J. Reuben Clark Law Society

These Are the People in Your JRCLS Neighborhood: A Spotlight
on Annette Jarvis, the Law Society's Finance Committee Chair

The JRCLS Newsletter recently had the privilege of interviewing Annette Jarvis, Chair of the Finance Committee. Here are some fun facts, and words of wisdom, from Annette.


A Little Bit About Annette:

Annette has practiced law for over 30 years and currently is a partner at Dorsey & Whitney in Salt Lake City. A nationally recognized expert in insolvency law, Annette remarked that she “had not intended on practicing bankruptcy law, but [she] found that [she] enjoyed its mix of both litigation and transactional work and the creativity this area of the law requires.”

She grew up in Southern California and attended BYU, where she met her husband, Joe, through a mutual friend. They have five children and several grandchildren. Annette is a busy mother and grandmother who lives by the principle of “putting her family first.” (At the time of our interview, Annette had just returned from Europe with family, where her youngest daughter had just finished serving a mission. She also was in the midst of planning a separate trip to visit another child.) Annette is active in the community and has served on various boards and committees, including the Utah Symphony/Utah Opera Board.  


Memories of BYU Law School:

Annette graduated from BYU Law School in 1979. When asked how she decided to go to law school, Annette said that the choice was basically between doing graduate work in history or going to law school. She ultimately decided to go to BYU Law school, at least in part, because then-Dean Rex Lee (who she described as “visionary” and “very good” to her and her classmates) personally invited Annette to attend. One of her many memories of law school is how kind her classmates were to her after Annette had a baby (during her 2L year). Her fellow Law Review members would come to Annette’s home to work on editing projects with her, to alleviate her burden of finding childcare.

Involvement in the Law Society:

Annette became involved in the Law Society in the late 1990s when she moved back to Salt Lake and was invited to attend a JRCLS luncheon. She soon was invited to join the board of the Salt Lake Chapter and eventually became the chair. While serving as chair in an area with a high concentration of LDS lawyers, Annette was a proponent of using the Law Society to “build bridges” in the interfaith community. She later founded the International Women in the Law Committee of the Law Society—an event prompted, at least in part, by positive feedback from men and women of diverse faiths about an article she had written in the 2006 Clark Memorandum:  Thoughts on The Family: a Proclamation to the World.

She remains active in the Law Society today as Chair of the Finance Committee. Speaking of her goals for the Finance Committee, Annette says that the Committee “[has] worked to increase information flow and support on finances to the Chapters, to establish clearer budgeting and reimbursement practices, to look at the question of appropriate financial reserves for the organization, and to make the website more user friendly.” She enjoys the people she serves with in the Law Society—including her longtime friend, Cynthia Lange, who serves as her Vice Chair on the Finance Committee.

The Mission of the Law Society:

When asked whether the Law Society’s mission (“We affirm the strength brought to the law by a lawyer’s personal religious conviction. We strive through public service and professional excellence to promote fairness and virtue founded upon the rule of law”) has affected her practice, Annette answered, “absolutely.” According to Annette, “We live in a world that increasingly does not value personal religious conviction in the same way that I believe it was valued in the past. However, my personal religious convictions are at the core of how I practice law and how I treat other people as a lawyer. I believe in honesty, fairness, respect for all, and in virtue as fundamental foundations for the application of the law and for the practice of law. These principles are not always easy to live up to in an environment where there are lawyers who do not share these principles, and whose actions can leave you at a situational disadvantage. That can test your integrity, but I believe it is important to maintain your integrity at all costs.  I find it interesting that a lot of my close legal friends are religious in their own churches. While we are not of the same faith, we connect because we recognize that we have similar core values that grow out of our religious convictions. My parents taught me the importance of pursuing excellence in all that I do and in devoting time and energy to public service in our communities. I have tried to live up to what they taught me. Our training as lawyers provides us with important tools we can use to serve our communities. Indeed, if those of us who have strong religious convictions do not spend the time and effort it takes to serve our communities, we dilute the effect our service can provide in shaping our communities.”

Finding Joy in the Practice of Law:

Colleagues and friends of Annette (including the author of this article) have remarked that Annette seems to handle the rigors of personal and professional life remarkably well—while actually enjoying the practice of law. When asked to give advice on finding “joy” in the practice of law, Annette says that her advice “would be to find an area of the law that both fits you and stretches you, to enjoy the people you come in contact with in your career, and to remember to keep the practice of law in perspective in putting your family first and remembering there is a life beyond the law.” Annette didn’t always enjoy the practice of law and “struggled with it the first 5 years or so.” However, she eventually found “her own style to practicing law that worked for [her].”

In short, although the practice of law can be “very stressful,” Annette says she has “always tried to avoid being consumed by [her] job and remembered to enjoy [her] family, interests outside of the law, and the many friends [she] ha[s] made in [her] life and in [her] career.”  

By Megan J. Nelson, Media Committee

Posted: January 27, 2017