Lauren Scholnick has championed equal protection, civil rights, and due process for her entire life. She got her first taste for fighting for the underdog in elementary school when she organized her classmates against lunchroom tyranny. After witnessing one too many girls being commanded to leave the prime lunchroom table in favor of a more popular girl, Lauren instigated an insurrection. She convinced her classmates to rally together, beat the popular kids to the lunchroom, and take over the prime spot. Shortly thereafter, equality was the rule of law in her suburban Chicago elementary school.
Lauren continued to foster her belief that the most satisfying work comes from fighting for the disenfranchised. In her first post-college job, as a staffer with the Illinois Senate, Lauren was able to institute reforms to guarantee an annual cost of living increase for senior citizens on state assistance. She was also instrumental in implementing a series of public hearings on education reform in Chicago's public school system. Lauren then moved on to two new challenges: working for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ("AFSCME") as its Legislative Director in the Illinois capitol, and later attending law school. During her first year of law school, Lauren proved that she was not afraid to fight for workers' rights even if it required her to face down her law school professors. She organized the law school clerical staff and helped them and the rest of the staff at the University of Illinois secure a collective bargaining agreement, which provided yearly raises and better benefits.
After graduating from law school, Lauren headed to Utah to clerk for Judge Gregory K. Orme where she confronted equal protection and due process issues from the unique perspective of behind the bench. Then, she once again went to work for a clear underdog by becoming campaign manager for Jim Bradley, a Democrat running for Utah Governor against the wildly popular Republican incumbent, Mike Leavitt. While Lauren appreciated both appellate review of civil rights issues and electoral politics, she knew that she needed to be on the front lines of advocating for those who needed it most, which led to her next position as Director of Development at Utah Legal Services. Faced with Congress' drastic cuts to the Legal Services' budget, Lauren created and spearheaded the "And Justice For All" campaign, a collaborative effort of Utah's three legal services providers, to raise funds for civil legal services for the disenfranchised. Thanks to her efforts, the "And Justice For All" campaign is in its 11th year of successfully raising money to ensure equal access to justice for all of Utah's citizens.
Lauren returned to her roots in the labor movement by practicing employment law with a medium-sized Utah firm before she and her partner opened a boutique firm specializing in labor and employment law on behalf of employees. For the last seven years, instead of implementing large-scale reforms via legislation or union organizing, Lauren's practice has focused on reforming the law through individual cases and seeking out justice for her clients. She has been the driving force behind numerous civil rights decisions and jury verdicts. A few of her more notable achievements include:
- Successfully appealing an important racial harassment case resulting in a published appeals decision that contains numerous favorable holdings for employees facing a hostile work environment. Tademy v. Union Pacific Corp., 520 F.3d 1149 (10th Cir. 2008).
- Obtaining Utah's largest Title VII jury verdict ($2,500,000 for emotional distress) for her client who had been raped by her supervisor. Parker v. Olympus Healthcare Center, 2:00 CV-626 (D. Utah 2002).
- Establishing that a cause of action for wrongful termination exists for Utah employees who are discharged from their employment in retaliation for filing workers' compensation claims. Touchard v. La-Z-Boy, Inc., 148 P.3d 945 (Utah 2006).
- Representing a transgendered employee under the Price Waterhouse theory that people who do not conform to gender stereotypes have a cause of action under Title VII & the Equal Protection clause. Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority, 502 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir. 2007).
- Establishing that employees must be paid for pre-shift activities when those activities are required for the job. Land, et al. v. EG&G, Case No. 2:04-CV-00479, Order on Partial Summary Judgment (Benson, J., D. Utah, March 26, 2007).
- Making clear that police detention of witnesses without probable cause or consent violates the Fourth Amendment. Walker v. City of Orem, 451 F.3d 1139 (10th Cir. 2007).
In addition to these legal achievements, Lauren has a strong commitment to pro bono work and volunteerism. She spends over 100 hours per year on pro bono cases, and in 2004, she was named Utah's Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. For the last 10 years, Lauren has been a supervising attorney for the Guadalupe Street Law Project, where people who cannot afford legal services can seek advice from law students and attorneys. She also chaired the Major Gifts Committee for the Community Legal Center and she currently sits on the board of Utah Legal Services and the Utah Association for Justice. Lauren also somehow finds time to donate countless hours each legislative session lobbying the Utah Legislature on important civil rights issues such as lowering the number of employees required to be covered under the Utah Antidiscrimination Act.
Lauren's devotion to civil rights and equality is simply contagious. All of the people that work at Lauren's firm, from the lawyers, to the law clerks to the legal assistants, devote time to pro bono work and other community activities. Her firm, which is the largest plaintiffs' employment law firm in Utah and Idaho, also has a strong commitment to promoting equal access to justice, and contributes to the Impact Fund, the Community Legal Center, and recently, an in-depth study on the retention of women lawyers in Utah firms.
Lauren is one of those unique people who promotes equality and justice in nearly all she does and who has inspired many law students and new lawyers to do the same.
University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, Illinois
Juris Doctor, May 1995 cum laude
Honors: Honors in Legal Writing and in Moot Court, Dean's List, AmJur Award for Excellence in Civil Procedure, Rickert Award for Service to the Law School
Stanford University, Stanford, California
Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, June 1988
SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Adjunct Professor in Employment Law, January 2016 - Present
Strindberg Scholnick Birch Hallam Harstad Thorne, LLC
Salt Lake City, Utah
Member, January 2002 - present
Cohne, Rappaport & Segal
Salt Lake City, Utah
Associate Attorney, April 1999 - January 2002
Utah Legal Services, Inc.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Director of Development/Staff Attorney, November 1996 - May 1999
Utah Court of Appeals, Judge Gregory K. Orme
Salt Lake City, Utah
Judicial Clerk, August 1995 - June 1996
Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger
Summer Associate, May - August 1994
United States District Court, Judge Marvin Aspen
Judicial Extern, May - August 1993
Jim Bradley for Governor Campaign
Salt Lake City, Utah
Campaign Manager, June 1996 - November 1996
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Organizer, August - November 1992 and June - August 1995.
Legislative Director, February 1991 - August 1992
Illinois State Senate
Springfield and Chicago, Illinois
Legislative Analyst, November 1988 - February 1991
David Orr for Cook County Clerk Campaign
Campaign Manager, August - November 1990
- 2021 Utah Legislative Update and Protecting Employee Interests Before the Legislature - Utah Employment Lawyers (March 2021)
- "Making a Fresh Start in 2021 - Ethical Considerations in Starting Your Own Firm" - Utah Bar Litigation Section (December 2020)
- Career Advancement - Women Lawyers of Utah (Nov 2020)
- 2019 Utah Legislative Update and Update on Utah's State and Federal Courts - Utah Employment Lawyers (May 2020)
- Implicit Bias – Utah Employment Lawyers Association (“UELA”) (July 2015)
- Employment Law Primer – New Lawyer Training Program (October 2014)
- Implicit Bias: Employment Discrimination’s New Wave – Utah Association for Justice (“UAJ”) (October 2014)
- Employer Wellness Programs – ABA EEO Section Meeting (March 2014)
- Mediating Employment Law Cases – ABA Center for Professional Development (March 2013)
- The Tables Are Turned: When Human Resource Professionals and In-House Lawyers Bring Claims Against Their Employer – ABA EEO Section Meeting (April 2013)
- Settlement, Severance, Non-Compete & Non-Solicitation Agreements –UELA (March 2012)
- “Excellence in ADR” Panel (March 2011)
- Voir Dire: A Demonstration – UAJ Annual Convention (September 2010)
- Attorney Conducted Voir Dire – UELA (February 2010)
- Dealing with the Press – UELA (April 2009)
- Voir Dire Panel – Tri-State Federal Bar Convention (October 2009)
- Giving Back – New Lawyer Ethics (June 2008)
- Harassment Training for Various Employers including Park City, Utah Legal Services and Peterbuilt (2007 - present)
- View from the Employee’s Side: What Makes a Good Plaintiff’s Lawsuit – New Lawyer’s CLE (August 2007)
- Successful Approaches To Recovering Punitive Damages – National Employment Lawyers Assoc. (“NELA”) Annual Convention (June 2007)
- Focus Groups and Mock Trials – NELA Annual Convention (June 2006)
- You Too Can Do a Mock Trial – Employment Law Section (April 2006)
- Creative Pro Bono Panel, Women Lawyers of Utah Annual Retreat (October 2005)
- HR Rx: The (Juris) Doctor is in – National Association of Bar Executives (February 2005)
- Writing for UALD Investigators (Spring 2005)
- Prince Yeates v. Young Panel Discussion – Employment Law Section Annual Meeting (January 2004)
- Employee Claims in Utah (May 2004)
- Non-Competes: The Wild West of Employment Law – Employment Law Section (October 2004)
- Employment Case Law Update – Employment Law Section Annual Meeting (May 2003)
- Lawyers who Lunch column, with Edward Havas, Utah Trial Journal, starting Winter 2015.
- The Impact of Leaving Idaho’s Government Employees Unprotected, with Erika Birch, The Advocate, May 2014
- Giving Back: The Rewards of Pro Bono, with Edward Prignano, Utah Bar Journal, May/June 2013, Vol. 26 No.3.
- President’s Message: From the Corner Office of the Managing Partner of the Largest Plaintiff’s Law Firm in Utah, Utah Trial Journal, Winter 2011.
- President’s Message: Finding Common Ground with the Tea Party, Utah Trial Journal, Spring 2011.
- President’s Message: In Defense of the Twin Protectors of the Middle Class: Civil Service and Labor Unions, Utah Trial Journal, Summer 2011.
- Efficiency and Efficacy of Voir Dire in Utah: A Prescription for Change, Utah Trial Journal, Summer 2009.
- Tademy v. Union Pacific Corporation: A Plaintiffs’ Victory in the Tenth Circuit, with Erika Birch, Utah Trial Journal, Summer 2008.
- How to Win a Title VII Case, with April L. Hollingsworth, Utah Trial Journal, Summer 2003.
Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year, Utah State Bar, 2004.
Lawyer of the Year, Labor and Employment Section, Utah State Bar, 2007.
Mickey Duncan Award, ACLU of Utah, 2008.
Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession, Utah State Bar, 2011.
Enlightened 50, Community Foundation of Utah, 2013
Utah State Bar, admitted May 1997
Idaho State Bar, admitted September 2006
Illinois State Bar, admitted November 1995
Member of: And Justice for All Leadership Committee; Utah Association for Justice Legislative Committee; Pro bono Counsel for Tenants on Eviction Calendar; Utah Bar New Lawyer Training Program Mentor; A. Sherman Christensen Inn of Court