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March 2004 Archives

March 2, 2004

Volume 17 No. 2 March 2004


* President's Message: "AND JUSTICE FOR ALL" Nominated for ABA National Public Service Award
* Utah Law Developments: Spoliation in Utah - A Problem in Search of a Remedy
* Digital Photograph as Evidence in Utah Courts
* Practice Pointer: Disengagement Letters
* A Problem of Perception: Race and the Legal System in Utah

“and Justice for all” Nominated for ABA National Public Service Award

On February 6, 2004, the following application was submitted to the American Bar Association to nominate 'and Justice for all" for national recognition. The Utah lawyers who led and contributed to the Access to Justice Task Force and 'and Justice for all" can be justly proud of the truly remarkable and meaningful accomplishments outlined below. The stage is now set for a broader community effort to develop and implement a statewide plan to realize the goal of access to civil justice for all Utah citizens.

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A Problem of Perception: Race and the Legal System in Utah

Author; Charles G. Wentworth

Racial and ethnic bias is an evil that must be addressed day in and day out, in every generation. It never goes away.

- Michael Zimmerman

I. Introduction
Perception is immensely important in the administration of justice because, at least on an individual basis, justice is in the eye of the beholder. This article examines problems associated with perceptions of Utah's legal system, especially as those perceptions have lead some to believe either that it is fraught with prejudice or, alternatively, that law enforcement and court personnel are simply doing their jobs. It then proposes continued solutions that may be enacted by the Legislature or implemented by individual members of the Bar.

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Digital Photographs as Evidence in Utah Courts

Author; Wesley M. Baden

This past holiday season, you were not alone if you purchased or received a digital camera as a gift. Digital cameras were in great demand, reflecting the 28 percent increase in sales that occurred in the period January to August 2003. In contrast, analog cameras, such as the 35mm single lens reflex (SLR), were not as popular. Sales of analog cameras declined by 37 percent in January to August 2003.1

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Discipline Corner

ADMONITION
On December 15, 2003, an attorney was admonished by the Honorable Timothy R. Hanson, Third Judicial District Court for violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. (The Order was not explicit about which Rule was violated).

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Paralegals v. Legal Assistants

Author; Sanda R. Kirkham, Chair

WHEREAS, the American Bar Association ("ABA") has determined that the term "paralegal" is gaining prominence nationwide and that the term "legal assistant" is becoming less common; and

WHEREAS, in August of 2003, the ABA approved a change to the name of the Standing Committee on Legal Assistants to the Standing Committee on Paralegals, and

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Patrick Tan: The Co-recipient of the 2002-2003 Young Lawyer of the Year Award

Author; Teresa Welch

The Young Lawyer of the Year is awarded annually by the Young Lawyer's Division of the Utah State Bar. One of the most recent recipients of this distinguished award is Patrick Tan, a colleague and friend of mine at the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. It is my honor to introduce Patrick Tan to you, and to enlighten you to the various reasons why Patrick is wholly deserving of the 2002-2003 Young Lawyer of the Year award.

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Practice Pointer: Disengagement Letters

Author; Diane Akiyama
Every attorney in private practice experiences the nightmare client that they knew they never should have agreed to represent. When dealing with nightmare clients, attorneys are usually careful to document everything in writing including sending a disengagement letter. However, in their dealings with other types of clients, attorneys may not regularly send disengagement letters or otherwise document the steps taken when terminating the representations. While the Rules of Professional Conduct do not require such notices, disengagement letters are a good habit for attorneys to adopt in their practice.

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Spoliation in Utah - A Problem In Search of a Remedy

Author; Robert B. Sykes & James W. McConkie

When a party is once found to be fabricating, or suppressing, documents, the natural, indeed, the inevitable, conclusion is that he has something to conceal, and is conscious of guilt.1

- Judge Learned Hand, 1939

"Contra spoliatorem omnia raesumuntur"
(All things presumed against the destroyer)2

I.SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
Spoliation is the destruction, alteration or suppression of evidence relevant to a cause of action or potential cause of action.3 National commentators describe spoliation as a very significant ongoing problem in litigation.4 The renowned Harvard Law Professor, Charles R. Nesson, has stated:

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State Bar News

Commission Highlights

During its regularly scheduled meeting of January 23, 2004, which was held in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Board of Bar Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated.

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About March 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Utah Bar Journal in March 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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