Section Events for May 2016


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

Register at:


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

For info on any of these events, contact the CLE department at or register online at

Section Updates for March 2016

Government & Administrative Law Section

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

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

Litigation Section

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

A family-friendly networking reception & retreat.

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

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

Heather L. Thuet
Chair of the Litigation Section



Utah Courts Mourn Passing of Judge James Davis – Long-time Court of Appeals Judge

ebruary 29, 2016  

Long-time Court of Appeals Judge

Salt Lake City, UT — Utah State Court judges and administrators took time to honor the passing this past weekend of a long-time leader of Utah’s judicial system.

Judge James Z. Davis was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals by Gov. Michael O. Leavitt in November 1993. He served two terms as presiding judge of the court of appeals and retired in November 2015. He was the first judge appointed to the court of appeals who was not among the original appointees when the court was organized in 1987.

“The Court of Appeals family will miss our beloved colleague and friend, Judge Jim Davis. He was a towering presence with a personality to match,” said Utah Court of Appeals Presiding Judge Fred Voros. “His legal learning, common sense, and practical wisdom allowed him to cut right to the heart of even a complex case.”

“It was my pleasure to serve with Jim Davis for nearly 22 years,” said Utah Court of Appeals Associate Presiding Judge Gergory Orme. “He was a great guy and a treasured colleague. His thorough preparation, consistently hard work, and keen sense of humor were the hallmarks of his service on the court. He will truly be missed.”

In addition to his distinguished service on the Utah Court of Appeals, Judge Davis had a long and exemplary career in law. He received his law degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1968. He served in military intelligence in the U.S. Army until 1970. Judge Davis was in private practice from 1971 to 1977, served as Deputy Weber County Attorney and Weber County Police Legal Advisor from 1973 to 1982, was a partner in Thatcher, Glasmann & Davis from 1977 to 1982, and a shareholder and director at Ray, Quinney & Nebeker from 1982 until his appointment to the bench. Judge Davis was president of the Utah State Bar from 1991 to 1992, served as Bar representative on the Utah Judicial Council, and was also selected by the court of appeals on three occasions to serve as that court’s representative on the Utah Judicial Council.

In 2014, Judge Davis received the Lifetime Service Award from the Utah State Bar.

A New Kind of Paralegal is Coming to Help Utahns Navigate the Court System


A new kind of paralegal is coming to help Utahns navigate the court system

The Salt Lake Tribune
UPDATED: DECEMBER 14, 2015 10:41PM

There are issues with how Utahns access their justice system, a Utah Supreme Court justice said.

Many people either can’t afford lawyers, Deno Himonas said Monday, or simply don’t want to hire one to help them navigate the court system as they file for divorce, settle debts or resolve eviction issues. “Lawyers have been incredibly generous with their time,” Himonas said. “And are trying to address [those issues] through pro bono measures. But at the end of the day, though, we need to come up with an economically viable model that will help improve access for those individuals in our civil justice system.”

To that end, the Utah Supreme Court has approved the creation of a new legal profession: limited paralegal practitioners.

An LPP, or paraprofessional, will have more training and responsibilities than a normal paralegal, but is not quite a lawyer. The paraprofessional will be able to help the public in those areas where Utahns generally aren’t hiring lawyers.

“They will really help [their clients] navigate the system, if you will,” Himonas told the Utah Judicial Council at its monthly meeting Monday.

Himonas, who chaired a task force committee that explored whether LPPs could help Utahns have better access to courts, told the council that the committee spent the past seven months exploring other states where similar programs exist, and examining what was successful and what was not.

The task force said an LPP can be a cheaper alternative for people who can’t afford a lawyer or don’t want to spend their money on one.

“We recognize the valuable services that lawyers provide to their clients every day, in and out of court,” the report reads. “But the data shows that, even after years of effort with pro bono and low bono programs, a large number of people do not have a lawyer to help them. … The people facing these situations need correct information and advice. They need assistance.”

An LPP will help fill in that gap — assisting clients outside of the courtroom by filling out forms, representing clients in mediated negotiations or preparing settlements.

“[But] there is a limit,” appellate court administrator Timothy Shea told the judicial council. “And that is essentially the courtroom door. An LPP cannot represent someone in the courtroom.”

This means the paraprofessional cannot present evidence inside a courtroom, question witnesses or make arguments before a judge. LPPs will be required to have a certain amount of education, according to the report. They will be required to have either a law degree or an associate degree with a paralegal certificate. They will also need to be experienced as a paralegal and complete further courses in their practice area.

The Utah State Bar would oversee licensing and disciplinary concerns for the newly formed program, according to the report. Spokesman Sean Toomey said Monday that the bar is pleased with how quickly the Supreme Court task force issued its report and “looks forward to considering its recommendations.”

From Leonard Burningham: 2015 Food & Clothing Drive Reminder

Dear Members of the Bar:

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

eBulletin for November 2015


Double your pleasure at the new two-day Fall Forum in Salt Lake City, Thursday & Friday, November 19 & 20.  CLE registration.  Hotel reservations.

Share a registration; pay $350 and each attend one day.  Contact Connie at 801-297-7033 or

Congratulations to Fall Forum award winners Tara Isaacson, McKette Allred, Mark Tolman, Scott Hansen, Anne Burkholder, and the Disaster Legal Response Committee.  Awards will be presented this Thursday and Friday morning.  Details.

If you have time constraints, just come for lunch:  Kimberly Papillon’s Neuroscience of Decision-Making in the Practice of Law on Thursday, 12:15 to 3:15 p.m.; $75.  Lunch sign-up.

On Thursday evening, enjoy the 2015 UMBA Scholarship & Awards Banquet at the Grand America; cocktails at 6:00 p.m. and dinner at 7:00 p.m.  Participate.

On Friday, attend the Meet the Judges Reception in the Federal Courthouse lobby; open bar from 5-6:45 p.m.

Attorneys:  Included with the Fall Forum or register just for the reception ($25).

Judges:  No charge; please R.S.V.P to Connie at 801-297-7033 or

More great CLE; including section luncheons and CLE seminars; don’t miss:

Pretrial Practices, November 24, 4-6:00 p.m.; 2 credits; $50 ($25 for YLD); snacks and drinks; at the Bar; register.

See some winter sun at the Southern Utah Bar Association 13th Annual All-Day CLE on December 4; 7 credits and 2 ethics (pending); breakfast and lunch provided; $140 for SUBA, $175 for others; details.  Register with your name and bar number to

Refresh your winter tan at the Spring Convention in St. George, March 10-12.

Add some surf to your sun at the Summer Convention in San Diego, July 6-9 at Loews Coronado Bay; reservations.  Follow us on Facebook.

Altruistic opportunities:

Kudos to Smith Hartvigsen, Justice Himonas, Rori Hendrix, and others who were honored by the U’s Pro Bono Initiative; details and to Chuck Carlston and Eva Brady who received awards from the Fourth District Court Pro Bono Committee; details.

Volunteers needed!  Debtor’s Clinic; free brief-legal-advice clinic for bankruptcy and debt collection; second Tuesday each month, 5-7:00 p.m. at the Horizonte School; probono@utahbar.orgModest Means Lawyer Referral program; qualified participants pay up to $75 an hour; register.  Sign up to take Pro Bono cases sourced by judges and partner agencies; register.

Please support the Annual Firm Campaign for “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”  Donate.

And support “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” by shopping at and Smith’s; you just shop and they make small donations!  Link your Amazon account and/or Smith’s Reward Card to AJFA.

Take advantage of your Bar Benefits:

Casemaker users now have access to over six million pleadings.  Five pleadings a month free, then $1.99 per.  Review the first page of any pleading for free.  Sign up for this free Bar benefit (click on the Casemaker logo).

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

Bar Convention in Sun Valley – please come!

Dear Colleagues:

election2013_JGilsonIt’s not too late to register to attend the Bar’s Summer Convention in Sun Valley on July 29 – August 1: great location, great CLE and recreation opportunities, and a chance to socialize with colleagues and meet new ones.

This year has been an immersion in the history and influences of Magna Carta, and two keynote speakers will continue that discussion.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will speak about Magna Carta on July 30, and has agreed to a Q&A session.  Justice Thomas referred to Magna Carta extensively in his recent dissent in the same sex marriage case Obergefell v. Hodges (in defining “liberty”), so there could be some very current questions about this 800 year-old document.

Thomas Lund, Professor of Law at the S. J. Quinney College of Law, will speak on “Magna Carta: The Rule of Law in Early Common Law Litigation” on August 1.  Professor Lund wrote The Creation of the Common Law: The Medieval Year Books Deciphered.  About this recently-published book, Prof. Stephen Presser of Northwestern wrote: “This amazing and delightful book will be of profound interest to anyone who has ever believed that the rule of law is about more than the arbitrary machinations of politicians.  Simply stated, Thomas Lund has given us one of the most important works on law in this generation.”

Also, on July 31, Utah State Climatologist Dr. Robert Gillies will speak about climate change and water issues in the West.

For more on the keynote speakers and the entire CLE schedule, lodging, and registration, see

I hope to see you in Sun Valley!

Jim Gilson
Bar President

The Guardianship Signature Program Invitation


2015_guardianship_logo_lgto help pioneer the newest signature program endorsed by the Board of District Court Judges and the Bar Commission.

The Guardianship Signature Program provides judges with a list of lawyers who are willing to represent respondents in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings. The representation is for free or on a sliding scale if the client’s income qualifies, or for reasonable and necessary attorney fees if the client’s income is more than 300% of the federal poverty guidelines.

To volunteer for this Signature Program, visit:
and select both the Guardianship Signature Program and
the districts where you are willing to accept appointments.

Additional information & a free online training are available on the Utah State Courts website at 

e.Bulletin for May 2015


Congratulations to the following who were elected to the Board of Bar Commissioners:  Rob Rice as Bar President-elect, Kate Conyers and Michelle Mumford representing the Third Division, Liisa Hancock in the Fourth Division, and Kristin Woods for the Fifth Division.  Thanks to all of the candidates for great campaigns and thoughtful involvement in the Bar and the profession.

Bar President Elect Angelina Tsu and Commissioner Rob Rice are co-chairs of the Bar’s Affordable Attorneys for All task force, formed to develop new solutions to make legal services more accessible to the middle class.  The AAA task force is looking for volunteer lawyers in our Bar, and non-lawyers in our community, to serve on this critical committee.  This new initiative represents an excellent opportunity to help shape the practice of law in Utah, strengthen our profession, and improve access to justice in Utah.  Please write to if you would like to participate.  AAA will focus on:

  • Developing sustainable business models for lawyers to provide affordable legal services;
  • Expanding lawyers’ ability to provide unbundled legal services through innovative community lawyering programs;
  • Building an effective web-based communications solution to connect clients to affordable legal services;
  • Partnering with the Legislature to identify ways to expand legal services that are affordable to all;
  • Joining with Utah law schools to assist law school graduates in the transition to a sustainable law practice.

The schedule for the Summer Convention in Sun Valley on July 29-August 1 is now available, and we have a great program built around US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s keynote address.  Watch your mailbox for the printed schedule in the Bar Journal soon.  Online registration is now available.  See Sun Valley lodging options and online lodging reservations(Sun Valley’s Utah State Bar page takes a few moments to load).

Is your business prepared for a disaster?  Are you aware of your ethical obligations regarding disaster planning?  The Disaster Legal Response Committee is offering a 1 hour ethics CLE on disaster planning, Wednesday, June 17, noon, at the Bar.  This event is free to those who are willing to be a volunteer with the committee; $25 for all others; online registration.  Learn more about developing plans for providing pro bono legal services to low-income individuals and small businesses following a disaster:  useful materials.

The National Center for State Courts’ report on the Impact of the Revisions to Rule 26 on Discovery Practice in the Utah District Courts is now available.  Download the complete report; among the findings:

  • The revisions appear to have had a positive impact on civil case management in the form of fewer discovery disputes in cases other than debt collection and domestic relations, as well as reductions in time to disposition across all case types and tiers. Compliance with the standard discovery restrictions appears to be high, although there are suggestions that some parties may be stipulating around the restrictions without seeking court approval.
  • The number of Tier 1 cases fell, while the number of Tier 2 and 3 cases increased, yet the proportion of judgments of less than $50,000 was significantly higher after the changes than before.
  • The settlement rate increased between 13 and 18 percent, depending on the tier.  The expanded disclosures provide litigants with sufficient information to engage in more productive settlement negotiations.
  • (more…)

e.Bulletin for March 2015



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


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

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

Be part of the special Law Day/Magna Carta special edition in The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News on April 26.  For suggestions on editorial content, please write to  For advertising opportunities see Law Day or contact Ken Stowe at or 801-204-6382.

Now that winter is finally here, we have an added incentive to attend the Spring Convention on March 12-14 in St. George.  Online registration deadline is this Monday, March 9; walk-in registration will be available.  See schedule and registration; a “Utah State Bar” rate of $111 is still available at the Comfort Inn .4 miles from the convention, 435-628-8544.  And don’t forget the Second Annual Quinn Essential—the Judge Quinn Memorial Awareness Bicycle Ride on Friday, March 13, at 3:30 in St. George.  Net proceeds to be donated to “AND JUSTICE FOR ALL” and to publicize distracted driver and bike safety.  See details at The Quinn Essential.

New this year is an exciting Bar App to aide your convention experience:  Utah State Bar Spring 15 App is now available at the Apple App Store and at Google Play.  It will provide a current agenda, access to materials, and information on speakers, vendors, and sponsors, as well as tools that will allow you to find and chat with other attendees, provide real-time feedback to speakers, interact with your social media accounts, and receive convention announcements. Later this month, watch for new mobile web app that will allow you to manage your Bar account, track MCLE status, find colleagues, and register for upcoming events.

The Summer Convention planning committee is putting together a great program around U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s keynote for our Summer Convention in Sun Valley on July 29-August 1.  See Sun Valley lodging options and online reservations (The Sun Valley reservations page for the Utah State Bar may take a few moments to load.)

First Annual New Lawyer Introduction to the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse

Please join the Litigation Section for the first annual New Lawyer Introduction to the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse on February 27, 2015.  4 hours CLE pending.  The tentative schedule is set forth below:

8:30-9:30:  Donut reception with Judges and Litigation Section Board

9:30-10:30:  Pet peeves, best practices, and tips from the law clerks

10:30-11:15: Introduction to Resources available at the Court (Presented by Maureen Minson from the law library)

11:15-12:15:  An introduction to the clerk’s office and what new lawyers should know about filing cases

12:15-1:30:  Lunch and courthouse tour

1:30 to 3:00:  Courtroom observation

Price: $30 for members of the Litigation Section.  Become a member here

$150 for non-members.

Register HERE

Students Can Sign Up to be a Judge for a Day


January 29, 2015

Contact: Nancy Volmer
(801) 578-3994
Cell:(801) 712-4545


Salt Lake City, UT—The Utah State Courts are planning the 10th Annual “Judge for a Day,” program in recognition of Law Day, which is celebrated on May 1, 2015. On May 1, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed the first Law Day as a day of national dedication to the principle of government under law.

Utah high school students are selected to participate in the program based on an essay, civic involvement resume or teacher nomination letter. For students who choose to write an essay the Law Day theme is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.”  Perhaps more than any other document in human history, the Magna Carta has come to embody a simple but enduring truth: No one, no matter how powerful, is above the law.

Students selected to participate in the program will be paired with a judge in one of the state’s eight judicial districts for one day in either April or May. The students will be given a behind-the-scenes look at court operations, which include observing court proceedings and a judge at work.

Students are asked to submit an application form by March 6, 2015. Application forms and additional information are available on the court’s Web site at

Judging the Judges

ParkCity residents will have the opportunity on Tuesday of voting whether to retain a number of Utah state judges, including Judge Ryan Harris, who serves in Summit, Salt Lake, and Tooele Counties, and presided over the lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC.  As one recent article in the Park Record suggested [PCMR v. Talisker: the Judge Faces Voters on Election Day], “[if] voters are unhappy with the judge, they could sign a de facto eviction order against Harris on Election Day.”  A clever turn of phrase, but this statement suggests that voters should not vote to retain a judge where they take issue with the outcome in a specific case.  We disagree.  Instead, we urge voters to take a different, more principled approach.

As citizens, we understand that the rule of law involves a delicate balance of powers between our three branches of government: the legislative branch, which makes the law; the executive branch, which enforces it; and the judicial branch, which interprets and applies the law. Utah’s Code of Judicial Conduct points out that “The United States legal system is based upon the principle that an independent, impartial, and competent judiciary, composed of men and women of integrity, will interpret and apply the law that governs our society.  Thus, the judiciary plays a central role in preserving the principles of justice and the rule of law.” Accordingly, a judge should be evaluated upon an objective analysis of his or her legal ability, integrity, and impartiality, rather than voting based upon whether they are unhappy with a particular decision or, as in the PCMR v. Talisker case, the outcome settled upon by the parties themselves.

But how should we judge a judge? In our view, voters should consider a judge’s legal ability, integrity, temperament, and commitment to procedural fairness and the rule of law, in the cumulative context of the judge’s work.  We suggest consideration of more objective information that may assist you in making your decision in the voting booth: the assessment of the Park Record’s editorial board, which includes the candid feedback of a lawyer who appeared before Judge Harris in the PCMR case, and his judicial performance evaluations.

The September 12, 2014 Park Record editorial in the immediate aftermath of the settlement of the ski resort case referred to Judge Harris’s “Solomon-like wisdom” and his “hewing close to Utah’s strict lease laws.”  One of the lawyers in the PCMR/ Talisker case quoted in the Park Record editorial also concluded: “Harris showed that justice is best served when everyone is treated equally under the law.”  The editorial continued, “There are probably many lessons to be gained from the high-drama dispute that dominated Park City this summer. But the most salient one may have less to do with the importance of the town’s ski areas than a perceptive judge’s admonishment that we all have to work together to succeed.”

It is also very important to highlight that the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission—using data drawn from surveys of attorneys who appeared before him, jurors, and court staff—unanimously recommended Judge Harris’s retention.  Judge Harris scored higher than the average of his district court peers in all survey categories.  The complete  report regarding several Utah judges, including Judge Harris, can be accessed at