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State Bar News

Commission Highlights

During its regularly scheduled meeting March 21, 2002, which was held in St. George, the Board of Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.

1.John T. Nielsen reported on the Legislative Session. He told the Commission that the Bar had recommended supporting sixteen bills in the last legislative session. Of those bills, fifteen passed and one bill failed. Of the seven bills which the Commission opposed, only two passed. John T. Nielsen thanked David Bird for his help with mitigating the severity of problems relating to the revisions in the JCC provisions. John concluded his report by informing those present that the Legislature had increased various court filing fees approximately $15-20 which will raise nearly $2.8 million in state revenues. John also updated the Commission on several recent items of interest. Alicia Suazo will not be running for election and Nisa Sisneros, a Hispanic woman lawyer at Salt Lake Legal Defenders, has been slated as Alicia's successor to run for that seat. Utah Bar member Greg Bell is seeking Senator Terry Spencer's seat and attorney Patrice Arent will be running against Steve Poulton in the Holladay area

2.D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli reported on spearheading the Bar's lobbying efforts on S.B. 44 and identified those individuals who were instrumental in obtaining funds for the Community Legal Center. She explained that an appropriation of $100,000 in this tight budget year was a victory and that every contact made a significant difference.

3.Debra J. Moore gave the Judicial Council report. Debra reported that despite severe budget cuts in this year's legislative session, the AOC is in relatively good shape primarily because of the creation of the justice courts and ongoing reduction rather than elimination of staff positions. Debra also reported that every member of the judiciary currently eligible for retention has filed again except Judge Braithwaite. The Judicial Council has adopted several new rules, one of which is that judicial education credit has been approved for judges' participation in certain community outreach projects.

4.John A. Adams reported on the Western States Bar Conference. One of the dominant topics at the conference was MJP and toward that end, New Mexico is investigating the feasibility of a Four Corners Area MJP Consortium. Since enacting its MJP rule, Idaho has had over 200 requests for applications but only 40 actual application filings. The Northwest MJP Consortium's experience has been that state border attorney residents are the ones who typically avail themselves of MJP reciprocity opportunities. John also reported on the current status of the Utah
Supreme Court's Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services.

5.John Adams asked the Commission to consider an effective way to thank the Legislature for its Community Legal Center appropriation.

6.Randy S. Kester related that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy gave a stirring speech at the National Association of Bar President's meeting held recently in Philadelphia.

7.Charles R. Brown gave a report on the ABA's mid-year convention, reminding the Commission that the ABA's mid-year convention in 2005 would be held in Salt Lake City. He noted that Scott Daniels will be meeting with Utah's Congressional leaders on the upcoming ABA Day in Washington, D.C.

8.John Baldwin reminded the Commission that the Jack Rabbit Bar will be held June 7 & 8 @ the Canyons, in Park City. John explained the Bar's Section 125(c) cafeteria flexible spending account plan documents needed updating. The Commission voted to approve the service agreement contained in the materials and adopt the proposed resolution. John directed the Commission's attention to the Bar's proposed multijurisdictional rule and public comment would be taken until April 26th. John Baldwin updated the Commission on the award recipient reimbursement policy. The Commission voted to provide mileage reimbursement for both convention chairs and award recipients at the Annual and Mid-Year Conventions, but to omit complimentary tickets to sporting events and the cost of meals for award recipients (except for an awards luncheon if one is held.) John Baldwin reviewed the Bar Program reports submitted by staff.

9.Gary Sackett reviewed Ethics Advisory Opinions 02-01, 02-02, 02-03, 02-04 and 02-05.

10.Nanci Snow Bockelie reported on "and Justice for all"

11.Nathan D. Alder reported on the Young Lawyers Division.

12.Denise Dragoo and Debra Moore were nominated for President-elect. Both were invited to speak on their respective desires to serve as President-elect.

13.Felshaw King reminded the Commission that the upcoming April 26th Commission meeting would be held at the Oakridge Country Club with the Davis County Bar. David Bird suggested that the Davis County legislators be invited to the luncheon portion of the meeting.

A full text of this and other meetings of the Bar Commission are available for inspection at the office of the Executive Director.


Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee Seeks Applicants

The Utah State Bar is currently accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the 14-member Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee. Lawyers who have an interest in the Bar’s ongoing efforts to resolve ethical issues are encouraged to apply.

The charge of the Committee is to prepare and issue formal written opinions concerning the ethical issues that face Utah lawyers.

Because the written opinions of the Committee have major and enduring significance to members of the Bar and the general public, the Bar solicits the participation of lawyers who can make a significant commitment to the goals of the Committee and the Bar.

If you are interested in serving on the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee, please submit an application with the following information, either in resume or narrative form:

* Basic information, such as years and location of practice, type of practice (large firm, solo, corporate, government, etc.), and substantive areas of practice.
* A brief description of your interest in the Committee, including relevant experience, ability and commitment to contribute to well-written, well-researched opinions.

Appointments will be made to maintain a Committee that:

* Is dedicated to carrying out its responsibility to consider ethical questions in a timely manner and issue well-reasoned and articulate opinions.
* Includes lawyers with diverse views, experience and background.

If you want to contribute to this important function of the Bar, please submit a letter and resume indicating your interest to:
Gary G. Sackett, Chairman
Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee
P.O. Box 45444 ¥ Salt Lake City, Utah 84145


The Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism

The Utah Supreme Court recently announced the formation of "The Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professionalism." Chaired by Justice Matthew Durrant, the committee is charged with the responsibility to familiarize itself with the work of the American Bar Association and state committees and commissions in the areas of professionalism and civility. The committee is then expected to consider whether Utah should follow the lead of other states in adopting a code of professionalism. The committee may also make recommendations for changes to the Utah Bar's CLE requirements, the Code of Judicial Administration, other court rules, and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

"A lot of work has already been done in this area by the ABA, the American Board of Trial Advocates, and others," said Justice Durrant. "We aren't inventing anything new here. The question really is what Utah can do to enhance the sense of professionalism of lawyers and to promote greater civility in the practice of the law. It is a challenge because our adversarial system does not necessarily bring out the best in lawyers as human beings. It can be a stressful process and that stress sometimes causes good people to behave in bad ways."

The committee membership represents a broad spectrum of attorneys, judges, and law professors. Justice Durrant invites anyone interested in professionalism and civility to convey their comments to him or any other member of the committee. At its inception, the membership of the committee is as follows:

Justice Matthew B. Durrant, Chair
Utah Supreme Court
Salt Lake City

Nathan D. Alder, Esq.
Christensen & Jensen
Salt Lake City

Judge Anne Boyden
Third District Court
Salt Lake City

Matty Branch, Esq.
Appellate Courts
Salt Lake City

Francis J. Carney, Esq.
Anderson & Karrenberg
Salt Lake City

Augustus Chin, Esq.
Salt Lake City Prosecutor's Office
Salt Lake City

Robert S. Clark, Esq.
Parr Waddoups Brown Gee and Loveless
Salt Lake City

Scott Daniels, Esq.
President, Utah State Bar

Royal I. Hansen, Esq.
Moyle & Draper
Salt Lake City

Judge Jerald L. Jensen
Davis County Justice Court

Prof. Thomas R. Lee
J. Reuben Clark School of Law

Judge Kay A. Lindsay
Second District Juvenile Court

Ruth Lybbert, Esq.
Dewsnup, King & Olsen
Salt Lake City

Suzanne Marychild, Esq.

Judge Gregory K. Orme
Utah Court of Appeals
Salt Lake City

Prof. Susan R. Poulter
S.J. Quinney College of Law
Salt Lake City

V. Lowry Snow, Esq.
Snow, Jensen & Reese
St. George

Jeffrey M. Vincent, Esq.
Salt Lake City

Billy L. Walker, Esq.
Office of Professional Conduct
Utah State Bar

Donald J. Winder, Esq.
Winder & Haslam
Salt Lake City


Supreme Court Seeks Attorneys to Serve on its Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure

The Utah Supreme Court is seeking aplicants to fill four vacancies on its Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. The committee researches and debated issues related to proposed rule changes and prepares written recommendations to the Supreme Court. Meetings are usually held monthly. Appointments will be for a four year term. Interested attorneys should submit a resume and letter indicating interest and qualifications to Brent M. Johnson, Administrative Office of the Courts-Legal Department, 450 South State, Third Floor, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-0241. Applications must be received no later than June 14, 2002


Mailing of Licensing Forms

The licensing forms for 2002-2003 will be mailed during the last week of May and the first week of June. Fees are due July 1, 2002, however fees received or postmarked on or before August 1, 2002 will be processed without penalty.

It is the responsibility of each attorney to provide the Bar with current address information. This information must be submitted in writing. Failure to notify the Bar of an address change does not relieve an attorney from paying licensing fees, late fees, or possible suspension for non-payment of fees. You may check the Bar’s web site to see what information is on file. The site is updated weekly and is located at www.utahbar.org.

If you need to update your address please submit the information to Arnold Birrell, Utah State Bar, 645 South 200 East, salt Lake City, Utah 84111-3384. You may also fax the information to (801) 531-9537.


Thanks to the members of the Bar Examiner, Bar Examiner Review, and Character and Fitness Committee for volunteering your time and effort to assist with the February 2002 Bar Examination. Your contributions are greatly appreciated. Congratulations also to those applicants who passed the exam. Welcome to the Utah State Bar.
Joni Dickson Seko, Deputy General Counsel/Admissions


MDP Petition Denied by Court
Recently the Utah Supreme Court acted on the Bar's petition to allow for Multidisciplinary Practice (MDP) in Utah. The Court denied the petition, but suggested the issue may be readdressed at a later date.

In 2000, then Bar President Charles R. Brown appointed a Task Force to explore MDP issues and make recommendations to the Utah State Bar on possible courses of action. Over a period of about a year, the Task Force met, reviewed information, took input from members and produced a report with recommendations. This report recommended that the Bar petition the Court to change some rules within the Rule of Professional Conduct to allow Utah lawyers to participate in MDPs. MDPs were defined as professional service firms, where other professionals could share in ownership and therefore fees. Current rules do not allow for the sharing of fees with non-lawyers in this manner.

The report recognized that MDP-type services were already being offered in the market, and that a change to the rules could 1) allow lawyers to better compete in the market, 2) retain the core values of the profession, and 3) enable the Bar to have some regulatory position with these emerging service firms.

After the report was released a formal comment period followed. Bar members were encouraged to give their opinions on this possible change to the Rules. Of the 64 comments received, 67% favored the changes, 25% opposed and 8% were neutral. Comments favoring the changes focused on the fact that MDP is already happening, and clients will be better served if lawyers are involved. Comments against the changes generally voiced concerns over the potential harm to the independence of the legal profession and the threat of erosion of "core" values of the profession.

After reviewing this input, in January 2001 the Bar Commission voted to accept the report and its recommendations and petition the Supreme Court for a change in the Rules. In February 2001 the petition was filed. Following this filing, the Court requested input from its own Advisory Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct on the proposed changes to the Rules. This committee recommended to the Court that it not approve the petition because of concerns with the erosion of core values. On April 2, 2002, the Court issued an order denying the petition. "However, the Court expresses its willingness to reconsider its decision in the future in light of experience that may be gained from other jurisdictions."

If there are any further developments for MDP in Utah, the Bar will keep the membership informed. The Bar wishes to thank all the volunteers involved in this effort for their time and services.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 7, 2002 4:03 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Volume 15 No. 3 April 2002.

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