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Judges' Biographies


COURT OF APPEALS JUDGES



PRESIDING JUDGE GREGORY K. ORME

PRESIDING JUDGE GREGORY K. ORMEJudge Gregory K. Orme was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals by Gov. Norman H. Bangerter in January 1987. He is the court's Associate Presiding Judge. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1975. Three years later he received a law degree, with high honors, from George Washington University, in Washington D.C. Judge Orme served as a law clerk to Judge Monroe G. McKay, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and was a partner in the law firm of VanCott, Bagley, Cornwall & McCarthy. Judge Orme has served a two-year term as presiding judge, four terms on the Judicial Council, six years as chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee, ten years on the Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee, six years as chair of the Commissioner Conduct Committee, and twelve years on the Utah Sentencing Commission. Judge Orme currently serves on the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure and is the judicial advisor to the Utah Bar Journal. He was a member of the executive committee of the Utah State Bar's Appellate Practice Section for many years. Judge Orme is the recipient of the Utah State Bar's annual awards for Young Lawyer of the Year (1986) and Judge of the Year (2007). He is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 7/16


ASSOCIATE PRESIDING JUDGE MICHELE M. CHRISTIANSEN

ASSOCIATE PRESIDING JUDGE MICHELE M.  CHRISTIANSENJudge Michele M. Christiansen was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in June 2010 by Governor Gary Herbert. Prior to her appointment, Judge Christiansen had been serving as a Third District Court Judge since May 2007. Judge Christiansen received her law degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1995. She then served as a judicial law clerk for one year with the Honorable Tena Campbell, United States District Court Judge for the District of Utah, following which she joined the Salt Lake law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer. In March 1998, Judge Christiansen joined the United State Attorney's Office, District of Utah, as an Assistant United States Attorney. In January 2005, she was appointed executive director of the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice and in July of 2006, Judge Christiansen became general counsel to Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. During her tenure in the Governor's Office, Judge Christiansen chaired and served on many committees and councils focusing on violence against women, sexual assault, substance abuse, and children's justice issues. Judge Christiansen is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law, and currently serves as Co-chair of the Utah State Bar's Pro Bono Commission. She also serves on the Executive Board of Women Lawyers of Utah, on the Salt Lake County Bar Association Executive Committee, on the Utah State Bar's Appellate Practice Section Board, as a member of the Utah Sentencing Commission, the Judicial Council's Ethics Advisory Committee, and as chair of the Judicial Council's Commissioner Conduct Committee. 8/16


JUDGE DIANA HAGEN

 Judge Diana Hagen was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in June 2017 by Governor Gary R. Herbert. Prior to her appointment, Judge Hagen was the First Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Utah. In 1998, she received her law degree Order of the Coif from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College Of Law, where she was a member of the National Moot Court Team and the Utah Law Review. Following law school, she served as a law clerk for United States District Court Judge Tena Campbell and then began her practice at the law firm now known as Parr, Brown, Gee & Loveless. In 2001, she joined the appellate section of the United States Attorney’s Office and later became the Appellate Chief, a position she held for nearly ten years. Judge Hagen has served as president of Women Lawyers of Utah, the David K. Watkiss-Sutherland II Inn of Court, the Salt Lake County Bar Association, and the Utah Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. She also spent many years as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she taught appellate practice and coached intercollegiate moot court teams. She has been recognized with a Utah Philanthropy Day Heart & Hands Award for her volunteer work with Girl Scouts of Utah and was named the S.J. Quinney College of Law’s 2015 Alumni of the Year. 8/17


JUDGE RYAN M. HARRIS

JUDGE RYAN M.  HARRISJudge Ryan M. Harris was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in June 2017 by Governor Gary R. Herbert. Prior to his appointment, Judge Harris served as a trial judge in the Third District Court for nearly six years, where he served as the Associate Presiding Judge. While a trial judge, Judge Harris also served on various committees, including the Advisory Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions and the Small Claims Jury Committee. Judge Harris also twice received the Judicial Excellence Award from the Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar. Judge Harris graduated magna cum laude and with University honors from Brigham Young University in 1995, and graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School in 1998. Upon graduating from law school, Judge Harris served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Stephen H. Anderson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Following his clerkship, Judge Harris practiced law in Salt Lake City at the firm of Jones, Waldo, Holbrook & McDonough, where in addition to maintaining a civil trial practice he also served on the firm's board of directors and executive committee. Judge Harris also worked as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law. Prior to his appointment to the Third District Court, Judge Harris served as a small claims judge for eight years. Judge Harris is a past chairperson of the Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar. 8/17


JUDGE DAVID N. MORTENSEN

JUDGE DAVID N. MORTENSENJudge David N. Mortensen was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in May 2016 by Gov. Gary M. Herbert. Prior to his appointment, Judge Mortensen served as a trial judge in the Fourth District Court for almost ten years. He served multiple terms as the presiding judge and associate presiding judge of the Fourth District Court. Judge Mortensen graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University in 1993, and was in private practice as a trial attorney before becoming a judge. Judge Mortensen previously served as a member of the Utah Judicial Council and as a member of the Board of District Court Judges. He also served on the Judicial Council Study Committee on Technology Brought into the Courtroom. In 2015 and 2016 Judge Mortensen received the Judicial Excellence Award from the Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar. He received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Government and Politics Legal Society of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. He has also taught as an adjunct professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Judge Mortensen is currently a member of the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence, a member of the Utah State Court’s Technology Committee, and on the Membership Council of the Utah Retirement System. He is a member of the A. Sherman Christensen Inn of Court. 3/17


JUDGE JILL M. POHLMAN

JUDGE JILL M. POHLMANJudge Jill M. Pohlman was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in May 2016 by Governor Gary Herbert. Judge Pohlman graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Utah in 1993, and received her Juris Doctorate from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in 1996, where she served on the Utah Law Review and graduated Order of the Coif. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable David K. Winder of the United States District Court for the District of Utah. Prior to her appointment, Judge Pohlman was a partner at the law firm of Stoel Rives LLP in Salt Lake City. She practiced there for 19 years during which she maintained a complex civil litigation practice, including administrative, trial, and appellate work. She was a member of the Utah Supreme Court’s Ethics and Discipline Committee, during which time she acted as panel chair. She also served on the Utah Supreme Court’s Diversion Committee. Judge Pohlman currently sits on the Utah Courts Committee on Judicial Outreach. 8/16


JUDGE MARY KATE A. TOOMEY

JUDGE MARY KATE A.  TOOMEYJudge Kate A. Toomey took the oath of office in September 2014 after her appointment to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Gary Herbert. Prior to her appointment, she was a Third District Court Judge for nearly eight years. Judge Toomey graduated from the University of Maryland in 1991, served as a judicial law clerk with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, then joined the Maryland Public Defender's Office. She was an associate with the Salt Lake City law firm Anderson & Karrenberg from 1993 until 1996, when she joined the Utah State Bar's Office of Professional Conduct. Judge Toomey was the managing editor of the University of Maryland Law Review, the managing editor, then editor-in-chief of Voir Dire, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Utah Bar Journal. She was a member of the Board of District Court Judges and of the Grand Jury panel of judges. She was an advisory board member of the Family Justice Center and the Utah Foster Care Foundation. Judge Toomey currently serves as a member of the Judicial Council and the Utah Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 2/16

The Utah State Courts mission is to provide the people an open, fair, efficient, and independent system for the advancement of justice under the law.


Page Last Modified: 1/19/2017
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