EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is based on a presentation originally given at the Annual Meeting of the Utah State Bar, Coronado Hotel, San Diego, California, July 2000, and recently updated.
A few years ago, Gen. Hugh Shelton, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued an order to all United States military personnel to stop using presentation software in their e-mail briefings. The reason? All the bells and whistles were clogging the armed forces' limited bandwidth and, more importantly, detracting from junior officers' attempts at conveying essential information.1
Continue reading "A Few Words of Caution About Computer Presentations" »
Sometimes it's black. Other times, it's white. But most of the time, it's a murky, muddy gray. The unauthorized practice of law (UPL), say lawyers, legal educators and paralegals alike, is often hard to identify and still harder to define.
Some cases of UPL are easily recognizable: The person without a license to practice law who advises his or her so-called clients on how to avoid bankruptcy proceedings, or the one who - absent statutory or rule authority - appears at a court proceeding as an advocate for a client. But it's much less clear when the practitioner is what has come to be known as a traditional legal assistant - someone trained and educated in the paralegal profession, often with years of experience, who works under the supervision of licensed attorneys. Can traditional paralegals tell a client in a litigation matter what to expect procedurally without crossing the line into giving legal advice? Can you observe a deposition without a supervising attorney being present? Can you handle real estate closings outside the presence of an attorney? Can your name be included on firm letterhead and, if so, are there restrictions?
Continue reading "Are You Riding a Fine Line? Learn to Identify and Avoid Issues Involving the Unauthorized Practice of Law" »
RESIGNATION WITH DISCIPLINE PENDING
On November 1, 2002, the Honorable Christine M. Durham, Chief Justice, Utah Supreme Court, entered an Order Granting Verified Petition for Consent to Resignation with Discipline Pending in the matter of Martin S. Tanner. In the Petition for Resignation with Discipline Pending, Mr. Tanner did not dispute the essential facts which provide a basis that he violated Rules 3.3(a) (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 3.4(b) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), and 8.4(a), (c) and (d) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Continue reading "Discipline Corner" »
Of course not you say. Not me, not ever. But are you sure? Let's see you work in a law firm or a corporate legal department. Your supervising attorney is close at hand. So, every thing you do and say is not UPL, right? Maybe, but maybe not.
Elsewhere in this issue, the Legal Assistant Division has arranged to reprint an article from a recent issue of Legal Assistant Today which poses some interesting questions. I found it thought-provoking and I hope you (and your supervising attorney) do, too.
Continue reading "Do You UPL?" »
In law school, many of us learned a professional ethics rule proscribing threatening criminal prosecution to gain an advantage in a civil matter. Shortly after I began working for the Office of Professional Conduct, the office received an informal complaint alleging that an attorney had violated this rule. I read and re-read the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) without finding what I was looking for, then confessed to someone with superior knowledge that I couldn't find the rule, although I knew it existed. I was amazed to learn that although Utah at one time had such an explicit rule,1 it was omitted from the current rules. I'm not the only one to make this mistake: the OPC regularly hears from attorneys on its Ethics Hotline who want to know where to find the rule. This is what I tell them.
Continue reading "Practice Pointer: The Rule Against Threatening Criminal Prosecution to Gain an Advantage in a Civil Matter" »
Editor's Introduction: Ron Boyce's death brought sadness to our legal community. The Utah Bar Journal thanks Judge David Winder, Judge Dee Benson, Professor John Flynn and Dean Scott Matheson for allowing us to share excerpts from remarks they made at public and private memorial services. (The Journal has made minor transitional edits to convert the speakers' notes into this format, and chosen stories and commentary about Ron Boyce in preference to the speakers' personal feelings expressed in the privacy of the services.)
Continue reading "Remembering Ron Boyce - Teacher, Judge and Friend" »
In the April issue of the Utah Bar Journal we examined the issue of "new uses" of copyright material in cyberspace. The August/ September issue considered the long-arm of Internet law and the circumstances under which Internet Service Providers enjoy immunity in cases of copyright infringement. We finish our series with a look at recent developments affecting online music including two relevant cases, Bonneville International v. Peters, 153 F. Supp. 2d 763 (E.D.P.A. 2001) and Rodgers and Hammerstein v. UMG Recordings, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16111 (S.D.N.Y. 2001).
Continue reading "Seven Cases That Shaped the Internet in 2001 or “The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Lawyers”1 Part III" »
Notice of Proposed Admissions Rule Changes
In 1997, the Admissions Committee of the Bar was assigned to comprehensively overview all aspects of the admission process. Since December 1999, the Commission has held approximately six commission meetings in which various changes to the admissions process have been recommended or adopted. Some additional changes are anticipated to be approved by the Bar Commission at its December 6th meeting. The purpose of this article is to outline major changes in the Rules Governing Admission to the Utah State Bar and to solicit comments from members of the Bar before submitting the changes to the Utah Supreme Court. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Utah State Bar, attention Katherine Fox, General Counsel, Utah Law and Justice Center, 645 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111-3834. Comments should be received by January 17, 2003.
Continue reading "State Bar News" »
The Utah Supreme Court's Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services has completed its work and on September 5, 2002 submitted its report to the full Court. The report and its conclusions should be of interest to every Utah lawyer. At the risk of oversimplification,1 the essence of the Committee's work has been to focus on which co-equal branch of government (the Legislature or the Court) governs the "practice of law"; survey the ways in which legal services are being delivered cost effectively to Utahns; and explore avenues by which competent legal assistance may be provided on a larger and more efficient scale to more citizens (particularly the middle class).
Continue reading "Supreme Court Committee on Delivery of Legal Services Submits Its Report" »
The holidays are a special time for giving and giving thanks. Please share your good fortune with those who are less fortunate.
The Rescue Mission
Women & Children in Jeopardy Program
Volunteers of America Utah Detox (non-profit alcohol & drug detox center)
Continue reading "Thirteenth Annual Lawyers & Court Personnel Food & Winter Clothing Drive for the Less Fortunate" »
Last summer, the Utah State Bar Commission formed a small task force to explore the Bar's role in addressing the perception of state legislators and others that a significant unmet need for legal services exists among middle class Utahns. The Commission received an update on the work of the Supreme Court's Committee on Delivery of Legal Services and met with Committee member and state representative Steve Urquhart. The task force wanted to be well-prepared for any recommendations that the Committee might make to the Bar. The task force consisted of Bar President-Elect Debra Moore as Chair, Bar Executive Director John Baldwin, and Commissioners D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli (one of two public members), David R. Bird, Nanci Bockelie, and George Daines.
Continue reading "Utah State Bar Explores Delivery of Legal Services to Middle Class" »