Are you considering applying for the Sandbox? Here are a few things to consider.
The Sandbox is for innovative service models that cannot otherwise be offered under the traditional Rules of Professional Conduct or are considered the unauthorized practice of law.
There are a few qualifications for this mandate:
- Disbarred lawyers are barred from holding an ownership interest of greater than 10% in any Sandbox entity.
- The Sandbox is not meant to be a mechanism by which out-of-state lawyers can practice in Utah without otherwise completing the requirements imposed by the Utah State Bar.
- The Sandbox has nothing to do with selling services to the Utah State Court system. Authorization in the Sandbox does not make you a preferred vendor to or for the court system. It will not influence how the court system may or may not enter business arrangements with your organization.
- The Sandbox does not and cannot impact requirements imposed by other applicable Utah or federal laws, the laws or requirements imposed by other jurisdictions, or the requirements imposed by other regulatory bodies. Authorization to practice law in Utah through the Sandbox does not release any entity or individual therein from conforming to all other applicable laws and regulations.
- As Rule 5.4 and Standing Order No. 15 make clear, lawyers working with or in entities participating in the Sandbox must maintain their duties under the Rules of Professional Conduct unless an entity’s authorization contains an explicit waiver of a particular rule to enable the business model. If your business model needs a specific waiver of one of the rules of professional conduct, you should set that out clearly in your application.
- Nonlawyer providers within your proposed model are not required to conform to the Rules of Professional Conduct. However, you should consider and be clear about how you will ensure that the services provided by nonlawyers (whether human or software) will not cause consumer harm.
Currently, there are no fees for applying for or participating in the Sandbox. This is subject to change at any time.
Interested applicants should also be aware of the “hidden” cost of reporting requirements as a Sandbox participant. This cost will vary between higher and lower innovation entities due to the difference in data reporting requirements, which could incur a higher business cost to the Sandbox participant in labor or software costs. You can read more about the data reporting requirements in the Innovation Office Manual.
Public Nature of Applications
Your application will be made publicly available. You can make a claim of business confidentiality for specific information that would qualify for protection under GRAMA Section 63G-2-305. Making false or materially misleading statements in this application is grounds for loss of authorization to practice within the Sandbox. Other criminal and civil sanctions may also apply.
Responsibility to Update
Should your answers to any of the application questions change, you are responsible for updating the information with the Innovation Office. Failure to promptly update information will be considered relevant to your regulatory status.
Still have questions?
Helen Lindamood, the program coordinator, is happy to answer any further questions you may have about applying for the Sandbox. Please email your questions or request a call to discuss your concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.