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State Bar pledges to continue to lead our profession during these uncertain times

Thursday, June 18, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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By Juli Pierce and John Mudd
State Bar of Montana President and Executive Director

We are writing to you with a joint message for this edition of the Montana Lawyer during this unique time in our lives, our country, and our great state. As you read this message, many of you probably just finished one of many Zoom meetings you will have this week, attended court by Poly Com app, or met with a client in person while wearing a mask. How times have changed since you received your last Montana Lawyer. Given the current state of affairs in our country, we are also keenly aware of the need to continue to be leaders who speak the trust, stand strong, and hold up the rule of law in our communities. As attorneys we need to lead against injustice and seek to continue to establish and uphold justice in our communities. 

We write to bring you as many positive things as possible with this issue of the Montana Lawyer. This issue brings you updates and photos from the first annual Mock Trial competition that took place in Helena in March. We had a great turnout and the high school students did a fantastic job. Thank you again to all of you who gave your time on the weekend to judge and assist. We look forward to many more years and making this program even bigger in the future. The event turned out very well and we hope it will go even more smoothly in the years to come. 
Fiscally, the State Bar is strong and continues to function very well during these difficult times. All employees have been working remotely and there have been no layoffs or temporary furloughs. 
Over the last several weeks, the State Bar has offered many online CLE opportunities, most of them free of charge, and hundreds of you have taken advantage of the classes that we have offered. These are unique opportunities because in a big state like ours where travel time often dissuades us from attending out-of-town CLE meetings. The pandemic has forced us to reassess how we offer CLE opportunities, and this may change the landscape of how we deliver CLE credits in the future. 
There are many resources available to you online through the State Bar website and the American Bar Association to guide you through these difficult times and to provide you as much information as possible. These resources range from articles regarding the economy, online CLE credits, job opportunities, COVID-19 resources, and the results of the most recent State Bar election. 
Finally, the bar exam will proceed as planned in July with appropriate safety measures and social distancing in place. The Board of Trustees have petitioned the Supreme Court to extend the student practice rule for those who are physically unable or do not feel comfortable taking the July bar exam. We welcome your comments on this petition. 

We wish you all nothing but continued safety, health, and wellness. Please take care of yourselves and each other and reach out to us at any time. 

Juli Pierce and John Mudd
President and Executive Director, 
State Bar of Montana