My legal career began with exposure to the appellate decisional process as a law clerk to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger of the U.S. Supreme Court. My resulting fascination with decision making, and with what persuades decision makers, was kindled then. As a young litigator in Los Angeles, I spent much of my time on federal and state appellate matters, including several matters before the United States Supreme Court, working with outstanding advocates. As a litigator in Utah, I continued to handle appeals, as well as trial level matters. As a law professor, I coached the Utah law school’s moot court team in written and oral appellate advocacy for half a dozen years. As special counsel to Utah’s Governor Scott M. Matheson, I was a participant in both public policy advocacy and decision making. And then as a member of Utah’s Supreme Court for 16 years, including four as Chief Justice, I participated in the decision of several thousand cases. Since leaving the court, I have returned to appellate advocacy, and have simultaneously maintained the decision maker’s perspective through regular service as an arbitrator in many matters.

Today, I remain a student of the subtle art of persuasion, and the often difficult-to-plumb process of decision making. I believe that the years have given me some insight into what persuades. My fascination with the appellate process, which is shared by the other lawyers in our firm, motivated us to start Utah’s first appellate boutique. I know that our team brings to bear a focus and depth of experience in this specialty that few can offer.

Experience

2011-Present
Zimmerman Booher, Appellate Attorney

2003-2011
Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., Partner

2000-2003
Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., Of Counsel

1994-1998
Supreme Court of Utah, Chief Justice

1984-2000
Supreme Court of Utah, Justice

1989-1993
University of Utah College of Law, Adjunct Professor

1980-1984
Watkiss & Campbell, Shareholder, Salt Lake City, Utah

1978-1984
University of Utah College of Law, Adjunct Professor supervising National Moot Court Teams

1978-1980
Kruse, Landa, Zimmerman & Maycock, Of Counsel, Salt Lake City, Utah

1978-1984
Governor Scott M. Matheson, Utah, Part-Time Special Counsel

1976-1978
University of Utah College of Law, Associate Professor of Law

1970-1976
O'Melveny & Myers, Associate, Los Angeles, California

1969-1970
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, United States Supreme Court, Law Clerk

Recognition

2023
The Best Lawyers in America® Salt Lake City

2005-present
Utah Business, Utah Legal Elite

2018-2019
The Best Lawyers in America® Salt Lake City, Appellate Practice, Arbitration, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Mediation

2018-2019
Martindale-Hubbell® Top Rated Lawyer in Appellate Law; Judicial Edition; AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5

2001-2019
Martindale-Hubbell® Top Rated Lawyer in Appellate Law; Peer Review Rating; AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5

2007-2018
Mountain States Super Lawyers®

2017
Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America® Salt Lake City, Appellate Practice, Arbitration, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Mediation, Best Law Firm

2016
Nevada Business, Nevada Legal Elite

2014
Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America® Salt Lake City, Arbitration

2011-2013
Tenth Circuit Litigation Star - Benchmark Appellate Litigation Guide

2013
Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America® Salt Lake City Appellate Practice

2005-2013
The Best Lawyers in America®, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation

2010-2011
Lawdragon Top 3000 Leading Lawyers in America

2009-2011
Super Lawyers® - Corporate Counsel Edition

2007-2011
Utah Legal Elite: Arbitrator/Mediator, Utah Business magazine

2005-2015
Utah Legal Elite, Utah Business magazine

2007
Peacekeeper Award Recipient, Utah Council on Conflicts Resolution

2006
Lawdragon 500 Leading Judges

2001
Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of Utah

1998
Distinguished Service Award, Utah State Bar

1997
The Peter W. Billings, Sr. Outstanding Dispute Resolution Service Award, American Arbitration Association

1997
Individual Achievement Award, Downtown Alliance

1994
Excellence in Ethics Award, Utah Valley State College, Center for the Study of Ethics, inaugural recipient

1988
Appellate Judge of the Year, Utah State Bar

Memberships

2023-Present
Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Chair

2019-2023
Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Member

2016-Present
Utah Indigent Defense Commission, Chair

2005-Present
American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Member

2002-2013
Utah Legal Services, Inc., Board of Directors, Member

1990-Present
American Law Institute, Member

2001-Present
Association for Conflict Resolution, Member

2000-Present
American Arbitration Association, Member

2000-2014
Utah Judicial Council, Court Annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Member

1995-Present
David K. Watkiss, American Inns of Court

2001-2009
Special Master for United States District Court (United States of America v. Douglas E. Brown, et al.; Civil No. 2:95CR 245B)

1999-2006
The Utah Council on Conflict Resolution, Board of Directors, Chair

2001-2005
Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Judicial System, Member

2000-2002
Registry of Independent Scientific and Technical Advisors at The Private Adjudication Center at Duke University, Co-Director

1995-2001
American Judicature Society, Board of Directors, Member

1996-2001
Utah Judicial Council Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Judicial System, Chair

1995-1998
Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Member

1994-1998
Conference of Chief Justices, Board of Directors, Member

1996-1997
Utah State Bar Access to Justice Task Force, Co-Chair

1987-1993
Utah Constitutional Revision Commission, Member

1992
Duke University Law School, Faculty Member, SJI-funded Judging Science program for appellate and trial judges

1985-1991
Judicial Conference of the United States, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Advisory Committee, Member

1986-1990
Utah Judicial Council Task Force on Gender and Justice, Co-Chair

Education

1969
University of Utah College of Law, JD
◦  First in Class
◦  Order of the Coif
◦  Note Editor, Utah Law Review

1966
University of Utah, B.S., Political Science (cum laude)

Presentations & Publications

2019
◦  “Practical Mindfulness: Clear and Calm in the Heat of Conflict,” Presenter, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law

2015
◦  "Trial Skills Academy," Invited Panelist, Litigation Section of the Utah State Bar, Salt Lake City, Utah

2014
◦  
Presented at the Utah State Bar Convention on “How to Build a Firm Culture that Handles Conflict Constructively”

2013
◦ 
Presented at the Twin Crises in the Law event sponsored by the Utah Law Review
◦  Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts, Utah Bar Journal

2012
◦  
Michael Zimmerman presents "Preservation and Post-Trial Motions" to the Aldon J. Anderson American Inn of Court.

2011
◦  
Utah Appellate Practice, in INSIDER’S GUIDE TO APPELLATE PRACTICE, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers (book chapter with Troy L. Booher and Katherine Carreau forthcoming)

1998
◦  
A New Approach to Court Reform, Judicature, Vol. 82. No. 3

1998
◦  
Where We Have Been and Where We May Be Headed: Some Thoughts on the Progress of the Utah Judiciary, 11 Utah Bar Journal 18
◦  Remarks Before First 100 Dinner of Utah State Bar, 11 Utah Bar Journal 75

1997
◦  
Point/Counterpoint: Mandatory Reporting of Pro Bono Service: Why is it an Issue, 10 Utah Bar Journal 13

1996
◦  
The Weakness of the Adversary System as a Foundation for Lawyer Ethics, Invited Speaker, ABA Litigation Section Board of Directors' Annual Meeting

1994-1997
◦  
The Chief Justice's Annual Seminar on Ethics, Host and Speaker, Park City Bar Association

1993
◦  
Soft Scientific Evidence: When is it Admissible and What Does it Prove? Faculty Member, ABA Appellate Judges Seminar

1988
◦  
Professional Standards Versus Personal Ethics: The Lawyer's Dilemma, Commencement Speaker, University of Utah College of Law

Court Admissions

United States Supreme Court

United States Court of Appeals
◦  Second Circuit
◦  Fourth Circuit
◦  Ninth Circuit
◦  Tenth Circuit

Supreme Court of Utah

Supreme Court of California

United States District Courts
◦  District of Utah
◦  Central District of California
◦  Southern District of California