President's Message

JurisdictionUtah,United States
CitationVol. 36 No. 5 Pg. 9
Publication year2023
President's Message
Vol. 36 No. 5 Pg. 9
Utah Bar Journal
October, 2023

September, 2023

President's Message

The Sandbox 2.0: Legal Reform at the Utah State Bar by Erik A. Christiansen

I want to use this month’s column to provide some overdue kudos to the Utah Supreme Court, outgoing Utah State Bar President Katie Woods, and Bar Executive Director Elizabeth Wright. While many members of the Utah State Bar might have missed it, as of July 1, 2023, the Utah Supreme Court has significantly altered, changed, and improved the Office of Legal Services Innovation (Innovation Office), which is more commonly referred to as the sandbox. The changes made by the court have greatly improved the sandbox and reflect the positive dialogue that took place between lawyers and the court earlier this year. Utah consumers will benefit from the court’s changes, as will members of the Utah State Bar

For those of you who have not been following the sandbox, a bit of history is useful. In August 2018, the Utah Supreme Court established a Work Group on Regulatory Reform, led by then-Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas and then- Utah State Bar President John Lund. In August 2019, the work group issued a report entitled “Narrowing the Access to Justice Gap by Reimagining Regulation.” The report recommended implementation of a legal regulatory sandbox to permit certain new legal business structures under the supervision of the Utah Supreme Court. Subsequently, in August 2020, the Utah Supreme Court issued Standing Order No. 15, which launched the Innovation Office and created a seven-year pilot project under the supervision and control of the court. The Utah Supreme Court also created the Legal Services Innovation Committee (LSI Committee) to make recommendations to the court for approval of applicants. As of April 4, 2023, the court has authorized forty-nine sandbox entities that use various novel

After two years of operations, in late 2022 and early 2023, the court engaged in dialogue with and gathered input from the Utah State Bar, the Utah Association for Justice, and others, about potential changes and improvements to the sandbox. As a result of those discussions, beginning on July 1, 2023, a significant part of the Innovation Office moved to the Utah State Bar. The Executive Director of the Utah State Bar, Elizabeth Wright, assumed responsibility for the administrative functions of operating the sandbox, while the LSI Committee continues to be...

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