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Utah Life Sciences News & Events


April 13, 2022

PALO ALTO, CA (April 12, 2022) – Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the premier provider of legal services to technology, life sciences, and growth enterprises worldwide, announced today that Justice Christine Durham has joined the firm’s litigation department as Senior Of Counsel in the Salt Lake City office.

With her 35 years of service on the Utah Supreme Court, Justice Durham’s addition fortifies Wilson Sonsini’s appellate practice. Justice Durham’s move also re-connects her with former Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas, who joined Wilson Sonsini’s Salt Lake City office upon his retirement in March 2022. Justices Durham and Himonas served together on the Utah Supreme Court.

Following her appointment by Governor Scott M. Matheson in 1982, Justice Durham became the first woman to serve on the Utah Supreme Court. Four years earlier, she was the first woman appointed to the state’s district court. In 1993, Justice Durham was on a shortlist of candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court put forth by the Clinton administration to replace retiring Justice Harry Blackmun. In 2002, Justice Durham achieved yet another milestone by being the first woman Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. She served as Chief Justice until 2012 and retired from the bench in November 2017. From 2018 until she joined Wilson Sonsini, Justice Durham was an attorney at Zimmerman Booher, an appellate law firm in Salt Lake City.

“Justice Durham’s many achievements are a testament to her tireless work as a jurist and her legacy of undertaking important initiatives, like those that focus on equal access to justice, foundational legal rights, and judicial education, accountability, and administration,” said Doug Clark, managing partner at Wilson Sonsini. “Throughout her career, Justice Durham has earned accolades from her many colleagues and peers, and has inspired many of us throughout the legal industry. We’re pleased to welcome her to our firm as the newest member of our litigation department and appellate practice.”

Justice Durham founded, led, and has actively participated in professional judicial organizations across the U.S. and in Utah. She helped to create the National Association of Women Judges and to organize Women Lawyers of Utah. She currently co-chairs the Utah State Bar Access to Justice Commission. When Justice Durham retired from Utah’s Supreme Court, 75 female judges and commissioners across Utah sent her a letter of appreciation thanking her for the trail she had blazed for them.

“Justice Durham is a role model in the legal field,” said Justice Himonas. “In addition to her exemplary service during her time as a state district court judge and a justice on the Utah Supreme Court, Justice Durham has been a fervent advocate against exclusions and restrictions that individuals faced because of their gender, race, or sexual identity and preference. That includes shortcomings in how women—particularly victims of assault or domestic violence—are mistreated in the legal process. I look forward to working with her again now that she’s also joined Wilson Sonsini.”

Justice Durham has received numerous awards throughout her career. For example, in September 2012, she received the Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence from the American Judicature Society. In 2008, Justice Durham received the Transparent Courthouse Award for contributions to judicial accountability and administration from the Institute for the Advancement of the Legal System. In 2007, she received the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence, an annual award presented to a state court judge who exemplifies the highest level of judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Justice Durham has also been recognized for developing interactive education programs in content areas that previously did not have curricula, such as domestic violence, child witness testimony, and scientific evidence.

“I’m pleased to be joining Wilson Sonsini and look forward to continuing my career at a firm that has an established record of representing clients in high-profile matters, including important matters that were decided by federal and state appellate courts across the U.S.,” said Justice Durham. “I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to continue addressing important issues that define and shape legal jurisprudence and matters of importance to the firm’s clients.”

Justice Durham began her career in 1971 as an instructor of legal medicine at Duke University Law Medical School, and opened her own general law practice in Durham, North Carolina, representing private clients in domestic law, employment law, and personal injury law work.

Justice Durham earned her J.D. from Duke Law School in 1971, at a time when fewer than 3 percent of the lawyers in the United States were women, and a B.A., with high honors, from Wellesley College. She currently serves as an emeritus member of Duke Law School’s Board of Trustees.

On November 2, 2021, Wilson Sonsini announced that the firm was opening an office in Salt Lake City. The initial team of attorneys based in the office included Marc Porter, Matt Squires, and former Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas, who has since joined after retiring from the bench in March 2022. The firm now has more than 14 attorneys, including Justice Durham, who are based in Wilson Sonsini’s Salt Lake City office.


About Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

For more than 60 years, Wilson Sonsini’s services and legal disciplines have focused on serving the principal challenges faced by the management and boards of directors of business enterprises. The firm is nationally recognized as a leading provider to growing and established clients seeking legal counsel to complete sophisticated corporate and technology transactions; manage governance and enterprise-scale matters; assist with intellectual property development, protection, and IP-driven transactions; represent them in contested disputes; and/or advise them on antitrust or other regulatory matters. With deep roots in Silicon Valley, Wilson Sonsini has offices in 18 technology and business hubs worldwide. For more information, please visit www.wsgr.com.