By Anne Armstrong, UDLA President
Welcome to the Utah Defense Lawyers Association. I and the other members of the Board of Directors are looking forward to serving and working with you throughout the coming year. The practice of civil defense law in Utah is changing dramatically as 2011 comes to a close. Recent amendments to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure will have a significant impact on future litigation. Emerging case law related to expert witnesses, communication with health care providers, Medicare secondary payer provisions, and other fundamental issues will reshape the law in many practice areas. As 2012 begins, UDLA is committed to helping its members navigate the shifting landscape. One quote in particular captures the sentiment of the Board as we plan for the year ahead: “Standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world.” Lauren Bacall
Before I describe how UDLA plans to keep up, and help you keep up, in a dynamic legal environment, I’d first like to remind you of our roots. UDLA is one of the many state/local organization affiliates of DRITM. Our relationship with DRI connects us with a national network of defense attorneys and in-house counsel. Through DRI we have access to superior CLE offerings and other valuable resources. Those of you who attended UDLA’s Annual CLE Conference this year at the University Park Marriott know that the caliber of that program is due in large part to DRI’s support. I urge you to visit the DRI web site at www.dri.org to get acquainted or reacquainted with all that organization has to offer. If you have never been a member of DRI and would like to join, you should know that your UDLA membership allows you to take advantage of promotional DRI membership fee and CLE discounts.
Second, I’d like to introduce you to the UDLA board. The officers currently serving along with me are Ryan J. Schriever – President Elect, Peter Christensen – Vice President and Lloyd Jones – Immediate Past President. Board members are Chris Purcell, Robert Thompson, Kristine Larsen, Harold “Pete” Petersen, Gary Johnson, Anna Nelson, Todd Turnblom, David Bridge and Bruce Burt who is our current DRI Utah State Representative. Board committees include a Legislative Action Committee, Annual CLE Conference Committee, CLE Luncheon Committee, Amicus Brief Committee and Membership Committee. Our contact information can be found on the Leadership page and we welcome your input and feedback.
The UDLA officers assumed their new duties immediately after the Annual CLE Conference in September which means that the transition into 2012 is well underway. Almost immediately after the Annual Conference, UDLA sponsored a brown bag luncheon seminar on the amendments to Rule 26 and other changes to the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure. With the assistance of Andrew Wright of Strong & Hanni, who is credited with the vast majority of the time and labor, the UDLA Board prepared and submitted a comment to recently proposed Rule 26.2. The provisions of the new rule will ameliorate some of the problems recent amendments to the discovery rules created for personal injury litigation. Among other things, Rule 26.2 will require the early disclosure of specific information, including Social Security Numbers, by plaintiffs pursuing personal injury claims. The UDLA comment generally supports the additional disclosures mandated by Rule 26.2 and also suggests several modifications to the proposed language of the rule. The comment can be viewed on the Recent Developments page.
Our plans for 2012 include some changes we believe are necessary in order for the organization to continue to grow. Reconstruction of our web site will take place this coming spring. The new web site will have more content and more frequent updates. It will include news feeds, social media links and discussion forums. While we will continue the popular New Yorker luncheon CLE program, we are planning to offer additional CLE opportunities during the year. We are also developing the 2012 Annual Meeting and CLE Conference and look forward to an expanded program this coming September with nationally ranked presenters and a new venue. There are many opportunities to participate and we invite you to join a committee or project or to contact the Board with your suggestions and ideas.
While the Board is enthusiastically implementing improvements, we remain committed to our core functions. We will continue to monitor the activities of the legislature and judiciary and communicate developments to our members. We will strive to provide a forum for our members to share information and ideas and a platform for launching the efforts necessary to achieve our shared goals.