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October 2002 Archives

October 7, 2002

Volume 15 No. 7 October 2002


* President's Message: The Community Legal Center Becomes a Reality Through the Efforts and Generosity of Many
* Truth or Dare: Assessing the Reliability of Financial Statements in a Post-Enron World
* Lip Service and Diversity in the Legal Profession: Time for a Reality Check
* Common Errors in Cross-Examination, or Five Bad Habits of Highly Ineffective Cross-Examiners
* Utah Law Developments: Recent Changes to Utah's Trust Deed Statutes
* Views From the Bench: In Discharge of a Self-Imposed Sentence
* Book Review: Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine and Revenge: A Story of Hope

Book Review

Strangers in the House: Coming of Age in Occupied Palestine
by Raja Shehadeh

Revenge: A Story of Hope
by Laura Blumenfeld

Reviewed by Betsy Ross

World developments of the past year demand an attempt to understand the complex psychologies contributing to current events. These two books, representative of the "natural enemies" of the Middle East situation - one written by an American Jew with strong ties to Israel, the other by a Palestinian living in the West Bank - provide some perspective to understanding the hatred fueling the conflict, and offer some hope, where many see none, for an end to hostilities.

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Common Errors in Cross-Examination, or Five Bad Habits of Highly Ineffective Cross-Examiners

I got my first up close exposure to skilled cross-examination during a federal drug trial where my client was convicted - even though he was twenty-five miles away from the cocaine, and even though his co-defendant (who rented the car where the kilos were found, was driving the car when the kilos were found, and had cocaine in both his wallet and front pocket) was acquitted.

While working on the appeal, I kept asking myself, "How could that jury acquit the obviously guilty defendant and convict my obviously innocent (yeah, right) client?" As I reviewed the trial transcripts, the answer gradually began to emerge. The co-defendant's attorney, Ms. X, was very skilled. Although she handles mostly domestic relations cases, her first love is criminal law. In my opinion, she made her case, and won an acquittal, based entirely on skillful cross-examination.

Continue reading "Common Errors in Cross-Examination, or Five Bad Habits of Highly Ineffective Cross-Examiners" »

Discipline Corner

SUSPENSION
On July 15, 2002, the Honorable Anthony B. Quinn, Third Judicial District Court, entered Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order of Suspension suspending Kent L. Christiansen from the practice of law for three months for violation of Rules 1.7 (Conflict of Interest: General Rule), 1.8 (Conflict of Interest: Prohibited Transactions), 1.16(a) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 4.1(a) (Truthfulness in Statements to Others), and 8.4(a) and (c) (Misconduct), Rules of Professional Conduct. The Order of Suspension's effective date is August 15, 2002.

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In Discharge of a Self-Imposed Sentence


One advantage of being the Judicial Advisor to the Bar Journal's Board of Editors is that I can seize this space any time I want and write whatever's on my mind. Of course, this is mostly a theoretical advantage. For one thing, it's hard to find the time to write something that I don't really have to write. For another, extra writing for an appellate judge is something of a "busman's holiday." So why me; why now? Well, I have a confession to make. For a variety of perfectly valid reasons, I had missed a couple of meetings of the Board of Editors. Maybe three. In a row. Come the August meeting, I had PROMISED I would be there. The meeting fell in one of those occasional summer weeks that are pretty dead - entire days with no meetings, no hearings, no commitments. Just nice blank calendar pages. Perfect for catching up. On one of those days, I left my planner at home. I remembered all those blank pages. I went on with my life and it didn't hit me until just after five: "The Bar Journal meeting was at noon today, you idiot!" Because the Bar Journal is always looking for material, and I have primary responsibility for "Views from the Bench," there was only one way to conclude my e-mailed apology: "For being such a flake, I will write something for “Views from the Bench”' by the end of the month." That left one problem. And it is the main reason I have difficulty getting judges to write these things: What to write about? Fortunately, the August issue of the Bar Journal arrived just as I was about to resort to plagiarism and gave me lots of ideas.

Continue reading "In Discharge of a Self-Imposed Sentence" »

Letters to the Editor

I was out of town when the comments concerning reciprocity terminated. I think the idea is great except that one must have graduated from a law school which was ABA approved at the time of graduation. President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, President Hunter (now deceased) and I both graduated from Southwestern Night Law School long before it was an ABA accredited school. Therefore we would both be denied the reciprocity. Yet President Hunter had a very, very distinguished career representing some very, very important clients in the California scene and I have been a senior partner in a successful law firm in L.A. from 52 till 72 which consisted of eleven lawyers and 23 secretaries and bookkeeper when I retired. After sailing for six years I got bored and started a law firm in Hawaii which in 3 years consisted of 4 lawyers and ten ladies as secretaries and a bookkeeper. In the 50 years I have been a licensed attorney I have not had one reprimand from any bar. Yet under the proposed rules, the fact that the school I graduated from 50 years ago was not ABA approved, denies me reciprocity. Doesn't make sense. The experience and clean record ought to count for something.

As I have a service calling with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and do legal work for them in Washington, Oregon, Utah and California, the reciprocity would be nice. Some provision ought to be made for such situations. I am sure there are many.

Richard L. Tretheway

Lip Service and Diversity in the Legal Profession: Time for A Reality Check

The American legal system has been marked by racial injustice and gender bias, beginning with our nation's foundation. Because of these very genuine inequities, the law becomes a paradigm of exclusion rather than empowerment for many practitioners as well as those seeking a just remedy through the courts.

From James Madison's milestone debate at the 1787 Constitutional Convention to landmark United States Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education, the legal profession is a vital player in shaping our national history. Indeed, the law itself writes the script for the ongoing American drama. Legal practitioners and jurists serve as the seminal connection between society and the law. This means that attorneys and judges possess the power and responsibility to cautiously exercise that power, to humanize or dehumanize our legal system. We can be either the providers or precluders of equal access to justice for minorities and women, both in the practice of law and in the society the law serves.

Continue reading "Lip Service and Diversity in the Legal Profession: Time for A Reality Check" »

Recent Changes to Utah's Trust Deed Statutes

During its past two regular sessions, the Utah legislature enacted two bills (S.B. 53 (2001) and H.B. 44 (2002)) substantially modifying the statutes governing trust deeds. This article is intended to provide some background for these bills and give a brief overview of the significant changes involved.

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State Bar News

Commission Highlights

During its regularly scheduled meeting of August 2, 2002, which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah the Board of Bar Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.

1. The Board approved the minutes of the June 26, 2002 Commission meeting via the consent agenda.

Continue reading "State Bar News" »

The Community Legal Center Becomes a Reality through the Efforts and Generosity of Many

This month the nation's first Community Legal Center will open its doors to the public right here in Utah. The former Morrison and Merrill Building located at 205 North 400 West is the site of the new Community Legal Center. (See photograph of building on opposite page.) The 30,000 square foot building was recently refurbished by its prior owner the Olafson Group, which generously donated $400,000 toward the $4 million project. The building was purchased in March of this year by "and Justice for all," a non-profit corporation known by most Utah lawyers as the joint fund-raiser for the state's three leading providers of free civil legal services to lower-income individuals and families - the Disability Law Center, the Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake and Utah Legal Services. Their efforts promote economic and family stability, fight injustice, and help people help themselves.

Continue reading "The Community Legal Center Becomes a Reality through the Efforts and Generosity of Many" »

The Legal Assistant Division: A Work in Progress


And the work is progressing very nicely, too.

Practice Section CLE. Over the last several months, Shari Faulkner, CLA, our Bar Sections Liaison has been in working with some of the sections on issues involving CLE and possible non-voting membership. Thanks to Shari's efforts and with the support of these sections, Legal Assistant Division members will now be included in CLE mailings for the Litigation Section, the Family Law Section, and the Business Law Section. In addition, our members are eligible for non-voting membership in the ADR and Collections Sections, and in the Franchise Law Section subject to the approval of its chair. As most of us are aware, the CLE offered in the sections is practice-specific and often the source of very current and helpful practice aids and support. In the meantime, Shari will continue working with the other sections and the Young Lawyers' Division on similar arrangements.

Continue reading "The Legal Assistant Division: A Work in Progress" »

The Young Lawyers' Division Prepares for 2002-2003

The Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the Utah State Bar is gearing up for another year of service to its members and service to the public.

Executive Committee. The executive committee of the YLD has worked hard over the summer, making appointments to chair and co-chair the YLD's various committees, and preparing the handbooks, budgets, directories, and other materials necessary to make the YLD run smoothly. Your officers for 2002-2003 are: Vicky Fitlow, President; Debra Griffiths, Treasurer; Amy Dolce, Secretary; Christian Clinger, President-Elect; Nathan Alder, Past President.

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Truth or Dare: Assessing the Reliability of Financial Statements in a Post-Enron World

How important are financial statements?
To investors, financial statements are the last line of defense in protecting their investment. Financial statements are very often the only opportunity that investors are given to assess both an organization's viability and its life expectancy.

To creditors, financial statements represent the ability of an organization to repay debts. Creditors gravitate towards financial statements because they generally like to function under the principle of reciprocity: if they give it, they would like to eventually get it back.

Continue reading "Truth or Dare: Assessing the Reliability of Financial Statements in a Post-Enron World" »

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About October 2002

This page contains all entries posted to Utah Bar Journal in October 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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