Getting In, Getting Out, and Getting Along
John R. Lund, J.
Two hundred and thirty-seven new lawyers were just admitted to the Utah Bar. Welcome to each and every one of you! Earning your way into the practice of law in Utah is no small feat. Congratulations on your achievement. In this edition we celebrate someone who has not only gotten into the highest echelons of our profession but who has forged a path for many others as well. I refer of course to the Honorable Christine M. Durham, whose career has had a profound and lasting impact on Utah’s jurisprudence, on the judiciary, and on the legal profession. Justice Durham, I hope the articles found in these pages will provide at least some record for future Utah lawyers of all that you have contributed and accomplished.
Let’s focus for a bit on what it took for young Christine Durham to get in. You’d think a bright young graduate of Duke Law School who was moving to Utah with her doctor spouse would be sought after by all of the big firms; but, that was not true for a woman in 1973. In 1973, the tennis world and more were being rocked by Billie Jean King’s defeat of Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. In 1973, Christine Durham faced similar gender bias in the legal profession. She had to knock down one barrier after another, with help she always acknowledges from certain discrete corners. Ultimately though, after two decades of service on the Utah Supreme Court, in 2012 she became Utah’s first female Chief Justice.
Regrettably, in 2017 “getting in” is still harder for some people than for others. For whom is it harder? We know this. It’s still harder for women, but it’s also harder for persons of color, persons of different sexual orientation, and persons with disabilities. It’s harder to get in with a good firm. It’s harder to get the trust and confidence of senior lawyers and of clients. It’s harder to get appointed to the bench. On that last point, we have a long way to go here in Utah. According to a nationwide study issued last year, “Utah is worst in the nation...