Thank you for publishing Judge J. Frederic Voros, Jr.’s thoughtful remarks on civility in the July/August 2017 issue of the Utah Bar Journal. Initially I was planning to skip over the article, expecting that like so many other judges on the subject, Judge Voros would complain about lawyers and cite some platitudes. Then the phrase “gems from the late Justice Antonin Scalia,” caught my eye and I wondered if it could be that he was criticizing Justice Scalia for his incivility. The answer was yes and then some; Judge Voros held not only Justice Scalia but all judges accountable for conducting themselves with civility (“To be honest, I think it [incivility]started at the top.”) I found his honesty and willingness to speak openly about holding the highest colleagues of his profession to a civility standard refreshing and encouraging. The message needs to go to all in our profession, not just the practicing lawyers but judges as well. I still wince remembering more than one instance where a judge in Utah state or federal court was, for no reason, so uncivil to my opposing colleague that I felt defensive for him – I didn’t consider it a win but an embarrassment, one that I felt I had to make right (not really possible I know)by apologizing to him for the judge’s behavior.
Very truly yours,
Lois A. Baar
I write this letter in response to Martha Pierce’s recent article.
In my view, the article was a disservice to PGALs and the court staff. I never said that a PGAL is or should serve as a defacto custody evaluator. I simply stated the common reality that persons who are financially strapped frequently opt to have a PGAL appointed rather than paying for a custody evaluation. I also suggest that attorneys who serve as a PGAL could greatly benefit from becoming a member of the AFCC. Indeed, the AFCC regularly holds CLEs designed to help PGALs serve more effectively. My article states that Utah’s PGAL statute requires counsel to conduct an investigation, and to make a recommendation to the court regarding the...