Finding Legal Help
An attorney is a professionally trained and licensed individual who helps people with legal problems. They advise people about their legal rights and options, prepare legal documents and represent people in courts and government agencies. See the Utah State Bar's Frequently Asked Questions About Attorneys (utahbar.org) web page for more information.
Finding an Attorney
Use the Utah State Bar's Lawyer Referral Directory (utahbar.org) to search for attorneys by area of practice, county, city, zip code, language spoken and years of active practice, or ask friends and family to recommend an attorney. Court staff cannot provide attorney recommendations.
See the Utah State Bar's Overview of Public Service Programs (utahbar.org) web page for more information about working with attorneys.
Many people think they can't afford to hire an attorney. Here are two options provided by the Utah State Bar that may help:
Modest Means Lawyer Referral Program
The Utah State Bar's Modest Means Lawyer Referral Program (utahbar.org) provides access to legal representation for people whose income is too high to qualify for free legal services, but too low to pay a lawyer's standard rate. In order to qualify you must fall below the income guidelines. See their webpage for program information.
Limited Legal Help
Limited legal help, also known as "limited scope legal representation" or "unbundled services" is an agreement between an attorney and client 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
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.
Complaints About Attorneys
The Utah State Bar's Consumer Assistance Program (utahbar.org) is designed to help resolve conflicts between clients and their attorneys. This program also allows you to file a complaint against an attorney besides your own.
The Bar also offers a Fee Arbitration Service (utahbar.org) to work out fee disputes between clients and their attorneys.
Unauthorized Practice of Law
Only attorneys licensed by the Utah State Bar can practice law in Utah. Paralegals, notarios, immigration consultants and others may not give legal advice or otherwise practice law unless they are licensed attorneys. You can use the Utah State Bar's attorney directory (services.utahbar.org) to see if someone is a licensed Utah attorney.
Supreme Court Rule of Professional Practice 14-802 defines the practice of law. The rule also says that giving clerical help to fill out court forms is not the practice of law if no fee is charged.
If you believe someone is practicing law without a license, you can report them to the Utah State Bar. For more information, see the Utah State Bar's Unauthorized Practice of Law web page (utahbar.org).
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.