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CATAXINOS: What I’ve seen is actually from our corporate clients. They bypass a lot of these issues by simply blocking social media.
LORIMER: We tried that. But it turns out that because other people use social media, it’s really a very useful tool. You can find out things about people that you can’t find out any other way. So we’ve opted to take sort of a middle-of-the-road stance—we allow it for lawyers, we don’t allow it for staff.
I’d like to talk about the value of the law to our community. Everybody hates lawyers except their own. We need to somehow communicate to the public the value of lawyers and the law to the stability of society. What do you see as ways we can do that?
LORIMER: About a year and a half ago, we started a program in our firm where we were going to St. Vincent De Paul on a regular basis or the Food Bank. It helps the community, but it helps the firm more because we have senior partners working with the newest file clerk right next to them, slinging hash at St. Vincent De Paul or filling boxes at the Food Bank. It builds camaraderie within the firm, in addition to the benefit that it gives the community.
BARKER: Lawyers are perceived by the general public as being litigators, largely. I don’t think the public realizes the role lawyers play is helpful. I don’t know how to do it exactly, but somehow letting the public know the lawyers’ role in things that the public perceives as a positive thing.
HARMAN: Recently a lot of Supreme Court cases have been in the news, and that’s been really helpful to see that whichever side you come down on, it’s the lawyers that are moving these things forward—lawyers that are moving these social issues into society. Without them, a lot of things wouldn’t happen.
BERGER: One of the best ways to articulate the value of law in society is to contrast societies where the rule of law governs with societies where the rule of law does not govern. No, we don’t have a perfect system here in the U.S., but societies where the rule of law doesn’t govern, business transactions are more expensive and the rights of women are trampled upon more regularly. That contrast makes people a little more grateful for the system we do have.
How often do you talk to your clients about Utah’s judicial system, and the way it is efficient and effective?
BATEMAN: I do tell people routinely that the attorneys I run into in Utah are as good or better than any other attorneys I deal with in the country. I’m always amazed that people will pay the rates of some of the national law firms in the Bay Area or wherever, and I see their work product and think, wow. There’s no way I would see that from Parr Waddoups or Fabian or Parsons. It wouldn’t be tolerated, this poor legal work.
ANDERSON: I was just telling a client yesterday that there’s a phenomenon that Utah will attract people who could make it anywhere. There are several of us around the table, if not everybody, who could have practiced on the East or West Coast or at any firm nationally, but for our own reasons we chose to be here. And that raises the caliber of the attorneys here.
We’d like to give a special thank you to Lori Nelson, partner at Jones Waldo and president of the Utah State Bar, for moderating the discussion.