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.”

Also at the convention, the Bar presented numerous awards:  Judge James L. Shumate was named Judge of the Year.  He became a district court judge in January 1992 and serves Beaver, Iron, and WashingtonCounties.  Judge Shumate is a past member of the Governor’s Substance Abuse and Anti-Violence Coordinating Council.  He worked on the formation of the Washington County Domestic Violence Coalition.  Judge Shumate presided over the creation of the Washington County Drug Court and managed the Drug Court calendar in the District Court for WashingtonCounty for over 13 years.  He served as the Presiding Judge of the Fifth District on three different occasions.  Judge Shumate retired from active service on March 31, 2014, and assumed Senior Judge status after 23 years on the Bench.

Charlotte L. Miller was named Lawyer of the Year.  She is the Senior Vice President of People & Great Work at O. C. Tanner Company, where she leads the human resource team and other support teams, and serves as assistant general counsel.  She served as President of the Utah State Bar in 1997–1998, and also served on the Race and Ethnic Task Force and the Judicial Nominating Commission.  She was one of the founders of “and Justice for all,” a trustee of the Utah Bar Foundation, Young Lawyer President, Bar Annual Meeting Chair, ABA State Representative, Ethics Panel Chair, and Tuesday Night Bar Chair.  She helped create the Salt Lake County Pro Bono project and prepared materials for attorneys to use in providing domestic relations pro bono service.  She assisted with the Street Law project in the public schools.  Miller created the Bar’s Consumer Assistance Program when she was Bar President and she helped paralegals form a division of the Utah State Bar.  She has mentored numerous young lawyers and students. She taught one of the practicum symposia at the S. J. Quinney College of Law.  She serves on the Board of the YWCA and recently concluded her Board service for Ballet West.  She has also been a volunteer for KRCL and Equality Utah.  Miller served as a Big Sister in the Big Brother Big Sister organization, and she welcomed a high school student from India to live in her home for a year so that he could realize his dream of receiving an education in the United States.

The Young Lawyers Division, which provides extensive public service to the community, received a Special Service Award.  The Civics Education Committee, which provides for a special curriculum emphasizing separation of powers and coordinates judges and lawyers teaching in schools throughout the state on Constitution Day, was named Bar Committee of the Year.  The Intellectual Property Section, which provides legal educational for its 500 members, scholarships, and assistance with court rule and legislative bills, was named Bar Section of the Year

President Gilson said, “These award recipients exemplify the Bar’s mission to 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.”

The Utah State Bar was established in 1931 and regulates the practice of law under the authority of the Utah Supreme Court.

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