Firm names are trade names. They are protected commercial speech. There are, however, permissible restrictions on firm names. The restrictions are delimited in Rule 7.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct [RPC]. Rule 7.5 expressly addresses trade name usage, law firm names in multi-jurisdictional practice, use of names of lawyers who are holding public office and firm names which imply various associations between firm members. The comments to Rule 7.5 provide additional guidance concerning trade names, common examples of which are use of deceased partner names, which is permissible, and use of joint names in office sharing situations, which is not.
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Although employment in Utah is generally presumed to be "at-will," many Utah municipal employees enjoy statutory guarantees of due process with respect to significant decisions affecting their employment status. Moreover, employees who are shielded from discharge without "sufficient cause" have a proprietary interest in continued employment, which interest is protected both by the United States Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment guarantee that "no state shall deprive any person of property without due process of the law," and by the Utah Constitution's analogous provision under article 1, section 7.1
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N. George Daines
George Daines has practiced law in Logan, Utah, for 27 years. He is a partner with the law firm, Barrett & Daines, and now serves as the elected Cache County Attorney. He graduated from Yale Law School where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Yale Law Journal. He then served as a law clerk to David T. Lewis, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit. In 1976 he returned to Logan to practice law and teach business and real estate law at Utah State University. His law practice focused on representation and litigation in the areas of real estate, government and financial institutions.
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In the upcoming months the Legal Assistant Division of the Utah State Bar will be contributing articles regarding utilization of legal assistants in a number of practice areas. Our goal is to assist the legal community in understanding the role we can play in all areas of the practice of law. In the December, 2002, issue of the Utah Bar Journal Marilu Peterson, Division Chair, provided the Utah State Bar Guidelines for the Utilization of Legal Assistants.
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As mentioned in previous articles, all members of the Legal Assistant Division work under the direct supervision of a licensed member of the Utah Bar. The opposite is not true, however - many Bar members do not use or employ legal assistants. The principal reason may well be the apparent lack of understanding of a very important part of the entire issue. In other words, the money.
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During its regularly scheduled meeting of January 31, 2003, which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah the Board of Bar Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.
1. Steve Waterman, co chair of the Admissions Committee, presented the Committee's recent and unanimous recommendation to modify proposed Admission rule 10.4 to eliminate averaging and for the Bar to implement a rounding policy on the scaled written component that is consistent with the rounding methodology used by the NCBE on the equated MBE. He further recommended that because scores will not be combined and averaged, that the reappraisal grading guideline be implemented for scores falling between 258 and 260. The motion passed .
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On February 25, 2003, an attorney was admonished by the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.5(b) (Fees), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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On February 24, 1803 the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Marbury v. Madison. The decision firmly established the principle of judicial review and strengthened the judiciary's role as a co-equal and independent branch of government. Chief Judge John Marshall's opinion was a masterpiece. Lawyers everywhere recognize and quote his famous statements that it is emphatically the province and duty of the courts to say what the law is and that ours is a government of laws, not of men.
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Wilkins and Court of Appeals Judge Gregory K. Orme addressed some of last year's important Utah appellate decisions at a Salt Lake County Bar Luncheon on February 26, 2003. Although the information will be of more limited utility for those not in attendance, the Utah Bar Journal thought its readers might find the case summaries, distributed as handouts during the presentations, to be of interest. Accordingly, the handouts are reprinted here, with the speakers' permission. Especially because readers will not have the benefit of the narrative commentary provided by the speakers, readers are cautioned that the summaries should not be relied on for any purposes other than calling attention to these opinions and explaining what each case generally involves.
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I have been asked to share with the Utah Bar my perspectives on courtroom practices of successful lawyers, especially those that I appreciate as a trial judge. My emphasis is not on techniques but more on behavior or conduct. As I do so, I really have in mind the younger members of our profession. Thus, I hope that the more seasoned in our profession will forgive me if, at times, I state the obvious. I will begin with some general observations, and then I will focus my comments on motion practice, trial practice, professionalism, and civility.
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