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Kent Winward's Writings

Since 2012, Kent Winward, the lead attorney at The Bankruptcy Firm, has been a community legal columnist for the Ogden Standard Examiner where he discusses current legal issues.  In addition, he has had his writings published in other newspapers.


Below are links to some of  his articles.   




Partisanism is Tearing Us Apart


We humans like our tribes — race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and even choice of social media; these are all arenas that attract those who engage in tribal mentality.

If We Don't Read The Censors Win


 A children's series written by Bill Cosby was challenged — not for its content, but for who wrote the books.

No One Can Fill Scalia's Role As A Judicial Malcotent


I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to judges. Any attorney who practices in front of actual judges will tell you the same thing. We love it when a judge rules our way. We hate it when the judge doesn’t. No matter how skilled or how right you think you are, the judge — not you — will be deciding.

Utah Legislators Want to Play Batman


The Utah State Legislature’s one-sided feud with the federal government boiled over this week when the Utah Senate passed a resolution urging Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution. 

PayPayday lenders use legal system as their collection muscle

January 17, 2015

The Tribune recently ran an article about the nearly 8,000 lawsuits in small claims court directly related to payday lenders. Wendy Gibson, a spokesperson for the payday loan industry, responded by saying she would "welcome discussion and debate about the state of the industry."


We say, Bravo! Utah's payday loan industry is very much in need of further discussion and debate.


Governor was appropriately rebuked in Planned Parenthood case

October 2, 2015

Unsurprisingly the response to my column last week was split right down the middle, half chastising me and half thanking me. (And to the commentor on the site predicting the demise of my...

Abortion law balances respective rights

September 25, 2015

Over forty years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade on the issue of abortion. The argument still predominates political discourse, despite the ruling of the court.

Intellectual property laws can't diminish future research

September 18, 2015

Myriad Genetics, Inc. is a Utah company awaiting a decision from the High Court of Australia, the down under version of our U.S. Supreme Court. The case was argued back in June of this year and the Australian Court hasn’t ruled yet. At issue is whether Myriad Genetics can patent the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which research has shown are genes that can predict a predisposition to breast cancer.

We need checks and balances on land policy

September 11, 2015

Land issues are a big deal in Utah, although a drive through some of the state’s more desolate and inhospitable regions may make you wonder from the air conditioned comfort of your car why sagebrush is such a big deal. The Utah Legislature approved a study in 2013 at a taxpayer cost of $500,000 to look at the economic impact of transferring federal land in Utah directly to the State of Utah. 

The law respects the past and present

September 4, 2015

The law tends to be very focused on the past and the present. Changes in the law, even when they are seemingly large are still only incremental steps from where the law was. This is why despite election hype and doomsday warnings, significant change doesn’t really happen. 

Last week's column sparked lots of emails ... from the incarcerated

August 21, 2015

I enjoy hearing from readers of my column. I’m often surprised at what strikes a chord with people and last week was no exception: I received more emails from readers than any of my other previous columns. Last week I wrote about the United States’ number one ranking for incarcerating its citizens. Utah, while having the estimated incarceration rate of North Korea (620 per 100,000 people), is still well below the more disgraceful national average of 910. 

The U.S. is 'the land of the jailed'

August 14, 2015

In 1970, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novels, including The Gulag Archipelago, a three novel series detailing the Soviet forced labor camps. He was eventually exiled from the Soviet Union, and then used his literary career to fight against the totalitarian regime.

Sneaky financial fraud soaks people for billions

August 7, 2015

 have a problem imagining "a billion." I really have a hard time imagining 10 times a billion. If you traveled a billion miles toward the sun, you would go too far. If you traveled away from the sun, 10 times a billion would take you right out of the solar system. Now think about $10.8 billion.

Why American lawyers revere legal precedence

July 31, 2015

A lot of things have changed about the practice of law since I began law school in 1986. I finally started to use a word processor for my school papers and I was first introduced to the world of electronic research.

Vanity license plates ruled government, not private speech

July 24, 2015

My daughter, Emily, hates vanity license plates. Whenever I see one that I think will give her fits, I grab the little computer in my pocket and take a picture and text it to her. Like PED-CAR on the back of a Honda Odyssey (unsure if that is a pediatrician, pedicurist with lots of kids, or the lack of horsepower that makes the Odyssey feel like you are peddling.) 

Harper Lee's 'Watchman' is necessary for our time

July 17, 2015

I read Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set A Watchman,“ this week. Anyone who has read ”To Kill a Mockingbird“ or seen the Gregory Peck movie is familiar with the attorney, Atticus Finch, and his two children, Jem and the tom-boy Scout. By a large consensus, To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel and story that plays to our national ego of “justice for all.” 

Legal system a bulwark against chaos

July 10, 2015

Nothing happened this week in the law. Nothing to report on today. ... Actually, those comments aren’t exactly true, because laws were enforced, lawsuits were filed, appeals courts issued decisions, legislation was passed and the wheels of justice chugged on down the track. 

Noise of same-sex ruling reaction obscures facts

July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July! Contrary to Justice Scalia’s dissent in the same-sex marriage case, American democracy is not threatened, but rather, still thriving after 239 years. (And my inner sixth-grade civics teacher wants to remind Justice Scalia that America isn’t really a democracy, but a representative republic — the republic for which the flag stands, and to which we all swear allegiance on this national holiday — but I digress a little.)

Health coverage ruling a work of common sense

June 26, 2015

The law is a conceit. We tend to pretend the law is a solid, statutory base on which we build our society, but the overall solidity is an illusion. The law in places can be quite ... mushy. The illusion, however, is built on a solid theoretical foundation. 

Glacial pace of legal system speeds up for ACA case

June 19, 2015

With two big Supreme Court cases looming, I’m having a hard time focusing on any other legal topics.

Congress could solve health care suit with one quick fix

June 12, 2015

In the next couple of weeks the Supreme Court will be ruling on the remaining cases argued in its current session. One decision is going to have an immediate impact on people you know and who are your neighbors or family. 

Supreme Court goes easy on Rapper's Facebook threats

June 5, 2015

Do you remember Tone Dougie, aka Anthony Douglas Elonis? Tone Dougie was the would-be Facebook rapper who got charged with five counts of communicating threats in violation of federal law to the FBI, local law enforcement, a kindergarten class, amusement park employees and his ex-wife. 

Data applications reduce legal research workloads

May 29, 2015

In 1988, I got my first job as a law clerk in a downtown Salt Lake law firm. My summer clerkship introduced me to a world I hadn’t even known existed, where a college student could get paid $10 an hour while the law firm would bill him out at $40 or $50 an hour.

Society must wrestle with the implications of big data

May 22, 2015

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling in the case of ACLU v. Clapper -- the name of the lawsuit sounds as if the ACLU has moved from school prayer, KKK protests and nativity scenes to fighting against sound technology that allows you to turn your lights on and off simply by clapping your hands. 

There are more people spying than you might think

May 15, 2015

I don’t want to be spied on.

I also don’t want to be victimized by a terrorist attack. None of us do, but we have a problem.

Our laws and our ideas of how the world works are mired in the past. Our laws can’t catch up if the public, our judges, our leaders, and our legislators don’t understand how our current world works.

Public vision of the legal system skewed by the news

May 8, 2015

You can’t escape your own skin. Sure, there are some who claim they can astrally project outside their bodies, but astral projection isn’t going to go to work for you, pay the bills, eat dinner, sit on the couch and watch Netflix, or go out for a jog. 

Charles Manson can marry but my safe-sex (sic) stylist can't?

May 1, 2015

At 9 a.m. (11 a.m. Eastern time) on Tuesday, I sat in my office consulting with a couple about their legal problems. The couple had been together for nine or so years, as I recall, and had a 4-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. Due to a significant reduction in pay due to a job change, they found themselves in my office.

The Need For Legal Education

April 24, 2014

I received an email from the Utah State Bar this week asking me to take a survey on the future of law school education. From what I’ve seen in the 26 years...

Competing moral principles complicate the law

April 17, 2015

In the news this week, Chief Justice Roberts was called up for jury duty in Maryland. The lawyers didn’t select him for the jury. I can’t help but...

Roosevelt's 2nd Bill of Rights could have changed America

April 10, 2015

The Magna Carta exhibit is going to be at Weber State next week on April 13-14, along with a lecture by Dr. Stephen Francis on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. I wrote about the Magna Carta a couple of weeks ago, going back the full 800 years of its history. . . .

Constitution already protects religious freedom

April 4, 2015

Over the last week, Indiana and Arkansas have been in the news for religious freedom bills that passed their legislatures, and in Indiana’s case a bill that...

A toast to the Magna Carta, freedom, and Sir Edward Coke

March 28, 2015

This column had its birth 800 years ago in the grassy meadow of Runnymede. Remember Prince John from Robin Hood? 

Oddities and minutiae of the Utah Legislature

March 20, 2015

Five hundred and twenty eight is the number of bills passed by the Utah Legislature in its last 45-day session. Fifty of those were resolutions, which don’t...


Utah legislative dilemmas traced to Supreme Court

March 13, 2015

The legislative session ended Thursday night. Most of the highlights (or lowlights) of this last session can be traced back to one source — the U.S Supreme Court.

Health insurance fairy tale worth striving for

March 6, 2015

Laws by their very nature draw lines. We tell each other stories, because in the narratives it helps us understand where the lines are to be drawn.

Hughes' Medicaid myopia will cost all Utahns

February 28, 2015

Greg Hughes, speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, wants to raise your health insurance premiums and let you and your employers pay taxes to Washington, D.C.

Some rules etched in stone have sharp edges

February 21, 2015

What does it mean to have something written in stone? Words etched in stone carry significance and a sense of stability, immutability. 

Most legislating is a grinding, boring process

February 14, 2015

I don’t know if you noticed with all the Valentine’s Day hype, but the Utah Legislature is back in session. 

Online payday lenders often in league with scammers

February 7, 2015

Here is the thing about criminals — they violate the law. A law is only as good as the public’s willingness to follow the law. By definition, thieves are going to try to steal. 


Key to the law remains: Did he intend to do it?

January 31, 2015

The law does not move swiftly. Although Latin has been a dead language for a long time, lawyers still like to keep the language on life support by using an occasional Latin phrase or two.

All markets need rules to encourage competition, fairness

January 24, 2015

The federal government effectively shut down a free market during the first part of 2014. 

Awful customer service from health insurance carriers

January 17, 2015

I like rules. Rules provide structure and consistency. A large part of human existence is spent trying to predict how other people will behave and rules speed that process up and allow for a quick determination of cause and effect. Rules don’t have to be written down.

Looking for enlightenment beyond the terror

January 10, 2015

With the attack in Paris the last week, it seems that everyone is talking about freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

There's too much law for any human to grasp

January 3, 2015

There is an old saying about the law that states “ignorance of the law is no excuse.” You know it is an old saying because a little over 100 years ago,...

Court action predicted on health care, gay marriage

December 27, 2014


‘Tis the season for end of the year lists. The main reason for end of the year lists is that if you have been churning out news stories or columns week after...

'Out jumps an evil Santa Claus'

December 20, 2014

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d rework a couple of Christmas songs and make them about lawyers and legal stuff.

Attorney by day, ballet dancer by night

December 13, 2014

‘Tis the season for the annual Christmas traditions. Santa Clauses run through the streets. Christmas Village lights up downtown Ogden. And I put on dance...

Pondering rappers, lawyers and flying pigs

December 6, 2014

A lot happened this week in the law, so this week I thought I’d give you some legal briefs.

Laws must incorporate modern fundamental rights

November 29, 2014

One day ago the country gathered to give thanks. In less than a month, we will be celebrating the holiday season and getting ready to bring in the next half of the...

Utah has grand juries? Who would have known?

November 22, 2014

All week long I’ve been thinking about ham sandwiches. Actually every time I checked the news, I was waiting to see what the grand jury in Missouri had...

Scams by fake lawyers target the most vulnerable people

November 15, 2014

I got an email this week that was a press release from the Utah State Bar with the heading, “Utah State Bar Warns Citizens of Scam.” My first thought...


Campaign rhetoric fogs the need for real talk

November 8, 2014

Last Tuesday, my wife and I went to the Dee Events Center to vote. We went at lunchtime, so the polling location was active. I was struck by all the different...

How an imaginary being is like a corporation

November 1, 2014

When I was young, really young, I had an imaginary friend whose name was Kricky. I think that is how it is spelled, although you can never be sure when you pick a...

Halloween images for interpreting the law

October 25, 2014

I was getting something out of the pantry this week and came across a pillowcase containing some very old candy. Last Halloween our 12-year-old came back with eight...

Trimming the powers of the state on business license raids

October 18, 2014

I got my haircut this week at Olive Hall on 42nd. It was rather uneventful. Penny snipped and clipped and buzzed and I came out looking a little bit less disheveled....

People don't understand the appellate system

October 11, 2014

Back at the end of June, here in this very paper, I told everyone what would happen last Monday with the Supreme Court. No one believed me, but I had the good...

Supreme Court tackles fishy coverup case

October 4, 2014

This last week everyone waited to see if the Supreme Court would decide to hear Utah’s appeal of the 10th Circuit Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage...

Bad rap lyrics crux of First Amendment case

September 27, 2014

This last week has been the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, which is billed as a celebration of the freedom to read. From a legal...

When fiction imitates hard legal cases

September 20, 2014

The lawyer cliche is that hard cases make for bad law. It is such a cliche that it has its own Wikipedia page where you can learn that it first showed up in a legal...

How who wears a tie leads to conflict resolution

September 13, 2014

I’m not a big fan of ties. If I got to pick I wouldn’t wear one, so my office dress code tends heavily towards the casual. For court appearances however,...

Due process keeps legal drama from becoming theater

September 6, 2014

My wife has written a play, The Waiters, that is being produced and is now showing at Ogden’s Good Company Theater (tonight through Sept. 20). I have watched...

How Pluto relates to defining our laws

August 31, 2014

It has been almost eight years since Pluto was scientifically relegated to the status of nonplanet, and I’m still struggling to accept that there are only...

Ferguson debacle like a blown tire on the interstate

August 24, 2014

I was driving north on Interstate 15 a couple of Sundays ago and, as I approached the Lagoon exit, I noticed a strange sound coming from the car, something like I...

We like to blame laws when things go wrong

August 15, 2014

I watched and waited for the headline earlier this month: “Residents Attack Sir Isaac Newton Over North Salt Lake Landslide.” If only the apple...

Nevada tax law has been a windfall for mines last 150 years

August 8, 2014

Our neighbors to the west in Nevada are voting on an amendment to their state constitution in November. The amendment would remove a 150- year-old cap on taxes for...

Larger perspective needed to solve economic ills

August 1, 2014

Perspective can change how something looks. Microscopes can turn your kitchen counter into a thriving rainforest jungle. The Hubble telescope changes the darkest...

Scams engender fear of legal consequences

July 24, 2014

I had a client receive a scam email a couple of weeks ago. This scam isn’t a Nigerian prince (although I think the same person may have drafted the email,...

Politics and elected attorneys don't mix well

July 17, 2014

The headlines this week about two of Utah’s former attorneys general being arrested prompted a lot of articles and commentary. From a legal perspective, my...

Hobby Lobby case was like a rugby match

July 5, 2014

Friday was the Fourth of July and I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday. As I am writing this, I’m still happy and safe, but I’m not sure how I am...


The law boring like soccer until someone scores

June 28, 2014

Watching the law develop is a lot like watching soccer for most people. There appears to be a lot of running around, someone occasionally gets bitten or head-butted,...

Repo man gets unfair help from police

June 21, 2014

Mondays are like the weekend to me. By choice my office is usually open on Saturdays for client meetings, so I opted to just make Monday part of my weekend. My wife...

Field of law impacted by social media

June 14, 2014

This week in Ocean City, a small coastal town in Maryland with a population just under 8,000, Orion Conway was being hunted by the police for a string of burglaries....

Lending clarity to a sometimes brutal process

June 7, 2014

I am a fan of Franz Kafka’s writing. You might remember Kafka as the writer who wrote that weird short story you were supposed to read (but probably...

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