My name is Cara Tangaro, and I humbly request for your vote as a Third District Bar Commissioner. I spent four years ago on the premise that there needed to be a representative of criminal and small/solo firm practitioners on the Bar Commission. Over those years, I advocated on behalf of those contingencies regarding the various proposals and changes that would impact them. The first four years was to ensure the Bar Commission was aware of small/solo firm attorneys. I will focus the three years, however, on making changes that will help small/solo firm attorneys in these difficult times.
I have never had the opportunity to work for a large firm. Right out of law school, I became a Salt Lake County prosecutor, where I stayed for seven years. Then, in 2013, I hung my own shingle – Tangaro Law – and I have practiced criminal defense exclusively, trying cases up and down the Wasatch front. When I am overwhelmed, I lean on my phenomenal network of solo/small firm attorneys. When my computer breaks, I fix it. I answer my own phone, schedule my consults, and otherwise operate as an attorney, office manager, courier, and receptionist (and mother of 3) all in one. I am not complaining – I love it!
Small/solo, however, is not for everyone. There is a firm size and firm culture for every attorney here. But my friends in larger firms share with me an entirely different slate of concerns as compared to the woes and problems that I face in my own practice. As such, if the Bar Commission is composed of only larger firm attorneys, then there will be a substantial attorney population not served by the Commission.
Over the past four years, Utah’s legal community has seen drastic changes, far more than any other time period in my career. Those changes, in large part, start at and are explored by the Bar Commission. And as your Bar Commissioner previously, I injected my perspective and experiences as a solo firm lawyer for over 20 years to ensure that the Bar Commission understood how various changes could and would harm solo/small firm attorneys before implementing the changes. Now, with certain changes already in place, the need for a strong solo/small firm attorney on the Bar Commission is even greater.
Access to justice is a crucial end that all attorneys should pursue. And small/solo firm attorneys are the keystone for any access to justice initiative. We are in the trenches day in and day out and we have the ability to do pro bono work as we wish. In my experience, small/solo firms share legal advice freely and work tirelessly to make sure the legal profession is respected. Small/solo firm attorneys are nimble enough to adjust rates depending upon a client’s ability to pay and will regularly do more than simply cut rates because of, among other things, their close connections to the communities within which they serve. Small/solo firm attorneys need to be supported by the Bar Commission, rather than shackling them with additional and onerous regulatory changes.
I hope you will give me the honor of serving you for four more years as a Bar Commissioner.