Utah State Bar’s lawyer referral program a ‘win-win’ for people of modest means

Courtesy of Deseret News

By , Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Bar has long championed broader access to the justice system.

Its “aspirational goal” is that each lawyer licensed to practice in Utah donates 50 hours of pro bono representation a year, says Utah State Bar president James D. Gilson.

“If someone has a legal problem and they can’t afford to hire a lawyer, they’re at a real disadvantage in the system. We think that lawyers who have law licenses have an ethical duty to provide pro bono legal representation,” Gilson said.

While the Bar doesn’t police that expectation, Gilson said most lawyers meet that goal. “A lot of them do a lot more than 50 hours a year,” he said.
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Utah State Bar 2014 Summer Convention Awards

Courtesy of The Intermountain Commercial Record, Friday, July 18, 2014

Judges and attorneys of the Utah State Bar assembled for its annual convention in Snowmass Village, Colorado on July 16 through 19. Meeting concurrent with the convention was the Utah Board of Bar Commissioners, the Utah Judicial Council, the Board of District Court Judges, and the Board of Juvenile Court Judges. The convention included reports from the judiciary and law schools, keynote speakers, continuing legal education breakout sessions, and awards.

Utah State Bar President Curtis Jensen said, “These award recipients help the Bar serve the public and legal profession with excellence, civility, and integrity. They are helping the Bar to meet its vision of a just legal system that is understood, valued, and accessible to all.”
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Bar President Curtis Jensen Applauds Utah Attorneys’ pro bono Efforts

“I think that one of the things that we have tried to stay on top of is access to justice and making the Pro Bono program more accessible through all of the courts here in Utah.”

Alicia Knight Cunningham, Esq.
The Record, May 30, 2014

Curtis Jensen, current President of the Utah State Bar, is closing out the last few months of his term and looking back at a year that passed too quickly.

“I have really enjoyed it all,” Jensen said. “Serving in this position has given me the opportunity and pleasure to meet so many wonderful people. I have had the chance to meet with lawyers throughout the state of Utah and in other states that I would have never had the privilege to do otherwise.”

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In The News SLTrib OpEd Utah lawyer discipline balances individual rights, public responsibility

By Curtis M. Jensen and Terri McIntosh

First Published SLTrib Mar 03 2014 04:54 pm • Last Updated Mar 03 2014 04:54 pm

In response to recent concerns about how attorney discipline is handled, we would like to explain how the legal profession helps to ensure that lawyers in Utah practice in an ethical manner.

The Utah Constitution gives the Utah Supreme Court the responsibility to regulate the practice of law. The Utah State Bar was established in 1931 under the authority of the Utah Supreme Court to fulfill that responsibility, which includes licensing attorneys, providing continuing legal education and, when necessary, seeking the imposition of discipline.
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In The News – 4Utah – Program hopes to provide access to affordable legal services



Have you ever found yourself in need of a lawyer? Were nervous of high costs and a lack of guaranteed results? The Utah state bar has a program that could help: It’s called the Modest Means Lawyers Referral Program. John Lund talks more about the program. For more information click here.

In The News – 4Utah – The Modest Means Lawyers Referral Program

The Utah State Bar was established in 1931. It is a non-profit organization authorized by the Utah Supreme Court to regulate the practice of law, including admissions, education , and discipline. Its 11,000 lawyers serve the public and profession with excellence, civility, and integrity. They envision a just legal system that is understood, valued, and accessible to all.

The Modest Means Lawyers Referral program was created to make lawyers more accessible to more people

The Bar has added a new Access to Justice program, complementing the Pro Bono Commission which encourages attorneys to donate free services for those with incomes less than 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (Bar doesn’t coordinate referrals).
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The Spectrum – Program Helps New Lawyers Learn Ropes


Written by
Kevin Jenkins
Oct. 22, 2013

ST. GEORGE — When attorneys graduate from law school and become licensed to practice in Utah, they enter an adversarial world in which people’s money and personal liberties often depend on the outcome of a day’s work.

The Utah Bar Association is helping new lawyers gain a foundation of skills and ethics to meet the demands of that profession by sponsoring a mentoring program during the first year of practice, and other states are now taking notice of the state’s successes.

“I wish I’d had something like this when I was going through (my first year),” Utah Bar President Curtis Jensen said. “A lot of times we learn by hard knocks. … In law school you learn cases and the theories and the academic side of it, but the practical side — going out and being a lawyer and dealing with clients and taking a case and solving issues aren’t necessarily part of the curriculum. So we felt there was a need.”
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KSL – How to find a pro bono attorney

FROM KSL NEWS: http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=27087084

By Bill Gephardt October 2nd, 2013 @ 6:58am

SALT LAKE CITY — If you’re in trouble with the law and can’t afford an attorney, the court will appoint you one. But if it’s a civil matter you’re on your own.

That’s why one Utah woman asked how to get legal help if you can’t afford it.

In Latin, “pro bono” means “for the public good.” In legalese, it means “for free.”

There are roughly 11,500 practicing attorneys in Utah and the state bar asks each of them to put in 50 hours pro bono every year. The bar said more than 70 percent of attorneys do give out free help to people who don’t have the means to hire them.
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Utah Students Celebrate Constitution Day in Court


Constitution Day • Tuesday marked the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.


Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune A color guard from West High School posts the colors at a program put on by the Utah State Courts recognizing the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Tuesday at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City.

On the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, 50 local school children gathered in the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse to pay tribute to the document and the society it created.

The seventh annual Constitution Day celebration at the courthouse brought together students from grades 5 through 12 with judges and legal professionals Tuesday afternoon to learn how courts operate and play into the goal of the Constitution — maintaining law, order and a government beholden to built-in checks and balances.
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GettyReady Launches State – Wide Gettysburg Address Initiative


GettyReady Launches State-Wide Gettysburg Address Initiative to “Learn it, Live it” in Time for 150th Anniversary

>PRWEB.COM Newswire

Salt Lake City, UT (PRWEB) September 16, 2013

On Tuesday morning, Sept. 17 (Constitution Day), Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell will join hundreds of school children, government employees, parents, teachers and citizen leaders in launching GettyReady. As a statewide civic education program, GettyReady is a non-profit coalition designed to encourage all of Utah to “learn and live” President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and celebrate its 150th Anniversary. The GettyReady launch will commence in Richfield, Utah, where Governor Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Bell will join the students of Red Hills Middle School at noon to introduce the program. At the same time, students from five campuses of the American Preparatory Academy charter school will gather on the steps of the capitol in Salt Lake City, where first grade students will recite The Gettysburg Address, which they memorized in Kindergarten last year.
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Young Lawyers Division Receives ABA and ABE Awards

Utah State Bar Young Lawyers Division Receives ABA and ABE Awards

Help RISE pro bono project garners two public service awards.


            At its annual meeting, the American Bar Association recognized the Utah State Bar Young Lawyers Division for its Help RISE project with a First Place Award of Achievement for Outstanding Activities & Accomplishments in the Service to the Public category.  The project also received an Outstanding Public Service Project Award from the American Bar Endowment—an award given to only one service project a year.

            Help RISE is a new pro bono program (donated legal services) to assist participants in the United States District Court for the District of Utah’s drug and mental health court reentry program:  Reentry Independence through Sustainable Efforts (RISE).  The RISE program assists Federal defendants on supervised release/probation who struggle with drug addiction or mental health issues.  The program reintegrates them into the community using a collaborative rather than a punitive approach.
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KCPW Finding Access to Legal Aid in Utah


(KCPW–July 9, 2013) Most people find themselves in need of legal help sometime in their lives. The reasons can range from navigating a divorce, child custody, a landlord tenant dispute, bankruptcy or any number of issues. But lawyers are expensive, often costing $200 per hour or more. Utah Legal Services and the Utah Bar Association are putting in place programs they hope will make access to legal help easier for Utahns. KCPW Reporter Kim Schuske has this story.

Utah Legal Services

Modest Means Program

Legal Aid Organizations

New Utah Bar program aims to expand access to legal services

Source: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865582021/New-Utah-Bar-program-aims-to-expand-access-to-legal-services.html

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Bar has introduced a new program to expand access to legal services for Utahns with “modest means.”

The Modest Means Lawyer Referral program will make legal assistance available for reduced rates to those whose incomes are up to three times above the federal poverty guidelines. For example, a family of four with an income up to $70,000 may qualify for discounted attorney fees of $50 to $75 an hour.

The program comes after the Pro Bono Commission was created last year to offer legal services to those who are unable to pay.

“Making the justice system accessible to all, without regard to economic status, is a top priority for the more than 8,000 active lawyers of the Utah State Bar,” Bar President Lori Nelson said in a news release.
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Utah State Bar’s New Lawyer Training Program Wins Gambrell Professionalism Award

Press Release

June 17, 2013

The Utah State Bar’s New Lawyer Training Program has received the 2013 Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association.

“This is a tremendous honor and is evidence of the great work being done by the bar staff, new lawyer training program committees, and the court’s committee on professionalism,” said Utah State Bar President Lori Nelson. “We salute them for their vision, determination, and extensive work to make this program a success.”

The goal of the program is to train lawyers during their first year of practice in acquiring the practical skills and judgment necessary to practice in a highly competent and ethical manner.
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