I chose to become a lawyer because I wanted to advocate for persons who needed a champion in the courts. Since then, I’ve learned that although there is a time and a place for advocacy, it is also important for a lawyer to be able to give good advice to his or her clients, and to try to resolve disputes through alternative means (such as mediation).
Served as Public Defender
When I was a young lawyer, I served as a public defender (represented both adults and juveniles), guardian ad litem (a lawyer for children), and as an advocate for persons in civil commitment proceedings in Washington, D.C. This provided me with a great deal of trial and appellate experience. It also increased my sensitivity for those who suffer through life’s serious challenges. Many of my clients came from homes where physical, sexual, and/or abuse of controlled substances existed.
I believe an attorney and his or her client need to trust each other for there to be a good working relationship. I realize that attorneys can be expensive. However, it is best if a client really believes and trusts in his or her lawyer.
26 Years Legal Experience
Given my 26 plus years of professional experience and belief in hard work, I consider myself to be a very high quality and capable lawyer. I follow the professional rules, am mindful of my clients’ budgets, and am a zealous advocate. I have attended a fair amount of continuing legal educations courses through various national organizations, and believe that my communication skills and knowledge level of the subject areas I practice in are excellent.
Family Law Expertise
Most of my clients now have family law issues. They are either trying to get a divorce, custody of their kids, receive a fair resolution of issues like alimony or property, and/or are trying to relocate to a different part of the country with their children. Occasionally, I still represent clients in a criminal case or with an offer in compromise with the IRS.
I am warm, caring, and personable. My office is friendly and cozy. When I meet a client initially, I record the facts of their case, and then develop an initial plan of resolution. I advise my client how much my fee may be up front, and try to work within my client’s means to pay for my fee.
Legal Practice Areas
I now principally practice in family law. I have practiced in criminal defense, bankruptcy, tax controversies, juvenile delinquency, and child abuse and neglect.
I have five published opinions in the Utah State Bar Journal. You can read those articles in another section of this web site.
My Interests & Background
My favorite lawyer movie is: The Verdict. It was nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards people the same year that the movie, Ghandi, was released (which took all of the top prizes). The writing for the film is very good, and the movie speaks much truth about the legal process. The principle ideas of the movie are these. When a person goes to trial, he or she only has a chance at justice. The cards are stacked against a party whose opponent can afford a high priced lawyer, because the evil that the high priced lawyer from the big firm can inflict on the little guy is great. Yet, when a jury is involved (or in the case of a divorce, when a verdict is decided by a wise judge), the jury can still get justice for the little guy, because the people in a jury can cut through the impediments to justice, e.g., the legal loopholes and dirty tricks that an opponent can throw at the little guy through his lawyer. It’s a fairly accurate portrayal of the inner workings of a trial, and about how power and influence can impact a trial’s outcome.
In my free time, I exercise about an hour a day, either by swimming or running, and occasionally yoga. I run three 10Ks per week, and swim about 1 1/3 miles the other three days. Sometimes I hike or ski in the mountains on a Saturday. I have many friends, and enjoy spending time with all of them. I love movies (particularly independent films), and go to the Broadway Theater from time to time. I also enjoy opera, and have studied voice. I enjoy travel, reading, and learning new things generally. I usually attend the Shakespeare Festival in St. George each year. I spend quite a few hours doing volunteer work in my church. I enjoy watching college football, basketball and professional baseball. I am from Chicago, and am a big Cubs fan. I also am a big Cougar and Ute fan, and follow the men’s football and basketball games. I think it is important to live a balanced life, and to keep learning as we age.
I am the oldest of nine children. I went to 12 years of Catholic schools in Chicago. I was an Illinois State scholar, and could attend any college in the State of Illinois for free. I decided to attend Grinnell College, in Iowa, and received an academic scholarship. When I attended Grinnell, it was known as the “Harvard of the Midwest.” It is still a nationally ranked, liberal arts college. I enjoyed attending college there because enrollment was only 1200 students, and the professor to student ratio was excellent. I majored in Sociology. I had a very popular radio show, called the Three Stooger Medley Hour on Saturday night with two of my friends. I made the Dean’s List while attending Grinnell. Upon graduation, I decided to get a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Northwestern University in the Chicago area. I taught school for a couple of years in the Chicago area, and then took a job with IRS in Los Angeles — mostly for high adventure and to experience a different city. It was there that I was exposed to the law through my work as an IRS Revenue Officer. About five years later I decided to go to law school, and attended the Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. When I applied to law school, WCL was ranked number 38 in the country by the US News and World Report, and had a higher ranking than BYU and the University of Utah. The law school has fallen on hard times recently, after it decided to make its enrollment larger, lower its entrance requirements, and build a large new campus. My LSAT score was one point lower than the average Harvard entrance score the year I took the exam. While working for IRS I received two awards — one for Superior Performance, and one for a special act.
- Member of the Bar for the District of Columbia since 1991
- Member of the Utah State Bar since 1995; also represented a client on Utah’s death row in a State, capital habeas appeal for five years.
- Member of the Virginia State Bar from 1997 to 2010 by way of reciprocity with the District of Columbia.
- Member of many federal bars
- Member of the United States Supreme Court Bar, where I have petitioned for the issuance of a writ of certiorari seven times.