On March 10, 2003, an attorney was admonished by the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee for violation of Rules 1.1 (Competence), 5.5 (Unauthorized Practice of Law), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
An attorney was retained to represent a client in a divorce matter. The divorce complaint was filed first by the client's spouse in another state. The attorney filed a Notice of Appearance, Memorandum in Support of Special Appearance, and Motion to Dismiss in the other state. The attorney was not licensed to practice law in that state, and did not file a motion to appear pro hac vice. The attorney's Motion to Dismiss was dismissed.
Continue reading "Discipline Corner" »
One of the most critical technology tools used by lawyers these days is computer-based legal research. This move away from printed copies of case law, statutes and other law has been of tremendous value to lawyers. It has allowed them to cut library costs and to access relevant legal information quickly and efficiently.
Continue reading "Free Online Legal Research as a Bar Benefit: The CaseMaker Option" »
Claiming the high ground of truth, justice and the American Way, both those who defend affirmative action plans and their attackers call their opponents racists. Other invectives get thrown around, such as "Quotas!" "Reverse Discrimination!" "Elitist!" - and worse.
Continue reading "Getting Past the Name Calling: A Framework for Analyzing Affirmative Action Plans" »
The Legal Assistant Division's series of articles on utilization of legal assistants is well underway. Hopefully you had a chance to read Robyn Dotterer's overview of utilization issues in the April Bar Journal. As discussed in the LAD's Bar Journal messages these past few months, the Legal Assistant Division will be submitting articles by LAD members focusing on utilization of legal assistants in various practice areas. On the following pages is an article by LAD member Lucy Knorr discussing ideas for utilization of legal assistants in family law practice. Future articles will focus on utilization of legal assistants in litigation, estate planning, probate and other practice areas.
Continue reading "Legal Assistant Division Update" »
As a member of the general public, I fail to see the non-technical cogency of Leslie Randolph"s article entitled "Practice Pointer: Using "& Associates" in a Firm Name" in the April 2003 Utah Bar Journal.
Continue reading "Letters to the Editor" »
The Needs of the Elderly Committee (NOE) is dedicated to the mission of ensuring the delivery of quality legal services for the elderly and of advocating for their rights. As part of that mission, we join NAELA, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, in recognizing May as National Elder Law Month.
Continue reading "May is National Elder Law Month- A Report by the Needs of the Elderly Committee" »
Attorneys are sometimes surprised to learn that except for contingency fee arrangements,1 the Rules of Professional Conduct don't require written fee agreements between attorneys and clients. What the rule requires, in some circumstances, is written notice of the rate or basis of the fee. Neither the client nor the attorney is required to sign it, and it need not be before or simultaneous with the commencement of the relationship. "Within a reasonable time after commencing the representation" will do. Nevertheless, I urge anyone with a private law practice to have a fee agreement for every representation undertaken. Here's why.
Continue reading "Practice Pointer: Fee Agreements" »
During its regularly scheduled meeting of March 13, 2003, which was held in St. George, Utah, the Board of Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.
1. John T. Nielsen, the Bar's long time lobbyist, reported on H.B. 349 and other bills relating to courts, judges and lawyers. He also outlined the Governor's veto process, stating that the Governor has 20 days after the General Session ends to sign or veto a bill. If the veto is exercised, it can be overridden by a 2/3's majority of the Senate.
Continue reading "State Bar News" »
In the recently completed session, the Utah Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 349 and Governor Leavitt signed the bill into law. H.B. 349 directly affects lawyers and the practice of law. H.B. 349 consists of two parts: (1) it extends the sunset provision on the current unauthorized practice of law statute until May of 2004; and (2) as of May of 2004, it adopts a very narrow definition of the practice of law that essentially limits law practice to appearances in court. H.B. 349 has drawn considerable attention within our Bar as well as among lawyers around the country (e.g., ABA Journal article and ABA/BNA article). Although we have attempted to keep the Bar membership informed by email concerning these fast-breaking developments, we have email addresses for only about 64% of the Bar - this is a pitch for the rest of you to send us email addresses.
Continue reading "Substitute House Bill 349 and the Definition of the Practice of Law" »
Most practitioners readily recognize the final judgment rule as a cornerstone of appellate practice. We understand that the rule, now embodied in Rule 3(a) of our appellate rules, allows appeals to be taken as a matter of right1 only from "final orders and judgments."2 But the final judgment rule is more than a rule of appellate practice; it has important ramifications for lawsuits at the district court level. Specifically, the final judgment rule requires that a money judgment be final before it can be enforced through a writ of execution or one of the other post-judgment writs allowed by our civil rules. Unfortunately, as illustrated by the following example, the district court ramifications of the rule do not seem to be as well understood as the rule's appellate court ramifications.
Continue reading "The Final Judgment Rule: Appealability and Enforceability Go Hand in Hand" »
Can your family law practice function in your absence? If you find yourself scoffing at the idea of taking time off during the middle of the week to attend a seminar, volunteer at your child's school or ski in the middle of the week, you may find the ideas about utilizing legal assistants in this article especially helpful. The last time the lawyer I work for was gone for a few days, both her secretary and I remained extremely busy, and I billed as many hours as when she was present. Working at that level is very fulfilling because it feels like you are an essential part of a team. Granted, if there was an emergency where a client required immediate legal advice we had another family law attorney who could help. However, the point is, when you utilize your legal assistants effectively, they are happier in their jobs; and it allows you the ability to manage your time and to choose whether you want to service more clients, attend a seminar or take that ski day. In preparation for this article, I spoke with several family law legal assistants to gain additional perspective on legal assistant utilization. Our conversations about utilization fell primarily into the three categories of work delegation, communication and relationship style.
Continue reading "Utilizing Legal Assistants in Your Family Law Practice" »