The Bar Commission has approved the recommendation of the Admissions Committee to modify the Bar exam by adding a new component, the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). The MPT is developed by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and is designed to test an applicant's ability to use fundamental lawyering skills in a realistic situation. Each test evaluates an applicant's ability to complete a task which a beginning lawyer should be able to accomplish. If approved by the Utah Supreme Court, Utah will join a majority of other states (the MPT is used by 29 states and other states, like California, have their own state-prepared practical performance tests) by including a 'practical' element to the Bar exam.
Continue reading "Commission Recommends Modification of Bar Exam by Adding MPT " »
"You're an American teenager flying off to an exotic vacation. But your plane has engine trouble and you're forced to land in the country of Quest - a place where the average worker makes only $2 a day, where the political leadership is corrupt, and where anti-democratic sentiment is gathering strength. The people you meet challenge your beliefs. They blame America for their difficulties, and believe that authoritarian rule is their best hope. What can you say to them?"
Continue reading "Dialogue on Freedom - An Opportunity for Utah Lawyers to Make a Difference" »
On May 24, 2002, the Honorable Douglas Cornaby, Eighth Judicial District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment of Disbarment disbarring Alan Williams from the practice of law for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 3.3(a) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a), (c) and (d) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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I could hardly disagree more with Stephen Kelson's premises, perceptions, fears, and recommendations in "Judicial Independence and the Blame Game," Utah Bar Journal (Jan/Feb 2002). It is not the role of the Bar to defend individual judges. We do not need a new committee to evaluate or censor criticisms of Utah judges. As a member of the Utah Bar since 1979, I have seen no flood - indeed, hardly a trickle - of "baseless and vindictive attacks" on Utah judges. Not every item of judicial criticism results from a misunderstanding of the legal system or simple displeasure with a judge's ruling. Not every criticism of a judge is an "attack."
Continue reading "Letters to the Editor" »
At its annual meeting on June 7, 2002, the Legal Assistant Division elected and installed its new officers for 2002-2003. As I considered the topic for my first article here, I realized the importance of introducing you to the leadership of the Division. Then, as I contacted each of them to gather the information for this article, I was amazed at the extent of their experience, professionalism and dedication. These are our leaders for the coming year.
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For some disputes, trials will be the only means, but for many claims, trials by the adversary contest must in time go the way of the ancient trial by battle and blood. Our system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for a truly civilized people.
- Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.
Continue reading "Probate Mediation in Utah: Where did it Come From, Where is it Now, Where is it Going?1" »
In the April issue of the Utah Bar Journal we examined the issue of "new uses" of copyright material in cyberspace. This article considers two recent cases on the international aspect of Internet law and one on the circumstances under which Internet Service Providers enjoy immunity in cases of copyright infringement.
Continue reading "Seven Cases That Shaped the Internet in 2001 or The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers1 Part II" »
During its regularly scheduled meeting of April 26, 2002, which was held in Farmington, Utah, the Board of Bar Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.
1. Randy Dryer reported to the Commission on the Utah Bar Foundation's involvement with the "and Justice for All" Foundation and the recent acquisition of a new building. He requested an additional $40,000 donation towards payment for the new facility. The Commission approved the donation with a mechanism for members to "opt-out" from their pro-rata share of Bar dues.
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Research has shown that ongoing conflict between parents after divorce can significantly affect a child's emotional adjustment to the divorce. As many states look for ways to reduce parental conflict and its related litigation, several have turned to the use of special masters to assist these conflicted families. Special masters are court-appointed experts, appointed pursuant to Rule 53 of the rules of civil procedure, who assist judges in a quasi-judicial role to avoid frequent, continuing custody litigation. The special master's role in custody cases is to make decisions about children when the parents cannot and to assess, report, and make recommendations to the court about custody and visitation issues. The appointment of special masters in high conflict divorce cases can minimize trauma to the children of divorce by resolving custody-related disputes and reducing the court's involvement with the family.
Continue reading "The Appointment of Special Masters in High Conflict Divorces " »
A few clicks of your keyboard and mouse are all that stand between you and the inside information that used to take trial lawyers years to acquire. That judge before whom you are to argue that motion tomorrow has some definite thoughts on how oral argument ought to go. Here's your chance to find out what they are and avoid the embarrassment of a new lawyer's "learning experience." Go to the Utah State Bar's Litigation Section's web page, www.utlitsec.org and, once there, to the "Judges' Benchbook" and find out.
Continue reading "The Judges’ Benchbook - www.utlitsec.org " »