Posted: April 13, 2020
Rules of Appellate Procedure – Comment Period Closed May 28, 2020
URAP035. Petition for rehearing. Amend. The proposed amendments to Rule 35: (1) provide a mechanism for filing a letter for nonsubstantive/clerical errors, (2) incorporate Standing Order 11 (regarding filing documents by email), and (3) include general cleanup for clarity and consistency.
URAP036. Issuance of remittitur. Amend. The proposed amendments to Rule 36 incorporate Standing Order 11 (regarding filing documents by email) and include general cleanup for clarity and consistency.
I like proposed subsection (b) to rule 35–allowing a streamlined procedure for non-substantive changes is a welcome addition for busy practitioners.
I recently mailed a letter to both the Utah and California state bars, obviously before I was aware of this proposed order. (See April 3 letter inserted below, received by these state bars on April 6.) The contents of my letter and request articulated therein are self-explanatory. I believe it is reasonable to assume that if anyone would be qualified and entitled to practice law under these circumstances in a new state, it would be currently licensed attorneys, like myself, who have been actively engaged in the practice of law in good standing for a sufficient amount of time in a sister state such as California. I strongly believe that all the reasons voiced and advanced for this proposed rule applying to recent graduates apply as well to currently admitted attorneys in other states who have recently permanently relocated to and are seeking to practice law in Utah.
April 3, 2020
VIA OVERNIGHT MAIL
State Bar of Utah
645 South 200 East
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, California 94105
Re: Robert David Vogel
California State Bar No. 63091
July 2020 Utah and California Bar Examinations
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am currently an equity principal in the national labor and employment law firm of Jackson Lewis PLLC and have been a member in good standing of the State Bar of California for over 45 years since December 1974. I am 69 years old and given my current medical condition, I am extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
For the last 19 years, I have been actively engaged in practicing labor and employment law in Jackson Lewis’ Los Angeles office. For most of that time period, in a part-time capacity, I have also been an arbitrator affiliated with the American Arbitration Association.
Jackson Lewis’ Salt Lake City office historically has had four (4) attorneys. Until October of last year, the only equity principal who worked in the Salt Lake City office was Conrad Shawn Kee. In October 2019, while on vacation, Mr. Kee suffered a major stroke and died at the Helsinki, Finland airport. His sudden tragic demise necessitated my law firm placing a partner in the Salt Lake City office as soon as possible. Knowing that I attended college in Utah (BYU) and had present family connections there, my firm and I discussed the possibility of my leaving Southern California and relocating to Utah for the purpose of managing the firm’s litigation practice there. I ultimately agreed to relocate knowing, that in doing so, Utah’s current rules for the admission of attorneys licensed to practice law in other states would require I take and pass a bar examination like any other current law school graduate. I am currently registered to take the Utah bar examination on July 28 and 29, 2020.
I permanently relocated to Lehi, Utah at the end of January of this year and am primarily working out of my law firm’s Salt Lake City office handling cases on a pro hac vice basis even though I still spend approximately 30% of my time servicing Southern California domiciled clients in California.
Utah State Bar Rule 14-705 states that a currently licensed attorney in another state like me may be admitted to practice law in Utah on motion if the state in which I am licensed (California) provides reciprocity to attorneys currently licensed to practice law in Utah.
It is my understanding that California is one of only 13 states that does not accept reciprocity from other states, like Utah, whose attorneys are licensed to practice in those states, actively engaged in the practice of law and have been in good standing for a sufficient amount of time.
It is also my understanding that in California, if an attorney is licensed to practice law in another state, like Utah, has been in good standing and actively practicing for at least the prior four (4) years in that state and, like me, desired to practice law in California, he/she would be required to take a one (1¬¬) day attorney’s examination.
Employment Law 360, a LexisNexis company, who distributes a daily periodical to attorneys, like me who are actively engaged in practicing labor and employment law, recently published the enclosed article that addressed the adverse impact COVID-19 is having on upcoming bar examinations throughout the United States.
I assume you are also aware the National Conference of Bar Examiners recently announced that it would make a decision on or about May 5, 2019 whether to delay the MBE, MEE and MPT late July examinations to a presently later unknown date in the fall and that New York and Massachusetts have both already announced their intentions to delay their July bar examination dates because of COVID-19.
I believe it is reasonable to assume that if anyone would be qualified and entitled to practice law under these circumstances in a new state, it would be currently licensed attorneys, like myself, who have been actively engaged in the practice of law in good standing for a sufficient amount of time in a sister state such as California and Utah.
I am sure I am not the only one who has a similar compelling story to tell who has been adversely impacted by these unique circumstances beyond our control.
As a result, on behalf of everyone similarly situated, and given the current and future unknown risks and consequences associated with COVID-19, it is respectfully requested that, at least for purposes of the July 2020 bar examination, the California State Bar modify its current regulation and not require currently practicing out-of-state attorneys in other states such as myself to take and pass the one (1) day attorney’s examination who seek to actively practice law in California and are registered to take the summer California bar examination and the Utah State Bar, consistent therewith, temporarily amend its Bar Rule 14-705 and accept and acknowledge California’s reciprocity agreement or, alternatively, temporarily suspend that requirement for purposes of those attorneys currently licensed to practice law in California who have been actively engaged in the practice of law in good standing for a sufficient period of time in California and are registered to take the July 2020 Utah bar examination.
Your courtesy in seriously considering this request under these unique circumstances would be appreciated.
Very truly yours,
JACKSON LEWIS PLLC
s/Robert D. Vogel
Robert D. Vogel