Sean Reyes Receives the First-Ever National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
The career of a young Utah lawyer encompasses the perfect example of the state’s slogan “Life Elevated.”
On February 9, 2008, the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division will award the first-ever ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award to Sean D. Reyes of Salt Lake City, Utah. According to Jay E. Ray, Immediate Past Chair of the ABA YLD, this new award was created to recognize the amazing accomplishments of the young lawyer members of the ABA YLD. To receive the award, individuals must first be nominated by one of the ABA YLD’s three hundred young lawyer affiliates or by an ABA Division, Section, Commission, or Committee. This year’s winner, who was nominated by the Utah Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, will receive the award during the ABA YLD’s Assembly at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Los Angeles, California.
According to Ray, “Sean Reyes is exactly the type of young lawyer the award was created to recognize—one who exhibits professional excellence, service to the profession and the bar, service to the community, and has a reputation for legal ethics and professional responsibility.”
Reyes is a 36-year-old litigation shareholder at Parsons Behle & Latimer, the largest firm in Utah. Reyes graduated in 1997 from the University of California Boalt Hall School of Law and graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. In 2004, Reyes became one of the first minority lawyers to make partner at a major firm in the state. He has argued or briefed cases that have gone to the Utah Supreme Court, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court and has been named one of Utah’s Legal Elite since 2005. He was also named to the “Top Forty Under Forty” by Utah Business Magazine in 2006 and was named the Utah State Bar’s Young Lawyer of the Year in 2006. In 2007 Reyes was appointed by the governor of Utah to serve on the Judicial Nominating Committee for the state’s most populous district.
The nomination of Reyes for the award was supported by Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Utah, Christine M. Durham. Chief Justice Durham describes Reyes as being a “remarkable person who is using his extraordinary gifts to serve his profession and his community.”
Reyes has been extremely active in the Utah bar. Nathan D. Alder, President-Elect of the Utah State Bar, describes him as being “one of the finest lawyers you will ever meet” and as being “among the most liked and most admired people I know.” From 2004 to 2005 Reyes was president of the Utah Minority Bar Association. During his tenure, the organization raised more than $120,000 to fund scholarship awards for minority students through an event celebrating the first fifty minority lawyers in Utah.
Reyes has also served on the Executive Council of the Utah Young Lawyers Division since 2003 and served as its treasurer from 2004 to 2007. As part of his service to the bar, Reyes has been involved in countless volunteer endeavors, including community education projects, free legal clinics, fundraising for pro bono legal services, clothing drives, and service on diversity task forces and commissions.
Reyes also devotes hundreds of hours to community organizations and individuals. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the Utah Hispanic and Asian Chambers of Commerce and the Utah Hispanic Business Leadership/Education Foundation, Reyes trains supervisors in California to expand a volunteer English language training program he helped establish for immigrants and refugees, advises the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune on minority issues, and mentors law students. Reyes also performs over two hundred hours of pro bono legal services each year.
The best way to summarize Reyes’ character and accomplishments is to quote an attorney he litigated against who said, “Should I ever need an attorney—or a friend—Sean would be the first name on
my list.” The ABA YLD is proud to recognize Sean D. Reyes as the first ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award recipient and as a true inspiration and role model for all lawyers.
To view more information about Sean Reyes and the other nominees, please visit oyla/recipients07.shtml.