Finding Legal Help
Going to court - litigation - can be expensive and time-consuming. Before heading to court to resolve a dispute, think about trying something else.
Work it Out
Try talking to the person or business you are having the dispute with to see if you can work things out.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Try alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation and arbitration, for example, both involve neutral, third party representatives who guide the resolution process or reach a settlement. Specific ADR programs are available for many types of cases, including child welfare, co-parenting, divorce, probate, victim-offender and appeals. For more information, see the court's Mediation page.
To find an arbitrator or mediator, use the court's Roster of Mediators and Arbitrators, which lets you search by field of specialty and provides contact information.
Attorneys provide different kinds of legal help, including:
- Advocating for clients involved in civil lawsuits
- Defending clients accused of committing crimes
- Advising clients about the law
They may perform these roles by explaining the law, preparing letters, forms and legal documents, or representing clients in court.
Finding an Attorney
The Utah State Bar's Lawyer Referral Directory lets you search for attorneys by area of practice, county, city, zip code, language spoken and years of active practice.
You can also look in the telephone yellow pages, or ask people you know to recommend a good attorney. Court staff cannot provide attorney recommendations.
The Bar's website also provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Attorneys and Legal Services.
Complaints About Attorneys
The Utah State Bar's Consumer Assistance Program is designed to help resolve conflicts between clients and their attorneys.
The Bar also offers a Fee Arbitration Service to work out fee disputes between clients and their attorneys.
Limited Legal Help
Many people can't afford to hire an attorney. Limited legal help, also known as "limited scope legal representation" or "unbundled services" is an alternative way to get legal help. Under this kind of arrangement, an attorney and client agree that the attorney will provide specific services for a predetermined fee.
For example, the attorney and client could agree that the attorney:
- will only advise the client about the strength of the case, or
- help draft a document, or
- review a document the client has drafted, or
- coach the client for a negotiation, or
- help with the discovery process, or
- coach the client for a hearing, or
- appear in court on behalf of the client for one hearing only, or
- any combination of these kinds of services
Hiring an attorney to handle part of your case can be an affordable alternative to hiring one to take care of your entire case (also called "full representation"), and is preferable to representing yourself in court - a process that takes time and patience and can be confusing. People who act as their own attorneys are expected to know and follow the same rules that attorneys do.
Not all cases are suited for limited legal help, and the idea of limited legal help is just beginning to be adopted by attorneys in Utah. Find the names of a couple of attorneys using the resources described in the Finding an Attorney section, and talk about the possibility of hiring them to provide you with limited legal help.
Search the Utah State Bar's Lawyer Referral Directory (utahbar.org) for attorneys who offer limited legal help. Use the Practice Area drop-down box to find limited representation attorneys in areas such as contracts, divorce, estate planning and family law.
Lists of attorney who provide limited legal help in specific parts of the state and in additional practice areas:
- 2nd District (Davis County - compiled by Davis County Bar Association)
- 4th District (Utah County - compiled by Central Utah Bar Association)
- 5th District (Cedar City and St. George - compiled by Southern Utah bar association)
Law libraries have print and online resources including statutes, regulations, court rules, and court decisions, as well as legal encyclopedias, form books, and books about specific areas of law. Most law books are written for legal professionals, but some books are written for non-lawyers. Law library staff can't give you legal advice, but they can show you how to use their resources.
- Utah State Law Library : Matheson Courthouse, 450 South State Street, Salt Lake City. 801-238-7990.
- S.J. Quinney Law Library (law.utah.edu) : 332 South 1400 East, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. 801-581-6438.
- Howard W. Hunter Law Library (lawlib.byu.edu) : Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo. 801-422-3593.
- Weber County Law Library (weberpl.lib.ut.us) : 2464 Jefferson Avenue, Ogden. 801-337-8466.