SCM Board Appoints Rick Van Wagoner and Ruth Shapiro as New Leadership

[SALT LAKE CITY,UT] April 7, 2022 ― Snow Christensen & Martineau announces they have appointed attorney Rick Van Wagoner as Chair of the Board and attorney Ruth Shapiro as firm Vice President.

Rick Van Wagoner – Chair of the Board of Directors

A substantial part of Rick’s criminal defense practice focuses on working with prosecutorial and investigative agencies to prevent charges from being filed in the first place.  When charges are filed, he provides his client with a vigorous defense.

Rick’s civil practice often involves cases with potential criminal cross-overa mix that can complicate both strategies.  Often, these cases also involve professional licensing issues.  He is often asked to speak before his peers in the legal industry on the complex interplay between criminal and civil matters.

The third leg of Rick’s practice is First Amendment law.  He has represented institutional clients in cases involving First Amendment Speech, Religion, and Association Clauses.  He has also represented individuals whose speech rights and rights of association have been impaired or infringed due to their unpopularity which is the essence of the constitutional protections.  Rick is a member and former board member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

Rick defends government entities in cases involving alleged violations of individuals’ First Amendment or other constitutional rights.  He also represents select plaintiffs.  Among his well-known cases are the Ogden City Ten Commandments case, the Ogden City signage case, the Murray City prayer case, the Wendy Weaver (lesbian high school coach) case, and cases allowing gay clubs in the Salt Lake City School District.

Rick is deeply interested in the issues surrounding meaningful reform of the criminal justice system.

Ruth Shapiro – Firm Vice President

Ruth Shapiro is Chair of the firm’s Tort and Insurance Practice Group and serves on the firm Business Development Advisory Committee. Her practice focuses on personal injury defense and employment matters.  She is a well-respected trial attorney defending catastrophic injury, wrongful death, employment, product liability, and premises liability cases. Ruth has numerous defense jury verdicts in a variety of cases.

In her nearly 30 years of practice, Ruth has averaged two trials per year. In the past four years alone, Ruth has obtained defense jury verdicts in matters involving a double fatality from a truck accident (with a $22 million demand), a $2.8 million catastrophic injury case, a fatality from use of farm equipment (with a $3 million demand), an employment contract dispute, employment discrimination, premises liability, and a snow tubing, skier-collision.

Ruth has practiced with law firms in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C. She also served as in-house counsel for a large liability insurance carrier’s third-party administrator. Prior to enrolling in law school, Ruth played professional tennis, traveling throughout North America to compete.

Ruth currently participates in local, regional, and national road cycling events with a regional cycling team.  Ruth also serves on USA Cycling’s Safety Advisory Committee.