Retiring Utah top court justice to open law, consulting firms

To match Special Report MORMONCHURCH/
The LDS Church's Mormon Temple in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, is seen January 27, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
  • Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee will retire after 12 years on bench
  • Appellate law firm will have offices in Utah and Washington, D.C.

(Reuters) - Utah Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Thomas Lee said Monday he will create a law firm and a separate linguistic consulting firm as he retires from the bench June 30.

The law firm will focus on appellate work and have offices in Washington, D.C., and Utah. The consulting firm will offer services including corpus linguistics, a tool used to analyze large databases of texts to determine how words were used at the time they appeared in statutes, to assist in legal interpretation.

Lee has been a proponent of corpus linguistics, which advocates say offers clarity, scope and transparency to courts.

Lee said in January he would retire from the Utah Supreme Court, to which he was appointed in 2010.

Lee and his brother, Republican U.S. Senator Mike Lee of Utah, were at one point on former President Donald Trump's shortlist for the U.S. Supreme Court.

The new consulting firm will also include Jesse Egbert, a professor at Northern Arizona University who studies corpus linguistics, the statement said.

John Nielsen, an assistant solicitor general in Utah, will join the law firm, which will be named Lee|Nielsen, according to the statement.

Salt Lake City has become a hot legal market in the past year, with several large law firms opening up offices there.

One of those firms, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has lured two former Utah Supreme Court justices for its new office, Deno Himonas and Christine Durham.

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at