John E. Cutler

Biography Publications
John E.Cutler
Phone: 208.522.6700
Direct: 208.528.5223


John E. Cutler is an appellate attorney, but his practice involves more than briefing and argument to appellate courts. Mr. Cutler understands how judges see cases. He worked for three distinguished jurists at both the trial and appellate levels. Mr. Cutler’s experience will add value to your legal team in both litigation and transactional matters.


Mr. Cutler attended the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. There he excelled both in and outside the classroom. Among his law school accomplishments, Mr. Cutler graduated third in his class. He served as the editor-in-chief of the Utah Law Review. He interned for the Honorable Robert J. Shelby of the United States District Court for the District of Utah. And he was the sixth-best speaker out of 73 participants at the Rocky Mountain Regional, Jessup Moot Court competition.

Mr. Cutler began his legal career at another distinguished Salt Lake area litigation firm. There he worked for the three summers during and immediately following law school. As a summer associate, Mr. Cutler drafted important pretrial motions in a successful defense of a trucking accident. He prepared a summary judgment motion in a significant dram shop liability suit. His motion for more definite statement led to dismissal of a case against a wilderness therapy program.

After law school, Mr. Cutler clerked for the Honorable Jill N. Parrish of the United States District Court for the District of Utah. A 12-year veteran of the Utah Supreme Court before her tenure on the district court, Judge Parrish brought her trained appellate eye to the federal bench. Mr. Cutler’s work with Judge Parrish allowed him to see firsthand how trial judges evaluate cases with an eye toward appellate review. At the federal district court, Mr. Cutler handled complex civil, criminal and administrative law cases. He reviewed dozens of briefs and observed many oral arguments. This broad exposure to the best and worst habits of lawyers shaped Mr. Cutler’s understanding of how to advocate effectively for his clients.

Mr. Cutler built on this experience as a law clerk to Associate Chief Justice Thomas Rex Lee of the Utah Supreme Court. A self-avowed textualist and originalist, Justice Lee is a thought leader on the court. Working with Justice Lee honed Mr. Cutler’s ability to examine critically statutes and constitutional provisions. Mr. Cutler also gained exposure to the nascent field of law and corpus linguistics. Applied in the legal field, corpus linguistics harnesses the power of big data to evidence the ordinary meaning of words in context. Justice Lee is at the forefront of this field, recently publishing an article in the Yale Law Journal

Mr. Cutler has continued to develop a familiarity with corpus linguistics tools. And he stands ready to advise clients and their attorneys on this important tool and when it might make a decisive difference in their cases. 

Most recently, Mr. Cutler clerked for the Honorable N. Randy Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Judge Smith is well known and respected for his kindness, collegiality, and deep understanding of the importance of appellate standards of review. Judge Smith’s example taught Mr. Cutler about the power that collegiality, professionalism, and kindness—even to adversaries—have in advancing client interests. Working with Judge Smith also sharpened Mr. Cutler’s ability to discern between issues where appellate courts afford trial courts great deference and those subject to more rigorous review. At the Ninth Circuit, Mr. Cutler interacted with many other circuit judges, developing a better understanding of the internal dynamics on the court—including en banc review.

These collective experiences prepared Mr. Cutler to deliver exceptional service to his clients at Parsons Behle & Latimer. Whether hired to handle a matter or to work in a team with other attorneys—Mr. Cutler’s experience is a difference maker.



  • Review contract or other legal instrument for lexical ambiguity
  • Assess compliance with complex regulatory schemes
  • Assist clients in representation before administrative agencies

Trial Court

  • Review case with trial attorneys to anticipate all legal issues in play
  • Advise on discovery strategy to lock down key documents and testimony for dispositive motions and trial
  • Identify issues for corpus linguistic analysis
  • Prepare key motions, including
    • Motions to dismiss
    • Motions for summary judgment
    • Motions in limine, and
    • Post-trial motions
  • Draft jury instructions
  • Monitor for appellate issues during trial

Appellate Court

  • Advise on appellate strategy
  • Identify issues for corpus linguistic analysis
  • Draft appellate briefs
  • Moot argument to prepare for the hearing
  • Present oral argument
  • Assist with unique appellate procedure, including
    • Extraordinary writs
    • Petitions for review of interlocutory orders
    • Petitions for writ of certiorari
    • Participation as amicus curiae


Practice Areas



University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law (J.D., 2015)

  • Utah Law Review, Editor-in-Chief
  • Order of the Coif
  • College Award for 3rd highest GPA in graduating class
  • CALI Excellence Awards (Administrative Law; Constitutional Law I; Contracts; Evidence; Judicial Process; Sexuality, Gender, & the Law; and Torts)
  • College of Law Outstanding Achievement Awards (Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Federal Courts, Legal Methods, Property, and Statutory Interpretation)
  • Quinney Fellow 2013-2014

Brigham Young University (B.S., Sociology, 2012)


United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 2017-2018

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable N. Randy Smith

Utah Supreme Court, 2016-2017

  • Law Clerk to Associate Chief Justice Thomas R. Lee

United States District Court for the District of Utah

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Jill N. Parrish

Utah County Office of the Guardian ad Litem, 2010-2012

  • Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)


U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. Dist. Court, Dist. of Idaho
U.S. Dist. Court, Dist. of Utah
U.S. Dist. Court, Dist. of Wyoming


University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law