them as my practice partners. My law practice success is directly correlated to the interaction they have with my clients. I spoke earlier about business systems in this article. Kathy and Carie continually guide clients though our estate planning “system” and remind me when I stray from the system we work hard to implement and follow. They have been critical in shaping and changing, as needed, the systems that guide our clients through the estate planning process.
As I mentioned above, the members of your estate planning practice should be performing duties that correspond to their strengths and talents. In other words, let the technician do the technical work in your practice.
While this goes without saying, never, ever forget to offer thanks and words of encouragement to those who make your practice successful. Whether it’s a bonus that was expected or unexpected, flowers during professional assistants’ week, or a sincere expression of gratitude, we need our team members’ help more than they need our help. The respect and appreciation present within a successful practice group will always translate into better client-attorney relationships, practice efficiency and firm profitability.
Finally, I can’t think of a better way to make a living and I certainly can’t think of a better practice area. Good luck.
Young Lawyer of the Year 2011-2012: Gabriel K. White
Each year, the Young Lawyers Division has the difficult job of choosing one recipient from a stack of letters nominating outstanding and deserving candidates for the Young Lawyer of the Year Award. It is inspiring (and humbling) to read about the accomplishments that young lawyers have achieved early in their careers. This year Gabriel (ÒGabeÓ) K. WhiteÕs nomination stood out from the competition. Gabe is one of those rare individuals who has taken to heart the motto ÒSuccess comes to the person who does today what others were thinking about doing tomorrow.Ó Seeing a need go unmet, Gabe acts quickly to address it regardless of any obstacles.
Shortly after graduating from the S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2007, Gabe joined the law firm of Christensen & Jensen. He quickly became a rising star as one of the firmÕs litigation and trial lawyers.
Despite his thriving practice and heavy workload, Gabe has gone out of his way to serve young lawyers and underrepresented minorities. Among his other accomplishments, Gabe single-handedly created the Wednesday Night Bar program through Young Lawyers Division in 2009. Wednesday Night Bar is a semi-monthly legal clinic that provides low-income, Spanish-speaking Utahans with free legal advice. Gabe persisted in holding Wednesday Night Bar even when he was its only volunteer, and he is still a constant presence at the clinic. Under GabeÕs leadership, the program has expanded from the Salt Lake Valley to include hundreds of Utahns throughout Northern and Central Utah. Gabe hopes to eventually grow the program to serve Southern Utah too.
Gabe has also played a pivotal role in bringing the Practice in a Flash CLE Series to Utah. This program is designed to help the record number of young lawyers that are going straight from law school to starting their own practices. In addition to in-person and online free CLE training covering a variety of basic legal issues that young lawyers commonly encounter, Practice in a Flash participants will have access to an online database and flash drives donated by Lexis. The database and flash drive will contain practice forms, practice area specific training, and practical business advice for the small business entrepreneur.
When Gabe is not busy with his practice or saving the world, he loves to spend time with his wife, Wendy, and their daughter, Percy. Together they enjoy traveling.
Thank you Gabe for your service and example.
by R. Blake Hamilton
I recently attended the S.J. Quinney College of Law Career Fair on behalf of my firm, Stirba & Associates. While I was there, a first-year law student approached me and asked a surprising question. She, like many others in her class, was looking for opportunities to clerk after her first year of law school. Yet when I asked her if she had any questions about my firm, the first question she asked was: “What type of pro bono work does your firm do?” I responded that all attorneys at my firm are encouraged to find opportunities to contribute to the community by providing pro bono legal work. I then proceeded to tell her about one such opportunity that I have had the privilege of participating in.
On September 11, 2001, more than 400 first responders gave their lives to save their fellow Americans. Out of that tragedy arose an amazing program: Wills for Heroes. The Wills for Heroes program provides free wills, living wills, and healthcare and financial powers of attorneys to first responders and their spouses or domestic partners.
Every day, in towns and cities across the nation, including here in Utah, first responders – firefighters, police, and EMTs – put their lives at risk to protect us. We were reminded of this truth on January 4, 2012, when six police officers were shot and one killed while executing a warrant in Ogden, Utah. The Wills for Heroes program allows us as members of the Bar to provide pro bono legal work as an expression of gratitude to those who sacrifice and put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities – in our small way “protecting those who protect us.” In doing so we are rewarded.
On December 2, 2011, two first responders from Northern Utah were on hand at the Utah State Bar Commission meeting to thank the Commission for the Bar’s Wills for Heroes program. “Sometimes as first responders we’re so busy helping other people that we forget about ourselves,” said Captain Golden Barrett from the Hill Air Force Base Fire Department. “I want to say thank you very much for everything you’ve done for us. It really does make a difference.”
Utah adopted the Wills for Heroes program in 2006, the twelfth state to do so. Since that time, the program has provided free estate planning to more than 4,000 first responders. Volunteer lawyers in Utah have contributed 10,000-plus hours of pro bono legal work at events from Logan to St. George. Wills for Heroes events are scheduled for the third Saturday of every other month. A calendar of future events and further information about the Wills for Heroes program can be found by visiting the Utah State Bar Young Lawyers Division’s (YLD) informational website at http://www.utahbar.org/sections/yld/willsforheroes/Welcome.
A Wills for Heroes Event is a joint effort between a first responder department and YLD. The first responder department provides a contact person to disseminate information and coordinate appointments. The department also provides a classroom or a conference room with tables and chairs where the event may be held. YLD does the rest.
YLD emails the department contact a Wills for Heroes invitation to be sent to all first responders in the department. The invitation answers many frequently asked questions about the program. The first responders are asked to review and complete an estate planning questionnaire and an advanced health care directive prior to their appointment. By reviewing the questionnaire and directive ahead of time, all participating individuals are likely to consider the important decisions regarding their estate planning wishes with a loved or trusted individual prior to their appointment.
On the day of the Wills for Heroes event, YLD brings laptop computers that have been preloaded with specialized software that takes the questionnaire information and creates the living wills, and healthcare and financial powers of attorneys (all in about thirty minutes). Prior to the appointments with the first responders, YLD holds a training session in which attorney volunteers from the Bar are trained on everything they need to know to participate in this great volunteer opportunity. This training includes how to use the software and a primer on basic estate planning. It also qualifies for one hour of CLE credit (for first-time volunteers). YLD coordinates with the Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar which ensures that all of the first responders’ estate plans are witnessed and notarized on the day of the event. YLD also provides the printers, paper, and all of the materials needed for the first responders to be able to walk out of their appointments with fully executed legal estate plans.
YLD thanks all those attorneys, paralegals, and the many first responder departments around the state who have made the Wills for Heroes program a success. YLD also looks forward to many years of Wills for Heroes events in the future based on the expressed interest in the program. If you haven’t had an opportunity to participate in the Wills for Heroes program, please find some time to do so. Let us not lose the ideals we had in our first year of law school, for, as Mahatma Gandhi said, “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
The Green Utah Pledge
by Jon Clyde, Kelly J. Latimer, and Kallie A. Smith
One million two hundred thousand! This is the number of sheets of paper used by Clyde Snow on a yearly basis. This equates to 100,000 sheets of paper each month or 25,000 sheets each week. Lawyers tend to print out everything and rationalize the excessive printing in various ways: “it is just too hard to read double-sided copies” or because “it is easier to edit that way.” Without a doubt, the practice of law is one of the more paper-intensive professions. However, a large number of firms do not purchase recycled paper or recycle used paper. Instead, this paper finds its way to the landfill.
Until last June, Clyde Snow was one of those firms. The firm had no recycling, and employees would throw all of their paper, plastic, and cardboard directly into the trash. Clyde Snow has now implemented a full-scale recycling program, with the help of Momentum Recycling. Clyde Snow initially began with four of the big blue household recycling bins, which were to be collected monthly. However, within a week all four bins were overflowing. The firm now has a twice-monthly collection of six recycling bins. Thanks to the handy quarterly diversion reports received from Momentum, Clyde Snow is able to report that from June to December, it has recycled approximately 5060 pounds of waste and diverted around twenty-one cubic yards of waste from the landfill.
Unfortunately, there are a number of law firms, both large and small, that still have no recycling or environmental policies in place. In an effort to address this issue, Jenifer Tomchak, President of the Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”), asked us to help her implement a new program called the Green Utah Pledge. Her vision for this program is to raise awareness of environmental waste and to encourage firms and practitioners to adopt environmentally friendly practices.
The goal of the Green Utah Pledge is to encourage local firms and practitioners to implement greener office practices by taking the modest steps necessary to participate in the American Bar Association (“ABA”)-Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) Law Office Climate Challenge (“Climate Challenge”). Law offices that take these steps become signatories of the Green Utah Pledge and will receive recognition from YLD, including public acknowledgment in the Utah Bar Journal. Further, we are working on creating additional marketing and membership benefits to reward those firms and practitioners that demonstrate leadership in the arena of environmental awareness.
ABA-EPA Climate Challenge:
The ABA and EPA launched the Climate Challenge as a pilot program in 2007. It was designed to encourage law offices to take simple, practical steps to become better environmental and energy stewards. Interest in the program has grown steadily since its inception and currently more than 250 law firms participate on various levels, including the Utah law offices of Chapman and Cutler, LLP; Hobbs and Olson, LC; and Ban Law Office, PC.
The Climate Challenge program offers several ways for a firm to qualify as a Climate Challenge Partner or Leader. Specifically, law offices may qualify by:
1. Implementing at least two of the following best practices for office paper management: (a) purchasing office paper with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content; (b) recycling mixed office paper; or (c) using double-sided copying and printing as the default setting for draft and internal documents.
2. Participating in EPA’s WasteWise program. In addition to implementing at least two of the three best practices for office paper management described above, the WasteWise program requires an office to file an annual report quantifying both the amount of office paper waste avoided and the amount of attendant greenhouse gas emissions avoided (the WasteWise website has a number of resources to accomplish this).1
3. Participating in EPA’s ENERGY STAR program by reducing at least 10% of its energy usage, if the law office owns its own building, or 10% of its electricity usage, if the law office is a tenant. A law office that achieves at least a 10% reduction in its energy or electricity usage will be recognized as a Climate Challenge Leader.
A law office that adopts two of the best practices for office paper management or meets the minimum requirements for participation in at least one of the EPA programs will qualify for recognition as a Climate Challenge Partner. A law office that achieves a higher level of participation in at least one of the EPA programs qualifies as a Climate Challenge Leader. The ABA and the EPA will formally recognize qualifying law offices and, for those offices that participate in EPA programs, the amounts of greenhouse gas emissions avoided by their actions will be posted on the ABA’s Climate Challenge website.
EPA’s Green Power Partnership Program:
Law offices may also become a Climate Challenge Partner or Leader by participating in EPA’s Green Power Partnership (“Green Power”) program. This program requires that an office replace a minimum amount of its annual electricity usage through the purchase of green power (i.e., electric power generated by renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy). The required minimum replacements range from 20%, for offices with relatively low annual electricity usage (² 1,000,000 Kilowatt-hours (“kWh”)), down to 3% for offices with relatively high annual electricity usage (³ 100,000,001 kWh). The Green Power program also provides a special calculation methodology for offices that lease their space. All Green Power Partners are recognized on the EPA’s website. For details, go to: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower.
In Utah, EPA-qualifying green power can be purchased through Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program (“Blue Sky Program”). Under the Blue Sky Program, residential and business customers can purchase renewable energy in 100 kWh “blocks” for $1.95 per block per month. The Blue Sky charges are added to a customer’s monthly bill and are in addition to any regular service charges.
Purchasing renewable energy through the Blue Sky Program does not result in any changes to the way electricity is transmitted to the customer or require any modifications to a customer’s meter. Rather, for each block of Blue Sky energy a customer purchases, Rocky Mountain Power purchases an equivalent amount of renewable energy credits from newly developed wind generation and other renewable energy facilities in the Western region. The amount of renewable energy purchased on behalf of Blue Sky customers is formally reported to the State of Utah and the program receives oversight by the Utah Public Service Commission.
Businesses qualifying as a Green Power Partner through the purchase of Blue Sky blocks can also qualify to enroll in Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky Business Partner program. Rocky Mountain Power actively promotes and recognizes Blue Sky Business Partners on its website, in press announcements, and in other promotional materials, which may include paid advertising. For details about the Blue Sky Program, go to: http://www.rockymountainpower.net/env/bsre.html.
The Utah State Bar:
The Utah State Bar (the “Bar”) has made a commitment to being an environmental leader within the legal community. The Bar has become a Climate Challenge Partner by adopting and implementing the Climate Challenge’s recommended best practices for office paper management. The Bar qualified by: (1) ensuring that 100% of its copier/printer paper contains at least 30% post-consumer recycled content, and (2) establishing an office-wide policy of recycling discarded mixed office paper and assuring that all office personnel have ready access to recycling bins. Additionally, the Bar strives to reuse paper as scrap paper and for the printing of draft copies.
Further, the Bar recently became a Champion Partner in the Blue Sky Business Partner Program by replacing 10% of its annual electricity usage with renewable energy. This equates to a replacement of 42,000 kWh per year with green power, resulting in an annual carbon dioxide offset of 50,331 pounds. This offset is the equivalent of planting 591 trees a year. However, the Bar’s commitment to the environment does not end there.
The Bar has implemented a recycling program for non-paper goods, including plastic, aluminum, and cardboard, and has made recycling containers readily available throughout the Utah Law & Justice Center. The Bar also uses energy-saving light bulbs, turns off lights after hours and on weekends, purchases biodegradable disposable cutlery, and utilizes xeriscaping to conserve water.
Although we applaud the Bar’s efforts, we recognize that many of these actions may not be possible for firms or practitioners that rent or lease office space within a larger building. We also understand that not all firms or practitioners are willing to “green” their offices to this extent. However, even small efforts can work big change. It doesn’t necessarily take a major commitment of resources to become a more environmentally responsible office – even modest efforts to improve recycling, reduce paper use, and conserve energy can qualify an office to become a Climate Challenge Partner. We thus urge firms and practitioners to look at the many options available for meeting the Climate Challenge and consider customizing a plan that works for their office. Even small changes can have a large positive impact on the environment when considered in the aggregate.
Apart from benefits to the environment, such as improving air quality, reducing U.S. dependence on fossil fuels, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there are many tangible business benefits that may result from undertaking such actions and efforts. Initially, there can be a significant cost savings in reducing consumption. For example, reusing office paper for drafts or scratch paper and utilizing double-sided printing will reduce paper consumption. This can save an office a shocking amount of money. In 1995, Citigroup determined that if each employee used double-sided copying to conserve just one sheet of paper each week, the firm would save $700,000 each year. See www.reduce.org. Obviously, most law offices are not going to see such savings. Nevertheless, the cost savings that can be achieved will likely surprise you.
A significant amount of savings can also be achieved by reducing an office’s energy use.
The Climate Challenge’s “Law Office Guide to Energy Efficiency” reports that “[e]nergy represents 30% of a typical office building’s operating costs, and is the single largest controllable operating expense.”2 This guide explains that by taking practical and reasonable steps, such as making sure your office’s lighting system is up-to-date, making prudent purchases of energy-efficient office equipment as your older equipment wears out, and implementing best practices for office energy management (e.g., turning off office equipment on nights and weekends or when idle for more than two hours, turning off unneeded lights, using motion sensors to minimize unnecessary use of lights, and calibrating thermostats to adjust for seasonal changes), you can reduce your office’s energy costs by 10% to 30%.
Similarly, taking a look at the purchasing habits of your office can result in cost savings. Are your employees using bottled water or plastic forks for lunch everyday? What are the costs of refilling these items? No doubt, a switch to reusable items would save money in the long run. The point being, there are cost savings to be realized by changing your habits, but it may require some creativity in the way you look at your office’s consumption and use.
Promoting green law office practices is also beneficial to a firm’s image and is good for business development. More and more companies are taking steps to make their businesses greener and are looking to work with green partners, including the attorneys they hire to be a part of their business team. This is particularly important for firms or practitioners that advise clients on environmental issues. Being committed to greener office practices can also serve as an important recruiting tool when hiring young lawyers. In sum, implementing green office practices not only results in environmental benefits, but results in significant cost savings, serves as a valuable marketing tool, and enhances a firm or practitioner’s reputation as a good citizen.
If you have any questions about how to help your office become an ABA-certified Climate Challenge Partner or Green Utah Pledge signatory, please contact a committee member or visit the YLD website for more information. To learn more about the Climate Challenge or view the application and instructions for becoming a Climate Challenge Partner, visit www.abanet.org/environ/climatechallenge. Kelly Latimer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kallie Smith may be reached at Kallie-Smith@rbmn.com. Jon Clyde may be reached at Jclyde@clydesnow.com.
1. See http://www.americanbar.org/groups/environment_energy_resources/projects_awards/aba_epa_law_office_climate_challenge/office_paper_wastewise.
2. See http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/environ/climatechallenge/lawofficeguide.authcheckdam.pdf.
by Philip Wormdahl
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series summarizing CLE presentations given as part of the YLD’s “Practice in a Flash” program.
More than 15,000 DUI arrests were made in Utah during 2010. Roughly two-thirds of those arrests were first-time offenders. With so many citizens facing DUI charges, most lawyers should expect that someone they know will need representation for DUI. Because of the volume of arrests, being able to competently handle a DUI case is a critical skill for attorneys working in criminal defense and a huge asset to attorneys looking to develop and grow their clientele. This article is meant to give a basic overview of the “typical” DUI case by exploring some of the most common procedures, hearings, and issues.
Driving Under The Influence of Alcohol and\or Drugs, or “DUI,” is codified at Utah Code section 41-6a-502. See Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-502 (LexisNexis 2010). The conduct prohibited by the statute is as follows:
Section 41-6a-502. Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both or with specified or unsafe blood alcohol concentration – Reporting of convictions.
(1) A person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state if the person:
(a) has sufficient alcohol in the person’s body that a subsequent chemical test shows that the person has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of the test;
(b) is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle; or
(c) has a blood or breath alcohol concentration of .08 grams or greater at the time of operation or actual physical control.
Id. § 41-6a-502(1).
The first element of the offense requires that the subject be “operating” or in “actual physical control” of a vehicle. See id. § 41-6a-502(1). While “operating” may be self-explanatory, it is important to understand that a person can be convicted of DUI without actually “driving” a vehicle. Whether a person was in “actual physical control” of a vehicle is a question for the jury and is determined by the totality of the facts. A DUI attorney challenging “actual physical control” should look to Richfield City v. Walker, 790 P.2d 87 (1990), for a good primer of facts that may establish “actual physical control.” Also, unlike most other violations of the traffic code, DUI does not require the vehicle to be on a public street. “Parking lot” and “driveway” DUIs are common.
Second, the statute requires that a person be at or above the statutory “per se” alcohol limit of 0.08 grams of alcohol, or be under the influence to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle. See Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-502(1)(a)(b). This means that a person under the “per se” limit of .08 could still be arrested for, charged with, and convicted of DUI.
It is clear from the language of the statute that a person can be prosecuted for DUI for both alcohol, and\or drugs. The definition of what counts as a “drug” is also specifically defined for DUI offenses in Utah Code section 41-6a-501 and is broad enough to include substances beyond “controlled substances.” See id. 41-6a-501. A common example of this is a DUI that involves the use of household inhalants like paint, glue, or compressed air.
In addition to a “traditional” DUI under section 41-6a-502, Utah drivers can be prosecuted for having “any measurable amount” of a controlled substance, or its metabolite, in their body while driving – regardless of whether they are impaired or noticeably affected by the substance. The “Metabolite DUI” statute is found at section 41-6a-517. See id. § 41-6a-517. It is common for citizens of California who are medical marijuana users to be arrested for Metabolite DUI while passing through Utah (unimpaired), because THC metabolites can remain in a person’s body for months after the active THC has left their system.
Taking The Case
If you have been hired to represent someone for DUI, you should already have a good sense of the facts of the case from your client’s perspective. In your initial interview, you would have asked them general questions about their background, substance use habits, and full criminal history. You would also ask about their memory of events from the arrest. You would know where the client had been, where they were going, what they had consumed, why they were pulled over, whether they took roadside field sobriety tests, and the circumstances of any chemical testing (blood, breath, or urine).
Your first steps after being hired are to (1) request a hearing with Driver’s License Division (“DLD”), (2) enter your appearance with the court, and (3) begin the discovery process.
Request DLD Hearing
When a person is arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will take the arrested person’s Utah drivers license. The driver is then given a citation that may act as their temporary license for up to thirty days from the date of arrest. The driver only has ten days from the arrest to make a written request to DLD for a hearing. If no hearing is requested, the license is automatically suspended after thirty days when the temporary license (citation) expires. If a hearing is requested, it will be scheduled by the DLD, in the county of the arrest, prior to the expiration of the temporary license.
Enter Appearance with Court
Like any other criminal case, once you are hired, you need to notify the court of your appearance. Send a “Notice of Appearance of Counsel” to the court so they know your client is represented and where to send notices. You may want to include some additional items in your Notice of Appearance, for instance, a request for a speedy trial by jury or an entry of a “not guilty” plea on your client’s behalf. Many municipal justice courts will strike a defendant’s Arraignment upon entry of your appearance.
DUI cases can turn on very small details, so understanding what evidence is out there, and how to get it, is key to a successful defense. Some examples of things you want are: police reports, videos from police station and patrol car “dash-cams,” certification reports for the breath-testing machine, and the arresting officer’s “POST” certification record. A general discovery request to the prosecutor under Rule 16 is a start, but sometimes that will not get you critical evidence quickly enough. See Utah R. Crim P. 16. For instance, if you need a “dash-cam” video for a driver’s license hearing, you will likely have to bypass the prosecutor and go directly to the source. Not all cases will have every kind of evidence available, so the best bet is to call the particular agencies and find out what evidence they “might” have and how they want you to request it, i.e., GRAMA request, subpoena, in-person pickup, mail or fax, etc. Discovery can be a bureaucratic nightmare in some cases, but usually if you are nice and ask in the right way, you can get what you need with basic efforts.
Driver’s License Hearing
For many first-offense DUI clients, the prospect of license suspension is the primary concern. They need to drive to work, take kids to day care, and run errands. Utah has no privilege for limited driving when a license is suspended for DUI, so a win at a DLD hearing is something to cherish. Driver’s license hearings generally come in two basic flavors: (1) the “per se” suspension hearing and (2) the “refusal” revocation hearing.
The “per se” hearing is what you get if your client was arrested for DUI and submitted to every chemical test demanded by the officer. Typical suspension lengths for a “per se” hearing are 120 days for a first offense and two years for a subsequent offense.
The “refusal” hearing is what you get if your client was arrested for DUI and refused to take any of the chemical tests requested by the officer. Typical revocation length for a “refusal hearing” is eighteen months for a first offense and thirty-six months for a refusal with a prior administrative license action.
DLD hearings are civil “administrative” hearings, not criminal proceedings, so make sure you are prepared to operate under very relaxed evidentiary rules (hearsay freely comes in!) and don’t bother with fourth amendment challenges to the vehicle stop or subsequent detention, because the exclusionary rule does not apply. Also, officers usually appear telephonically and DLD hearing officers will tightly control your cross-examination of the arresting officer.
There are a few general points of attack for a successful DLD hearing. First, if the officer fails to appear for the hearing, either in person or telephonically, DLD will take “no action” on the license. If the officer appears and the hearing is conducted, be sure to focus on “procedural issues” and the “merits” of the DUI arrest. Procedural arguments include things like the officer’s failure to properly serve the driver with a copy of the citation and provide them notice of DLD’s intent to suspend the license. Additionally, officers are required to read certain verbal “admonitions” to arrested drivers to warn them of the potential consequences of providing (or not providing) a chemical sample to the officer. Making sure that the officer properly relayed the contents of the required admonitions is a key step at a suspension hearing. Attacking the merits of a DUI arrest at an administrative suspension hearing is similar to challenging probable cause for arrest in a court. The “bread and butter” for challenging the merits are the officer’s administration of the field sobriety tests, observation of any driving pattern (or lack there-of), and the officer’s observations of your client’s physical signs of impairment. All of these facts are to be considered under a “totality of the circumstances” standard. Officers are in a habit of documenting only the facts that point to your clients impairment, not the facts that point to sobriety, so if the officer didn’t make any note of your client’s speech, make sure that you create a positive fact in the record regarding unslurred speech, rather than leaving speech out. Same goes for other common observations like “swaying,” “red eyes,” “fumbled documents,” or “odor of alcohol.”
The priority at a DLD hearing is to protect your client’s driving privilege, but don’t be afraid to use the hearing as an opportunity to build the record for subsequent motion practice in the court. The officer will be placed under oath and the audio from the hearing will be recorded by DLD. Tie the officer to the report, get the officer to clarify any ambiguous language, and fill in any gaps. Sometimes a DUI case can be won by an officer’s testimony at a DLD hearing.
For concise information about suspension and revocation hearings, check the Utah Code, Title 53, Chapter 3 – The Uniform Driver’s License Act. The main points of interest for a DUI lawyer are Utah Code sections 53-3-220 through 53-3-231. See Utah Code Ann. §§ 53-3-220-231 (LexisNexis 2010, Supp. 2011).
Most officers will subject a suspected impaired driver to roadside tests. The common three-test battery, known as the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests include: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test (“HGN”), the Walk and Turn Test, and the One Leg Stand Test.
HGN – Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus is an involuntary jerking of the eyes as they move from side to side. The HGN test is administered by having a driver follow a stimulus (usually a pen or finger held twelve to fifteen inches from the subject’s face) with their eyes. The subject is instructed to keep the subject’s head still and follow the stimulus with his or her eyes only while the officer makes several “passes” with the stimulus. As the stimulus is moved horizontally across the subject’s field of vision, the officer looks for certain “clues” in the subject’s eyes. The officer is looking for three different clues in each eye, for a total of six possible clues: lack of smooth pursuit, distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation, and onset of nystagmus prior to forty-five degrees. Four out of six is considered a fail.
Walk and Turn – The Walk and Turn Test involves having a subject walk a straight line with nine heel-to-toe steps, turn, and take nine steps back. The test begins by putting the subject in a heel-to-toe “instructional” position while the officer explains and demonstrates the test. When the instruction is complete the officer has the subject perform the “walking stage” of the test. The officer is looking for eight impairment clues during the test, including: starting the test too soon, failing to maintain the instructional position, taking the wrong number of steps, raising the arms more than six inches from the sides, missing heel to toe contact by more than half of an inch, stepping off line, making an improper turn, or stopping walking during the test. Two out of eight is considered a fail.
One Leg Stand – The third test in the battery is the One Leg Stand. For this test, the officer has the subject raise one of his or her legs out in front of them with the foot approximately six inches from the ground. Both of the subject’s legs should be kept straight and the sole of the raised foot should be parallel with the ground. The subject then counts out loud, “One thousand and one, one thousand and two,” until told to stop. The officer times the test for thirty seconds. The officer watches for four clues on the one leg stand test, including: hopping, putting down their foot, swaying, and raising the arms more than six inches from the sides. Two out of four is considered a fail.
This three-test battery was validated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) as reliable enough to use in court for the purpose of showing impairment in drivers. However, the reliability of these tests is predicated on the tests being administered in the correct, standardized way. The NHTSA testing manual explicitly states that the “validation applies only when: the tests are administered in the prescribed standardized way,” and cautions that “if any one of the…test elements is changed, the validity is compromised.” All of the specific testing procedures are contained in Session VIII of the NHTSA manual. Any attorney who is handling a DUI case should have read at least Section VIII of the NHTSA manual and be well-versed in the proper administration and scoring of the validated tests.
One of the most damning pieces of evidence in a DUI case is the chemical evidence. Although officers may ask for breath, blood, and urine, the most common test administered is the breath test. Utah uses the Intoxilyzer 8000 breath-testing machine made by CMI. Pursuant to Utah Administrative Code R714 – 500, et seq., evidentiary breath-testing machines must be certified “on a routine basis not to exceed 40 days.” Any attorney handling a DUI case with breath evidence should have the certification records of the specific machine used in the case.
Also, prior to the administration of a breath test, the officer must observe a “depravation period” to ensure that the subject’s mouth is free from foreign objects. Foreign objects in the mouth, particularly mouth alcohol, can artificially inflate the machine’s blood alcohol calculation and call into question the reliability of the result. The principal concern is the presence of mouth alcohol. The deprivation period is casually referred to as the Baker period or observation, taking its name from the defendant in the seminal case. See State v. Baker, 355 P.2d 806 (Wash. 1960). The Utah case that established the observation period is State v. Vialpando, 2004 UT App 95, 89 P.3d 209. For the observation period to be properly observed, the officer must check the subject’s mouth for foreign objects to determine it is clear, and then observe the subject for fifteen minutes prior to the time the breath sample is taken. Vialpando established that the observation requirement is satisfied when: “(1) the suspect was in the officer’s presence for the entire period; (2) it is clear that the suspect had no opportunity to ingest or regurgitate anything during the minimum observation period; and (3) nothing impeded the officer’s powers of observations during the observation period.” Id. ¶18.
If the officer failed to meet the requirements of the observation\depravation period, a Baker challenge is appropriate to exclude the result of a breath test from trial.
Blood testing is also used frequently in DUI prosecutions, especially if the officer suspects drugs, rather than alcohol, are causing the subject’s impairment. For blood tests, your first line of defense is to investigate the “chain of custody” of the sample. In other words, you want to know where the blood went when it left your client’s arm. Who took it? Where did they take it? Under what conditions was it kept, and who tested it? Breaks in the chain of custody call the reliability of the blood testing into question and can lead to exclusion from court.
The most common charge reduction in a DUI case is a plea to “Impaired Driving” under Utah Code section 41-6a-502.5. See Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-502.5 (LexisNexis, 2010). Impaired Driving replaced “Alcohol Related Reckless Driving” or “Wet Reckless.” The biggest advantages to an Impaired Driving conviction over a DUI is that Impaired Driving has no mandatory jail sentence, and a conviction for Impaired Driving will not trigger a license suspension, nor require a person to maintain an ignition interlock device in their vehicle on a first offense. Outside of Impaired Driving, anything is possible. The deal you are able to secure for your client will depend on the facts of your case and your negotiation skills. Usually, the lower the blood alcohol level, the better your position. Also, evidentiary issues, like an officer’s failure to properly observe Baker, will help you sweeten the deal.
Much of the typical DUI sentence is predetermined by statute. Some things that are open for argument by a DUI attorney are the amount of jail time, community service, fine amount, and conditions of probation. Some of the main consequences are outlined below, but a DUI attorney should carefully read section 41-6a-505 for a more comprehensive picture. See Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-505. Additionally, more information regarding typical sentencing practices can be found in the DUI sentencing matrix at: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/highwaysafety/documents/2010DUISentencingMatrix.pdf.
Other resources may be found at: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/highwaysafety/docs/DUI_BEST_PRACTICES.pdf and at: http://publicsafety.utah.gov/highwaysafety/documents/
by Gabriel White
Practice in a Flash is designed to support lawyers moving into solo or small firm practice because of economic circumstances that block traditional avenues of legal employment. It is an electronic platform that will provide new lawyers with basic practice forms, entry level CLE, and other helpful information on how to start and manage a law firm. Once the electronic program is released in the spring of 2012, it will give new lawyers advice on topics such as how to rent and open an office, hire staff, and market themselves to public. Adapted from a similar program in Texas, Practice in a Flash will give young attorneys important resources that can bridge the gap between a law school education and advice from colleagues and mentors.
Many students choose to study law because it is a safety net. At least part of the reason that many of us decided to go to law school was the promise of a high-paying, high-demand job in an interesting and challenging field. However, in this economy, yesterday’s promise is today’s fantasy. Reports of layoffs, hiring freezes, and even the occasional law firm implosion have radically changed the appearance of the legal marketplace. Law firms are reluctant to hire due to economic pressures, and new lawyers are at a disadvantage, often competing for entry level jobs with experienced lawyers laid off from larger firms. Even highly qualified graduates from good schools may face a debilitating job search stretching from weeks to months.
Faced with such bleak prospects, many young lawyers are turning away from traditional employment avenues and choosing to open their own firms. Some lawyers hang out a shingle as a temporary way to make ends meet; others are pursuing dreams of independence in their working lives. Whatever the reason, going solo is a scary prospect for many new attorneys. Small business ownership carries serious risks, and law school doesn’t train businesspeople. Torts and property classes don’t cover marketing, fair hiring practices, or how to manage client expectations. With a few exceptions, modern law schools are still largely academic institutions that do not provide the practical experience that a student needs to pick up a diploma, don a suit, and open for business. With its unwritten rules, special regulations, and fiduciary duties, entering the solo practice of law is intimidating.
Similarly, there is only so much that mentors and colleagues can do to help. Colleagues at new firms are competitors, and may be reluctant to hand over advice in critical areas. Anyway, if the blind lead the blind, both may fall into the proverbial ditch. On the other hand, mentors are required to have at least seven years of experience, and thus are far removed from the plight of the recently graduated lawyer. Even if they accurately remember the harried and frenetic days of the newly-minted lawyer, most qualified mentors haven’t recently opened their own solo law practice. With a few exceptions, mentors who have experience with getting a business license and opening a trust account did so in a vastly different business environment. Concepts like the virtual office, online research platforms, and pay-per-click advertising were unknown even five years ago. These sage advisors can provide invaluable information to young lawyers, but their ability to help with the practical problems of opening an office is limited.
Practice in a Flash overcomes these limitations. Its advice is drawn from a wide range of business professionals, attorneys, and service providers. New lawyers will get advice on malpractice insurance from insurance companies and attorneys who defend legal malpractice claims. The program will include marketing advice from advertising professionals and direction from lawyers who have recently gone out on their own and made it work. Perhaps most appealing to young lawyers, the program includes video CLE that provides a basic, step-by-step approach on how to handle types of cases that are conducive to small firm practice, such as family law and DUI defense, and a guide on how to avoid the Office of Professional Conduct. Ultimately, the Practice in Flash program will provide a lifeline that young lawyers can use to make their practices successful even in difficult economic times.
As the Utah State Bar prepares for the upcoming American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) National Pro Bono Celebration October 25-31, 2009,1 I would like to highlight a few of the pro bono and service opportunities offered by the Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”). If you would like to get involved in these or other YLD activities, please visit www.utahyounglawyers.org or contact Michelle Allred at email@example.com.
Tuesday Night Bar
Since October of 1988, the YLD has coupled with the Utah State Bar to provide a free legal advice program to help members of the community to determine their legal rights on a variety of issues. Each year, approximately 1100 individuals meet with a volunteer attorney for a brief one-on-one consultation at no cost. Tuesday Night Bar is held the first four Tuesdays of each month between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at the Utah Law & Justice Center, 645 South 200 East, Salt Lake. Volunteers are also needed for a Spanish-language clinic held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Sorenson Multicultural Center, 855 West 1300 South, Salt Lake, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wills for Heroes
The Wills for Heroes program was predicated upon the alarming fact that an overwhelmingly large number of first responders – 80 to 90 percent – do not have simple wills or any type of estate planning documentation, although they regularly risk their lives in the line of duty. The
objective of the Wills for Heroes program is to provide free estate planning documents to firefighters, police officers, paramedics, corrections and probation officers, and other first
responders and their spouses or domestic partners. The Wills for Heroes program involves attorneys and first responder organizations in both metropolitan and rural communities
throughout the state. Visit www.utahyounglawyers.org to see the calendar and locations of upcoming volunteer opportunities.
The Choose Law Program is focused on educating students from at-risk backgrounds about the legal profession. Through partnerships with several local high schools, YLD attorneys have an
opportunity to meet with students and highlight the importance of law in society and the diverse careers that a law degree can provide. The most important part of the program is the emphasis
on the importance of education and the instruction and mentoring that the students receive from the volunteer attorneys.
Fight Against Domestic Violence
The YLD is teaming up with the ABA in the fight against domestic violence. The YLD has held a toy drive for children in domestic violence shelters, a professional clothing drive for victims of
domestic violence, and is in the process of planning “A Mile In Her Shoes: A Walk Against Domestic Violence,” a community-wide walk to raise awareness of domestic violence issues. All proceeds raised will be donated to domestic violence shelters in the Salt Lake area. Visit www.utahyounglawyers.org for additional details. Opportunities are also available to represent domestic violence victims in hearings under the Utah Cohabitant Abuse Act.
The YLD provides several mentoring opportunities, including programs to provide mentoring to new lawyers entering the legal profession, law students, and high school students. Visit
www.utahyounglawyers.org for additional details.
Needs of Children
The YLD will continue to hold toy drives and clothing drives for children in state custody or otherwise in need. In addition, the YLD will, once again, sponsor Private Attorney Guardian
ad Litem Training for attorneys who want to become eligible to work as a private Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”). A private GAL is a court-appointed attorney who represents the best interests
of children in proceedings involving custody and parent time disputes. Visit www.utahyounglawyers.org for additional details.
The Cinderella Project is a relatively new project aimed at providing low-income and disadvantaged high school aged young women with new or gently worn formal dresses and
accessories to allow them to participate in school activities that they would otherwise be unable to attend, specifically the high school prom and other formal activities. The YLD
volunteers work with the community to receive donations of special occasion attire, and then work with the individual students to provide assistance and mentoring to the young girls.
Ultimately, the program seeks not only to boost self-esteem and provide positive role models for young women who have succeeded in the face of overwhelming adversity, but also works
to remove social barriers and promote inclusiveness and diversity in the community.
The YLD is beginning a new program this year aimed at assisting individuals who are preparing to take the Naturalization Test and become U.S. citizens. Volunteer YLD attorneys will assist in
tutoring individuals on the fundamental concepts of American democracy and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, including topics such as basic U.S. history and civics.
1. The annual National Pro Bono Celebration is scheduled for October 25 through
31, 2009. Sponsored by the ABA, the celebration is a coordinated national effort to
showcase the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system
of justice, its communities, and most of all, to the clients they serve. The week is also
dedicated to the quest for more pro bono volunteers to meet the ever-growing legal
needs of this country’s most vulnerable citizens.
by Michelle Allred
The Utah State Bar Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”) would like to thank the following attorneys and paralegal liaisons for their tremendous service as volunteer leaders on the YLD Executive
Council during the 2008-2009 bar year. Because of their willingness to devote their time and energy, the YLD offered significant contributions to the Bar and to members of the public through a variety of programs, services, and events.
If you are interested in volunteering with the YLD in the future, please contact Michelle Allred, 2009-2010 YLD President, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the
YLD, please visit www.utahyounglawyers.org.
President: Karthik Nadesan (Nadesan Beck PC)
President-Elect: M. Michelle Allred (Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP)
Treasurer: Jason Yancey (Rooker Rawlins, LLP)
Secretary: Sara N. Becker (Kirton & McConkie)
Immediate Past President: Stephanie Wilkins Pugsley
2008-2009 Committee Members
Activities Committee: Roger Tsai (Parsons Behle & Latimer) and James C. Bergstedt (Prince Yeates & Geldzahler)
And Justice For All Committee: Candice Pitcher (Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough), Jordan Kendall (Brayton Purcell, LLP), and C. Ryan Christensen (Parsons Kinghorn Harris)
Bar Conferences Committee: Bryan Massey (Kunzler & McKenzie) and Ryan Bell (Ray Quinney & Nebeker)
Bar Journal Committee: Peter H. Donaldson (Snell & Wilmer, LLP) and Nathan Croxford (Lewis Hansen Waldo Pleshe)
CLE Committee: Kristopher S. Kaufman (Tomsic & Peck, LLC)
Community Service Committee: Todd M. Olsen (Salt Lake County District Attorney) and Jenifer Tomchak (Parr Waddoups Brown Gee & Loveless)
E Newsletter & Technology Committee: H. Craig Hall, Jr. (Workman Nydegger) and Timothy J. Dance (Snell & Wilmer, LLP)
Environmental Committee: Julie Ladle (Hobbs & Olson) and Kelly Latimer (Department of Hearings and Appeals)
High School Debate Tournament: Joelle Kesler (Dart Adamson & Donovan)
Law Day Committee: Gary Guelker (Jenson Stavros & Guelker) and Tyson Snow (Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar)
Membership Committee: Seth Hobby (Dyno Nobel, Inc.) and Brian Rosander (Parsons Behle & Latimer)
Needs of Children Committee: David L. Johnson (Third District Court Office of the Guardian Ad Litem) and Joanna Miller (Third District Court)
Professionalism and the Practice of Law Committee: Jonathan Pappasideris (Ray Quinney & Nebeker) and Clemens Muller-Landau
Public Education Committee: Angelina Tsu (Zions Management Service Corporation), Benjamin W. Bates (Stoel Rives, LLP), and Nathan Burbidge (Burbidge & White, LLC)
Tuesday Night Bar Committee: Kelly Latimer (Department of Hearings and Appeals), Christina Micken (Bean & Micken), Julie Ladle (Hobbs & Olson), and Gabriel K. White (Christensen & Jenson)
Wills for Heroes Committee: Tiffany Brown (Dart Adamson & Donovan) and Sarah Spencer (Christensen & Jensen)
Governmental Relations Committee: Christopher Von Maack(Magleby & Greenwood)
Utah Minority Bar Association: Simón Cantarero (Holland & Hart)
Paralegal Division: Carma Harper (Strong & Hanni) and J. Robyn Dotterer (Strong & Hanni)
Wills for Heroes – Providing Valuable Community Service to First Responders
The St. George Wills for Heroes Event
On March 14, 2008, members of the Utah State Bar donated their time and talents to create wills and other estate planning documents for police officers, firefighters, and other first responders in the St. George area through a new pro bono program instituted by the Young Lawyers Division and the Wills for Heroes Foundation®.
Using laptop computers and software on loan from Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, and LexisNexis, as well as document templates created by estate planning attorneys Deacon Haymond of Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough and Mark J. Morrise of Callister Nebeker & McCullough, attorneys met one-on-one with first responders and their spouses or domestic partners at the St. George Police Station to prepare free basic wills, health care directives, and financial power of attorney documents. Members of the Paralegal Division were also on hand to notarize and witness documents completing the process. Over forty participants left with finalized estate planning documents.
Wills for Heroes Foundation co-founder Jeffrey Jacobson attended Utah’s first Wills for Heroes program and praised the YLD for putting on a “flawless event.” Said Jacobson, “I watched as the first responders, some hesitant at first, one by one left the event with a clear sense of relief and gratitude knowing that their loved ones are now protected in case the unthinkable should occur.” St. George Police Officer Tyrell Bangerter: “This is an awesome program. I’ve been married for two years and I’ve thought about doing a will but it was more money than I could spend at the time. This way we get the service for free with no strings attached. The fact is we could be gone any moment, no one knows, and now my estate is at least taken care of if that does happen.”
In celebration, St. George Mayor Daniel D. McArthur proclaimed March 14, 2008 as “Wills for Heroes” Day, by presenting a formal Proclamation to Bar President V. Lowry Snow, on behalf of the Young Lawyers Division. A copy of the Proclamation is posted on the YLD Wills for Heroes website.
The Wills for Heroes Foundation®
The Wills for Heroes Foundation® was co-founded by Anthony Hayes and Jeffrey Jacobson following the events of September 11, 2001, after Hayes learned that many of the first responders who died did not have wills. Jacobson explained at the Spring Convention in St. George that experientially, fewer than 80% of all first responders have wills. Since 2001, Wills for Heroes programs have provided more than 7,000 estate planning documents to first responders nationwide. The Wills for Heroes Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, provides support, services, financial assistance and supplies to qualified first responders and their families in the United States. These first responders include firefighters, police officers, paramedics, corrections and probation officers from federal, state, county, city and town departments and agencies, whether actively employed, retired, or serving as volunteers. The Wills for Heroes Foundation provides the tools, knowledge and relationships with national first responder organizations to help establish Utah’s Wills for Heroes program which is sponsored and administered by the Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar. The Wills for Heroes Foundation has an exclusive agreement with LexisNexis to provide free HotDocs® software and development services to all bar associations participating in the program. More information about the Wills for Heroes Foundation is available at www.willsforheroes.org.
What is a Wills for Heroes Event?
Wills for Heroes programs are unique because they bring pro bono service events directly to the first responders. The Wills for Heroes program pairs attorneys, notaries, witnesses, and first responders at a department training facility or station, on a predetermined date. A department’s limited responsibilities include providing the meeting room and coordinating first responder appointments. Prior to the event, participants download from the YLD website an estate planning questionnaire and bring it completed to the event. Completing the questionnaire ahead of time allows participants to discuss and contemplate important decisions related to their estate plans before the event.
Upon arrival at the event, first responders sign in and execute a waiver. First responders are then assigned to individual attorneys who review the completed questionnaire and input the information into laptops preloaded with the HotDocs® software. The attorney and first responder review the documents together to ensure the person understands and agrees to what they are executing. Once finalized, the documents are signed, witnessed, and notarized in a formal ceremony. In Utah, the entire process usually takes about forty-five minutes to complete. The Wills for Heroes program does not keep a copy of the participant’s documents or information.
HotDocs®, Wills for Heroes, and the Morrise Family – a Utah Connection
Wills for Heroes events rely on volunteer attorneys for their success, most of whom have limited estate planning experience or expertise. Thus, a valuable part of the Wills for Heroes program is the training provided to volunteer attorneys in basic trusts and estates law, and a brief training session on the LexisNexis HotDocs® software. HotDocs® takes the complex estate planning templates and transforms them into an easy-to-use “interview” which guides the volunteer attorney through the process to produce an automatically filled-in will or other document. The templates for the Utah trusts and estate documents were painstakingly created with careful attention to the recent 2008 Utah State Legislative session, which passed laws affecting some of these documents as recently as one week before the St. George event. As a result of these changes, HotDocs® was updated to conform to these changes. The Utah State Bar has approved CLE and NLCLE credit for this training.
HotDocs® software’s origins date back to a pioneering research project by an undergraduate computer science student, Marshall Morrise. The J. Reuben Clark Law School hired Marshall in 1979 as a programmer on a project to try to bring computers from law firm back-offices to attorney desktops. Marshall and the two professors he worked for, Larry C. Farmer and Stanley D. Neeleman, developed an early-but-high-powered document assembly product called CAPS. In 1987, the dean of the law school invited Marshall to take the CAPS technology and make a commercial go of it. With Farmer and two computer programmers as partners, Marshall launched Capsoft Development. Matt Morrise, Marshall’s brother who worked with him at Capsoft, came up with the idea of developing a very simple product that would run inside of WordPerfect (and later, Microsoft Word). Capsoft developed this groundbreaking technology, and HotDocs®, was first released in the fall of 1993. The Morisse brother’s company and the HotDocs® technology was subsequently acquired by LexisNexis. Marshall continues to manage the development team that produces HotDocs and other products, all from his Utah home base.
The relationship between Wills for Heroes, HotDocs, and the Morrise family has grown together in an interesting way. When Anthony Hayes began the Wills for Heroes movement shortly after 9/11, the first wills he produced were based on modified versions of his law firm’s HotDocs templates. Once Jeffrey Jacobson partnered with Hayes, Jacobson approached LexisNexis seeking a contribution of both HotDocs software and development assistance. At that time, Marshall Morisse’s son, Matt Morrise (not to be confused with Marshall’s brother Matt), worked for LexisNexis on the HotDocs consulting team and received the assignment to do the Arizona Wills for Heroes documents under Jacobson’s direction. After the younger Matt Morrise left LexisNexis to complete his physics degree and prepare for law school (he is now a first-year student at the J. Reuben Clark Law School), Marshall Morrise became the LexisNexis Wills for Heroes point of contact and has since worked closely with Jacobsen and Hayes performing extensive software and template development work.
Yet another Morrise is also intimately involved with Wills for Heroes: Mark J. Morrise, a trusts and estates attorney at Callister, Nebeker and McCullough in Salt Lake City. Mark Morisse, a fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, past chair of the Estate Planning Section of the Utah State Bar, and member of the Salt Lake Estate Planning Council, was intimately involved in the creation of the HotDocs trusts and estates templates, sample documents and the first Utah Wills for Heroes event. Mark Morrise worked closely with Deacon Haymond in preparing Utah’s Wills for Heroes documents, which are being heralded as the new gold standard for new Wills for Heroes programs across the country.
The Morrise family’s service is not limited to that of the men. Marshall’s daughter Jenny, a recent graduate of BYU with a degree in secondary math education, worked as an intern for LexisNexis and converted the Arizona Will template from HotDocs format to the model document.
Looking Forward – More Utah Wills for Heroes Events.
With the ease of use of HotDocs®, attorneys do not need to be trusts and estates specialists to volunteer for a Wills for Heroes event. As such, the Utah YLD is committed to spread Wills for Heroes across Utah as long as attorneys are willing to donate their time and first responders are interested in receiving this service.
Rachel Terry, one of the organizers of the St. George event said, “It’s a really great feeling to be able to serve those who serve us. As we take this program across the state, we will be able to use our legal skills to make a tangible impact on the lives of our first responders.” The Young Lawyers Division appreciates the leadership of Rachel Terry, Emily Smith, Stephanie Pugsley, and Michelle Allred in getting this monumental project off the ground in Utah. The YLD also appreciates the tremendous support of the Utah State Bar, the Utah Bar Commission, and the Utah State Bar support staff for their commitment to the Utah Wills For Heroes program. The YLD appreciates the generous donations, supplies, and technical support from Ballard Spahr and LexisNexis which made it possible to launch the Wills for Heroes Foundation in Utah.
In recognition of the time spent drafting the trusts and estate documents for Utah’s Wills for Heroes program, the Young Lawyers Division created the Mark J. Morrise and Deacon Haymond Wills for Heroes Volunteer Service Award. Recipients are chosen at each Utah Wills for Heroes event for contributing outstanding service and forwarding the purpose of the program. Recipients are recognized on the Young Lawyers Division website. The first four recipients were named during the opening remarks at the Spring Convention in St. George on March 14, 2008. They included: Rachel Terry, Emily Smith, Michelle Allred, and Marshall Morrise for their instrumental contributions in bringing the first Wills for Heroes event to Utah.
Attorneys and paralegals interested in volunteering at future events, or for a list of Wills for Heroes events and information, visit the YLD Wills for Heroes website www.utahbar.org/sections/yld/willsforheroes/Welcome.html
If you have a question that was not addressed on the website please contact: Tiffany Brown at email@example.com or Sarah Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org
All other Wills for Heroes questions should be directed to YLD President, Stephanie Pugsley at email@example.com
Contributing: Stephanie Pugsley, Jamie Nopper, Marshall Morisse
Photos: Rachel Terry, Stephanie Pugsley, Lori Nelson
Young Lawyer’s Division Update
by Stephanie Pugsley, Utah YLD President, 2007-2008
The Utah Young Lawyer’s Division has rolled out a sleek new website www.utahyounglawyers.org, and is now offering several new services for its members and the public. The “On Demand Mentor” video presentations, accessed via the website, offer experienced Utah practitioners’ insights on various legal and professional topics. Each ten-minute tutorial provides a concise overview of a selected topic from the presenter’s area of expertise. The new website also links to a YLD Blog that posts current events, upcoming activities, job openings, service projects, and young lawyer achievements. In addition, YLD members, as well as Utah and BYU law students, will receive a concise bi-monthly YLD E-Newsletter designed to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings within the YLD and the Bar.
With the largest membership of any Bar section, the YLD is continually working to assist new lawyers as they begin the practice of law, while keeping important commitments to serve the Utah legal community and the public at large. We invite all members of the Bar to visit and use the new YLD homepage and to join us in our upcoming activities.
The Young Lawyer Division in 2007
by David R. Hall
The Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar (the “YLD”) is looking forward to another outstanding year in 2007. With a leadership body made up of five officers, eleven committees, and six liaisons, the YLD continues to make significant contributions to the Bar and the public. The following is a brief overview of the YLD as well as a look at what is planned for the coming year.
Who is a member of the YLD? You may be a member of the YLD and not even know it. There is no need to sign-up or pay dues to be member of YLD. All members of the Utah State Bar in good standing under 36 years of age as well as members who have been admitted to their first state bar for less than three years, regardless of age, are automatically members of the YLD. Membership terminates automatically at the adjournment of the annual convention of the Utah State Bar following a member’s thirty-sixth birthday or the third anniversary of a member’s first state bar admission.
YLD’s Elections & Officers: YLD members elect new officers each summer. I (David Hall) am currently serving as the 2006-2007 YLD President. Sean Reyes is Treasurer, and Craig Hall is Secretary. Stephanie Wilkins Pugsley is the President-Elect for 2007-2008, and Debra Griffiths Handley is the Past-President of YLD.
And Justice For All: (Karthik Nadesan and Ryan Christensen, co-chairs) Now in its fifth year, the YLD continues to help organize and sponsor the “Bar Sharks for Justice” pool tournament each Fall to help raise money for “and Justice for all.” This event continues to grow in popularity and raises more money each year. This past November the tournament raised over $5,000. In addition to the pool tournament, the committee helps organize the “And Justice for all” volunteer fundraising phone-a-thon held each year.
Community Service: (Rachel Terry and Emily Smith, co-chairs) The Community Service Committee is traditionally one of the most active committees of the YLD. Recent projects have included volunteering at Globus Relief, Children’s Justice Center, YWCA, Utah Food Bank, Utah Aids Foundation and hosting the annual “Law Suit” Day during which professional clothing is gathered and donated to the Road Home and Assistance League of Salt Lake City.
Tuesday Night Bar: (Kelly Latimer, Christina Micken, and Matt Wride, co-chairs) At “Tuesday Night Bar,” volunteer attorneys provide free legal assistance to the general public, including helping unrepresented individuals obtain counsel. As its name
suggests, Tuesday Night Bar is held on Tuesday evenings between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. at the Utah Law & Justice Center (645 South 200 East). In addition, the Young Lawyers Division and the Tuesday Night Bar program sponsor CLE luncheons on areas of law that frequently come up at Tuesday Night Bar. If you would like more information about the program or would like to volunteer, please contact Kelly Latimer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Matt Wride at email@example.com.
Continuing Legal Education: (Matt Tarkington and Keli Beard, co-chairs) The CLE committee is involved in helping to develop and sponsor CLE that is meaningful for young attorneys. The YLD has recently co-sponsored CLE luncheons on appellate brief writing, civility in the practice of law, and basics of criminal law.
Needs of Children: (Lance Rich and Jeremy Reutzel, co-chairs) The Needs of the Children Committee has been working with the Utah Heart Gallery to help children stuck in the foster care system find adoptive families. The Committee is also in the early stages of partnering with the U.S. Dream Academy, a national organization dedicated to mentoring children who are facing the anxiety and upheaval brought on by having a parent in prison.
Public Education: (Marianne McGregor Guelker and Barbara Ishimatsu, co-chairs) The Public Education Committee is working with the American Bar Association to implement the “Choose Law” program in Utah. The project aims to increase diversity in the legal profession by assisting and encouraging young individuals of color to become attorneys. The project emphasizes the importance of law in society and introduces students to the steps they need to take to go to law school.
Law Day: (Gary Guelker and Tyson Snow, co-chairs) The Law Day Committee is responsible for hosting the annual Law Day Reception and related Law Week activities. This event honors those individuals and groups who have committed their time and resources towards serving our legal community and its members. It also honors members of our local youth who participate in the Mock Trial, Art-and-the-Law, and Law-Related Education Essay contests. The theme for this year’s Law Day is “Liberty Under Law: Empowering Youth, Assuring Democracy.” Plans are in the works for a Law Day luncheon to be held May 1. Watch for more information coming soon.
Utah State Bar Conferences: (Chris Snow and Kurt Hawes, co-chairs) The YLD sponsors and coordinates with various practice sections of the Utah Bar to organize the “Back to Basics” CLE sessions at the Bar’s Spring and Annual meetings. The goal of the “Back to Basics” sessions is to provide valuable training to new lawyers in various fields of practice as well as refresher courses for more experienced practitioners. In addition to CLE, the committee organizes and staffs the popular “Kid’s Fair” that is part of the Utah State Bar’s Annual Conference held in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Professionalism and The Practice of Law: (Christopher M. Von Maack and Dennis Flynn, co-chairs) The Professionalism and The Practice of Law Committee works to foster and improve professionalism and civility. The committee is currently developing a free, on-line mentoring resource designed for new lawyers, but also available to the public. Attorneys will be able to choose from a variety legal topics on the Bar’s website, click a button, and view a short video presentation by an experienced attorney or judge on that topic. Filming has commenced and tutorials will be available on the Bar’s website in the near future.
Membership/Recruitment: (Seth Hobby and Brian Rosander, co-chairs) The Membership Committee works to increase participation of the 2,000 young lawyers within the Bar. This year the committee is making a special effort to reach out to law students at the University of Utah and BYU to educate them about the numerous educational and service opportunities within the Bar. Too often, the only aspect of the Bar that young attorneys are familiar with is the admissions process.
High School Debate Tournament: (Chad Derum, YLD Liason) The High School Debate Tournament Liason organizes and coordinates the YLD’s sponsorship of an annual debate tournament. Specific responsibilities include fundraising for the event, advertising and promotion, ensuring that judging commitments are met, and conducting public relations on behalf of the YLD in the high school debate community. In October 2006, the YLD and the Litigation Section co-sponsored a very successful Young Lawyers Invitational Debate Tournament held at Highland High School in Salt Lake City.
Utah Bar Journal: (Nathan Croxford and Peter Donaldson, co-chairs) The YLD Bar Journal Committee and the Utah Bar Journal actively seeks article submissions from young lawyers for publication in the Utah Bar Journal. Please send submissions or questions to Nathan Croxford (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Peter Donaldson (email@example.com).
The YLD is committed to serving the legal profession and the community as a whole. I would like to personally thank the numerous attorneys who volunteer their time and energy on behalf of the YLD. Additional information regarding the YLD is available on the Bar’s website: www.utahbar.org/sections/yld. The website has contact information for all the officers, committee chairs, and liaisons. I would encourage you to contact me or any of the committee chairs if you would like to learn more about a program or become involved in the YLD. We look forward to an exciting year in 2007!
The Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar would like to thank the following attorneys for volunteering at the Tuesday Night Bar pro bono legal clinic during the 2006 calendar year. Because of their efforts, over 600 members of the public were provided with a free initial legal consultation, including preliminary legal counseling and general legal information.
Tuesday Night Bar is held at the Utah Law and Justice Center (645 South 200 East, Salt Lake City) on Tuesday nights from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Kelly Latimer, Tuesday Night Bar Co-Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave L. Mortensen
2005 Year in Review – Looking Ahead to 2006
2005 was an outstanding year for the Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar (“YLD”). With several committees staffed by capable volunteers, the YLD continues to offer significant contributions to the Bar and the public. Here are some of the 2005 highlights from the YLD committees as well as a look at what is coming up in 2006.
YLD’s Leadership/Executive: More than 2,000 YLD members had the opportunity to elect new officers this past summer. Debra Griffiths Handley of Dart Adamson & Donovan was elected as the 2005-2006 YLD president. Sean Reyes of Parsons Behle & Latimer, is Treasurer, and Ruth Hawe of Van Cott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy is Secretary. David Hall of Parsons Behle & Latimer, is the President-Elect for 2006-2007, and Candice Anderson Vogel of Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar, is the Past-President of YLD.
and Justice for all: (Karthik Nadesan and Jonathan Benns, co-chairs) In conjunction with several individuals and law firms, the YLD sponsored the annual “Bar Sharks for Justice” pool tournament in November. Participants and spectators enjoyed themselves while raising money in support of Utah Legal Services, Disability Law Center, and Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake City. YLD is seeking volunteers and organizational committee members for the next “and Justice for all” fundraising phone-a-thon coming up. The committee also plans to co-sponsor the Law Day Run this spring. Please contact Karthik Nadesan if you would like to help.
Tuesday Night Bar: (Amy Poulson and Jonathan Pappasideris – co-chairs) At “Tuesday Night Bar,” volunteer attorneys provide free legal assistance to the general public, including helping unrepresented individuals obtain counsel. As its name suggests, Tuesday Night Bar is held on Tuesday evenings between 5:30 and 7:00 PM at the Utah Law & Justice Center (645 South 200 East). In addition, the Young Lawyers Division and the Tuesday Night Bar program sponsor four CLE luncheons per year on areas of law that frequently come up at Tuesday Night Bar. If you would like more information about the program or would like to volunteer, please contact Amy Poulson at 595-7800.
Continuing Legal Education: (Michael Young and Matt Tarkington – co-chairs) The CLE committee is planning a series of CLE luncheons for 2006. In 2005, YLD members taught and attended seminars on family law, landlord-tenant law, and other basics of law in conjunction with “Tuesday Night Bar.” In 2006, the CLE Committee will work directly with the NLCLE Committee to host useful and affordable education seminars. Watch for more information about the seminars planned for this year.
Needs of Children: (Lance Rich and Sammi Anderson, co-chairs) The Needs of the Children Committee has been working with the Utah Heart Gallery. This is a charitable organization that helps raise awareness of foster children waiting for adoption, with the goal of matching prospective adoptive families with children. The Committee is also working to assist the office of the Guardian Ad Litem with ongoing projects.
Public Education: (Stephanie Pugsely and Marianne MacGregor Guelker, co-chairs) The Public Education Committee is working with the ABA to bring the “We the Jury” project into Utah classrooms. The project aims to teach young people about the value and importance of jury service. This year the committee hopes to bring the program to more than three times the number of students as in 2004. In addition, lawyers and their coworkers are encouraged to volunteer as a judge or coach with the Utah Law Related Education Project. Every year hundreds of Utah teens participate in these mock trials. Watch for more information coming soon.
Community Service: (Kelly Latimer and Christina Micken, co-chairs) The Community Service Committee worked hard this past June landscaping the front yard of the Avenues Children’s Justice Center. Upcoming projects include a game drive and game night at the YWCA, sorting food for the Utah Food Bank, and hosting the annual “Law Suit” Day during which professional clothing is gathered and donated to the Road Home and Assistance League of Salt Lake City. Please contact Kelly Latimer at (801) 368-7782 to volunteer for upcoming projects.
Law Day: (Kim Neville and Angela Stander, co-chairs) This year’s Law Day activities will focus on “Separate Branches – Balanced Power.” Plans are in the works for a Law Day luncheon to be held May 1. Watch for more information coming soon. The Law Day Committee is responsible for hosting the annual Law Day Reception and related Law Week activities. The event honors those individuals and groups who have committed their time and resources towards serving our legal community and its members. The event also honors members of our local youth who participate in the Mock Trial, Art-and-the-Law, and Law-Related Education Essay contests. This year’s Law Day Reception will be held at the Little America Hotel on Monday, May 1, 2006. Individuals interested in assisting with the event may contact Kim Neville or Angela Stander at 257-1900 for more information.
Utah State Bar Conferences: (Sonia Sweeney and Kendra Shirey, co-chairs) The YLD sponsors and coordinates with various practice sections of the Utah Bar to organize the Back to Basics CLE sessions at the Bar’s Spring and Annual meetings. The goal of the Back to Basics sessions is to provide valuable training to new lawyers in various fields of practice as well as refresher courses for more experienced practitioners.
Professionalism and The Practice of Law: (Christopher M. Von Maack and Paul Farr, co-chairs) The Professionalism and The Practice of Law Committee is new to the Young Lawyers Division and replaces the Professionalism Committee, which was formed to assist the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism. Broadly, the Professionalism and The Practice of Law Committee stands ready to assist the Bar in any meaningful way to foster and improve professionalism and civility, such as CLEs, workshops, and Utah Bar Journal articles. More specifically, the Committee is currently developing a free, on-line mentoring resource, designed for new lawyers, but also available to the public. This resource will enlist accomplished and respected attorneys, judges, and lawyers who work outside the traditional practice of law. The purpose of this resource is to hopes to consolidate and disseminate these lawyers’ cumulative years of experience and advice into accessible packages of information available any time through the Utah Bar website.
Membership: (Doug Larson and Geoff Landward, co-chairs) The Membership Committee works to increase participation of the 2,000 young lawyers within the Bar. Attorneys who are under age 36 or in their first three years of law practice are automatically enrolled in YLD. There are no annual dues or membership fees for division membership. If you would like to be involved with the YLD or serve on a committee, please contact Doug Larson at (801) 363-5678 or Geoff Landward at (801) 366-0100. You can also visit the YLD web page: http://www.utahbar.org/sections/newyl.
Utah Minority Bar Association: (Sean Reyes, UMBA President and YLD liaison) Through fundraising, service projects, and other activities, the YLD supports the Utah Minority Bar Association.
Utah Bar Journal: (Nathan Croxford and Peter Donaldson, co-chairs) The YLD Bar Journal Committee and the Utah Bar Journal are actively seeking article submissions from young lawyers for publication in the Utah Bar Journal. Please send submissions or questions to Nathan Croxford (email@example.com) or Peter Donaldson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Paralegal Division: (Robyn Dotterer, YLD Liason and past utilization chair; Danielle Price, chair). The Paralegal Division is pleased to join in supporting the Young Lawyers Division with its activities. The Division sponsors several activities and fundraisers. The Division sponsors fundraisers for the legal profession, with proceeds going to “And Justice For All.”
High School Debate Tournament: (Chad Derum, YLD Liason): The High School Debate Tournament Liason organizes and coordinates the YLD’s sponsorship of the Young Lawyers Invitational Debate Tournament. Specific responsibilities include fundraising for the event, advertising and promotion, ensuring that judging commitments are met, and conducting public relations on behalf of the YLD in the high school debate community. The tournament took place in October 2005. The YLD co-sponsored the event with the Litigation Section.
Governmental Relations Committee Liaison – David Bernstein, liason. The liason represents the YLD at the weekly committee meetings while the Utah Legislature is in session. The committee’s purpose is to review and analyze proposed legislation.
The YLD is continuing with its commitment to serve our profession and the community as a whole. We want to thank the Bar, our members and volunteers, and all the organizations that sup-ported us in 2005. We look forward to an exciting year in 2006!
Author; Teresa Welch
The Young Lawyer of the Year is awarded annually by the Young Lawyer’s Division of the Utah State Bar. One of the most recent recipients of this distinguished award is Patrick Tan, a colleague and friend of mine at the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. It is my honor to introduce Patrick Tan to you, and to enlighten you to the various reasons why Patrick is wholly deserving of the 2002-2003 Young Lawyer of the Year award.
Patrick’s choice to be an attorney stems from personal and emotional experiences. Patrick grew up speaking English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, and although he is fluent in all of these languages, Patrick has witnessed the struggles of family members and friends who are not as well versed in the English language. Specifically, Patrick remembers an incident in which a couple of close family members found themselves in a legal quagmire because they had signed what they thought was a guest book, only to find out that their signatures committed them to a steep financial obligation. The misunderstanding was eventually cleared up, but the impact of it on Patrick was the beginning of a new focus in life for him. From this experience, Patrick realized that not only is our legal system very complicated, but it is twice as complicated if English is one’s second language. He decided at that point that he wanted to spend his life in a career in which he could help out the “underdogs” in life.
Patrick attended the University of Utah where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and obtained his Juris Doctorate Degree. While in law school, Patrick worked for a handful of nonprofit legal agencies, including the Multi-Cultural Legal Center, the Disability Law Center, and Utah Legal Services. In 1999, Patrick was awarded the Utah Legal Services Law Student Volunteer of the Year. During law school, Patrick also spent time working at the United States Attorneys’ Office and the South Salt Lake City Attorneys’ Office. Working at these various places allowed Patrick to assist an ethnically diverse pool of clients in issues related to disability law, housing and public benefit law, criminal law, employment law, disability law, and immigration law.
Upon graduating from law school, Patrick was employed at Utah Legal Services (ULS). While working at ULS, Patrick handled a case load of public benefit cases and assisted in the housing unit when requested. He participated in possession bond eviction hearings and public benefit administrative hearings. He also managed the street law (legal clinic) sites, and oversaw pro bono attorneys and law students who were working on domestic law cases in conjunction with the Utah State Bar’s Pro Bono Project.
Since July 2003, Patrick has been working as a trial attorney in the misdemeanor division at the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association (LDA). Patrick is happy with this new position as he has always wanted to work in criminal law. Regarding his experiences at LDA, Patrick states: “The spirit of teamwork and cooperation at LDA is unlike anything I’ve ever seen and I am very proud to be a part of it. I attribute this positive chemistry to LDA Executive Director F. John Hill who does the hiring, and to Patrick Anderson who supervises the misdemeanor division. Don’t get me wrong, the job is grueling and the case load is huge, but the rewards of a grateful client or a supportive colleague helping me out at a pretrial calender makes it worthwhile to go to work each day.”
Patrick fills his spare time as an executive board member of both the Asian Association of Utah and the Multi-Cultural Legal Center. He is also co-chair of the Needs of Children committee of the Young Lawyer’s Division under the direction of Christian Clinger, the Young Lawyer’s Division President. Patrick is involved in assisting with public relations for the Utah Indochina Chinese Benevolence Society, and is a trained mediator for the Salt Lake City Corporation Weed and Seed Program. Recently, Tan also assisted as a Judge Pro Tem for the Salt Lake City Justice Court presiding over small claims matters.
In all of his endeavors Patrick is continually committed to helping out the “underdogs” in life. By devoting his energies to people who struggle with financial difficulties, language barriers, and various disabilities, Patrick is devoted to helping out the less fortunate in life. Congratulations to Patrick Tan for being the co-recipient of the 2002-2003 Young Lawyer of the Year award!
Author; Christian W. Clinger, President – Young Lawyers Division
The Young Lawyers Division (“YLD”) of the Utah State Bar has had a very productive year in 2003. With its 12 committees, the YLD has given significant contributions to its membership as well as to the public. Here are some of the YLD’s highlights since July 2003.
YLD’s Leadership/Executive Committee: This past summer, the YLD’s 2,000 members had the opportunity to elect new officers. Christian W. Clinger, an associate attorney at Callister Nebeker & McCullough, was elected as the 2003-2004 YLD president. Robert B. Lamb, an associate attorney at Suitter Axland, was elected as Treasurer, and Jason P. Perry, the Deputy Director for the Utah Department of Commerce, was elected as Secretary. Candice Anderson Vogel, a partner at Manning Curtis Bradshaw & Bednar, was elected as president-elect for the 2004-2005 term. Vicky Fitlow, a partner at Wrona & Fitlow, is the past-president of YLD.
and Justice for all Committee: (Wade Budge, committee chair / Debbie Griffiths, co-committee chair) The YLD partnered with the “and Justice for all” campaign to help raise operating funds for the Community Legal Center. The YLD sponsored phone-a-thons this past Summer and Fall as well as the annual “Bar Sharks for Justice” pool tournament this past November. Through these events, the YLD raised over $20,000.00 for “and Justice for all.” All proceeds went directly to “and Justice for all.”
Tuesday Night Bar Committee: (Jami Momberger, committee chair / David Hall, co-committee chair) The Utah State Bar and the YLD provide a free legal advice program in Salt Lake City known as “Tuesday Night Bar.” This is an evening where lawyers volunteer to meet one-on-one with individuals for 30 minutes at no cost. Approximately 1,500 individuals meet with attorneys each year. Over 75 young lawyers are directly involved with “Tuesday Night Bar.” The purpose of this program is to assist the public in determining their legal rights. The Tuesday Night Bar is held every Tuesday each month between 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Utah Law & Justice Center, 645 South 200 East. Appointments for this program may be scheduled by calling 531-9077.
Community Service Committee: (Kelly Latimer, committee chair / Christina Micken, co-committee chair) The Community Service Committee has had a busy year. This past Summer and Fall, over 30 young lawyers landscaped and beautified the West Jordan Children’s Justice Center helping the facility be a welcoming place for children that have suffered abuse or neglect. In December, the Community Service Committee organized with the Division of Youth Services an evening of playing games and decorating holiday cookies and gingerbread houses with children under the supervision of the Division of Youth Services who have been removed from their homes but not yet placed with a foster family.
Needs of the Children Committee: (Patrick Tan, committee chair / Marianne Guelker, co-committee chair) This past year, the Needs of the Children Committee helped update a brochure to help recognize and prevent child abuse. This pamphlet is being distributed to the public and those working with children. The Needs of the Children Committee has also created a public education project teaching students, ages 14 to 18, about careers in the legal profession.
Public Education Committee: (Sonia Sweeney, committee chair / Paul Farr, co-committee chair) The Public Education Committee is planning several impressive projects for 2004. These projects include teaching students the importance of tolerance and avoiding conflicts and disputes; recruiting judges, attorneys, and the public for the annual Mock Trial Competition in conjunction with Law Day; and finally, coordinating efforts to teach students about the historic 50th Anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education.
Law Day Committee: (Kelly Williams, committee chair / Michael Young, co-committee chair) The Law Day Committee is already planning next year’s Law Day celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. The committee is organizing an awards dinner with a nationally recognized keynote speaker. More information will be published in the near future, but mark your calendars now for May 7, 2004 for this exciting Law Day event.
Utah State Bar Conventions Committee: (Sammi Anderson, committee chair / Doug Larson, co-committee chair) The YLD sponsors and organizes New Lawyer CLE courses at the Bar’s annual and mid-year meetings. These classes provide valuable training to new lawyers in teaching the fundamental principles of various areas of law. Additionally, the YLD is planning the carnival for the annual Bar convention in Sun Valley.
CLE Committee: (Amy Hayes, committee chair / Kevin Jones, co-committee chair) The CLE committee is planning a series of CLE luncheons for 2004. These one hour courses will focus on the “nuts and bolts” of different subjects of law. Watch for more information on these great seminars.
YLD Bar Journal Committee: (Jeff Colemere, committee chair / Gary Guelker co-committee chair) The YLD Bar Journal Committee solicits articles from young lawyers to publish in the Utah Bar Journal. If you have an article idea or would be interested in writing on a particular topic, contact Jeff Colemere or Gary Guelker.
Professionalism Committee: (David Bernstein, committee chair) The Professionalism Committee is working on implementing the Utah Supreme Court’s report on professionalism with young lawyers. Through the committee’s work, it will help teach the importance of professionalism and improve working relations between attorneys.
Membership Committee: (Kim Neville, committee chair) The Membership Committee is responsible for increasing participation amongst the 2,000 young lawyers within the Bar as well as within the YLD. Every attorney under the age of 36 or within their first three years of practice if over the age of 36 is automatically a member of the YLD. There are no annual dues or membership fees. If you would like to be involved with the YLD or serve on a committee, please contact Christian Clinger at (801) 530-7412 or Kim Neville at (801) 257-1846 or visit the YLD web page at www.utahbar.org/sections/newyl
The YLD is committed to serving both the profession and the community at large. The YLD thanks the Bar as well as the many law firms that have supported the YLD in 2003. We look forward to a productive and promising year in 2004!
The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the Utah State Bar is gearing up for another year of service to its members and service to the public.
Executive Committee. The executive committee of the YLD has worked hard over the summer, making appointments to chair and co-chair the YLD’s various committees, and preparing the handbooks, budgets, directories, and other materials necessary to make the YLD run smoothly. Your officers for 2002-2003 are: Vicky Fitlow, President; Debra Griffiths, Treasurer; Amy Dolce, Secretary; Christian Clinger, President-Elect; Nathan Alder, Past President.
And Justice for All. The YLD has been involved with helping the And Justice for All campaign since its very first year. This year, the YLD has created its own committee to support And Justice for All. Over the summer, Candice Vogel and Wade Budge have worked with And Justice for All and The Dead Goat Saloon to organize a fundraiser pool tournament. Sixteen teams of two will compete in the first annual “Bar Sharks for Justice” in October, with the overall winners receiving a traveling trophy. Many local organizations have donated prizes, which will be given away to the teams competing. All proceeds will go to And Justice for All. If you are interested in competing, please contact Candice or Wade.
Annual/Mid-Year Meeting. Once again the YLD will sponsor the young lawyer track of CLE courses at the annual and mid-year meetings, as well as organizing and staffing the kiddie carnival at the annual meeting. George Burbidge and Martha Knudson are already underway with plans to make this year’s meetings better than ever.
Bar Journal. Bruce Burt and Dave Mortenson are busy soliciting articles for the Bar Journal. Many young lawyers have contributed articles in the past. If you have an article you would like to have published in the Bar Journal, please contact Bruce or Dave.
CLE. Loyal Hulme and Joseph Covey and their dedicated committee have already set an impressive schedule of CLE topics geared toward young lawyers. The schedule is not yet full, however, so if there is a topic you would particularly like to see covered, please let us know.
Community Service. The Community Service committee of the YLD will be very active this year. Jason Hardin and Cheryl Mori-Atkinson are planning 3-4 events that will give young lawyers a chance to make a real difference in the community. Look for e-mails from Jason and Cheryl and be sure to save the dates and participate in these fabulous projects.
Law Day. Mickell Jimenez and Kelly Williams are hard at work planning next May’s Law Day celebration. The search for a speaker is well underway, and the venue will be selected shortly. Keep a look out for candidates you would like to nominate for Young Lawyer of the Year and the Liberty Bell award.
Needs of Children. The Needs of Children committee is another new committee for the YLD this year. Amy Hayes and Patrick Tan will be working with Prevent Child Abuse Utah to update a pamphlet on recognizing signs of child abuse that is given out to those working with children. Once these pamphlets are published in December, the committee will coordinate with the Utah State Bar’s Needs of Children committee to identify appropriate projects.
Membership. Kimberly Havlik and Jamie Zenger are determined to reach you! The Membership Committee is charged with reaching out to all members of the YLD and determining how best to serve their needs. Keep an eye out for a survey from the Membership Committee this year that will give you a chance to tell us how we can be of service to you. Also, if you want to get involved with YLD but are not sure just what your interests are, contact Kim or Jamie and they will help you figure out where you can best be of service.
Professionalism. Jeff Vincent and David Bernstein will sit on the Utah Supreme Court’s committee on Professionalism. This committee is charged with enhancing the collegiality and integrity of all members of the Utah State Bar. Young lawyers have an important role to play in this endeavor. Look for a report from the Professionalism committee sometime this year.
Public Education. Public Education will once again be intimately involved with the Mock Trial project, in which junior high and high school students all across Utah compete in a fantasy trial. Stacey Snyder and Sonia Sweeney will also be working to implement the American Bar Association/Young Lawyers’ Division project entitled Tolerance Through Education. This nationwide program aims to reach third-grade students and teach them about the values of tolerance.
Tuesday Night Bar. Last, but certainly not least. This flagship program of the Young Lawyers Division provides free legal services to some 2000 members of the public annually. Every Tuesday evening, volunteer lawyers organized by Jason Perry and Jami Momberger give free, 1/2 hour legal consultations on almost every legal topic imaginable. Tuesday Night Bar is your best opportunity to get involved with the YLD, because it involves over 75 young lawyers every year. Please contact Jason or Jami if you are interested in Tuesday Night Bar.
Regional Representatives. The YLD is committed to young lawyers across the state of Utah. As part of that effort, the YLD is in the process of recruiting representatives from each of the regional bar associations. If you are a young lawyer and member of a regional bar association, please contact Vicky Fitlow about becoming involved in YLD.
There is always room for young lawyers at the YLD. If you are under 36 years old, or if you were admitted to the Utah State Bar in 1998 or later, you already are a member! There are no dues to pay. All you have to do is get in contact with someone who is already involved in YLD and let them know your interests. You can always call me, Vicky Fitlow, at (435) 649-2525, or e-mail me at email@example.com.