State Bar of Montana


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April President's Message

Face-to-face meetings keep us grounded

By President Randy Snyder

Journal of Meriwether Lewis, March 22, 1806:
[Chief Coboway] has been much more kind an[d] hospitable to us than any other indian in this neighbourhood.
Coboway was chief of a village in Oregon where the Corp spent its final winter before their return trip. Coboway frequently visited the expedition at Fort Clatsop throughout the winter. He traded a sea otter pelt for fishhooks and a bag of tobacco. When the expedition nearly exhausted the local elk herd, the Clatsops told the Corps that a whale had washed ashore some miles to the south.

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My travels don’t approach a 17th century expedition. But the patterns and lessons are instructive. Last week the Bar’s Executive Committee visited Great Falls, holding its March meeting at a local firm, then joining the Cascade County Bar’s monthly gathering. These exchanges are one of the best things we do. That and it was Western Art Week and the C.M. Russell Auction. I missed the auction, but read that a single piece, “Horsetalk” aka “Offering a Truce” brought a record $1.25 million. Not even my favorite.

Meeting up with the local bar keeps us grounded. Talking about Bar-sponsored legal research for members (Fastcase – firing up in June), outlining what’ll be new at the convention at Big Sky; and what’s happening with the District Judge substitution
petition. It’s all been in print, but you can’t beat face to face dialogue. I like questions from members I can’t easily answer – a lesson that we always need to rethink what we do for folks.

And better yet is simply knocking on doors. It’s always friendly, but never predictable. Kind of like Russell’s “In Without Knocking,” which I do love.

Like Lewis and Chief Coboway, we don’t know what to expect & sometimes talk pretty different – I seemed to find litigation or personal injury folk this trip. One visit likened to riding a horse into the hotel. But we trade stories; I’ll pass out a Deskbook where needed. We trade. Some folk save up just to unload their frustration with a rule, the court or whatever the State Bar doesn’t do right. I may not have a good answer, but we’ll never know what’s gnawing at you unless we ask. Mostly just good stories.

Like Lewis and Chief Coboway, probably won’t meet up again. But we’re better for sharing that coffee. So thanks for the visit! If I missed you and you got the itching and a spare moment, drop a note, give a call or you just come on in. This legal stuff can be a tough go – best if we keep talking. In our Master’s words,

When you come to my lodge the robe will be spread and the pipe lit for you.

Yer Chief Deputy
Randy Snyder
(406) 837-4383
rsnyder@rsnyderlaw.us

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
2013-2014

President
Randall A. Snyder, Bigfork

President-Elect
Mark D. Parker, Billings 

 Secretary-Treasurer
Bruce M. Spencer, Helena

 Immediate Past President
Pamela J. Bailey, Billings

 Chair of the Board
Matthew B. Thiel, Missoula
 

BOARD OF TRUSTEES
2013-2014
(by State Bar Area)

STATE BAR AREA MAP

Area A
Marybeth Sampsel, Kalispell

Area B
Leslie Halligan, Missoula
Matthew Thiel, Missoula

Tammy Wyatt-Shaw, Missoula

Area C
Ellen Donohue, Anaconda

Area D
Jason Holden, Great Falls
Mike Talia, Great Falls

Area E
Kent Sipe, Roundup

Area F
Luke Berger, Helena
Kate Ellis, Helena

J. Stuart Segrest, Helena

Area G
Jane Mersen, Bozeman
Lynda White, Bozeman

Area H
Juli Pierce, Billings
Ross McLinden, Billings
Monique Voigt, Billings

Delegates to the American Bar Association
Damon Gannett, Billings
Shane A. Vannatta, Missoula

 

 

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