by V. Lowry Snow
I’d like to begin this first message by simply saying how immensely honored I am to be your President. My past several years of service on the Bar Commission have provided me a greater level of appreciation for the quality of our organization. I readily embrace the office with its responsibilities and I am committed to making it my first professional priority of this 2007 – 2008 annual Bar year. I sincerely thank you for your vote of confidence and also for your expressions of support.
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Ten Ways the Bar Can Be Improved
by E. Russell Vetter
The Utah State Bar (the Bar) and its Bar Commission (the Commission) are at a crossroads that may lead to a request to increase Bar dues. In the Spring of 2005, the Utah Supreme Court (the Court) requested that the Bar perform an audit of its operations. As a member of the Bar Commission at that time, I was hopeful that the audit would lead to meaningful changes at
the Bar to better address the needs of Bar members, significantly improve communications with members, and fulfill a component of the Bar’s mission to serve the public. More than a year later, in August of 2006, a very limited audit began. The audit focused on Bar governance, the activities of the Commission, and how the Commission interacts with the Court and the Bar’s Executive Director. The audit was performed by members of the Grant Thornton accounting firm. I was one of a few members of the Bar interviewed for the audit.
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An Open Discussion of 10 Ways
by V. Lowry Snow, Utah State Bar President and on behalf of the Board of Bar Commissioners
This article will provide a response to the suggestions of our colleague Russell Vetter on how the Bar can be improved. This response is not so much in the nature of a rebuttal as it is a discussion of the issues raised. Indeed, the Bar Commission recognizes there are ways it can and should improve, and agrees with some of the suggestions of Mr. Vetter, while respectfully disagreeing with others. We welcome and encourage from our members your questions and comments on or about Bar operations and governance. This is, in fact, your Bar.
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The Supreme Court Decision in Twombly: a New Federal Pleading Standard?
by John H. Bogart
The United States Supreme Court, for the first time in many years, decided to take up antitrust cases. In one such case, the Supreme Court addressed the standards applicable to pleading a claim for conspiracy under the Sherman Act. The opinion should be of interest beyond the world of private antitrust litigation.
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Implementing Flat Fees in Your Practice
by R. Steven Chambers
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about a growing trend among large law firms: flat fees in place of traditional hourly billing. Flat or fixed fee billing and other alternative billing practices are attractive to clients who are continually looking both for reductions in legal fees and for more certainty in the amount of fees they will have to pay.
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WiFi in Utah: Legal and Social Issues
by Cheryl B. Preston
All over Utah, parents are buying their children the tools necessary to access astonishingly degrading and violent sexually explicit materials. For instance, innocent looking gaming systems, i.e., PlayStation Portable, X-Box 360, and Nintendo Wii, can access the internet and are available everywhere from around $130 to $500. Many minors also have internet enabled cell phones, PDAs, and Blackberrys. Most of these systems do not come with a content filter and cannot be modified by software to add any protections.
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Later in Life Lawyers: Tips for the Non-Traditional Law Student
by Charles Cooper
Reviewed by Catherine E. Roberts
Having lived this book, I wish had read it before I went to law school at age 41. Linked to a website known as www.nontradlaw.com, it is filled with useful information about who chooses to go to law school, why they do it, how they get in, and how to succeed once admitted. It recommends study techniques and contains comments from many people in different situations – from the older, married students with past careers, to the ones who are “non-traditional” because they took a few years off between college and law school but are still in their early twenties. The book takes advantage of recent commentary from current law students, quoting directly from lengthy emails.
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The Board of Bar Commissioners received the following reports and took the actions indicated during their regularly scheduled July 18, 2007 Commission meeting held in Sun Valley, Idaho.
1. Commissioners designated specific goals for the Commission’s work during the short term 2007-2008 year.
2. Ex-officio members of the Commission were appointed: (1) The immediate past president of the Bar; (2) the Bar’s representative to the American Bar Association; (3) the representative to the ABA’s House of Delegates elected by the Utah Members of the ABA; (4) a representative from the Young Lawyers Division; (5) a representative from the Paralegal Division; (6) a representative from the Utah Minority Bar Association; (7) a representative from the Women Lawyers of Utah; (8) the Dean of the S.J. Quinney College of Law; and (9) the Dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School.
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Modification of Rules and Regulations Governing Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Effective September 1, 2007
(b) Filing fees, late fees, and reinstatement fees.
Each lawyer shall pay a filing fee in the amount of $15.00 at the time of filing the certificate of compliance. Any lawyer who fails to complete the MCLE requirement by the December 31 deadline shall be assessed a $100.00 late fee. Lawyers who fail to comply with the requirements and file within a reasonable time, as determined by the Board in its discretion, and who are subject to an administrative suspension pursuant to Rule 14-415, after the late fee has been assessed shall be assessed a $200.00 reinstatement fee, plus an additional $500.00 fee if the failure to comply is a repeat violation within the past 5 years.
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Notice of Approved Amendments to Utah Court Rules
Effective September 1, 2007
Under its expedited rulemaking authority, the Supreme Court has approved amendments to the following Utah court rules. The amendments are effective when indicated but subject to further change after the comment period. The comment deadline is August 30, 2007.
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Nominations Sought for the Peter W. Billings Sr. Award for Excellence in Dispute Resolution
To honor the memory of Peter W. Billings, Sr., a pioneer and champion of alternative dispute resolution in our state, the Dispute Resolution Section of the Bar annually awards the Billings’ Award for Excellence in Dispute Resolution. The DR Section is seeking nominations for this award, which will be presented at the Fall Forum on November 16th. The award may be given to a person or an organization.
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On July 13, 2007, the Chair of the Ethics and Discipline Committee
of the Utah Supreme Court entered an Order of Discipline: Admonition against an attorney for violation of Rules 1.15(a) (Safekeeping Property), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), and 8.4(a) (Misconduct) of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
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Introducing the Paralegal Division’s New Officers and Directors for 2007-2008
by Sharon M. Andersen, Chair
As the new Chair of the Paralegal Division, it is my honor and privilege to introduce the new officers and directors of the Paralegal Division for 2007-2008. These highly-motivated and dedicated individuals spend many hours of their personal time in service to the members of the Division and the Utah State Bar. Areas of service include attendance at Division and Bar meetings, researching current issues and future trends involving salary and utilization, formulating ways to educate the legal community on the most effective and efficient utilization of paralegals, participating in community service and community activities, presentations at schools, firms, and/or other legal environments about the professional benefits associated with proper utilization of paralegals and membership in the Division. In addition, board members organize and oversee forums for continuing legal education including monthly brown bags. They actively participate on the Bar’s CLE committees and are instrumental in securing key presenters for Bar conventions as well as Division CLE events. We would be remiss not to recognize and acknowledge that the Division’s involvement and accomplishments since its inception in April of 1996 would not have been possible without the full support of the Utah State Bar and its administration.
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