Republican attorney general candidate is not licensed to practice law in Utah

Trent Christensen is not currently a member of the Utah State Bar, but says he’s applied for admission. The Utah Constitution requires the attorney general to be in “good standing” with the state bar.

(Screenshot via Utah Debate Commission) Trent Christensen participates in a Republican primary debate for the 4th Congressional District at the University of Utah, Monday, June 1, 2020. Christensen is now running for Utah attorney general but is not currently licensed to practice law in Utah.

Trent Christensen, a Republican candidate for Utah attorney general, is not currently licensed to practice law in Utah but says he’s in the process of remedying his affiliation status ahead of the 2024 election. To be the Beehive State’s top elected law enforcement officer, Christensen will need to be in “good standing” with the bar.

Under the Utah Constitution, the attorney general must be 25 years old when elected, admitted to practice before the Utah Supreme Court, and in good standing with the Utah Bar. Christensen does not currently meet the last two criteria.

“Trent Christensen is not currently licensed to practice law in Utah,” Maribeth LeHoux, general counsel for the Utah State Bar, said in response to questions from The Salt Lake Tribune. The organization later added that Christensen has never been admitted to the Utah Bar.

Christensen says he’s currently in the process of gaining admission to the Utah Bar, which should be finalized in the next few months.

“I’m excited to be running for Attorney General in Utah. The paperwork to make me eligible to hold office should be completed shortly,” Christensen said during a telephone interview with The Tribune, adding he expects to be sworn in as a member of the Utah Bar in May.

Bar members from several other states can apply for admission in Utah through a reciprocal agreement. Christensen, who is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, has applied in Utah through one such arrangement.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Christensen was employed with a Boston law firm from 2009 to 2011. After working in business and politics, according to his campaign website, he returned to work as an attorney in December 2022, serving as general counsel for a pair of Utah-based firms.

Christensen is one of four Republicans vying to succeed current Attorney General Sean Reyes, who is not seeking another term. Derek Brown, the former Utah GOP chairman and former state legislator, is seeking to secure a spot in the June primary election by gathering signatures. Christensen, Rachel Terry and Frank Mylar are hoping to advance to the primary ballot at the state convention on April 27, where they will need to win at least 40% of Republican delegates’ vote.

In all, there are nine candidates in the race for Attorney General. All but Christensen were members of the Utah Bar when they filed to run for office in January.

Christensen unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Utah’s 4th congressional district in 2020, finishing fourth in the GOP primary election behind Burgess Owens.

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