Utah State Bar May eBulletin
Bar Taking Steps to Address Challenges of Coronavirus Pandemic
The first quarter of 2020 has been an incredible challenge to the members of the Bar up and down the length and breadth of the state. Small firms, solos, and even large firms are trying to navigate survival as business entities. I’m told that some large firms in SLC are reducing new hires, considering furlough of existing associates, deferring bonuses and salary reductions as well. That is the reality also being faced by small firm and solos who are fighting even right now for economic survival.

The Bar is aware of this struggle and we are taking steps to address these challenges. I have recently directed the Bar staff to immediately adopt cost-saving measures this quarter in anticipation of reduced membership fees because of the national and global economic downturn we are experiencing. I have suggested we begin by implementing an immediate 5% across the board reduction in programs and all Bar activities.  We are also exploring program reductions for the coming year to reduce the Bar footprint - in order to ease the burden on Bar members. 

We have already implemented a waiver of penalties for late payment of Bar membership fees until October of this year and are also exploring a one-time reduction of Bar dues this coming year to ease the impact of an anticipated statewide reduction of income from legal services by Bar members.

We know that there are and will yet be massive legal needs among the general population of Utah. Perhaps at no time in living memory will the counsel and advice of lawyers be more needed than in the coming months. Bankruptcy, family law, domestic abuse, situational criminality, contract breaches, foreclosures, collections and landlord/tenant issues will balloon. But the peoples’ ability to pay will be greatly compromised because of the massive unemployment throughout the state and the nation which is upon us.

I have prepared a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to also consider imposing similar cost-saving measures on the Office of Professional Conduct, inasmuch as the Court has oversight of the OPC despite that office being funded by Bar membership dues.

I have no doubt that the legal professionals of Utah will meet these challenging times. I’m reminded of the words of Edmund Dantes, from Alexandre Dumas’ great novel  The Count of Monte Cristo:  “Life is a storm, my friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next.” We will face this storm, we will conquer it, and we will not be “shattered on the rocks.”

Bar President Requests Input on Regulatory Reform
Dear Bar Member,

On Friday, April 24, 2020, the Utah Supreme Court published its long-awaited proposal to reform the practice of law in Utah.
 
Please review the information provided by the Utah Supreme Court, including the Court Order that will establish the Court’s Innovation Office to operate a regulatory sandbox, where non-lawyers and businesses can submit proposals to provide legal services without being members of the Utah State Bar. The Utah Supreme Court has also compiled a  FAQ page  and a  fact summary  for your convenience.
 
The proposed changes will, for example, permit certain approved companies to develop software, technology and other businesses to provide legal services without a law license, subject to approval by the regulator outlined by the Utah Supreme Court. 
I am writing to solicit your help and input as to the proposed regulations, which the Supreme Court calls the “largest reforms” to the “legal profession in a generation.” 

The Utah State Bar is soliciting input from membership as to how members of the Utah State Bar feel about these proposed changes. We need your response by May 31, 2020. Email your thoughts to   reformfeedback@utahbar.org.

The Utah State Bar Commission will be evaluating the proposals in deciding whether to take a position for the proposed changes, against the proposed changes, or to remain neutral or to provide constructive feedback to the Court.

Accordingly, your input will be incredibly valuable as the Utah State Bar Commission and leadership attempt to gather and represent the thoughts of its membership. 

You can also comment on the proposed rules directly. The public comment period ends July 23.

Thanks,

Herm Olsen
President
Bar Adjusts Licensing Renewal Deadlines due to COVID-19 Pandemic
The annual online licensing renewal process will begin the week of  June 8, 2020 , at which time you will receive an email outlining the renewal instructions. This email will be sent to your email address of record.  You may email  licensing@utahbar.org or call 801-297-7023 if you have any questions or need technical support.

Online renewals and fees must be submitted by July 1 and will be late November 1. Your license will be suspended unless the online renewal is completed and payment received by December 1. 

This one-time extension by 90 days of the deadlines for the assessment of late fees and suspension for non-payment is for this licensing year only.
Justice Himonas, Past Bar President John Lund Discuss Regulatory Reform
Justice Deno Himonas of the Utah Supreme Court and John Lund, past president of the Bar, joined with the Bar's preferred vendor Litify for a webinar discussing legal reforms. Listen to the webinar and email us your thoughts.
Live CLE Requirement Suspended for 2020 and '21: Cycles
2020 CLE Compliance Reporting Period
On March 12, 2020, the Supreme Court authorized the Supreme Court Board of Continuing Legal Education “the Board” to suspend the traditional live in-person credit requirement for lawyers reporting in 2020, allowing all required CLE to be fulfilled with online self-study with audio or video presentations, webcasts or computer interactive telephonic programs for the compliance period ending June 30, 2020.

On April 13, 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus, the cancellation of in-person CLE courses, and the uncertainty as to when in-person courses may resume, the Supreme Court authorized the Board to extend compliance deadlines for the compliance period ending June 30, 2020.  Lawyers will have through September 1, 2020 to complete required CLE hours without paying late filing fees and will have through September 15, 2020 to file Certificate of Compliance reports without paying late filing fees.

2021 CLE Compliance Reporting Period
On April 13, 2020, the Supreme Court authorized the Board to suspend the traditional live in-person credit requirement for lawyers reporting in 2021, allowing all required CLE to be fulfilled with online self-study with audio or video presentations, webcasts or computer interactive telephonic programs for the compliance period ending June 30, 2021. 

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this announcement, please contact Sydnie Kuhre, MCLE Board Director at  sydnie.kuhre@utahbar.org  or 801-297-7035.
Accordingly, Bar members may complete all required hours through webinars and other self-study courses in accordance with Rule 14-413 of the MCLE Rules for the 2020 and 2021 cycles. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this announcement, please email the MCLE Staff or call 801.531.9077.

Please note: The 2020 Compliance Reporting Period Extension does not apply to the 2021 Compliance Reporting Period.
Name It to Tame It: How Learning to Identify Our Emotions Helps Manage Stress
Naming our emotions and identifying what they are can help us better manage stress and be the best attorneys we can be.

Find out more in this month's episode of the Well-Being Byte brought to you by the Lawyer Well-Being Committee. Happy Lawyer Well-Being Week!
Utah State Bar Elects President-elect, First and Third Division Commissioners
The Utah State Bar 2020 election results are in. Congratulations to Heather Thuet, the Bar's President-elect, Marty Moore, Commissioner in the First Division, and Traci Gunderson, Andrew Morse and Mark Morris who were elected Third Division Commissioners. More details can be found on the Bar's website .
Heather Thuet,
President-elect
Marty Moore
First Division Commissioner
Traci Gunderson,
Third Division Commissioner
Andrew Morse,
Third Division Commissioner
Mark Morris,
Third Division Commissioner
Now is a Great Time to Take Advantage of Pro Bono Opportunities
Utah Attorneys,

The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted all of our lives – financially, socially, and mentally. 

As we each adjust out schedules in these uncommon times, I would humbly recommend making pro bono a part of your life. Research has found that taking time to focus on others can bring great peace and satisfaction, especially during periods of unrest.  

In an effort to make volunteering easier, the Bar has set up a new  virtual clinic  that allows attorney to provide brief advice to clients from the comfort of their homes (or offices). This clinic will take the place of the Tuesday Night Bar during the social distancing period. 

I encourage you to take a moment to sign up. The commitment is minimal, and you will be providing a great benefit to the community in need. Just as important, you will benefit personally from using your skills to serve others.  

Thanks,

Rob Jepson,
Access to Justice Director

Sign up here:  Virtual Clinic Sign-Up .
Supreme Court Authorizes Temporary Changes to Bar Admission Rules
On Tuesday, April 21 the Utah Supreme Court entered an order permitting certain applicants to the Utah State Bar to be admitted to practice law in Utah if they agree to undertake 360 hours of practice under the supervision of an experienced attorney and either graduate from a law school with a high bar passage rate or are currently in good standing and licensed in another jurisdiction. This is a temporary accommodation designed to provide relief to certain applicants who had applied to take the Utah bar examination in July 2020 but will be unable to do so because of public health concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.