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State Bar Committees
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Annual Meeting

  • Objectives: To plan the 2014 Annual Meeting of the State Bar, in accordance with the annual meeting policy adopted by the Board of Trustees.
  • Contacts: Dennis Munson, Co-Chair (406) 586-4383 - dmunson@kkmlaw.net
                    Randy Snyder, Co-Chair (406) 837-4383 - rsnyder@rsnyderlaw.us

Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Institute

  • Objectives: The Institute is formed as a standing committee of the State Bar of Montana in order to carry out the mandate of Article III of the Constitution of the State Bar: to foster and maintain on the part of those engaged in the practice of law, high standards of learning and competence and to provide for the continuing legal education of members of the Bar. The Institute is specifically charged as agent of the State Bar to prepare, sponsor and administer continuing legal education programs in Montana. The Institute will: 1. Continue to improve the quality of CLE seminars,  publish CLE materials for the members of the State Bar, and provide for the maintenance of its repository  catalog of publications. 2. In cooperation with the staff, continue to make sections, committees, local bars, and members aware of the Institute’s central coordinating function. 3. Cooperate with other professional and state bar organizations within the region in educational seminars and meetings. 4. Explore ways to market our CLEs including online CLEs and using other technologies, i.e. video conferencing, phone conferencing, webinars, and other means allowing dissemination to a wider range of attorneys. 5. Be fiscally responsible and contribute to the Bar’s general fund.
  • Contact: Sara Sexe, Chair (406) 455-8535 - saras@greatfallsmt.net

Dispute Resolution

  • Objectives: Continue working with the judiciary and local bars in the development of dispute resolution programs; Continue providing the judiciary, Bar, legislature, academic community, and public with dispute resolution information, including presentation of a bi-annual CLE seminar; Support peer mediation techniques and programs to the public schools; Monitor the development of and legislative activity concerning certification or other standards to be applied to those holding themselves out as dispute resolution providers; Continue staff support and evaluation of the Court’s Appellate Mediation program (Rule 54).
  • Contact: Patrick Quinn, Chair (406) 329-5460 - pquinn@mt.gov

Elder Assistance

  • Objectives: Support the delivery of legal services to Montana's senior citizens; Supervise the development of elder law related publications and CLE.
  • Contact: Twyla Sketchley, Chair (850) 894-0152 - twyla@sketchleylaw.com

Ethics

  • Objectives: Carry out the mandate of Article III of the State Bar Constitution "...to foster and maintain and require on the part of those engaged in the practice of law high standards of integrity, learning, competence, public service and conduct...”; Provide advisory ethics opinions to the members of the State Bar and publish those of general interest, with a central register of opinions kept with other resource materials at the State Bar office in Helena; Review the Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Montana Supreme Court and work with the Professionalism Committee and CLE Institute to educate Bar members regarding the changes.
  • Contact: Pete Habein, Chair (406) 252-3441 - phabein@crowleyfleck.com

    Ethics Committee members: Michael G. Alterowitz, Mary E. Duncan, C. Mark Fowler, Peter F. Habein, David A. Hawkins, Kent M. Kasting, Keith A. Maristuen, John M. Morrison, Robert J. Phillips, Deborah Reichman, Timothy B. Strauch, Christian D. Tweeten, Susan L. Wordal.

Executive

  • Objectives: The Executive Committee will: Work to strengthen the Bar’s ties with the Law School students, as well as with new lawyers, by reassessing these relationships and developing methods of enhancing these alliances including the New Lawyers’ Workshop program, Road Show, Law School events and other activities; Continue to enhance relations with other legal organizations in the State including the Montana Trial Lawyers Association, the Montana Defense Trial Lawyers Association, the Montana County Attorneys Association and other statewide lawyer associations.  The Committee will organize jointly sponsored CLEs with these groups and other states, as appropriate; Develop and encourage interest and participation in State Bar elections both in seeking office and in voting; Seek diversity in the State Bar; Communicate with the membership about the goals and activities of the State Bar.
  • Contact: Randy Snyder, State Bar President (406) 837-4383 - rsnyder@rsnyderlaw.us

Fee Arbitration

  • Purpose: Review rules and recommend changes; Encourage Bar support through participation in the program and as panel members; Monitor program for continued improvement.
  • Contact: R. Allan Payne, Chair (406) 443-2211 - rpayne@doneylaw.com

Finance

  • Purpose: The Finance Committee should:Create the Supreme Court Report every three (3) years and present to the Executive Committee (EC) and Board of Trustees (BOT); Review the Audit which is received every two (2) years, and make recommendations to the BOT; Update annually the five year forecast of the Bar’s budget; Create annually the Bar’s budget and present to the EC and BOT; Review the Office of Disciplinary Counsel’s (ODC) budget as per MOU with the State Bar and ODC; Review annually the Bar’s investment policy and (a) recommend to the EC whether the BOT should review the policy sooner than the three year minimum; and (b) present the BOT with any recommended changes to the policy; Determine specific annual dates for these steps and reports.
  • Contact: Bruce Spencer, Chair (406) 442-2980 - bspencer@smithlawmt.com

Judicial Relations

  • Purpose: Improve the annual bench/bar CLE seminar through greater participation and program content; Send a representative of the committee to attend the semi-annual meetings of the Montana Judges Association and report to the Trustees periodically in this regard; Participate in and monitor the State Bar’s program for defending judges who are unfairly criticized; Monitor legislative updates related to judges; Work with the judiciary on maintaining and increasing funding for the judicial process.
  • Contact: Eric Nord, Chair (406) 255-0400 - enord@cristlaw.com

Justice Initiatives

  • Objectives: Encourage programs which increase attorney awareness of the need for pro bono legal services and Rules 6.1 and 6.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct; Continue cooperation with the Access to Justice Commission, the Commission on Self-Represented Litigants, judges, and local bar associations to expand civil legal services to low-income people; Develop an annual plan and accompanying budget for approval by the Board of Trustees.
  • Contact: Abigail St. Lawrence, Chair (406) 442-1560 - abigail@stlawrencelaw.com

Law-Related Education

  • Objectives: To provide public information and education on the importance of the rule of law in a civilized society, the legal rights and responsibilities of an individual and the workings of the legal system. To this end, the Committee will: 1. Support and maintain the Law Related Education Center. The Law Related Education Center’s purpose includes: (a) to coordinate law related education events such as Law Day; (b) to produce original education materials to inform Montanans about the legal system; (c) to make law related education curriculum materials and other teaching resources available to educators; (d) to facilitate educational outreach by legal professionals who wish to improve Montanans’ understanding of the rule of law, the role of attorneys and the judiciary; (e) to distribute educational materials and disseminate information about law education activities and opportunities through the State Bar; (f) to appear, when possible, at State and local education association meetings and conventions to promote law related education; (g) to support youth programs and other civic/legal education activities; and to foster Statewide cooperation among all those involved with law related education. 2. Provide resources to conduct and assist with the implementation of the Law School for Legislators held in conjunction with each session of the Legislature in cooperation with the leadership of the House, Senate, Legislative Services Division, Bar membership, and the Law  School. 3. Promote internet-based Montana legal resources.
  • Contact: Brenda Wahler, Chair (406) 449-2060 - montanabw@mt.net

Lawyer Assistance Program

  • Objectives: To provide assistance to lawyers, judges, legal staff,  law students and professors troubled by alcoholism, other forms of chemical dependency, stress, depression, or mental health problems. The committee also offers assistance to family members.
  • Contact: Mike Larson, Hotline Counselor (888) 385-9119 or (406) 683-6525 - mlarson@montanabar.org

Lawyer Referral & Information Service

  • Objectives: Monitor the Lawyer Referral & Information Service under the Rules of Operation adopted by the Board of Trustees; Continue efforts to disseminate information to the public and members so as to make both consumers and attorneys more aware of the service and encourage membership participation.
  • Contact: Leslae Dalpiaz, Chair (406) 549-9200 - ldalpiaz@dalpiazlaw.com

Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection

  • Objective: To administer the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection pursuant to rules approved by the Board of Trustees (see Article XI, By-Laws of the State Bar of Montana).
  • Contact: Carl Mendenhall, Chair (406) 721-3400 - cmendenhall@wordenthane.com

Past Presidents

  • Objectives: To select the recipients of the William J. Jameson and the Haswell awards; To identify, develop and train leadership in the Bar; To assist and serve the President of the State Bar with advice as requested and with projects as delegated; To select the George L. Bousliman Professionalism Award; To gather proposed resolutions and prepare them in final form to be presented at the Annual Meeting in accordance with the By-Laws.
  • Contact: Pam Bailey, Chair (406) 245-0776 - pjbailey@wtp.net

Professionalism

  • Objectives: In an effort to foster professionalism among Montana attorneys, the Committee will: 1. Incorporate the concepts of access to justice and Rules 6.1 and 6.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct into its programs, including the New Lawyers’ Workshop, the "Road Show” and seminars at the annual meeting. 2. Continue its Professionalism CLE seminar at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar, and conduct professionalism seminars throughout the state, including the "Road Show,” as a means of revitalizing local bar associations. 3. Emphasize the professionalism/competency of newly admitted lawyers, coordinate with the University of Montana School of Law, and support the New Lawyers’ Workshop program. 4. Work with the Ethics Committee to educate members about changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Contact: Peggy Probasco, Chair (406) 497-6600 - pprobasco@mt.gov

Technology

  • Objectives: Explore law office management and law office programs that might assist the efficiency and profitability of law practices, particularly small firms and solo practitioners; Study new technological applications and the future of the practice in Montana; Support all State Bar committees and sections, as well as State Bar staffed commissions, with application of new technology as it relates to the practice of law in Montana and administrative support of the State Bar.
  • Contact: Joseph Sullivan, Chair (406) 761-4583 - jsullivan@sullivanlawmt.com