Irene Warr, #38 of Utah’s First 100 Women Lawyers

Warr, a native of Erda, Tooele County, Utah, worked as a legal secretary for the State Tax Commission of Utah after graduating from Tooele High School and prior to enrolling in Westminster College in l950, when she also began working in the law office of the late Dan B. Shields. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in l954, cum laude in biology, chemistry and pre-med, and then entered the University of Utah College of Law, receiving her Juris Doctor in l957. For the last fifty three years she has been engaged in private practice in Salt Lake City, with an emphasis on motor carrier law and estate planning.

Warr has served the Utah Bar Association in several capacities, including terms on the Fee Arbitration Committee and Discipline Committee. She has maintained membership in the Utah State Bar, Salt Lake County Bar, and the American Bar Association, belonging to several sections. Within the community, Warr has a more than fifty year membership in the Gateway League and Utah Federation of Business and Professional Women. She served as State President of BPW, and during her tenure was responsible for the organization of the BPW/Utah Foundation, a charitable corporation which provides grants and scholarships to women who need to improve skills to re-enter the labor market. For approximately fifty years Warr has been a member of the National Transportation Law, Logistics and Policy Association, where she has served as Regional Vice President.

Warr has served as a Trustee and President of the Legal Aid Society and as a Trustee and President of the Sarah Daft Home. She has served as a volunteer for the American Heart Association, and has served the State of Utah on both the State Library Commission and the Physician Assistant Licensing Board by gubernatorial appointment. Over the years she has donated her time to numerous causes, including the American Red Cross, the Salt Lake Council of Women, the Women’s Legislative Council, and the Community Nursing Service. She was among those instrumental in the creation of the Meals on Wheel Program for seniors. After the death of her parents, she incorporated and qualified a 50l(c)(3) Family Foundation, The Allen B. Warr Memorial Park, which she helps fund, and which owns and operates a well-known and much enjoyed community softball park at Erda, Utah.

Warr was an incorporator and member of the Board of Trustees of the Utah Women’s Lobby, and was also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Utah Health Care Institute, which was formerly known as St. Marks Health Care Foundation. She was a Member of the Murray Rotary Club, where she served as their first female sergeant at arms, as a Trustee and as the bulletin editor. In December of 2002 the Murray Rotary Club named Warr as its Paul Harris Fellow for the year in recognition of her contributions to the International Rotary Foundation’s Polio Plus program.

Upon the College’s initiation of that program, in l998 she received the first Distinguished Alumni Award presented by Westminster College, and was also recognized among the first l00 women admitted to practice law in the State (she was the 38th admittee). In July of l999, the Utah State Bar designated Warr the “Distinguished Lawyer of the Year” for the State of Utah and in 2007 she was awarded the Dorathy Merrill Brothers Award for the Advancement of Women in the legal profession. Warr passed away in January of 2013 due to complications stemming from Multiple Myeloma.  At the time of her death, Warr held the oldest active license among Utah’s women lawyers.

On Her Greatest Accomplishment As An Attorney: “The law gave me the ability and resources to give back extensive service through charitable and humanitarian activities in a wide ranging number of activities, from the Business and Professional Women, the State and National Bar Associations, affiliations such as Rotary, etc., and the privilege of creating and supporting two 501 (c ) 3 private Foundations to further community and educational services. I believe that we have an allocated life span on planet earth for the purpose of being of service to others.”

Advice To Other Lawyers (Men Or Women) During Their Careers: “Humanitarian service, and if it must be done within the context of practicing law, then the answer would be pro bono service to those who cannot access the justice system.”

On Her Favorite Memory As A Lawyer: “Pounding the table at the old Court House in Kanab, Utah to make a point to Judge Tebbs, causing the table to collapse, dumping all files and law books to the floor, immediately before the wind coming through an open window (no air conditioning, of course, in the old court houses) blew over the flag pole and very nearly decapitated the Judge! Read about it in the Judge’s biography. His version is a wonderfully well told story.”

Advice To Newly Admitted Attorneys: “Lower any expectations of great wealth. If you intend to engage in private practice, realize that the law is hard work, long and many times difficult and challenging hours and not for the faint of heart. Know that you must find gratification and satisfaction in service, with or without recompense. Try to give up the billable hour in favor of providing service to and meeting the needs of clients, with or without the ability to pay.”