Warthen Receives 2014 WestPac Award for Service to Law Library

Lee Warthen, Law Librarian and Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, has been selected to receive the 2014 WestPac Distinguished Member Award. WestPac is the Western Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries. The award recognizes a history of service to the Chapter or exceptional service and/or achievements in the profession. The award will be presented at WestPac’s annual fall meeting to be held in Seattle in October.

Law Library Director Melissa Bernstein said, “Lee has been an active member of and valuable contributor to WestPac throughout the course of his career, starting in 1976. Over the years, he has worked on and chaired several committees and served as the President of WestPac from 1994-1995.  This reward is well-deserved in recognition of his many years of service to WestPac and the profession.”

Fordham Loan Repayment Assistance Program

The S.J. Quinney College of Law announces a new Fordham Loan Repayment Assistance Program (“Fordham LRAP”).  The new Fordham LRAP is a reconfiguration of the former Fordham Loan Forgiveness Program.  Both Programs are designed to help students working in the public interest sector repay their student loans, but the new Fordham LRAP works in tandem with the federal Public Interest Repayment Assistance Program thereby taking advantage of the benefits of both the federal and law school Programs.  The new Fordham LRAP has a more streamlined application process and can accommodate all eligible applicants. Future participants in the Fordham LRAP will participate according to the new Fordham LRAP guidelines.  Current participants in the former Fordham Loan Forgiveness Program may continue under that Program, or switch to the newer Fordham LRAP. 

A full description of the new Program can be downloaded here »

Steven Rodgers, ’92, Named Intel’s General Counsel

Steven R. Rodgers, ’92, was named Intel’s fifth general counsel in June 2014. He serves on the company’s senior executive team and leads the company’s Legal and Corporate Affairs group, with approximately 700 employees world-wide. Before joining Intel, Rodgers was a partner at Brown & Bain, P.A., in Phoenix, AZ. He received his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Utah, and was editor-in-chief of the Utah Law Review. Following law school, he served as law clerk to Judge David K. Winder, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Utah.

College of Law Gifted More than $2.2 Million

Gift to establish and fund new endowed chair

Sept. 8, 2014 – The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will have a new endowed chair and support for its loan forgiveness program and annual Fordham Debate program thanks to a $2.2 million gift from the estate of the late Rita E. Fordham.

Rita E. Fordham was the widow of Jefferson B. Fordham, former University of Pennsylvania Law School dean and Distinguished University Professor of Law at the U. The gifts were announced at a Celebration of Life memorial last month.

In her will, Rita E. Fordham gave the College of Law more than $2 million to establish and fund the Jefferson B. and Rita E. Fordham Presidential Dean’s Chair. Another $100,000 will increase the endowment of the Fordham Loan Forgiveness Program, which is used to help law school graduates employed in the public and public interest sectors repay their student loans. A third gift of $130,000 will be used to endow the college’s annual Fordham Debate program, which addresses relevant contemporary public policy and legal issues.

Watch the August 18, 2014 Celebration of Rita Fordham’s Life »

“The support for a distinguished chair allows us to compete for the best faculty talent and to reward and retain our most talented scholars at the University of Utah,” said Ruth Watkins, senior vice president for Academic Affairs at the U. “These gifts promote excellence, and we are deeply grateful.”

Rita E. Fordham became the administrative assistant to Law Dean Daniel Dykstra in 1957. In the summer of 1963, she met Jefferson B. Fordham while he was a visiting professor at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. They were married in March 1964 and lived in Philadelphia until Jefferson B. Fordham completed his deanship at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. In 1970, they returned to the U where he began his 19-year tenure as Distinguished University Professor of Law at the College of Law.

Rita E. Fordham was born in Astoria, New York, as the youngest of nine children. She attended City College of New York and lived in Idaho before moving to Utah. She died in December 2013 and was predeceased by her husband who died in 1994.

Part of the Fordham’s gifts includes and endowment for The S.J. Quinney College of Law’s Fordham Loan Repayment Assistance Program (Fordham LRAP). The program works in tandem with the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) established by the federal College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA) to assist students working in the public interest sector repay their educational student loans. The CCRAA reduces monthly federal student loan payments, and the Fordham LRAP provides to participants some or all of their remaining monthly loan payment as determined under the CCRAA.

‘Shark Enthusiast’ Julio, a 3L, Publishes Article on Great Whites and Endangered Species Act

In August, Derek Julio, a 3L at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law and self-described “shark enthusiast,” published an article, “Circling the Blood in the Water: The Difficulties in Endangered Species Protections for the Great White Shark,” in the peer-reviewed journal Natural Resources.  In the interview below, he describes the inspiration for the article, credits Professor Robin Craig for her guidance, and encourages his fellow students to prepare and submit for publication scholarly articles as a means of developing legal research and writing skills.

What inspired you to write about this subject?

Sharks have always fascinated me; I consider myself a bit of a shark enthusiast. I remember conducting an Internet search for “shark law” during my first year of law school just to see what results would show up. Coincidentally, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had just denied listing the Northeastern Pacific (NEP) population of the white shark as a threatened or endangered species. As I entered my second year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was conducting its 12-month status review of the NEP white shark under its state endangered species act. I knew very little about endangered species protections, but also knew that very few shark species had ever been listed, despite the millions of sharks that are reportedly killed each year. I decided it would be an interesting topic for me to research and write about, and an opportunity to combine my legal education with my personal interests.

How did your classes (and other opportunities, if applicable) at the College of Law help to prepare you to write the article?

The legal methods and legal research courses I took during my first year of law school certainly helped me in developing the writing skills needed for this type of paper. I had not done any legal writing outside of those classes when I began researching this topic, so there was a steep learning curve for me throughout the process. However, those courses did provide an extremely helpful structural and stylistic basis for my legal research and writing.

What kinds of help did your professor or professors contribute to the preparation of the article?

Professor Craig directed the research. She was extremely helpful in guiding my research and developing the direction my paper ultimately took. Her thoughtful critiques on each draft helped me mold the article into its final version. Additionally, she encouraged me to publish the article and informed me of the opportunity to submit it to this particular journal.

What did you learn during the process of researching and writing the article? 

I learned a great deal about the ins and outs of the federal and California endangered species acts, and the factors that are considered in listing a species as threatened or endangered. I began writing the paper with the notion that the white sharks required further protection. However, as I researched prior government involvement and conservation efforts, I ultimately concluded that endangered species protections might not be necessary in the case of the NEP white shark. Essentially, the white shark needs a media coach, not further governmental involvement.

Would you encourage other College of Law students to submit their works for publication?  If so, why?

I would definitely encourage other students to submit their works for publication. I think it is important that law students engage and participate in the greater legal discussion while still in school. Writing and publishing papers is a fantastic way to engage in that discussion while simultaneously developing legal research and writing skills. More importantly, I think the opportunity to be published really gives law students a sense of accomplishment and validation for the time and effort put into their research and writing projects.

‘Be Diligent, Have Courage, Be a Good Listener’: An Interview with Utah Bar President James Gilson

James Gilson, ’89, is the current president of the Utah State Bar. In the interview below, he describes the bar’s current activities, reflects on how legal education has changed in the past 25 years, and offers practical advice to young attorneys, including the importance of putting the client’s best interests first.

What inspired you to run for office?  

Time will tell if it was an inspired or a bad idea, but so far so good!  Throughout my career I have enjoyed being involved in pro bono and other volunteer community work to help me keep grounded in my practice–to keep perspective on what’s really important.  I’ve found that interacting with other lawyers on Bar or other community matters on a win/win, non-adversarial basis provides satisfaction and hopefully we’ve done some good.  Bar service is a good anecdote to becoming cynical.  Back in 2008, there were two openings on the Bar Commission and I decided to run for one of the seats.  After being on the Commission for five years, and realizing I was one of the more senior members, I decided it was my turn to step up to the plate as President.  No one opposed me in that election.  I like to think that I won by acclamation, but it probably was more by default.

What is the Bar doing well?  What could it do better?

The Utah State Bar does a lot of things very well.  In fact, some of our programs have served as models for other state Bars.  The Bar’s New Lawyer Training Program, which matches experienced attorneys to serve as mentors to first year attorneys, has been very successful and beneficial to the participants, the profession, and the public.

The Bar’s Pro Bono and Modest Means Client Referral programs are also fairly recent initiatives that have helped hundreds of people get the benefit of a lawyer to navigate through the justice system.  Those two access-to-justice programs need to be expanded and taken to the next level to reach even more people who need legal services.

I believe the Bar’s continuing legal education programs are usually very well done and are reasonably priced.   We need to do a better job in getting more lawyers to take advantage of these offerings. A lot of time and effort goes into the Spring and Summer Conventions, and the Fall Forum, and most of the lawyers who attend give those conventions high marks.  I hope even more lawyers will take advantage of those opportunities—to not only get good CLE, but to network with colleagues and judges.

How has the law practice changed since you graduated in 1989?

Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet when I started practicing law.   I communicated by letters, faxes, and phone calls in the early 90s.  Today, of course, most communications are through e-mails and, to a lesser extent, phone calls.  Rarely do I send a letter.  It’s been years since I’ve sent a fax.  Technology has made a huge difference in the day-to-day work we do.  Court filings are by e-mail instead of paper filings.  Instead of looking through boxes and boxes of paper files in discovery, files are produced and reviewed electronically.  Clients have come to expect almost instant responses, in writing, to their questions.  Technology enables us to accomplish a lot more work in less time, but I think the stress level has increased commensurately.  Also, I believe that clients have come to expect lawyers to deliver their services, not only faster, but less expensively.   Due to the Internet, clients have many other sources for information about “the law” without contacting a lawyer.   Some clients think that they can, in effect, practice law themselves due to the amount of information and legal forms that are available on-line, often for free or at very low cost.  The challenge for lawyers today is to demonstrate that we do add real value to solving clients’ problems and helping with their significant transactions.   Before the Internet, clients trusted and relied upon lawyers more because they had fewer alternatives.  Having the benefit of a lawyer’s customized advice is still the best course of action when faced with a complicated legal issue.  Nowadays lawyers need to continually prove to clients that we are worth the added cost.

What would you like to communicate to today’s law students?

The world is more complex than ever.  There will always be a need for lawyers.  There will always be work available for those who are diligent and who put the client’s interest first, as a professional should.  I think that today’s law students should have more modest expectations about what they can expect to earn in their career, which is particularly unfortunate given the much higher cost of going to law school.  I also encourage law students and young lawyers to develop a niche or specialty.  If you have an expertise it is easier to develop a practice.

What kinds of services does the bar provide to students and recent graduates that they might not be aware of?

Law students can sit in on any Bar convention or CLE offerings for free.  They are also included in many Inns of Court at no cost, and we try to involve students in Bar programs when possible.  For example we recently offered to include law students in our Constitution Day Teach-in for elementary-through-high schools.  Lawyers during their first year of practice are paired up with a mentor attorney through the Bar’s mandatory New Lawyer Training Program.  New lawyers in their first 5 years of practice, or until the age of 36, are automatic members of the Bar’s Young Lawyers Division.  YLD provides many service and networking opportunities that all young lawyers should definitely take advantage.  YLD coordinates the Bar’s Tuesday Night Bar and Wills for Heroes programs.  YLD is a great way to get to know what the Bar has to offer.

What was the most important thing you learned in law school respecting the practice of law?

I think the academic rigor of law school helped me to develop the mental toughness necessary to practice law.  Learning how to sort through a bunch of facts and determine what is relevant was something that I began to learn in law school.  Law school also helped me to understand that there are at least two sides to most issues, and that the law is usually only clear before it has been applied to a particular set of facts.

Based on your experience, what are the most important attributes that a young lawyer can develop to ensure he or she will be successful?

Be diligent.  Have courage.  Be a good listener.  Have a heart.  Show empathy.  Have confidence.  Be honest.  Model the rule of law.   Learn to manage your time well.   Learn from mentors and opposing counsel.  Be responsive.  Take initiative.  Don’t overcharge.  Be a zealous advocate while following the rules of civility and professionalism.   Put the client’s best interests first.

’83 Graduate Miller Named Utah Attorney of the Year by Utah State Bar

Charlotte Miller,’83, was named Utah Attorney of the Year at the Utah State Bar Summer Convention in Snowmass Village, Colorado.

Since 2010, Miller has been the Senior Vice President of People & Great Work at O.C. Tanner, a developer of employee recognition strategies and rewards programs. She began her legal career as a clerk for Utah Supreme Court Justice I. Daniel Stewart and has since represented clients in a variety of sectors.

Miller served as president of the Utah State Bar in 1997–1998. Her other Bar service includes serving on the Race and Ethnic Task Force, serving on the Judicial Nominating Commission, one of the founders of And Justice for All, a trustee of the Utah Bar Foundation, Young Lawyer President, Annual Meeting Chair, ABA State Representative, Ethics Panel Chair and Tuesday Night Bar Chair. She helped create the Salt Lake County Pro Bono project and prepared materials for attorneys to use in providing domestic relations pro bono service. She assisted with the Street Law project in the public schools. Miller created the Bar’s Consumer Action Program when she was Bar president and she helped paralegals form a division of the Utah State Bar. She has mentored numerous young lawyers and students. She taught one of the practicum symposia at the College of Law. Ms. Miller serves on the board of the YWCA and recently concluded her board service for Ballet West. She has also been a volunteer for KRCL and Equality Utah.

The Utah State Bar inaugurated its Lawyer of the Year award in 1970.  Miller is the third woman to receive the honor.

College of Law Welcomes Class of 2017!

We thought you might be interested in the following information about your fellow students.

Among the 1L class there are:

  • 102 students total
  • 39 women
  • 18 people of color
  • An age range from 21-64 with an average age of 26.9
  • 5 foreign-born students
  • 7 current or former military (4 officers, 3 enlisted)

In addition,

  • 73% of you are Utah residents
  • 47 are native Utahns
  • Your median LSAT is 158
  • Your median GPA is 3.58

On behalf of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, we would like to welcome you to the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law!

Teter, Students File Petition for Writ of Certiorari with U.S. Supreme Court

On August 12, Michael Teter, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, filed a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are seeking a writ to review the Utah Supreme Court decision in State v. Trotter,” Teter said. “The question presented is whether a defendant receives ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when his attorney fails to advise him that the offense to which he is pleading guilty will require him to register as a sex offender. There is a split among states on the question and the need for certainty in this area of the law.”

Several College of Law students worked on the matter, including Jeremy Brodis, Lauren Howell, Victoria Luman, Jeffrey Mathis, and Elise Walker.

Luman said, “My role in preparing the petition was to research a state and federal circuit court split regarding whether the requirement to register as a sex offender is a direct or collateral consequence of a conviction. I also completed a citation check of the petition and was involved in proof reading various drafts. I learned a great deal about filing an appeal with the Supreme Court and legal writing in general. It was an incredible opportunity to be involved in this project and watch the progress Professor Teter made with the petition from beginning to end.”

Brodis added, “My role in preparing the petition was to conduct research and draft a memorandum presenting the merits of our case.  I was also involved in researching some related issues that came up in the course of preparing the petition. One interesting thing I learned is that the focus of a cert petition is really about giving the Court good reason to grant the writ.  Often that involves detailing why the case presents an opportunity for the Court to resolve a nationwide split in authority, or to address an issue of national scope and concern.”

Click here to read the petition »

Longson, Tipple Awarded Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Scholarships

Mitch Longson and Kate Tipple, both 3Ls, have been awarded scholarships from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation for the 2014-2015 academic year. The scholarships cover full or partial tuition and are awarded based in part on a student’s interest in pursing a career in natural resources law.

Tipple believes her background and strong interest in water resources, as well as her involvement beyond the classroom, helped her application. “I already have a master’s degree in water resources management and I am a member of the Utah Women of Water. At the College of Law I have focused a lot of my studies on natural resources law.  As a 1L I became involved with the Natural Resources Law Forum and attended RMMLF events hosted at the school. As a 2L I took Environmental Law, Water Law, Administrative Law, Climate Change Seminar, Environmental Conflict Resolution, and I served as the President of the Natural Resources Law Forum.  I really enjoy focusing my academics on water resources law and I have had strong mentors at the College of Law who have helped me become engaged in the professional community even as a student.”

Longson agrees, noting that, “Several opportunities available through the College of Law no doubt helped to distinguish my application. Numerous class offerings in environmental and natural resource law, the Environmental and Natural Resource Law Certificate, research opportunities with professors, involvement with the Natural Resources Law Forum, and the Environmental and Natural Resources Issue of the Utah Law Review are just a few of the College of Law’s offerings that helped make my application competitive.”

Tipple and Longson are among 34 scholarship recipients out of the 102 applications that the Foundation received from its 30 constituent law schools.