by Debra Moore
It seems like yesterday that I was sworn in as Bar president, but with the end of my term approaching at "warp" speed, it's time to review how the Bar has advanced its mission during the last year. I'm pleased to report that 2003-2004 has been an excellent year, thanks to the dedicated efforts of John Baldwin and the Bar staff, a great Board of Bar Commissioners, and stellar committee and section chairs and other dynamic volunteers throughout the Bar organization. Some highlights of the year include:
Continue reading "That Went Fast!" »
by David Nuffer
Judge Thurman's bench at the bankruptcy court, shown in the photo at right, looks more like the control deck of the Starship Enterprise than a traditional judge's bench. Two computer monitors are embedded in his bench, and a keyboard and mouse are his controls. No papers in sight! Similarly, my office desk has a two-headed computer, with one screen for documents I am creating and one screen for documents I am reviewing, retrieved from Westlaw or the court file. This will be the look of more and more judicial workspaces. Courts are following the business trend of moving from paper to electronic files which means the judge's file will be a computer file, not a paper file.
Continue reading "The View from the Electronic Bench" »
by David E. Leta
I began practicing law in 1976. At that time, I was fortunate to work in an office that prided itself on having state of the art technology. Every secretary had an IBM Selectric Typewriter. We soon updated these typewriters to the amazing "Correcting Selectric," which could type backwards and lift the letters off the page to correct mistakes. It was a miracle, and certainly a vast improvement over carbon paper, onion skin, and white-out.
Continue reading "My Evolution from Paper-pusher to Key-clicker" »
by Cass C. Butler
Conversion to the Federal District Court's Case Management/ Electronic Case Filing ("CM/ECF") system is a big step which will require significant adjustments and training. With CM/ECF looming on the horizon, many practitioners find themselves anxious about how they are going to adjust once CM/ECF becomes a reality or they are simply in denial, hoping that the Court will reconsider its decision. Instead of welcoming a new era of saving space and time by eliminating or reducing paper files, many are trying to see if the new system can still deliver reams of paper. Attorneys often think that we must hold and see real paper to do our jobs. Refusing to embrace the possibilities of being more efficient, mobile and effective, some attorneys have complained about what they perceive as a forced march. This article offers 10 reasons why CM/ECF might actually benefit your law practice after unfamiliarity, costs and challenges are overcome.
Continue reading "Ten Reasons You May Just Like CM/ECF" »
by John E. Laherty
In April of 2003, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision Roska ex rel. Roska v. Peterson, et al. bestowed upon Utah parents unprecedented legal protection against the removal of their children by state social workers.1 Prior to the decision, Utah's child welfare laws authorized DCFS to remove a child from his or her home without a warrant, and without providing the parent with any pre-removal due process, whenever there was "a substantial danger to the physical health or safety of the minor" justifying removal. When an employee of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services ("DCFS") felt this standard was met, the removal process was a relatively simple one. The worker staffed the case with other DCFS personnel, ran the facts by the Division's legal counsel at the Attorney General's office, and, if the general consensus supported removal, the worker removed the child from the home. The State was not required to obtain prior judicial approval, nor were parents provided an opportunity to contest the removal beforehand. Instead, Utah law only afforded judicial review of the agency's decision - a "shelter hearing" in juvenile court - within seventy-two hours after the child had been taken into the State's custody. Roska put an end to this process in the vast majority of child welfare cases, on two separate constitutional grounds.
Continue reading "Roska and the Warrant Requirement in Utah Child Protection Law" »
by Kate A. Toomey
Nobody likes rats, and I'm not referring to the Order Rodentia.
This premise is readily supported by the fact that some of the most agonized calls to the Ethics Hotline are from attorneys seeking guidance on what triggers the reporting requirement. Likewise, the reporting requirement usually elicits the most grumbling during the Office of Professional Conduct's ethics CLE presentations, with some attorneys going so far as to announce that they would never, under any circumstances, report another lawyer's misconduct.1 One more reason not to like it: the rule offers an ostensible cloak of "duty" for people who in my opinion are borderline tattletales,2 reporting easily remedied transgressions and insults from opposing counsel, or attempting to use a Bar complaint as leverage for settlement.
Continue reading "The Snitch Rule" »
by Russell C. Fericks
On January 27, 2004 I was summoned, along with a number of other managing attorneys from Utah law firms, to attend a luncheon at the Panini restaurant in Salt Lake City. The summons was issued jointly by Chief Justice Christine Durham of the Utah Supreme Court and President Deborah Moore of the Utah State Bar.
Continue reading "Enlightened Self-Interest" »
by John T. Nielsen
The Legislative Affairs Committee of the Bar was again active and engaged in reviewing legislation pertinent to the interests of lawyers and the Bar. We had an enthusiastic, regular attending and active committee and we reviewed 70-plus bills that we felt required our scrutiny.
Continue reading "2004 Legislative Update" »
President-Elect and Bar Commission Election Results
David R. Bird was elected President-Elect of the Utah State Bar. David received 1,171 votes to Gus Chin's 1,151. David R. Bird, Gus Chin and Scott R. Sabey were elected to the Commission in the Third Division. Gus received 1,014 votes, Scott received 848 votes, David 717 votes, Christian Clinger 637, Clayton A. Simms 569, and Irshad A. Aadil 525.
Felshaw King ran unopposed in the Second Division.
Continue reading "State Bar News" »
On December 31, 2003, the Honorable Roger S. Dutson, Second Judicial District Court, publicly reprimanded Samuel J. Conklin for violation of Rules 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a) (Communication), 1.5(b) and (c) (Fees), 1.15(b) (Safekeeping Property), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Mr. Conklin was retained to represent a client in an employment matter. The time spent by Mr. Conklin on the client's case was not accurately reflected on the client's bill. Mr. Conklin admitted to the client that the work was overcharged, but he did not have time to look into the matter. Mr. Conklin did not respond to the client's inquiries concerning the bill and failed to promptly deliver the settlement funds to the client. Mr. Conklin also failed to respond to the Office of Professional Conduct's ("OPC's") requests for information.
Continue reading "Discipline Corner" »
by Sanda R. Kirkham, Chair - Paralegal Division
The Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar is doing great things. The success of the Division is the result of many volunteers who participate in - and direct - our Division. It is also a tribute to our history of strong leadership, as well as continued support from the Bar. For a paralegal to improve his/her skills, network, experience leadership, and generally develop as a paralegal is to participate in the Paralegal Division.
Continue reading "Paralegal Division - Farewell Message" »