The Utah State Bar this week honored 3rd District Judge Glenn Iwasaki as "Judge of the Year" at its annual summer convention.
Iwasaki was appointed to the bench in 1992 in the state court's 3rd District, which includes Salt Lake, Tooele and Summit counties. He received his law degree from the University of Utah and previously worked as deputy Salt Lake County attorney. Iwasaki also has been a partner in the law firm of Collard, Pixton, Iwasaki & Downs.
Among other things, Iwasaki has been an adjunct professor of law at the University of Utah, served on the Utah Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Judicial System, and also was part of the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Iwasaki, whose family was held in an Idaho internment camp for people of Japanese ancestry during World War II, was the 13th ethnic minority admitted to the Utah State Bar in 1971.
He has said in an interview with the Deseret News that he decided to become a lawyer at age 14 because he saw this career as a way to help other people. He also was guided by his family's strong work ethic and the high expectations that his parents held for him and his siblings: Iwasaki became a lawyer and then a judge, his brother became an engineer and his sister became a nurse.
"We all went to college," Iwasaki said. "We never sat down and talked about it, but that was something that was expected of us."
The Utah State Bar also extended other honors at its achievement awards gathering on Friday.
• Charles R. Brown is the group's "Lawyer of the Year." Brown is a tax attorney and director with Clyde Snow Sessions & Swenson, a Salt Lake City firm. He often provides free legal help to low-income people, and also helps those in the military and their families with disputes over federal and state taxes.
• The Young Lawyers Division of the Bar, which is headed by attorney Stephanie Wilkins Pugsley, was recognized for its community service efforts, which most recently include the "Wills for Heroes" program to help those in the military. The group also has held a toy drive, provided school supplies for low-income children, and co-hosted a mentoring marathon offering interview advice to more than 60 law students.• The Admissions Committee, headed by Judge James Z. Davis and Steven T. Waterman, also was recognized for its efforts to improve the rules involving admission to the bar, the application process, the bar exam and the reviews to assess an individual's character.