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 

Utah State Bar Warns Citizens of Scam Artist Acting as Attorney

Unsuspecting clients fall victim to fraud.

Mary Ann Lucero / Dipoma courtesy Salt Lake County

Mary Ann Lucero / Dipoma courtesy Salt Lake County

Imagine someone impersonating an attorney helping you obtain proceeds from your spouse’s life insurance policy only to have your “attorney” steal the proceeds.  Envision paying for help with a foreclosure only to lose your home to the person who was purporting to help you.  At least these people retained their freedom; one man in jail lost $850 that his mother paid for legal assistance that never materialized.  These unfortunate victims have one thing in common:  Mary Ann Lucero, also know as Mary Ann Dipoma, who is not an attorney, but operates under the name of Wasatch Legal and Collection Services.

Other News Sources:


On October 29, 2014, Third District Court Judge Kennedy issued a bench warrant for her arrest, ordering her to spend 210 days in jail and pay $13,000 in fines for violating an order prohibiting her from practicing law without a license.  Anyone aware of Lucero/Dipoma’s whereabouts should contact the Utah State Bar at 801-531-9077 or

“Only persons who are active, licensed members of the Bar in good standing may engage in the practice of law in Utah” says Sarah Spencer, who, along with Jonathan Rupp, co-chairs the Utah State Bar’s Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law.  The committee is comprised of volunteer Utah attorneys who investigate complaints that non-attorneys are engaging in the practice of law.  Spencer notes that “licensed attorneys are initially tested for skill and character, they commit to ethics rules, and they continue to develop competency through education, resulting in a profession that serves the community.”

Before engaging someone who purports to be an attorney, please confirm their status by calling the Bar or visiting

According to Co-chair Rupp, immigrants are often the targets of this fraud scheme.  “In Latin American counties,” he observes, “notary publics are attorneys, so it is easy to confuse those new to this country about who can practice law and who can be an immigration consultant.”  Utah is one of five states that allow people to work as immigration consultants without a law degree, but registration with Utah’s Office of Consumer Protection is required for non-attorneys.   To verify registration, call 801-530-6601 and press zero or visit and select the green Search Registered Entities on the left.

Utah State Bar President James Gilson says that, “The Bar has many programs to assist people who may not be able to afford an attorney, who have limited funds, or who are unfamiliar with the legal process.”  The Tuesday Night Bar provides a free half-hour consultation with an attorney most Tuesdays.  The Bar also offers a lawyer-referral service for qualifying clients (with incomes of up to $70,000 for a family of four) for discounted rates of up to $50 or $75 an hour;

The Utah State Bar was established in 1931 and regulates the practice of law under the authority of the Utah Supreme Court.  The 11,500 lawyers of the Bar serve the public and legal profession with excellence, civility, and integrity.  They envision a just legal system that is understood, valued, and accessible to all.  Visit for more information on the Bar and the programs described above.

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. 

President-Elect Angelina Tsu named to NAPABA Best Under 40 List

Utah State Bar President-elect Angelina Tsu One of the Best Lawyers Under 40

 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association recognizes 21 attorneys in U.S.

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) has selected 21 attorneys to receive the 2014 Best Lawyers Under 40 Award, including Utah State Bar President-elect Angelina Tsu.  The award recognizes talented individuals who have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields while demonstrating a strong commitment to the community at relatively early stages in their careers.

Angelina Tsu, who has served on the Utah State Bar Board of Commissioners since 2010, was sworn in as president-elect in July.  She co-chaired the Bar’s Committee for Civics Education and served as President of the Young Lawyers Division.  She currently serves on the Boards of Women Lawyers of Utah, the Association of Corporate Counsel (Mountain West Division), and the Utah Minority Bar Foundation.  She is a member of the Merit Selection Panel, which is the judicial nominating commission for Federal Magistrate Judges.

Tsu is Vice President and Legal Counsel at Zions Bancorporation.  Prior to joining Zions, she practiced with the law firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker and served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Dee V. Benson of the United States District Court for the District of Utah.

Utah State Bar President James Gilson said that “The young lawyers of the Bar represent the future of the profession, and I am very pleased that Angelina has been recognized for her contributions.  She has provided great service to the Utah Bar.”

The NAPABA stated that “This year’s honorees have vast and varied experiences – founding their own law firms, trying and winning major cases, representing Fortune 100 companies, combating human trafficking, and advocating to protect the civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans.”  The award will be presented on November 8, 2014, during its annual convention in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The Utah State Bar was established in 1931 and regulates the practice of law under the authority of the Utah Supreme Court.  The 11,500 lawyers of the Bar serve the public and legal profession with excellence, civility, and integrity.  They envision a just legal system that is understood, valued, and accessible to all.  Visit for more information.

Sean Toomey, Communications Director
Utah State Bar, Lawyers working for justice.
645 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT84111 801-297-7059


2014 Constitution Day Reflections

“An attorney’s work must be pretty cool.”
–Reflections of a fourth-grader on Constitution Day.

This fourth-grader’s perspective on being an attorney resulted from the Constitution

2014 Constitution Day Cinderella Testifies

Cinderella Testifies

Teach-in by 200 judges, lawyers, law students, and law school staff in celebration of the 225th anniversary of the U. S. Constitution.  The volunteer instructors taught 300 classes throughout Utah on and around Constitution Day, September 17.

This was the third year of the teach-in sponsored by the

The Glass Slipper

The Glass Slipper

Bar’s Civics Education Committee.  Co-chair Benson Hathaway said, “We are so pleased that the number of volunteers increased by one-third and that they taught half again as many classes as last year.  We’re looking forward to our biggest year yet in 2015, the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta—the world’s most enduring symbol of the rule of law.”

Volunteers used lesson plans developed by the committee, included mock trials (Cinderella vs. the Step Sisters for elementary schools) or employed their creativity (one volunteer administered the test required for citizenship).

Constitution Day on the Hill

Lt. Governor Cox congratulates Hawthorne 3rd graders
for their recitation of the Preamble on Constitution Day

Teachers had these comments about the classes:

“My instructor brought a replica of the constitution and played a very fun game with the students. The students were engaged the entire time and even stayed after to talk to him. I would have him come back every year.”

“It got the students thinking about the rule of law and their personal responsibility to uphold the law.”

“My class enjoyed the instructor so much they wrote an article for the school paper about how they celebrated Constitution Day.”

“My students absolutely loved this! One class had a lawyer do the simulation and my

Constitution Day - Thank-you note to Kent Hansen

Thank-you note to Kent Hansen

other class had a lawyer do more of a lecture. Both were very enlightening for the students, and when I asked them about it during the next class they remembered a surprising amount. I will definitely use this again next year.”

“My students loved the mock trial. They learned so much about procedure and about the law.”

“I think it is great that we are getting professionals into the classrooms; students need to meet and get to know real people who work in these fields.”

“I really liked how the attorney who talked to my class gave the students great examples of how checks and balances work and about some of the responsibilities of each branch of government.”

“We loved it!!!”

And the volunteers seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids:

“The students were wonderful.  They were bright and eager to participate.  We had a lot of fun, even when the discussion got heated.  There were no disciplinary issues.  I enjoyed spending time in the classroom with them.”

“I look forward to this more than any other Bar-sponsored event during the year.  Please keep it going.”

“Teaching the classes is a hoot.  I have enjoyed nudging the kids with good, fun history about the Constitution and America.  Great interactions.  Much fun.”

Constitution Day Case Closed

Case Closed

Bar President Jim Gilson said “We plan on continuing this important dialogue about the rule of law with Utah students by sponsoring Magna Carta essay and video contests.  We will present student awards at the traveling exhibit Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215-2015 as it makes stops throughout Utah.”  The exhibit includes images of documents, books, and other objects from Library of Congress collections that illustrate Magna Carta’s influence throughout the centuries and explain the document’s history.  See for details.

New Leadership at Utah State Bar includes President James D. Gilson

“Lawyers are the oil in our economic machine; we keep society humming.”


Justice Lee Swears In President Gilson

More than 300 judges and attorneys of the Utah State Bar assembled last week for its annual summer convention, where—in addition to reports from the judiciary, keynote speakers, continuing legal education sessions—new leaders for the Bar were sworn in by Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas R. Lee.

James D. Gilson, who has served on the Board of Bar Commissioners since 2008, was sworn in as president.  For the Utah Supreme Court, he served as Co-Chair of the Committee on New Lawyer Training and was a screening panel member of the Ethics and Discipline Committee.  He also served as President of the Utah Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

Gilson is a shareholder at the Salt Lake City law firm Callister Nebeker & McCullough, where he is the chair of the firm’s litigation section.  He practices general business litigation, including banking, contract, intellectual property, securities, employment, unfair competition, real property, and probate disputes.  As a former federal prosecutor, he also represents businesses and individuals in white collar criminal defense matters, including federal and state regulatory offenses.

At the beginning of his career, Gilson was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable J. Thomas Greene and later for the Honorable Dee V. Benson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, and was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Utah, prosecuting white collar criminal matters.

Angelina Tsu, who has served on the Board of Bar Commissioners since 2010, was sworn in as president-elect.  She co-chaired the Bar’s Committee for Civics Education and served as President of the Young Lawyers Division.  She currently serves on the Boards of Women Lawyers of Utah, the Association of Corporate Counsel (Mountain West Division), and the Utah Minority Bar Foundation.  She is a member of the Merit Selection Panel, which is the judicial nominating commission for Federal Magistrate Judges.

Tsu is Vice President and Legal Counsel at Zions Bancorporation.  Prior to joining Zions, she practiced with the law firm of Ray Quinney & Nebeker and served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Dee V. Benson of the United States District Court for the District of Utah.

President Gilson noted that it is “especially fitting that during the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Tsu was elected as the Bar’s first minority woman president-elect.”

H. Dickson Burton from TraskBritt P.C, Heather M. Farnsworth from Match & Farnsworth, and Robert O. Rice from Ray, Quinney, & Nebeker were sworn in as Bar Commissioners representing the 3rd Division; Herm Olsen from Hillyard Anderson & Olsen was sworn in to represent the 1st Division.

President Gilson, addressing the convention, encouraged lawyers to continue doing their duty representing clients and the community through pro bono efforts and providing discounted services through the Bar’s Modest Means Lawyer Referral program.  He said that “lawyers are the oil in our economic machine; we keep society humming.  Without lawyers, society would seize up.”

During Gilson’s tenure is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, and he said, “This great charter was imposed upon the King of England by a group of his subjects on June 15, 1215, in an attempt to limit the King’s power by law and to preserve individual rights. It influenced the early settlers in New England and partly inspired the United States Constitution.  Next April, the Bar will be hosting an ABA/Library of Congress exhibit about the Magna Carta, which will provide Utahns with an opportunity to celebrate and learn more about this important historic document and to celebrate the rule of law.”

Martin Blaustein Recognition

National Legal Aid and Defender Association intends to highlight and profile all of the praiseworthy nominees for the Beacon of Justice Award in upcoming newsletters and materials, including Martin Blaustein.

Martin Blaustein has devoted his career to enhancing the dignity and quality of life for those less fortunate. Prior to obtaining a law degree, and after his service in the Vietnam War, Marty worked for the Odyssey House expanding mental health services for patients in both New York and then Utah. After his time with the Odyssey House, he assisted Veterans who suffered from PTSD, at the time not a recognized diagnosis, get benefits and services. Marty has now been at Utah Legal Services for over 25 years. He is the most self effacing, humble and hard working attorney I know. He quietly goes about zealously representing clients, giving them a voice and making equal access to justice a reality for Utah’s poor. He is committed to his work and has tirelessly strived to bring his vision of equality for all to the legal profession. Through his advocacy, his pro bono services, his mentoring and teaching, and his outreach to the larger community Marty Blaustein has made an impact on literally thousands of lives.

Marty joined Utah Legal Services (“ULS”) as a managing attorney in 1989. He brought his passion for Veterans services to ULS and continued that representation as well as training others on PTSD related cases. In addition, he handled domestic, elder law, and housing cases. He was promoted to Managing Attorney of the Salt Lake City office. He has been the Managing Attorney and Housing Task Force Chair for the past 17 years.  In this capacity, Marty is responsible for managing all statewide housing cases in addition to personally carrying a full case load which requires him to travel around the state for litigation.  He also manages and trains all housing advocates in addition to assisting pro bono attorneys and mentoring hundreds of law students from Universities across the country including: the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, Gonzaga University, University of Idaho, and Michigan’s Cooley Law School. While Marty’s accomplishments are too numerous to cover in detail, the following gives you an idea of the breadth and nature of his lifetime of service.

As a recognized expert on landlord tenant law, Marty is frequently asked to educate the client community, other attorneys, and the judiciary. From 2000-2010, Marty trained district court landlord tenant mediators. In 2009, he was asked to be a guest lecturer at the Annual Utah Judicial Conference. At this conference he addressed district court judges and court commissioners on issues related to housing and landlord tenant law. In 2012, Judge Michele Christiansen, of the Court of Appeals, asked Marty to prepare a Housing Manual to be used for training all new judges. He has also appeared on “Get Gephardt” a local television news segment more than twelve times, including the premier, to discuss issues related to Utah and Federal Housing laws. He is frequently asked to speak at law school events, continuing legal education seminars and other Utah State Bar events.  Since 2005, Marty has also been a substitute member of the Utah Labor Commission Appeals Counsel. On this Counsel he reviews cases and assists at appeal hearings regarding employment related issues such as denials of worker compensation and employment discrimination. Currently, Marty is working with the Administrative Office of the Courts to change discovery rules in eviction cases where tenants only receive three day notices.

Callister Nebeker & McCullough Receives NLADA Beacon of Justice Award

Congratulations to Callister Nebeker & McCullough for receiving a National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) 2014 Beacon of Justice Award for its Debt Collection Volunteer Attorney Program.  Watch for an article about it in the July/August Utah Bar Journal


Callister Nebeker & McCullough truly exemplifies a firm that supports its attorneys in giving back to the community. Whether it is allowing attorneys to be part of the Bar’s governing bodies; encouraging attorneys to sit on committees for the purpose of creating greater access to justice; taking part in a firm pro bono signature project; or taking on pro bono cases; the firm truly desires to better their community through their expertise.

Early in 2013 the Utah State Courts asked the Utah State Bar Pro Bono Commission to help solve some injustices happening during the Debt Collection Law and Motion Calendar by creating a “pro bono signature project” in which pro se litigants on the calendar would be represented. The Commission decided that this would be a perfect project for a team of law firms to take on. The managing partner at Callister Nebeker & McCullough was approached about his firm being part of the new project which would provide service to the public during the Debt Collection Law and Motion Calendar in Utah’s largest District Court. For the project, attorneys from Callister Nebeker & McCullough would team up with attorneys from the Utah Attorney General’s Office and counsel with and represent clients during debt collection hearings.

In order to participate in the program, both the Attorney General’s Office and Callister Nebeker and McCullough created a form that would establish that advice and representation provided remained within the purview of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 6.5; this rule allows for conflicts rules to be in place only for known conflicts. The intake form developed asked about major clients of both firms; if the Debt Collection client had no issues with the firm’s major clients, the Debt Collection client must affirmatively state such. These forms allow the attorneys to quickly see if there is a known conflict with one or both firms.

Once these forms were developed it became apparent that other issues would also need to be addressed. The newly instated e-filing rules stated that limited appearances must be filed prior to a hearing and signed by the client. The court was then approached concerning this inhibiting factor. The Debt Collection Law and Motion Calendar Volunteer Program was given an exemption from the rule for the first 6 months of the project. The exemption allowed the attorneys to file paper copies of their Notice of Appearance and Immediate Withdraw at the hearing. In the fall of 2013 a request for a rule change was filed and in December 2013 an extension was granted until the rule is either implemented or rejected.

Logistics of the project being taken care of, the two firms set out to train their attorneys for this particular pro bono service. For this purpose, a Continuing Legal Education Class was designed and hosted by a consumer law attorney from Utah Legal Services. The volunteer attorneys were taught how the Debt Collection Law and Motion calendar was normally handled and which issues were most likely to come up.

11th Annual Fall Forum in Salt Lake City November 14-15

Contact: Sean Toomey, Communications Director, Utah State Bar,
645 South 200 East, SLC UT 84111, 801-297-7059,

Utah State Bar Holds 11th Annual Fall Forum in Salt Lake City
Utah lawyers gather for annual convention November 14-15

Attorneys of the Utah State Bar are gathering for the 11th Annual Fall Forum, featuring keynote speakers and breakout sessions at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City on November 14 and 15.

The Utah State Bar was established in 1931 and regulates the practice of law under the authority of the Utah Supreme Court. Bar functions include administering the Bar exam, staffing the Office of Professional Conduct, and offering continuing legal education. Attorneys in Utah are required every two years to experience 24 hours of continuing legal education, including at least three hours of accredited ethics, with one of the three in professionalism and civility. At the Fall Forum, attorneys can obtain 7 CLE credit hours in one day (and an additional one the evening before). Bar President Curtis Jensen said, “Of our three annual conventions, this is the only one in Salt Lake City, and we look forward to getting a chance to learn and interact with our capital city lawyers.”

The plenary sessions are:

Multitasking Gone Mad, Practicing Effectively in a Wired, Distracting, Demanding World
Irwin Karp, a consultant with Productive Time in Sacramento, will talk about how to increase your billable hours without increasing the time you spend at work on Thursday evening.

Our Crisis of Overconfidence
Randy Kiser, the principal analyst at Decision-Set in Palo Alto, will talk about how to avoid spending more time in legal fees than cases are worth in settlement, and knowing the right juncture at which settlement would be realistic on Friday morning.

The Art & Science of Changing Minds
Steve Hughes, the founder and president of Hit Your Stride, LLC, a communications consultancy, will talk about how your approach can be more persuasive to others at lunch on Friday.

Fall Forum Committee Co-Chair Cathleen Gilbert said, “Bar member’s needs are varied, depending on practice areas and technical requirements to stay up to date with necessary skills. The Fall Forum is designed to assist them in meeting the current challenges of their practices and jobs.”

The Fall Forum also features 25 break-out sessions on topics from How Leading Lawyers
Think: Case Evaluation to How to Become Involved With the Community as a Lawyer/Leader.

Executive Director John Baldwin said, “The vision of the Utah State Bar is a just legal system that is understood, valued, and accessible to all. At the Fall Forum, the Bar will recognize people who are helping to achieve that goal with a Professionalism Award given to a lawyer or judge whose actions and deportment represent the highest standards of courtesy, fairness and civility; a Community Member of the Year Award to recognize outstanding service toward the creation of a better public understanding of the legal profession and the administration of justice, the judiciary, or the legislative process; and Outstanding Mentor Awards to recognize attorneys who have shared their skills and passion with the newest generation of attorneys.

Results of Special Commission Election for 3rd Division

commissioner_macanas_janiseThe Utah State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners and the Utah State Bar would like to congratulate Ms. Janise Macanas on her election as the new Commissioner for the 3rd Division which represents Tooele, Salt Lake, and Summit Counties. Ms. Macanas will be filling the vacancy left by Mr. James D. Gilson after his election to President-Elect of the Utah State Bar.

The Utah State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners extends its deepest gratitude to all the candidates for their willingness to volunteer and serve the profession and the people of Utah.

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.

RISE is one of the first federal re-entry courts in the nation.  In both the mental health court and the drug court, participation is limited and participants are carefully screened.  The participants are required to meet certain expectations, such as attending treatment programs and submitting to weekly drug tests.  The participants appear at weekly meetings before the judge assigned to their case to report on their progress.  If the participant fails to meet his or her weekly requirements, they may be subject to immediate, temporary incarceration or other punishments.  When participants successfully complete the RISE program, they receive a probation reduction of up to one year.

Because of the tenuous circumstances of many of the RISE participants, even the smallest of setbacks in their personal lives can derail their reentry progress.  The Help RISE program helps participants succeed in their reentry efforts and avoid recidivism by providing free legal advice in the areas of law in three crucial areas:  family law, bankruptcy, and landlord/tenant law.

The Help RISE program utilizes unemployed and underemployed young lawyers as its pro bono volunteers, with a secondary goal of assisting young lawyers who do not yet have established practices gain valuable training and experience in these three areas of law.  In order to assist these young lawyers, the YLD organized an all-day continuing legal training program focusing on these three areas of law.

In addition, each young lawyer who takes on a pro bono case is assigned to a senior mentor attorney who practices in the area of law relevant to their assigned case and who is available to help answer procedural or substantive questions.  Finally, all pro bono attorneys for the program are covered by the Utah State Bar’s malpractice insurance policy and so do not have to have a policy of their own in order to volunteer for the program.

Help RISE was first conceived as a joint effort by Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells and the Utah Federal Bar Association (FBA), when Judge Wells raised her concerns about the civil legal needs of the RISE participants to Jenifer Tomchak, the Utah FBA’s Community Service Chair at the time.  Judge Wells and Ms. Tomchak solidified and refined the program after gathering input and meeting with various members of the U.S. Attorneys Office, the Federal Defenders Office, and Legal Aide.  They then recruited Kelly Latimer and Christina Micken, co-chairs of the YLD Recession Response Committee, to bring the Help RISE concept to fruition.

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.

New Lawyer Training Program participants work with a Utah Supreme Court-approved volunteer mentor, who has practiced for at least seven years, has no public discipline and, if in private practice, carries malpractice insurance. The mentor and new lawyer meet at least once a month to discuss the new lawyer’s legal work, professional development, and adjustment to the practice of law. They also review the Utah Supreme Court’s Rules of Professional Conduct to foster professionalism, ethics, and civility.

New lawyer Matthew Munson credits his relationships with his mentor, Scott Rasmussen, as essential to helping him learn to be a lawyer and open his own practice. He was initially annoyed that the bar was requiring him to participate in the program, but Munson quickly realized that he was not being assigned a “babysitter,” but a “resource that would answer questions, give assurance as needed, and generally help avoid many pitfalls.” Munson continues to have a strong professional and personal connection with Rasmussen.

Program administrator Elizabeth Wright says that the program has been beneficial for lawyers at firms and with government agencies, as well as those seeking work or clients. “Working with a mentor expands the new lawyer’s network, which helps advance or launch their careers. With a mentoring culture, the whole profession benefits.” said Wright.

There are 869 New Lawyer Training Program mentors. At the end of July 2013, 862 new lawyers will have completed the program.

After the first year’s practice, lawyers engage in at least 24 hours of continuing legal education every two years, including more focus on professionalism, ethics, and civility.

The award was established in 1991 and is named for E. Smythe Gambrell, former president of the American Bar Association and American Bar Foundation. Gambrell founded the Legal Aid Society in Atlanta, where he practiced law from 1922 until his death in 1986.

Saratoga Springs Justice Court Nominees Named


November 30, 2012

Contact: Nancy Volmer

(801) 578-3994

Cell: (801) 712-4545


Saratoga Springs, UT—The Utah County Nominating Commission has selected four nominees for a vacancy at the Saratoga Springs Justice Court. The position will replace Judge Keith Stoney who is retiring Dec. 31, 2012.

Following are the nominees followed by place of employment and residence:

  • Honorable Randy Birch, Heber City Justice Court Judge, Heber City
  • Honorable Sydney Magid, Salt Lake City Justice Court Judge, Salt Lake City
  • Camille Buhman, Duval & Moody Law Firm, Orem
  • Carolyn Howard, Bartholomey & Associates Law Firm, and Associate Professor, Utah Valley University, Provo

A comment period will be held through Dec. 10, 2012, before a final candidate is selected by

Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, who has 30 days to make an appointment, which is subject to ratification by the Saratoga Springs City Council. The Utah Judicial Council must then certify the appointment. To submit written comments about the candidates, contact Holly Frischknecht, Administrative Office of the Courts,

Utah State Courts’ Statement Following Legislative Session

Salt Lake City, Utah—Chief Justice Christine M. Durham and Utah State Court Administrator Daniel Becker released the following statement towards the close of the 2009 Legislative Session.
“On behalf of the judges and staff of the Utah court system, I would like to express our gratitude to the Utah Legislature for addressing the budgetary needs of the state court system,” said Chief Justice Christine M. Durham. “The courts budget was in large measure restored by the passage of legislation increasing filing fees. We appreciate how difficult the decision to raise filing fees was for the Legislature.”
At the start of the 2009 Legislative Session, the courts faced the prospect of closing courts one day a week and eliminating hundreds of court staff positions. According to Utah State Court Administrator Daniel Becker, “such drastic measures would have severely reduced the public’s access to their courts and resulted in considerable delay in handling the work of the courts.”
Chief Justice Durham added, “The public is the real beneficiary of legislative efforts to address the needs of our court system.”