Utah State Bar September eBulletin
Supreme Court Approves Framework to Change Structure of Legal Regulation in Utah
The Utah Supreme Court has tentatively adopted a concept wherein Utah would significantly loosen, or even repeal, a state Bar rule prohibiting law firms and other legal services operations from sharing fees with non-lawyers.

The recommendation to alter state bar Rule 5.4 and rule 7.1 (lawyer advertising) was included in a 71-page report highlighting suggestions for wide-ranging legal system changes, which the Utah Work Group on Regulatory Reform recently sent to our Supreme Court. The Supreme Court unanimously approved the report last week. 

“(W)e view the elimination or substantial relaxation of Rule 5.4 as key to allowing lawyers to fully and comfortably participate in the technological revolution,” the report found. “Without such a change, lawyers will be at risk of not being able to engage with entrepreneurs across a wide swath of platforms.”

The stated motive is to improve access to justice for middle- and lower-income residents who can’t afford private attorneys in civil and family court matters. 

But proposed changes to Rule 5.4 and Rule 7.1 have spurred concerns from many that the reforms could let the Big Four accounting firms and insurance companies gain a foothold in the U.S. legal market where they are not now permitted to operate. The proposal would likewise encourage non-legal corporations to invest in and own Law Firms and provide legal services to the public outside of any regulatory oversight by the Bar, albeit still under the regulation of the Supreme Court.

The American Bar Association and other legal industry groups have resisted such changes. They argue that the professional independence of lawyers in the U.S. needs to be maintained as a hedge against unscrupulous practices. 

The Sandbox Approach
The Utah panel, co-chaired by the State Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas and past president of the Utah State Bar John Lund, also recommended the simultaneous creation of a regulatory agency that’s independent of the Bar to oversee the provision of expanded access to justice legal services. 

Non-attorney providers would be allowed to test their services in a “regulatory sandbox” through which data would be gathered. Proposed innovations would be tested further and revised before permanent legal service licenses were granted. 

Any regulations the Sandbox develops would be evaluated based on risks to consumers and in relation to the legal service options currently available, among other factors, the report found. 

Scenarios in which non-lawyers could operate or share fees in new legal companies include everything from consumer-facing legal services apps, to new law firm-type operations co-owned by big box stores. 

“Technology, especially online legal services, exponentially increases the potential to improve access to justice,” the Utah report found. “But it also simultaneously increases the risk of legal and practical harm to users if those services are not of sufficient quality.”

Justice Himonas added that it's impossible for a judge to preside over a court of general jurisdiction and quickly see the "palpable" need for system-wide change. But at least one District Court Judge has expressed reservations, noting, "I have considerable respect for [Justice Himonas], John Lund and Dickson Burton. [But] I worry about a lawyer’s allegiance. Will it be to his/her client, the Bar, or to those whose financial interests are shared in the new business arrangements?"

While the final details have yet to be hardwired, the potential framework to better deliver legal services to our community is now before us. The reforms may constitute the best and most exciting opportunity for lawyers to participate in how we deliver legal services well into to the 21st century. But the Bar and the Court needs your critical evaluation. 

Please review the Task Force report and share any concerns with your Bar commissioner.
Utah State Bar Partners with Fastcase Legal Research Services
The Utah State Bar has changed its the legal research library it provides to active Bar Memebers.

Beginning September 1, each of the active members of the Utah State Bar received complimentary access to one of the largest law libraries in the world. This member benefit provides access to online legal research in Fastcase’s robust database and includes unlimited nationwide legal research, printing, webinar training, and reference support; it is not restricted by time or number of transactions.

The service also includes industry-leading mobile app and unlimited live, free customer support from experienced reference attorneys on the Fastcase team. Login through your practice portal, and if you have questions email support here .

T  he full release announcing the partnership is available here .
Litigation Section Schedules Annual Judicial Excellence Awards in Moab

 The Litigation Section's annual Judicial Excellence Awards will be held October 18-19 at the Fairfield Inn in Moab.

The schedule includes three hours of CLE from 1:00-4:00 pm on Friday, October 18. Utah Court of Appeals Judges Michele M. Christiansen Forster, Mary Kate Appleby and Ryan M. Harris and Fourth District Judge Jennifer A. Brown will tell “Scary Stories of Incivility from the Bench: We see you!” Third District Court Judge Matthew Bates will present a SCOTUS Update. Civil & Criminal practitioners you do not want to miss this! 

After the CLE, relax poolside for a few hours before donning casual attire for an evening to remember. Arrive at 6:00 pm at Canyonlands By Night for cocktail reception and dinner on the private dock on the banks of the Colorado River. 

During the reception, the long-awaited announcements will be made as to the thirteen winners of the 2018 Judicial Excellence Award and the 2018 keeper of the Litigator Cup (think Stanley Cup for lawyers). The Litigator Cup has passed from Heather L. Thuet to Jennifer Tomchak to Michael Stahler to Jess M. Krannich to Heather Sneddon to Kate Conyers to?( who will it be this year )? 

On Saturday, October 19, head out for the activity of your choice, whether it be the 8:30 am guided four-wheel tour, the 11 am-4 pm rafting tour or the 8:30 am- 12:45 pm guided group hike in Arches National Park.
This is a not-to-be-missed quintessential Moab experience.

Register here now! Cost for Litigation Section members:  ONLY $109/person; $79 for their adult guests and $49 for those under 16 ! Reserve your room here and use group code "Litigation Section." Room discounts end September 17. We'll see you there!
University of Utah Conducting Survey to Determine Lawyer
Well-being in Utah
As part of the initiative on well-being in the legal profession, the University of Utah School of Medicine is conducting a survey to determine the state of lawyer well-being in Utah.

The results will be used to inform efforts to increase well-being for all Utah practitioners. Participation is easy and confidential, only requiring you to complete a short survey that is accessible here . Doing so will automatically enter you into a drawing for an Apple watch or a Fitbit. 

If you work at a law firm and wish to have the entire firm take the survey for benchmarking purposes, contact principal investigator Dr. Matt Thiese at (801) 587-3322 or Matt.Thiese@hsc.utah.edu.

The Task Force invites you to read its well-being report , to consider the importance of well-being to a thriving practice, and to use your leadership to help create a foundation of well-being for all of Utah’s legal professionals. 
Meditation Can Improve Mental and Physical Well-Being
Overwhelming amounts of scientific research correlates a regular meditation practice with elevated levels of mental and physical well-being. 
 
The Young Lawyers Division has organized an event, open to all lawyers, that will teach introductory mantra meditation techniques. The class will be held on Tuesday September 17 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. The class is provided by Meditation SLC, located at 1565 E 3300 S, on the north side of the street across from Ditta Cafe.  
 
In this class you will learn the details about mantra meditation, a practice that uses sound to focus your attention. The class will include a discussion of the philosophies behind mantra meditation along with an actual meditation practice. You will walk away with a simple and potent practice you can apply to everyday life. 
 
There is no cost to attend and everything for the class is provided. No experience with meditation necessary. Please RSVP to Dani Cepernich at  dnc@scmlaw.com  by September 10 so that we can have an accurate headcount.
ACLU Seeks Volunteer Attorneys for Election Monitoring in San Juan County
The ACLU is looking for volunteer attorneys to monitor elections in San Juan County, Utah this fall. For more information email the ACLU's Voting Rights Coordinator here .