The one constant in the universe is change. The Utah State Bar is no different. With regulatory reform, the national law firm invasion, incredible technological disruptions, and seismic demographic shifts in Utah, the Utah Bar will have to rapidly adapt to meet the myriad of challenges we face in the coming years. Within this meta-changing legal market, I am humbled and challenged to be nominated by the Utah State Bar Commission for the opportunity to serve as your President-Elect. It has been my honor to serve as the Chair of the Utah State Bar Litigation Section, the Chair of the Utah State Bar Securities Section, as a Utah State Bar representative in the ABA’s House of Delegates, and as Chair of the Utah Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. I started my service to the Bar as a member of the Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers’ Division, and I believe strongly that leadership begins with our youngest lawyers.
While I have served in a variety of leadership positions in the Utah State Bar, I am the most encouraged by a project I started in 2020. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests and prodded by my four daughters, I approached the ABA about expanding the ABA’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program (JIOP) into Utah. JIOP provides six-week paid internships for diverse law students with state and federal judges across the country. Working in conjunction with the ABA, and with the help of numerous Utah lawyers, our expansion committee raised $29,000 and received approval from the ABA in May 2021 to expand JIOP into Utah. We are the smallest U.S. city participating in JIOP.
With the assistance of Judge Su Chon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cecilia Romero, and Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill Pohlman, we now have 14 state and federal judges participating in the JIOP program, including members of the Utah Supreme Court, the Utah Court of Appeals, the Third and Fourth Districts, federal district court and the federal bankruptcy court. The screening and interviewing of diverse students are ongoing at this time and we will be placing our first JIOP interns with Utah judges in the Summer of 2022.
In my service to the Bar, I have been inspired and encouraged by the many great leaders I’ve worked with in Utah and across the nation. I am committed to collaboration, and I look forward to learning from each of you who give your time and energy to the Bar each year.
On a personal note, I am a 1990 graduate of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, I am married to the wonderful Christina M. Jepson, and we share four wonderful, bright and creative daughters.
I am grateful for your encouragement and support. I look forward to working with each of you to advance our profession. If you have not yet been involved with the Bar, please give me a call. I’d love to help you get involved.