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January 2007 Archives

January 8, 2007

Congratulations on 75 Years!

by Kathryn K. Shelton, Chair

Seventy-five years is a remarkable achievement for any one or any thing. My father is approaching this remarkable age and as I watch him age with grace and dignity, I realize that the decisions, experiences, education and choices he made through all of those years, as well as the people he has encountered and touched, truly made him who he is today. My father is a wise man - educated, objective, and benevolent. He is a man of great integrity and character. Not unlike my almost 75 year old father, we note that the now 75 year old Utah State Bar has succeeded because it has been built upon principles of education, objectivity, integrity and character. The Bar is the governing and regulating authority for the attorneys in the State but its intrinsic value rests with its members who hold a wealth of wisdom, experience and integrity and that bring honor to its name and to the profession of law. It will be the Bar's responsibility to continue to ensure the professionalism exhibited by so many members in the past 75 years is continued into the next 75 years.

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The Young Lawyers of the Utah State Bar

by John A. Adams

For the past quarter-century, the Young Lawyers of the Utah State Bar have always been at the forefront of innovative, service-oriented programs and have been a fertile training ground for future leaders of the Bar. Because of their unabashed enthusiasm and willingness to pitch in, the Young Lawyers have brought a "Midas touch" to almost every endeavor they have undertaken. Both past and present Young Lawyers speak with fondness of what they have helped accomplish and the friends and acquaintances they have made in being part of the effort.1

The exact year the Young Lawyers Section of the Utah State Bar was formed is uncertain. Colin King served as president in 1983-84, but he remembers that he was not the first president of the Section. He is reasonably sure that one or two others preceded him. If he is right, then the Young Lawyers may well be celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. In the years Colin, Cecelia Espenoza and John Adams served as president, the Section leadership consisted mainly of the Section officers serving as part of a small executive committee. Paul Durham and those who followed him (Stuart Hinckley and Jerry Fenn) were primarily responsible for creating a larger executive committee and fully functioning committees.

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The Utah State Bar Presents Lifetime Achievement Awards at 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner

At the Utah State Bar's 75th Anniversary dinner on September 21, 2006, the Bar Commission honored six esteemed attorneys with lifetime achievement awards. These awards were given in grateful recognition of a distinguished career in the law and for many years of leadership, loyalty, contributions and devotion to the programs, services and activities of the Utah State Bar.

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Questions You Might Ask About the History of the Utah Bar Journal

by Randall L. Romrell

Note from the author: As one of the founders of the Bar Journal and as one who has been actively involved on its editorial board (as principal articles editor, associate editor, or as art/design editor) for 26 of its 33 years I am in a unique position to author this article. My objective is to celebrate the rich history and legacy of the Journal and to underscore its continuing value to the Utah Bar. I express appreciation to Christine Critchley, Bar staff liaison to the Journal, and to Ron Fuller, librarian at the S J Quinney Law Library, for their contributions in collecting historical information for this article.

Continue reading "Questions You Might Ask About the History of the Utah Bar Journal" »

Small Claims Court: A Conversation with Scott Sabey and Tim Shea

by Scott Sabey and Tim Shea

Shea: The small claims court is almost as old as the Utah State Bar, so this may be a good time to take a look at an area of the law in which lawyers seldom practice. Not because they are prohibited from doing so, although some states take that approach, but because it's not economically feasible to practice. In 1933 the Utah Legislature created the SMALL CLAIMS COURT.1 Of course the name had to be in all CAPS in the legislation. All caps lettering is at least more officious, if not more official. Enacted March 9, 1933, and effective 60 days later, the jurisdictional ceiling at the depth of the Great Depression was $50; the filing fee was $1. Although both the filing fee and the jurisdictional limit have grown since then, lawyers still contribute most, not as advocates, but from the other side of the bench, as volunteer pro tempore judges.

Continue reading "Small Claims Court: A Conversation with Scott Sabey and Tim Shea" »

Women Lawyers of Utah: How it All Started

by Jan Graham

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following recollection was presented on August 31, 2001 to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of Women Lawyers of Utah. The current leadership of WLU asked for permission to submit this Recollection for this special issue of the Utah Bar Journal).

I'm delighted to share this recollection on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of Women Lawyers of Utah. It continues to amaze and warm me to see the growing importance and numbers of WLU, and the excellent diverse paths taken each year with different leadership. Given how things started, itÕs a miracle! So, take a moment and walk back in time with me to the beginning.

Continue reading "Women Lawyers of Utah: How it All Started" »

Utah Minority Bar Association Receives Prestigious Honors - Thanks Utah State Bar and Bar Members for Support

by Cheryl Miyuki Mori

The Utah Minority Bar Association ("UMBA") congratulates the Utah State Bar on its 75th Anniversary and its enormous achievements during its 75 years. In reflecting on the history of the Utah State Bar, UMBA has had the opportunity to think about its own history. As UMBA was not officially organized until 1991, it has a very short history compared to the Utah State Bar. UMBA has made enormous strides in those years, however, and the Utah State Bar has been a large part of those efforts. The progress of UMBA is clearly evident this year as UMBA has just been recognized with two prestigious honors, one from the Utah State Bar itself and one from the American Bar Association.

Continue reading "Utah Minority Bar Association Receives Prestigious Honors - Thanks Utah State Bar and Bar Members for Support" »

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Investigating and Prosecuting Allegations of Attorney Misconduct

by Kate A. Toomey

Does this sound familiar?

During the year, as usual, disciplinary matters have been referred to the Commission. Most of them have been the result of the client's being disappointed with the result of the litigation, or the amount of fees charged by the attorney.

It's an excerpt from an address given in 1945 by the president of the Utah State Bar.1 A perusal of the Bar's early publications is a lesson not only on the enduring nature of the challenges of policing our own, but also the commitment of the Bar itself, through its leadership and its members, to serving the public and the system of justice with the highest degree of ethics and professionalism. The procedural mechanisms for meeting that commitment have evolved, but the themes endure.

Continue reading "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Investigating and Prosecuting Allegations of Attorney Misconduct" »

From the Desk of the General Counsel

by Katherine Fox

My name is Katherine Fox and I am the Bar's general counsel. I moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan (GO BLUE!), to Utah shortly before we had the "big flood" of 1983 and there was a river running down the middle of State Street, complete with splashing trout. I was delighted to see that Utah had so much water because I had been told it was a desert! It's fairly easy to write about the evolution of my position during the Bar's 75-year history because I was the first one to fill it. Prior to my arrival in 1996, the Bar did not have a separate office of general counsel. In the past, most of my job duties were divided and performed by others such as the executive director and the senior counsel in the Office of Professional Conduct. Other tasks either were handled by outside counsel, tackled by volunteer lawyers, or simply remained undone.

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Richard L. Bird, Jr. - Utah's Most Senior Practicing Attorney

by Gretchen C. Lee

A few legal pads and files are scattered on his desk. A calendar is sitting on the corner of his desk. The walls are lined with legal books. No computer is in sight. He sits comfortably behind his desk as he has for many years. In fact, seventy-three years later he is still practicing law. Admitted to the Utah Bar in 1933, Richard L. Bird, Jr. is the most senior practicing attorney in Utah. Nearly a centenarian, he will turn one hundred in April 2007, Mr. Bird can still be found most days at his office at 333 East 400 South at the firm of Richards, Bird and Kump.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mr. Bird graduated from the University of Utah and then attended Harvard Law School. After graduating from Harvard in 1933 he returned to Utah for several years before accepting a position in the Anti-Trust Division of the Department of Justice in Washington DC. After four years in Washington he decided it was time to come home and "be a part of the Utah community." Upon his return he clerked at the Utah Supreme Court, worked at both the Tax Commission and legislature, before finally turning to private practice.

Probate and domestic relations have been the heart of his practice. Lynn S. Richards, the senior partner of the firm passed away in 2001 at the age of 100. These days the firm consists of his son, David J. Bird, and Rod Kump. Mr. Kump has been practicing with Mr. Bird for over fifty years and still feels extremely fortunate to have joined such a solid firm and could not imagine having found a better man to work with stating, "He is a fine, honest, gentleman and a good lawyer."

As the years have passed, Mr. Bird admits that it is difficult to keep up with both the technological and legal changes but recognizes that he has a wonderful support staff which includes his secretary who has worked with him for over forty years. Despite his age creeping up on him he works about as hard today as he did years ago. He has, however, slowed down a bit on the golf course. An ever-present figure on the links at the Utah Bar conventions, he only made it out once last year and has yet to pick up the clubs this year.

Back at the office, however, he has no plans to close up shop. When recently asked whether he has thought about retiring he stated that although he has thought about retiring he has never taken it seriously. If only we could all feel that way about our careers.

Seventy Five Years and Four EDs Later

by John Baldwin

My father was a lawyer for as long as I can remember before he sat on the District Court Bench. I grew up wondering where you took a deposition to, why we got calls from the jail in the middle of the night and thinking that his going to a Bar meeting was just another way of saying he was at the University Club. In sixth grade I did a report on careers. Even then I had heard that people thought there were too many lawyers. My father told me there would always be room for good lawyers. So I went to law school to become a good lawyer.

Continue reading "Seventy Five Years and Four EDs Later" »

Separate Branches, Balanced Powers: Governing the Judicial Branch

by The Honorable Christine M. Durham

Utah's judicial branch of government has an unusually effective governance system. With representatives from all court levels and from the Utah State Bar, the Utah Judicial Council is in a position to evaluate all parts of our court system with a perspective on local needs but independent of parochial interests.

The Utah Judicial Council has a role that in many states is performed solely by the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice. Although the Supreme Court justices of those states work diligently to represent to the other branches of government and to the public the needs of their court systems, their own current experiences are necessarily limited to the needs of the Supreme Court. Certainly some individuals have some experience in other courts, but just as certainly, not the level, nor the breadth, nor the immediacy of the experience available to the Judicial Council in Utah's system.

Continue reading "Separate Branches, Balanced Powers: Governing the Judicial Branch" »

Best Wishes and Many Thanks from the Chief Justice

Best wishes to the Utah State Bar on the occasion of its 75th birthday. Article VIII, Sec. 4 of the state constitution gives the Utah Supreme Court responsibility for governing the practice of law, including admission to practice and the discipline of admitted lawyers. For better or worse, the Court and the Bar are permanently entwined.

Some months back, I received a copy of a publication titled The Utah Bar Bulletin, Official Organ, The Utah State Bar, Vol. 1, October, 1931. This publication appears to be the great-grandfather of our current Bar Journal. As I read the familiar "Message from the President," it was clear that the public image of the legal profession in 1931 was no less ambiguous than it is today. President Dean F. Brayton wrote:

Because it is one of the most essential cogs in the present complicated social, economic and political machine, the profession of the law has come in for more than its share of criticism from the public. This criticism has been directed both at us as individuals and as a class; - at us as individuals because of asserted sharp practices by many of us and at the profession generally because of its alleged failure, and that of our whole judicial structure, properly to function in the development of our civilization.

The writer is one of those who feel that the present Organized State Bar can and will do much to eliminate this criticism and to re-establish the profession, the whole judicial structure, in the public mind, where it rightfully belongs, - as the chief protector, in our form of government, of the public welfare. How will this be done?

First, by the careful scrutiny and examination of applicants for admission to the practice of law;

Second, by enforcing strictly disciplinary rules of conduct among its members; and

Third, by such contact with boards and commissions and with agencies offering service of a legal character as will acquaint them with the ability of the profession and the judicial department within their fields to render, to the public, the best possible service.

The old adage "the more things change, the more they remain the same," comes to mind. Then, as now, the mission of the Utah State Bar is to serve the public and the profession by promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the law. Professionalism in the practice of law is the essential component in such service. Former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor defines professionalism as follows:

To me, the essence of professionalism is a commitment to develop one's skills to the fullest and to apply that responsibly to the problems at hand. Professionalism requires adherence to the highest ethical standards of conduct and a willingness to subordinate narrow self-interest in pursuit of the more fundamental goal of public service. Because of the tremendous power they wield in our system, lawyers must never forget that their duty to serve their clients fairly and skillfully takes priority over the personal accumulation of wealth. At the same time, lawyers must temper bold advocacy for their clients with a sense of responsibility to the larger legal system which strives, however imperfectly, to provide justice for all.

In this 75th anniversary year, I wish to pay tribute to and sincerely thank those members of the Utah Bar who have served in the past or are serving now on a Supreme Court committee. These lawyers render countless hours of invaluable service to the Court, the profession, and the public with all too little praise or reward. At the current time, there are 72 lawyers serving on six Supreme Court Advisory Rules Committees. There are 20 lawyers painstakingly drafting model civil and criminal jury instructions. There are 28 lawyers serving on the Ethics and Discipline Committee of the Utah Supreme Court. There are 16 lawyers serving on the Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Professionalism. And, there are 129 lawyers presently serving as pro tempore judges. In so many ways, the judiciary cannot function without you. On behalf of the Utah Supreme Court and the Judicial Council, please accept my sincere gratitude for your efforts and my best wishes for the continued success of the partnership between the bench and bar in promoting justice.

The Honorable Christine M. Durham

The Past, the Present, and the Future of our Bar

by Gus Chin

Over the years, as well as fairly recently, some have expressed concern about the relevancy of the Utah State Bar. I hope that our members realize that in addition to the essential regulatory functions of admissions and discipline, the Bar provides services intended to assist each of us professionally and otherwise. These services include, but are not limited to, CLE, information access via a well designed and managed web site, lawyer assistance programs, and a variety of volunteer opportunities.

As president of the Bar, I am mindful of the legacy of my predecessors and fellow commissioners. Their energy, effort, and commitment coupled with the assistance of a dedicated Bar staff headed by an exceptional executive director have made a difference and continue to make the Bar most relevant. I am convinced of the importance of the Bar as a stable, structured organization whose purpose includes "service to the public and legal profession by promoting justice, professional excellence, civility, ethics, respect for and understanding of the law."

Continue reading "The Past, the Present, and the Future of our Bar" »

Vol. 19 No. 6 - 75th Anniversary Special Issue


PDF Version: http://www.utahbar.org/barjournal/pdf/2006_75th_Anniversary.pdf

Cover Art Information: COVER: Historic courthouses located throughout the state of Utah. (See cover key on page 5 of PDF version.) Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. All rights reserved.

* President's Message: The Past, the Present, and the Future of our Bar
* Best Wishes and Many Thanks from the Chief Justice
* Separate Branches, Balanced Powers: Governing the Judicial Branch
* Seventy Five Years and Four EDs Later
* Richard L. Bird, Jr. - Utah's Most Senior Practicing Attorney
* From the Desk of the General Counsel
* The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Investigating and Prosecuting Allegations of Attorney Misconduct
* Utah Minority Bar Association Receives Prestigious Honors - Thanks Utah State Bar and Bar Members for Support
* Women Lawyers of Utah: How it All Started
* Small Claims Court: A Conversation with Scott Sabey and Tim Shea
* Questions You Might Ask About the History of the Utah Bar Journal
* The Utah State Bar Presents Lifetime Achievement Awards at 75th Anniversary Celebration Dinner
* The Young Lawyers of the Utah State Bar
* Paralegal Division: Congratulations on 75 Years!

About January 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Utah Bar Journal in January 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2006 is the previous archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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