Paul C. Burke Receives Utah State Bar’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award

May 2, 2012

Mr. Burke was recognized for his significant pro bono work during the preceding year.  Most notably, Mr. Burke represented an abused teenager in a complicated child welfare case, which included district court proceedings, two appeals, and an appellate mediation.  Mr. Burke helped protect his client’s safety and vindicated her constitutional right to choose her own attorney and direct her legal representation.

In addition, Mr. Burke served in 2011 as the Chairman of the Rules Committee for the United States Soccer Federation, and as a member of the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure.  Mr. Burke also served as a mentor for a first-year lawyer through the Utah Supreme Court’s mentoring program.

Ray Quinney & Nebeker is proud of its record of pro bono service, and Managing Partner John Adams welcomed this award:  “Congratulations to  Paul for his tireless and effective representation.  His service is an example of our Firm’s commitment to justice and service in the finest tradition of our profession.” 

Mr. Burke was presented with the award on May 1, 2012 during the Utah State Bar’s annual “Law Day” celebration.  Below are the introductory remarks of Third District Presiding Judge Royal Hansen and Mr. Burke.

Introduction by Third District Presiding Judge Royal Hansen

Pro Bono Attorney of the Year: PAUL C. BURKE

Paul Burke is civil litigator whose practice emphasizes employment law.  He is a partner at Ray Quinney & Nebeker and currently serves as the firm’s General Counsel.  In 2011, Paul gave hundreds of hours of pro bono service on a complicated child welfare case to protect both his client’s safety and her right to be herself.  In the process Paul vindicated his teenage client’s constitutional right to choose her own attorney and direct her legal representation. Paul’s work on this case made an important impact on both his client’s life and Utah’s child welfare system. Along with working on this important case Paul also served as the Chairman of the Rules Committee for the U.S. Soccer Federation and served on the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure. We want to present Paul Burke the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year award and recognize him for his great service and his law firm for encouraging and supporting him in these efforts.

Acceptance Statement by Paul C. Burke

Thank you.  I am honored to accept this award on behalf of my partners and our Firm.  We practice law as a team at Ray Quinney & Nebeker, so I stand before you as a representative of the attorneys and professional staff that worked on this case.  I want to particularly thank my partner Brett Tolman as well as Kate Kendell and Shannon Minter for their help with this case.

I also want to thank our client for trusting us to represent her through her darkest days.  She lives in Southern Utah and was not able to join us today, but she is a true profile in courage.  She inspired us with her commitment to live an honest life and with her bravery by standing up for herself.

My parents are here today, and I owe them an eternal debt of gratitude for providing me with the opportunities that enabled me to join this profession.  My parents endured my earliest arguments and appeals, and I’m very grateful that they had never heard of Rule 11.

Finally, as we celebrate Law Day, I want to express my thanks for the integrity and efforts of everyone involved in our system of justice.  This case showed how our legal system can make a positive difference in people’s lives.  Utah’s courts changed the trajectory of our client’s life for the better, and it was our privilege to have a role in that process.

Thank you for this honor.