ITLA FYI


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Posted by: Jarom Whitehead on Nov 18, 2019

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Be Nice.
 
I took a call recently from a lawyer defending several cases I’m working on. I’ll forego names and just say that this attorney is well known. After explaining to me that an extension was needed, to which I replied “of course”, there was a long pause. I was then told, a bit sheepishly it seemed, that a motion was also being filed. My response to that must’ve been much kinder than expected because relief was palpable on the phone. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised at that. My first thought was, am I normally that much of a jerk over such things? We talked briefly about it and what I heard didn’t totally surprise me, but it did get me thinking.

This lawyer’s experience with the plaintiffs’ bar has been pretty dismal of late. It is all-too-common in the present climate to feel like our interactions with other members of our profession are adversarial and contentious all the time. Not just in court in the heat of battle, but on the phone or in correspondence regarding little things like scheduling. It permeates everything like a cancer. And like cancer, left untreated it grows and consumes. I have experienced this myself in interactions outside of Idaho and our relatively collegial bar. But that seems to be changing.
 
I heard a great speech by ITLA past-president Tim Gresbeck some time ago and in it he talked about maturing in the practice of law. How, as a young lawyer, he treated everything like a fight to be won or lost. It was exhausting, he said. After my phone call I thought about the interactions I’ve been having at work and at home and came to the conclusion that I can do better. Nice, pleasant, polite, courteous, kind and respectful. These qualities can be summed up as civility. I don’t think there is any dispute that people we come into contact with prefer it. There are volumes written on civility and ‘catching flies with honey’ and all that. But what does it do for us directly? Other than potentially avoid the adoption of not-so-nice nicknames among our peers, consider this: How nice we are directly impacts our own stress levels. It impacts our own health.

You don’t have to be in this profession very long to hear the word “burnout” or understand the stresses of the work. One thing you may not realize is that practicing civility is a pretty good antidote to burnout. Burnout is a syndrome characterized by exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced personal and professional accomplishment. We know that burnout is at epidemic proportions now in the practice of law. You can change this. Not only is it possible to deliberately increase civility, but doing so can lead to an enduring change in your own happiness with your work and reduced stress. That’s right… simply increasing how courteous and thoughtful your interactions are can reduce stress and ultimately prevent burnout. For some people you come into contact with, this might take considerable effort to implement. Believe me, I completely understand. The reality is, it is worth it. And like Tim said, not being civil is exhausting. Do your health a favor and be nice.  
 

Posted by: Jane Gordon on Oct 21, 2019

 
 

The Street Law Clinic is approaching its 7th anniversary and what better time is there to sing its praises than during the National Celebration of Pro-Bono (the last week in October, if you have missed all the emails). The lawyers and the students who donate precious time to every session are stars. This year alone, we have helped 575 clients!

In 2018, Street Law Clinic received a Pro Bono Service Award from Legal Services Corporation.

There is a serious need in our community for clinic services. Clients come from the court assistance offices, IVLP, Legal Aid, Fair Housing, and word of mouth. Clinic allows a lot of individuals, an average of 45-60 a clinic, to secure quick legal counsel. It is especially convenient for busy practitioners because you can provide a lot of help to folks without having to provide representation for an indeterminate amount of time. Most attendees are pro-se and unable to afford an attorney; a good portion of those cases are not complex and can be handled with a bit of a boost to get started. Some cases get referred to low-bono services offered through a Legal Aid administered grant. Occasionally, a student will work with an attorney and provide formal representation until a matter is resolved. We are happy to match you with those students as well.

In 2018, Street Law Clinic was nominated for a Serve Idaho Idaho's Brightest Star Award. 

The clinic is staffed by students from the University of Idaho and Concordia and supervising lawyers. The students are generally the ones to meet with the attendees, but lawyers will meet with attendees to speed up the queue. Students get great hands-on experience with working with clients and parsing the situations. Students gather information, discuss it with the lawyers, to put together a plan for the attendee. They receive real-world experience, get to work and build relationships with attorneys and perform important work for the community.

In 2015, Street Law Clinic received the Innovator Award from Idaho Women Lawyers. 
We would love for you to join us for the few remaining clinics of 2019. One of the most common concerns lawyers have about coming to clinic is they do not have the experience necessary for clinic. You absolutely have the knowledge!! You know the Rules of Civil Procedure. These clients are simply trying to figure out the next steps; they are not seeking a litigation plan or trial strategy. Many people attend to find out if they have an actionable issue and how to start it. Clinic is great for new and experienced attorneys alike. New attorneys get experience in explaining the law to laypersons, issue spotting, and hands on application of the law. They also get to meet and work with attorneys in other practice areas in a collaborative environment. Assisting people with their legal issues builds confidence in their skills. Experienced attorneys can answer questions quicker and provide direction for the occasional complex or novel issue.
 
We have a good time at clinic and it’s a great way to get to know others that you might not normally have the opportunity to work with. There are only three clinics left in 2019, and we would love to have you join us. Please contact me if you have questions, or Avery if you can attend. The clinic is 4-6 pm at the downtown Library! on October 28, November 25, and December 9.
 

Posted by: Avery Roberts on Sep 17, 2019

 
15,000. That’s how many hours Dane Watkins, of the Seventh Judicial District, has logged as a judge in Idaho’s courtrooms.

At the ITLA 2019 Fall Seminar, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Judge Watkins as he shares the conclusions he reached first as a prosecuting attorney and now as a sitting judge.  

Learn more about Judge Watkins below, and download the complete lineup of speakers and presentations.
Dane Watkins, Jr. is a District Judge in the Seventh Judicial District. Judge Watkins has presided over civil and criminal jury and court trials since 2011. Prior to his judgeship, he served for nine years as the elected Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney. His first legal employment came while working for the Department of Justice in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, interpreting asylum interviews between fleeing Haitian refugees and U.S. asylum adjudicators. Dane is married to Angela. They have four children.
 
Don’t forget that prices go up at the door. Register today and save $100.
 
 

Posted by: Avery Roberts on Sep 16, 2019

 
Gerry Spence once said, “Most lawyers could not tell us the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in any compelling way. We would be asleep by the time they got to the first bowl of porridge”.

Hear from Emily Rankin and Kristeen Hand, partners at The Spence Law Firm, as they share litigation tactics and strategies designed to tell client stories the way they deserve to be told. 

You won’t find a speaker line-up this tailored to your practice anywhere else. Learn more about Emily and Kristeen below, and download the complete lineup of speakers and presentations.
Emily R. Rankin has extensive experience assisting clients with an array of personal injury and wrongful death cases. She has successfully litigated on behalf of her clients in everything from catastrophic injury cases to civil rights lawsuits to oil and gas field incidents and trucking accidents. A third-generation Wyoming resident, Emily dedicates much of her time and practice to helping injured victims both in the state and throughout the country. She joined The Spence Law Firm and became its first female partner in 2009. Emily lives in Jackson, Wyoming, with her husband and two children.

M. Kristeen Hand was born and raised in Wyoming. In 2001, Kristeen graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law with honors, then clerked for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Natrona County District Court of Wyoming before joining The Spence Law Firm in 2003. Kristeen has successfully represented a number of clients who were injured or had family members who were killed while working for big industries, including refineries, drilling rigs, oil and gas companies, construction sites, salt water disposal sites, pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, and saw mills. 

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to elevate your practice and advocacy. Join your peers in Jackson for the 2019 ITLA Fall Seminar.
 

Posted by: Kenneth Pedersen on Sep 13, 2019

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If a person were to be authentic, he would be an individual. Emerson (paraphased)

I want to say a few words about our friend John Glenn Hall. He was a true friend of The Idaho Trial Lawyers organization for over 40 years. He photographed our meetings, parties and other get togethers. These pictures were used in our journal frequently over the decades. He video recorded programs that were made available to the membership. He spoke to our group several times. I remember when none of us had heard of the internet, he presented at our seminar an explanation complete with big screen examples of how to search. A couple of years ago ITLA honored him with a special Award.

He was a brilliant forensic photographer and offered his services as well as testimony in many trials. He had a special ability to show your case in pictures. He was a pioneer of the production and use at trial of “day in the life” videos. He suggested in another presentation for us that we use videos in settlement brochures. He told us that with a video settlement brochures “there are no [evidentiary] rules.”
On a personal level, if you will allow me, he was a true friend of mine. Always positive, curious, and open minded, we had weekly conversations over coffee on 8th street in Boise. When I would mention a movie, book, article, documentary, or whatever, he would often put it in his notes on his phone, and get back to me with a comment. We talked about everything imaginable. He had a scientific mind but a humanist attitude. You probably know he was a bachelor his whole life, but he had a family that extended throughout the country that included artists, scientists, teachers, fellow photographers, people from all walks of life.

To say that John will be missed is true, but falls short.

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