Our Tribe Field Notes on Lawyers - Summer 2018
John R. Lund, J.
As summer unfolds, we can begin to observe the long-standing rituals of the species known as Utah lawyers and of their professional association. Chieftains of the various sections and committees, some long in the tooth but all still committed to their tasks, assess whether to stay on another year or cede their positions to the eager young lieutenants challenging their authority. Large law firms run their new recruits through a gauntlet of lunch-and-learns, research memos, and summer parties. The courts solicit interest in their committees, looking for fresh volunteers to aid in rulemaking and other functions. And a new crop of commissioners swear in and get indoctrinated in the sometimes obscure customs of the Board of Commissioners of the Utah State Bar.
But the most enduring ritual is the annual migration. Usually the lawyers go northward. By late July, their vans and SUVs can be seen all along the 1-15 corridor. Many of the vehicles are brimming with children and have roofs and racks festooned with enough bicycles to make up a peloton. They typically land in Sun Valley, Idaho. That mountain resort is quite similar to many of the areas typically populated by Utah lawyers in their home state. Yet, for reasons that may warrant further historical and sociological research, Utah lawyers and judges seem innately drawn to this Idaho mecca.
Once bedded down in the numerous condos and lodges in the area, the lawyers engage in other time-honored traditions. They gather on the veranda of the famous Sun Valley Lodge to rekindle acquaintances and watch the tribe's children ice skate. Yes, ice skate. It's a Sun Valley thing. The lawyers also hone their professional skills in groupings called "breakouts" and "plenaries." In terms of the vigorous communication and interaction taking place, these groupings bear striking similarity to a convention of penguins or a colony of prairie dogs. With much applause and speech-making, they honor and celebrate a selected lawyer, judge, committee, and section for their...