Salt Lake City, Utah— In what is being called one of the most significant moves to narrow the access-to-justice gap ordinary people confront when faced with legal issues, the Utah Supreme Court on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve pursuing changes to the regulatory structure for legal services.
The changes, recommended by a joint Supreme Court/Utah Bar work group, focus on updating rules governing lawyers and allowing non-traditional legal services to be tested and approved in a, “regulatory sandbox.”
The result could mean expanding legal services that will meet the unmet legal needs of a large swath of society.
This is, “[m]aybe the most significant action for the access gap in years,” said Dr. Tom Clark, a leading figure in the access-to-justice arena, and a member of the work group. Chief Justice Matthew Durrant echoed Dr. Clark’s assessment, and reaffirmed the Utah Supreme Court’s, “dedication to tackling the access-to-justice gap,” and thanked the work group for its, “groundbreaking report.”
The work group, chaired by Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas and former Utah Bar president John Lund, spent the last year working on how best to optimize regulation in a manner that fosters innovation and promotes other market forces so as to increase access to and affordability of legal services. The result was a 71-page study: (https://www.utahbar.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/FINAL-Task-Force-Report.pdf).
The next step will be for the Supreme Court to create an implementation task force, which will begin work on putting the recommended changes in place.
South Weber, UT—The Davis County Judicial Nominating Commission has announced the appointment of Judge Bryan Memmott to fill the South Weber Justice Court vacancy. The position replaces Judge Reuben Renstrom who resigned effective May, 2019.
Judge Bryan J. Memmott received his B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1999. He attended law school at Arizona State University College of Law and received his J.D. in 2002. 9/11 happened during Judge Memmott’s last year of law school and he felt a deep desire to serve his country. In pursuit of this service, he was commissioned as a JAG officer in the United States Air Force and served as a Captain from 2002 to 2007. During this time he was also appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. He honorably separated from the Air Force with distinction and commendation. Judge Memmott spent several years working at a large law firm before starting his own law firm. His practice areas include being in-house counsel, divorce mediation, family law, business law and civil litigation. He was appointed to the Plain City Justice Court in June of 2017 where he continues to serve.
Salt Lake City, UT—The Third District Juvenile Mental Health Court team has received the 2019 Governor’s Award for its dedication to helping juveniles struggling with serious mental health challenges, and their families, overcome difficulties and find healing.
The award was presented to team members on Tuesday before the Utah Substance Use and Mental Health Advisory Council (USAAV+), by council chair Scott Reed.
Third District Juvenile Judge Elizabeth Knight, who presides over the specialty court, thanked her team for their unrelenting support. She pointed out that her court doesn’t just help juveniles, but entire families.
Former juvenile defense attorney, and current Director of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, Nubia Pena called Judge Knight a leader, “with compassion and grace,” saying it’s not easy to handle high-risk youth with mental health needs.
“Stepping to help youth who struggle with mental health issues is no easy task. I commend the bravery and dedication of the team members of the Third District Juvenile Mental Health Court for helping countless youth and families find healing and wholeness. They are improving lives,” said Hon. Mary T. Noonan, Utah State Court Administrator.
The team was one of four awards given out. The purpose of the aware is to recognize those who have made outstanding contributions to the substance use or mental health fields and who have effectively promoted the USAAV+ Council’s mission to create and coordinate a comprehensive strategy to effectively address substance use and mental health disorders throughout Utah.
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Photo: Third District Juvenile Mental Health Court team, along with the team’s therapy animal, Lucy.