Accomplished and ambitious, trial attorney Heather Thuet wears many hats during her busy days. A shareholder at Christensen & Jensen, she co-chairs the firm’s real estate practice group and also practices catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, professional liability and insurance bad faith. She is the chair of the litigation section, of the Utah State Bar, a small claims judge and a candidate for Third Division Bar Commissioner. She is also the co-owner of Endurance Real Estate, a boutique real estate brokerage, a member of the Salt Lake City Historic Landmarks Commission, a Pilates instructor and a devoted mom to a 5-year-old daughter. And the Salt Lake City native seems to do it all while keeping a sense of humor.
“On days like today, I wonder myself how I do it,” she laughs, referring to her especially busy day. “Fortunately, I usually know what is coming up and I can plan and devote my full attention.”
It is her drive and focus that makes Thuet a formidable opponent. Her reputation for obtaining optimal results for her clients precedes her. Recently, a former client recommended her to a colleague embroiled in a business dispute with a former partner. As it turns out, Thuet had previously represented a friend of the opponent. When they learned Thuet was opposing counsel, the friend advised the former partner to settle the case. It is also not unusual for Thuet to be retained by parties she has opposed in prior matters when faced with new legal issues.
Her passion and attention to detail enables her to objectively identify the strengths and weaknesses in the cases she handles. She’s not afraid to roll-up her sleeves and delve into each matter, sometimes literally. On one case she didn’t hesitate to crawl underneath a medical device that had maimed her client. She laughed recalling the surprise on her opponent’s face and the settlement she was able to obtain for her client.
Thuet’s success and background make her a sought-after speaker at both the national and local levels. She graduated top of her law school class from the University of Utah, where she served on Law Review. She interned with Matthew B. Durrant, the Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
What does she most enjoy about her chosen profession? “Every day is different, every case is different and every client is different,” she says. “I like the variety and the intellectual challenge of it and the strategy associated with every case. It is kind of like a game of chess and you have to anticipate and pre-plan the moves.”
And she finds nothing more rewarding than going to trial. “I represented a client recently in a hard-fought two-week trial. As we waited for the jury’s response, we knew my client was either going to lose everything she’d spent a career developing or the jury of her peers would find she’d done nothing wrong. When the no-fault verdict was read, my client cried with relief. That outcome is hard to duplicate in any forum other than trial.”
Thuet became a small claims judge about eight years ago. It helps her appreciate that each case is equally important.
“As litigators, when we deal with cases in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, we can lose sight of the importance to the individual involved,” she says. “Small claims court has made me a more effective advocate for all of my clients.”
When asked why she is a shareholder at Christensen & Jensen, she explained, “It is an amazing law firm with skilled attorneys. We have a group of individuals whose talent and diversity cannot be matched. It is a true family of a firm and one of the reasons I choose to stay.”