2015 Law Day Award Recipients

Pro Bono Publico
Recognizing people providing donated legal services to
those most in need.

Young Lawyers Division

Scott M. Matheson Awards
Law-related youth education:

Law Related Education - Mock Trial Competition

Salt Lake County Bar - Art & The Law Project

Judge For A Day


UTAH STATE BAR PRO BONO PUBLICO AWARDS

The Utah State Bar’s Pro Bono Publico Awards recognize those who have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services, free of charge, for Utah's most vulnerable citizens—people living in poverty, individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors, minorities and victims of domestic violence.  While the obstacles to equal access to justice continue to mount, the willingness of attorneys to help meet the legal needs of the indigent in their communities is important to those in need of service.

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Law Firm of the Year

AGAttorney General's Office
The Attorney General’s Office is the largest law firm in Utah.  In 2013 it started the first Signature Project through the Utah State Bar Pro Bono Commission and has now been successfully running the Debt Collection Calendar Signature Project for almost two years, helping hundreds of people.  Charles Stormont has led the program, and his efforts to recruit and train the volunteer attorneys from both the Attorney General’s Office and Callister Nebeker and McCullough has contributed to the program's success.  In addition, many of the attorneys at the Attorney General’s Office volunteer to help pro se clients manage the legal system.  And finally, Paul Amann encourages a team of volunteers the Attorney General’s Office to help with the Tuesday Night Bar every few months, providing brief legal advice to anyone who signs up for help.

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Young Lawyer of the Year

Russell Yauney
YauneyRussell Yauney graduated from the S. J. Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah in 2010.  After graduating, Russell opened his own practice to focus on clients and to find solutions to their unique problems.  His practice focuses primarily on family law.
Russell is a great example of an attorney incorporating pro bono service into his practice.  He takes on full cases through the Utah State Bar Pro Bono Commission, he provides limited legal advice at the Family Law and Street Law Legal Clinics in Salt Lake City, and he also participates as a volunteer at the Pro Se Calendar at the Matheson Courthouse, where he represents clients before the Commissioners.

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Law Student of the Year

Adrianna Anderson
AndersonAdrianna Anderson has set herself apart at law school through her pro bono work.  She has worked as a legal fellow for the Pro Bono Initiative at the S. J. Quinney College of Law, served as president of the Student Veterans’ Association, and serves as Vice-President of the Public Interest Law Organization.  In addition to these law school activities, she has also volunteered with organizations including Utah Legal Service and Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, providing free legal services to some of Utah’s most vulnerable people.  She has demonstrated through her actions that pro bono legal services are her passion.

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Young Lawyer of the Year Award:  

Aida Neimarlija
AidaThe Young Lawyers Division has selected Aida Neimarlija to receive this year’s award for Young Lawyer of the Year.  Aida is an attorney in the law firm of Burbidge Mitchell & Gross where her practice focuses on complex commercial disputes and catastrophic injury cases.  She has been recognized on several occasions in Mountain States Super Lawyers publication and was one of three prominent attorneys featured in last year’s Utah Business magazine – Legal Elite edition. 

Neimarlija has been mentoring young lawyers and serving our community since she started law school at the S.J. Quinney College of Law in 2005.  For instance, when Neimarlija was the President of the Minority Law Caucus during her second year of law school, she created a program whereby a group of diverse students would meet with lawyers at larger law firms on a monthly basis to learn about their practices, hear about their experiences, and form long-lasting relationships, many of which led to future employment.  While in law school, Neimarlija also helped create the annual all-day Mentoring Marathon, which continues to be extremely successful and helpful to the law students.

Since graduating in 2008, despite a demanding practice as a lawyer at one of the most prestigious trial law firms in the State, Neimarlija has continued to generously provide her time and effort in mentoring students and young attorneys.  She often speaks on various panels and has been involved in several organizations that focus on practitioners’ professional development and educational opportunities concerning important issues in our community. 

Neimarlija recently served a two-year term as the President of Women Lawyers of Utah, and is currently on the boards of the Salt Lake County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association.  She deserves special recognition for creating a unique judicial mentoring program during her WLU presidency to encourage and better prepare qualified diverse lawyers to apply to the bench.  Neimarlija has also been involved in numerous other projects in collaboration with the Young Lawyers Division and Utah Minority Bar Association, such as the YWCA 5K Walk Against Violence, the Cinderella Boutique for underprivileged students, minority student scholarship fundraisers, and many CLE and networking events.

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The Liberty Bell Award:  

Paralegal Division
ParalegalThe Liberty Bell Award is given by the Young Lawyers Division of the Utah State Bar to a non-lawyer for promoting better understanding of the Rule of Law, encouraging a greater respect for law and the courts, stimulating a sense of civic responsibility, and contributing to good government in the community.

The Young Lawyers’ Division is pleased to award the 2015 Liberty Bell Award to the Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar.  In April 1996, the Paralegal Division of the Utah State Bar was created by an order of the Supreme Court to assist with the need for access to affordable and low cost quality legal services and to work toward the protection of the public from unqualified persons who provide assistance in law-related situations, among other things.  Since that time, the Paralegal Division has continually looked for ways to help the communities in which we live and work and has lived up to its mission to work for increased access to affordable and low cost quality legal services.

The Paralegal Division has been instrumental in organizing and raising funds to provide scholarships that promote quality education of paralegals. It also has members assisting with various community service events in our local communities including: working with the S.J. Quinney College of Law’s Free Brief Advice Family Law Clinic, collecting toner cartridges to aid local schools, and assisting with women’s professional clothing drives and the Cinderella Project.  Over the years the Paralegal Division has worked hand-in-hand with the Young Lawyers Division organizing and serving as notaries and witnesses in the Wills for Heroes and Serving Our Seniors programs. 

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SCOTT M. MATHESON AWARDS

In 1991, the Law-Related Education and Law Day Committee of the Utah State Bar created the Scott M. Matheson Award to commemorate Matheson's contribution to law-related education in Utah and to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to law-related education for youth in the Utah.

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John F. Fay      
FayJohn Fay is an experienced trial litigator and has represented clients in  over 400 judicial AAA, UM, and UIM arbitration claims.  He is an experienced appellate advocate, arguing before the California and Utah State appellate courts and the U.S. District Court of Appeals.

The 2015 Mock Trial season was Fay's 25th year judging mock trials in Utah.  In addition to judging mock trials, he has recruited many mock trial judges from Park City.  Fay has judged many morning and afternoon trials the same day and has made himself available for last-minute judging.  Many students have expressed their appreciation for his feedback and have stayed after their trials to thank him for his welcomed critiques of their performance.

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Christopher Reynoso
ReynosoChristopher Reynoso was the co-founder of PlanGrade, Inc. for which he developed an automated compliance solution to help employers navigate health and welfare benefits compliance.  In addition, he manages and writes a compliance blog for employers and industry professionals. 

Suzanne Parker, Timpview High School English teacher and assistant mock trial coach, said that "Topher has a passion for student mock trials."  Topher created a series of 12 lessons that he posted on StudyBlue for her team to access.  Lesson topics ranged from public speaking to legal vocabulary, and from writing an opening statement to impeaching a witness.  Each lesson contains a PowerPoint, Film Clips, and a short case on which to practice the legal skill he taught.  "Topher reached out to the J. Reuben Clark School of Law at B.Y.U. and, on two occasions last fall, the Timpview Mock Trial team was invited to participate in B.Y.U.'s mock trials by serving as witnesses and jury members," said Parker. 

Mock Trial team member comments about Mr. Reynoso include:  "I really like the way he acts out the witnesses with us, so we can see how we could develop the characters."  "Topher had great presentations that helped our team get the idea of mock trials, the rules, and the big picture of what we're trying to do."  "He made a lot of educational power points about cross-examining someone, creating questions, making objections, and many more."  "He has made us excited about the law."  "Topher deserves this award because he meets with us 3-4 times a week and often comes from meetings to practice and then leaves to go to another meeting."

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2015 Mock Trial Champions

In February and March 2015, more than 1,000 junior and senior high school students across Utah tried a civil case in which Riverdale High School and Pioneer Computers, Inc. instituted the One2One laptop program to provide the students at Riverdale with a laptop for their use during the school year. Unbeknownst to the students, each laptop was equipped with the TheftTrack system which allowed Pine Crest Tech Services, Inc. to remotely take still photographs using the laptop's webcam and remotely access any communications sent on the computer. Parker Smith, a student at Riverdale High School, brought a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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WEST HIGH SCHOOL

Scout Asay
Jenny Chen
Marcelina Kubica
Katherine Morelli
Vivian Lam
Sophie Nebeker
Caroline Nester
Chandler Stepan
Priya Swaminathan

Instructor: Laura Nava
Attorney Coach: Andrew Deiss
Volunteer Community Coach: Jacqueline Orton

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CENTENNIAL MIDDLE SCHOOL

Isa Benjamin
Christy Bradford
Isaac Fillmore
Cobe Jensen
Grace Miller
Jackson Sevison
Ben Smith
Sarah Tobey

Instructor: Krista Thornock
Attorney Coach: Judge Charles Abbott

Centennial

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Salt Lake County Bar - Art & The Law Project

Elementary and Middle School students from Salt Lake County were invited to participate based on this year's theme. The Salt Lake County Bar Association judged the entries and is pleased to honor this year's award recipients.

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Elementary School Winners

1st - Jack Vitek & Maddie Carlin, 4th Grade
Rowland Hall Lower School
Teacher: KathrynCzarnecki

2nd - Camden McEwen, 5th Grade
HerrimanElementary
Teacher: JoanRichards

3rd - Jackson Price and Kate Altman, 4th Grade
RowlandHall Lower School
Teacher: Kathryn Czarnecki

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Middle School Winners

1st - AnnieThan, Northwest Middle School
Teacher: Jillana Butler

2nd - Daniel Lerma, Northwest Middle School
Teacher: Jillana Butler

3rd - Osman Kassim, Northwest Middle School
Teacher: Jillana Butler

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Best in Show

QuinnYeates, 4thGrade
Rowland Hall Lower School
Teacher: Kathryn Czarnecki

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Judge For A Day

Each year in recognition of Law Day, the Utah State Courts invites high school students to submit a civic involvement resume, essay or teacher nomination to participate in the Judge for a Day program. Students are paired with a judge and shadow him or her for one day to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Judicial Branch and to learn about the role a judge plays in the courts. Following is a list of students who have been selected to participate in the 2015 Judge for a Day program.

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First District

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Second District

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Third District

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Fourth District

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