Utah State Bar Honors Eleven at Tenth Annual Fall Forum

Lifetime Service, Distinguished Service, Professionalism, Mentors & Pro Bono Service.

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Utah State Bar President Lori Nelson honored seven accomplished lawyers, three judges and a prominent local CPA today during the Utah State Bar’s Annual Fall Forum held at the Little America Hotel. “It is such an honor to recognize these amazing people for their hard work and service for the public good. We are proud and grateful for the diligent efforts each one has made to improve the lives of others and by these awards publically express that gratitude for their devotion to being effective problem solvers,” said Nelson. Those recognized today include:

Lifetime Service Award, Brian R. Florence – Mr. Florence graduated from Weber State University and received his law degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1968. He was self-employed in Ogden for thirty years, primarily doing domestic relations, criminal defense, and personal injury work. He has done approximately 3,500 mediation and arbitration cases. He was the President of the Utah State Bar from 1984-85.

Lifetime Service Award, Justice Christine M. Durham – Justice Durham has been on the Utah Supreme Court since 1982 and served as Chief Justice and Chair of the Utah Judicial Council from 2002- 2012. She previously served on the 3rd District Court bench after a number of years in private practice. Justice Durham graduated from Wellesley College and received her J.D. from Duke University. She was an adjunct professor at the University of Utah and is the Past-President of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States.

Community Member of the Year, Mary Kay Griffin – Ms. Griffin graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has over thirty years of experience as a CPA. She was a founding partner in Foote, Passey, Griffin, and Company which merged with CBIZ in 1999. Her practice emphasis is in taxation, financing, accounting, and business consulting. She was appointed by the Utah Supreme Court to be a public member of the Utah State Bar Commission.

Professionalism Award, Paul M. Durham – Mr. Durham graduated from the University of Utah College of Law in 1980 where he was the managing editor of the Utah Law Review. He worked for ten years for what was then the largest law firm in Utah. In 1991 Mr. Durham founded a two-man law firm which grew through the years to become Durham Jones & Pinegar, currently employing more than eighty attorneys.

Distinguished Service Award, Judge David O. Nuffer – Judge Nuffer was appointed as a U. S. District Judge for the District of Utah on March 23, 2012 after serving as a full-time Magistrate Judge. He practiced law for 25 years in St. George, Utah after graduating from the J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he teaches alternative dispute resolution. He was the President of the Utah State Bar from 2000-01.

Distinguished Service Award, Samuel Alba – Mr. Alba served as a U. S. Magistrate Judge from 1992 until 2012. Prior to that he practiced at Prince Yeates & Geldzahler after working with the United States Attorneys’ Office in Salt Lake City. Mr. Alba was in private practice and worked in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona. Alba graduated in 1969 from Utah State University and received his law degree from Arizona State University.

Distinguished Service Award, Steven T. Waterman – Mr. Waterman works with Dorsey & Whitney, LLP. He has been a co-chair of the Bar’s Admissions Committee for 15 years and has been instrumental in the adoption of Admission by Motion, House Counsel licensing and the Uniform Bar Examination. He graduated from University of Utah College of Law where he was a William H. Leary scholar.

Distinguished Service Award, Judge David R. Hamilton – Judge Hamilton was appointed to the 2nd District Court in 2010. He received his law degree from the University of Utah after completing his bachelor’s degree in 1975. Judge Hamilton was in private practice for 32 years. For over 10 years Judge Hamilton has chaired the Utah State Bar Fund for Client Protection which promotes public confidence in the administration of justice and the integrity of the profession by reimbursing appropriated losses caused by the dishonest conduct of lawyers.

Pro Bono Service Award, William Morrison – Mr. Morrison is the founding partner and managing attorney of Morrison Law Office. He received a bachelor’s degree in history in 1992 from the University of Utah and his law degree from the S.J. Quinney College of Law in 1996 where he served on the editorial board of the Utah Law Review. He completed an internship with Judge Judith Billings of the Utah Court of Appeals.

Outstanding Mentor Award, David E. Leta – Mr. Leta is a partner in the firm of Snell & Wilmer, L.L.P. where his practice concentrates on bankruptcy litigation, business reorganization, and creditor rights. He graduated from the State University of New York at Binghamton (f.k.a. Harpur College) and received his law degree from the University of Utah College of Law where he was on the law review editorial board and was a member of the Order of the Coif.

Outstanding Mentor Award, Thomas R. Vaughn – Mr. Vaughn is a graduate of Ricks College (now BYU – Idaho) and Utah State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science. He received his law degree from the University of Idaho College of Law. Mr. Vaughn served as a deputy prosecutor in Canyon County, Idaho. He moved to Utah in 2004 where he now works as an associate general counsel to the Utah legislature.

With more than 11,000 members, the Utah State Bar mission is to serve the public and legal profession by promoting justice, professional excellence, civility, ethics, and respect for and understanding of the law. For more information about the Bar visit www.utahbar.org.

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