Judge Moses named Equal Justice Award winner
The Honorable Michael G. Moses will receive the Karla M. Gray Equal Justice Award for his decades of work in helping indigent Montanans receive legal representation and as a leader in improving access to justice.
He will receive the award at the Awards Banquet on Thursday, Sept. 14, during the State Bar of Montana’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Billings.
Judge Moses, who retired in July after nine years as a 13th Judicial District Judge, was nominated for the award by the Yellowstone Area Bar Association Board of Directors. In its nomination letter, the board noted the judge’s work in conjunction with the Family Law Project of Billings recruiting lawyers to provide pro bono services to take on pro bono family law cases – adding that he would contact each lawyer personally by phone with his requests.
One lawyer who received such a call was Amanda G. Hunter of Hall & Evans in Billings, who admitted that as a newly admitted lawyer hoping to focus on corporate and employment law, she wasn’t excited about taking on a family law case. But with her supervising attorney’s blessing, she agreed.
“The nearly year-long battle that ensued has, without question, left a mark on me as an attorney and member of society, generally. Even with little practical experience, the resources I had at my disposal to navigate the system far outweighed what my client could manage alone, especially given the complexities of the case. Those resources can, among other things, help protect a child and provide some semblance of stability and safety for families in our community.
“When the case ended, Judge Moses sent me a letter to express his gratitude,” she continued. “I am the one who should be thanking him. Because of Judge Moses, I began to comprehend the privilege of my position and the reason I owe it to my profession and community to pay it forward. It is a lesson I am so grateful to have started learning early on, and one I hope to continue building on throughout my career.”
YABA also noted how Judge Moses’ support of CASA of Yellowstone County has improved access to justice for abused and neglected children in foster care, saying he consistently seeks input from CASA volunteers making it easier for them to advocate for children, and he has provided invaluable training for the program.
“Judge Moses has demonstrated compassionate leadership and mentorship to attorneys and judges over the course of his four-decade career. His lifetime of commitment to improving access to justice distinguishes him from other worthy candidates for this award,” the YABA board wrote in its nomination letter.