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How to File a Complaint on a Lawyer With the Utah State Bar Read more: How to File a Complaint on a Lawyer With the Utah State Bar | Robert Paisola Reports for E HOW

How to File a Complaint on a Lawyer With the Utah State BarthumbnailHow to File a Complaint on a Lawyer With the Utah State Bar, Robert Paisola Reports Live

If your Utah lawyer isn't doing his job, the Utah State Bar can help.

When you have an issue with a company, you can take your complaint to the Better Business Bureau or take the company to court. What do you do about your lawyer though? You have tried to resolve a problem with your lawyer by calling, emailing or writing letters. You have even tried to contact the firm's managing partner. But you get an inadequate response or you find yourself at an impasse. If you have tried to resolve the problem with your lawyer to no avail, you can take your issue to the Utah State Bar.


Moderately Easy


    • Obtain the assistance request form. Go to the website for the Utah State Bar Consumer Assistance Program (CAP). CAP was put in place to help resolve minor conflicts with lawyers. Click the download link to open and print the pdf file. You will need Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to open the file. Alternatively, you can call the Utah State Bar at 801-531-9077 to request the form be mailed to you.
    • Complete the form. Provide your attorney's name and address. Include a detailed explanation of the conflict and why you are requesting help. Include dates and places. For example, provide the times and dates of any email communications and phone calls. Twenty emails from you with only 1 response from your lawyer may demonstrate the lawyer's lack of responsiveness to your concerns. Also, describe in specific detail the assistance you would like CAP to provide. Attach extra pages, if needed. Keep a copy of the form for your records. Once the issue is resolved, CAP does not retain a copy. If you need to file again, you will want to have the first form on hand.
    • Submit your request to the Office of Professional Conduct. Mail the form to: Utah State Bar, Consumer Assistance Program, 645 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. You may also fax the form to 801-531-9912, attention: Consumer Assistance.
    • Discuss the case with the CAP attorney. The CAP attorney will review each form and will call you to discuss the issue. Although the attorney cannot provide legal advice, he will try to help you and your attorney resolve the conflict. Take the matter to District Court if the issue cannot be resolved through CAP. Fee disputes are also handled by the Utah State Bar. However, if the conflict is a fee dispute, you must file a Fee Dispute Petition Form and the Fee Dispute Agreement Form. Unlike the Consumer Assistance Program, participation in the Fee Dispute Program, though strongly encouraged, is voluntary for Utah attorneys.

Tips and Warnings

  • Help your lawyer meet your needs by setting clear, written expectations for the attorney-client relationship at the beginning.
  • Keep records of the communications between you and your lawyer in case issues arise later.



SARATOGA SPRINGS -- An anonymous blogger, a 35-year-old self-proclaimed community watchdog and journalist by the name of Frank Townsman, has sent letters to media in Salt Lake and Utah counties accusing Saratoga Springs officials of unfair and unlawful practices, but has refused interviews.

"I'm sorry," Townsman responded to a request for an interview. "We are concerned that we will be the subject of reprisal. Therefore we are not willing to disclose our identities at this time."
Townsman, or townsmen as the case may be, began a blog at with his or her first entry dated July 19. That entry was a letter addressed to the city's mayor, Mia Love.

"I am a resident of Saratoga Springs and am writing to you on behalf of myself and many of my neighbors as well as members of the 9/12 project, Tea Party movement and numerous other concerned citizens of Saratoga Springs," begins the letter, ending with "The People Of Saratoga Springs Have Spoken! Our Voices Will Be Heard!"

Although Townsman lists several complaints including the city contracting with companies that employ illegal immigrants, police distorting testimony in domestic disputes to fabricate a crime and denying the accused due process or legal defense, Townsman's focus appears to be critical of what he or she terms illegal speed traps and the city's own neglect of municipal property and not conforming to its own codes.

Police conducted a checkpoint on Redwood Road between Bluffdale and Saratoga Springs recently that received Townsman's ire. Townsman stated that the Saratoga Springs police needed to simply abide by the Constitution.

"I checked into this and found out that the checkpoint was conducted by the Lehi PD," responded Love to Townsman via her phone mail. "The first I've heard of a major police problem ... was the letter to sent to me and the media last week."

Townsman additionally accused Saratoga Springs of not being landscape compliant and having properties that pose a significant fire hazard, specifically its public works facility. The blogger then posted several photos on the blog illustrating the overgrown weeds on city property.
Saratoga Springs itself owns approximately 90 acres, most donated by developers for parks.
"We treat them as undeveloped land, we'll go in and chop down weeds if there's a problem," said Saratoga Springs's assistant city manager Spencer Kyle.

He said the city can't financially develop the parks all at the same time and in the past has had volunteers help lay sod to defray costs.

"We get to building the parks as soon as we can," Kyle said.

As far as the city's stance on landscaping and weeds at residential and commercial locations, Kyle said some of it is timing.

"I wouldn't say it's a crackdown, I would say it's the season starting in spring," he said. "There's not much you can do in winter."

Each homeowner has 12 months to get their front yard landscaped and 24 months to get the backyard installed; also weeds higher than six inches need to be cut down, according to city code.

"All we ask is that Saratoga Springs City Officials cease to issue and enforce citations for residential weed and landscape violations until the city can demonstrate full compliance with the same weed and landscape codes," Townsman wrote. "Many people cannot afford landscape in these trying economic times let alone afford a $50 per day fine for non-compliance."

Kyle said the city is working with people who want to comply but can't for various reasons.
"There are ways to get a front yard put in for low cost," he said.

Saratoga Police Chief Gary Hicken said he has seen neighbors in his city helping one another install sod or plant grass.

"To tell you the truth, the Saratoga Springs residents are really good, the neighbors just come out to do it for them," he said.

His own officers have volunteered on their own time to help people who are physically unable to comply and chop their weeds down for them.

"Sometimes, even when its not our responsibility, we just do it," Hicken said. "Typically, it's elderly folks who physically can't do it."

Mostly the installation of yards, whether that is a xeriscape or grass, is a way to control weeds, he said.

The mayor, who was out of town, sent a response on her phone that the city is committed to maintaining a high quality of living for its residents.

"A part of this high quality of living is creating and maintaining landscaped areas," she wrote. "Following this practice encourages the beautification of neighborhoods, keeps home values high and also reduces the risk of wildland fires spreading to residential neighborhoods."

As for the city's own property, Love said Saratoga Springs is committed to a high standard in its own open spaces, most of which are donated to the city in a natural state.

"Our city parks crews work hard at maintaining the city's park system and cutting down weeds on city-owned property," she wrote.

Hicken said the city is willing to work with people.

"As long as we know you are still working on it either with weeds or landscaping we will give you more time," Hicken said. "I'd like to know what the situation is, but there isn't much you can do if you don't know who they are."

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