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April 2001 Archives

April 8, 2001

April 2001 Bar Journal

* The Executive Director's Message: We Are Not Alone
* Utah Zoning Law: The Zoning Ordinance
* Utah's "New" Tax Court - An Important Step in Leveling the State Law Playing Field
* The Case Against MDPs: The Soul of Our Profession is at Stake
* The MDP Question: Should We Board the Train to the Future or Lie Down in Front of It?
* From the Get-go to the End of the Day
* Legislative Highlights
* Law School Pro Bono Initiative

Discipline Corner

ADMONITION
On January 10, 2001, an attorney was admonished by the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah State Bar for violation of Rules 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

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From the Get-go to the End of the Day

Speaking of tort reform, when did "niche" become "neesh" instead of "nitch?" I just spent two of the longest days of my life1 in a seminar devoted to helping us "secure and defend our neesh in the market." When I was a second year associate I remember some concern expressed about my inability to find my nitch in the firm. Naively unaware that I had even lost my nitch, I hadn't really been looking for it. When it was pointed out to me that mine was apparently missing, but luckily still somewhere in the office waiting for me to stumble across it, I diligently went looking. I switched nitches a lot, but never found mine. Except in my Random House Dictionary of the English Language (unabridged), where the pronunciation is shown as "nich." No alternative pronunciation is even listed. It doesn't rhyme with quiche. It rhymes with kitsch. Maybe if someone had told me 20 years ago that what I really needed was a neesh, things would have gone much differently.

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Legal Assistant Division

The Utah State Bar and guests will recognize Law Day 2001 on May 1st, highlighted by a luncheon at 12:00 noon at the new Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

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Legislative Highlights

Although any change in the law may have some effect on the practice of law, I have selected a few of the bills which were passed this session which may have some broad interest among lawyers. As of the date of this writing, the bills have not been signed into law by the Governor.

Attorney Liens
H.B. 221 amends Utah Code Ann. Section 78-51-41. This statute broadens the right of an attorney to assert an attorney's lien. Previously, the attorney's lien attached only to "any settlement, verdict, report, decision or judgment." Under the new statute, the lien may also attach to "any real or personal property that is the subject of or connected with the work performed for the client." The statute also extends lien rights to non-litigation matters by changing the commencement date to the "time of employment of the attorney." Previously the lien ran from the commencement of an action or a counter-claim.

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President-Elect & Bar Commission Candidates

President-Elect Candidates

JOHN A. ADAMS

John A. Adams is a shareholder at the law firm of Ray, Quinney & Nebeker where he has practiced since 1982. Mr. Adams received his B.A. degree in Economics from Brigham Young University and then attended Brigham Young University Law School. Following graduation from law school in 1981, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable George E. MacKinnon of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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State Bar News

Notice of Amendments to Rules

The following rule changes have been adopted by the Supreme Court or Judicial Council with an effective date of April 1, 2001. The information is intended to alert Bar members to changes that may be of interest and is not an inclusive list of all changes made.

Digest of Amendments

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The Case Against MDPs: The Soul of Our Profession is at Stake

[L]awyers are special people. We're not like accountants. We're not like MBAs and deal-doers and investment bankers. We're fiduciaries. We're in the Constitution. We're officers of the court. And we hold in trust the very fabric of this society. It has been lawyers who have kept the playing fields level, who have kept people honest in the marketplace, and who have stood between the individual and the abuse of authority for 200 years and contributed to the success of this great American experiment . . . . And so I get real nervous when somebody suggests that we blend this profession into a business unit as a profit center for a company controlled by non-lawyers.1

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The MDP Question: Should We Board the Train to the Future or Lie Down in Front of It?

The debate over whether to allow Multidisciplinary Practices ("MDPs")2 to exist as legitimate entities under our rules of professional conduct centers around the question of whether our profession can maintain its core values (e.g. independent judgment, confidentiality, attorney-client privilege, loyalty to clients and competence) while permitting the convenience and competitive advantages created by permitting lawyers to practice alongside, and share fees with, nonlawyers. The opponents of MDPs generally believe that this is not possible, and that our core values will be seriously compromised in such an arrangement. As a proponent of allowing MDPs to exist, I believe the profession can police the conduct of lawyers in and out of MDPs, at least as well as it does now, and ensure that these core values and the interests of the public are protected while allowing MDPs to exist. Call me an optimist, but I also believe that the benefits of MDPs will make the risks associated with them worthwhile. Finally, I agree with those who look around the state of our profession and see the seeds of MDPs already sown, and predict that trying to stop them from growing will ultimately prove futile and damaging to the profession.

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The Pro Bono Initiative: Volunteer Students and Attorneys

On January 9th, the University of Utah College of Law invited its first year students to a lunch hour presentation about the importance of pro bono work. Speakers at the lunch, Jeff Tachiki (2L) and attorney Mary Jane Ciccarello, encouraged a standing-room only crowd to join the Pro Bono Initiative, a new College of Law program that provides student assistants to attorneys working on pro bono cases.

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The Young Lawyer

Federal Judge Dee Benson Will Speak at Law Day 2001 Luncheon at the Grand America Hotel

The Utah State Bar and guests will recognize Law Day 2001 on May 1st, highlighted by a luncheon at 12:00 noon at the new Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

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Utah Zoning Law: The Zoning Ordinance

(Editor's Note: this article is the first in a series of three on Utah zoning law. The second article is entitled Utah Zoning Law: Enforcement and the third is entitled Utah Zoning Law: Appeals.)

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Utah's "New" Tax Court - An Important Step in Leveling the State Tax Playing Field

During the 1998 general election, the voters of Utah approved a constitutional amendment that re-created a tax court within the district court system in Utah. The amendment became effective January 1, 1999. At least one case has been tried and decided and several cases are currently pending before the Tax Court. The Tax Court is important for individual and corporate Utah taxpayers because it should provide an experienced, independent forum, separate from the State Tax Commission, that can hear tax cases de novo. While the State Tax Commissioners have the background to hear tax cases, the Commissioners also supervise and administer Utah's tax system. In fact, based on Utah Supreme Court precedent, the only official Tax Commission authority lies in the four commissioners. Accordingly, the Tax Commissioners themselves are required to handle much of the supervision and administration personally. This creates a situation where the judge and prosecutor are the same person. In the minds of many taxpayers, this conflict is too great, and for these taxpayers, an "appeal" to the de novo Tax Court presents the first opportunity for a truly impartial tax hearing.

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We Are Not Alone

For over fifty years leaders from the bars of the western states have met together to discuss their common interests and shared concerns. From the Dakotas to California, Alaska to Hawaii, and Texas to Washington, the seventeen state bars of the Western States Bar Conference include an impressive list of former bar officers as well as current bar leaders. All are trying to get their arms around today's issues and prepare for those to come.

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About April 2001

This page contains all entries posted to Utah Bar Journal in April 2001. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2001 is the previous archive.

May 2001 is the next archive.

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