After nearly three decades with the Utah State Courts — the last two as its top administrator — Richard H. Schwermer is retiring.
“It has been my honor and privilege to serve Utah's judiciary,” he said in the announcement Wednesday. “I hope that my efforts, along with those of my colleagues, have improved access to justice, and the public's trust and confidence in our courts.”
Schwermer, who will retire in January, has served with the Utah State Courts since 1990, and as an assistant state court administrator since 1995. He was appointed the chief state court administrator in March 2017.
During his tenure, he worked as the state judiciary branch’s representative to the Legislature and helped develop and certify Utah's drug courts.
“On behalf of the judicial branch, I express gratitude to Mr. Schwermer for his many contributions to our court system and his years of dedicated service,” said Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant.
Schwermer, who holds a juris doctorate from the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, said in an interview this year with his alma mater that he went into law because he had “an idealistic notion of helping people, standing up for the underdog, and perhaps bringing order to disorder.”
In the first four years after he graduated, he worked at the Disability Law Center.
“I had a caseload of 600-plus right off the bat, and practiced in courts all over the state,” he said. “I’ve never done something more soul-satisfying. Or exhausting. And I learned that for me, affecting one client or one case at a time is just a start; that policy change and issue advocacy is just as satisfying, and more sustainable."
As state court administrator, Schwermer worked with the roughly 200 judges in the state to implement policy changes, including a move this year to give Utah judges more information about those accused of a crime before deciding if the suspects must post bail.
When he steps down early next year, retired Judge Mary T. Noonan will temporarily fill his role while the state searches for a new administrator. She has had more than 15 years of experience on the bench.