Salt Lake attorney Michael J. Wilkins has been appointed to the Court of Appeals, filling the vacancy created when Leonard H. Russon was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court.

Wilkins, a Republican and longtime friend of Leavitt, is the managing partner at Wilkins, Oritt & Headman. He specializes in commercial litigation."Mike Wilkins is well-respected in the legal and larger community," Leavitt said in a press release. "Given his even temperament and fair approach to the law, he will be an outstanding addition to the Utah Court of Appeals."

Wilkins graduated from the University of Utah Law School in 1976. His practice has focused on contract litigation, personal legal planning, negotations and the drafting of agreements. He primarily represents individuals and small businesses.

"I have been involved in the negotiation and drafting of international trade agreements for products and services to be delivered in China, Scotland, England, Israel and other countries," Wilkins wrote in his resume.

Earlier this summer Wilkins and partner Jeff Oritt won a $2.1 million verdict against a local law firm because the law firm failed to apply for a patent in Taiwan on behalf of a client.

Wilkins' wife, Diane, is a juvenile court judge in the 2nd District.