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One of Utah's top lawyers may be its next U.S. judge

Clark Waddoups
Clark Waddoups

A senior partner in one of Utah's top law firms may be on the hook to be the next federal judge for Utah.

Multiple sources in Washington, D.C., and Utah — who did not want their names used — confirmed to the Deseret Morning News that Clark Waddoups of Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless is being considered for the federal bench. Sources say Waddoups' name was mentioned as a candidate in letters sent to the White House by Sen. Orrin Hatch's office and by Sen. Bob Bennett's office.

On Monday, Hatch's office said it had no comment.

If nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Waddoups would join a long line of partners and associates at his law firm who have gone on to become judges.

Judge Dale Kimball, a former partner, and Judge Dee Benson, a former firm associate, now serve as federal judges in Utah. Utah Supreme Court justices Matthew Durrant and Jill Parrish also were firm partners, as was Utah Court of Appeals Judge Carolyn McHugh.

The possible appointment also would spell a change in the firm's name.

"We're not at liberty to say anything at this point," said firm president Steven Christiansen, who did add that his firm considers itself fortunate many of its attorneys over the years have gone on to become judges.

According to the Parr, Waddoups, Brown, Gee & Loveless Web site, Waddoups is a trial lawyer specializing in commercial litigation, including antitrust, securities, labor/employment, banking, construction, environmental and insurance claims.

Waddoups received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in 1970 and his juris doctorate from the University of Utah's law school in 1973. He worked for a large California law firm for seven years before joining Parr Waddoups in 1981. He is currently involved with the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence and is the past president of the A. Sherman Christensen American Inn of Court I.

Recently Waddoups was ranked 26th in the 2008 edition of "The Best Lawyers in America."

Waddoups is being sought to replace U.S. District Judge Paul Cassell, who stepped down from the bench earlier this month.

Cassell announced in September that he was stepping down after serving about five years on the bench, to return to teaching law at the U. and to work on the issue of victims' rights in courts.