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Posted by: Avery Roberts on Jan 15, 2020

The Idaho Legislature is in its second week of the 2020 session. The House and Senate Committees are largely focused on reviewing the totality of administrative rules after they failed to renew them last year. But some bills have been introduced.  

If you are interested in learning more about what’s happening in the statehouse:
  • Read a recap of the first week of the session written by Ryan Blake of the Magic Valley Times News here.
  • Listen to James Dawson of Boise State Public Radio discuss a potential rules compromise between the House and the Senate here.
Be a voice for civil justice in Idaho. Please consider attending these upcoming events:
  • ITLA Lobby Day - Join fellow trial lawyers for ITLA Lobby Day Wednesday, February 19th at the Idaho State Capitol Building. Lobby Day will provide members with an opportunity to meet their elected officials. ITLA staff will schedule the meetings, give insights to the legislative process, and provide an overview of pending legislation that directly affects our members. Register here.
  • ITLA Legislative Reception - Join the 7th Amendment Advocates and Idaho Lawmakers to celebrate our U.S. Constitution Thursday, February 27th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Grove Hotel. Delicious food and beverages will be provided. RSVP here.
We appreciate your willingness to participate in this work. Please give us a call at (208) 345-1890 or send an email to if you have any questions.

Posted by: Avery Roberts on Jan 8, 2020

The Second Regular Session of the Sixty-fifth Idaho Legislature convened on Monday. 

Throughout the session, your ITLA Lobby Team, aided by the ITLA Governmental Relations Committee, will monitor legislation impacting your practice and your clients. Each week, we will send Legislative Updates directly to your inbox tracking important legislation. As needed, we will also send out Action Alerts asking you to contact key decision-makers.

To make certain each lawmaker has contact with competent lawyers from around the state, we need you to take a moment to tell us who you know and are willing to contact regarding legislation if you haven’t yet.

If you are interested in learning more about what’s happening in the statehouse:
  • Watch Governor Little’s State of the State Address here.
  • Read an overview of some hot button issues that might arise this session written by Cynthia Sewell of The Idaho Statesman here.
ITLA as a group is a powerful voice for civil justice in Idaho. We appreciate your willingness to be a part of this work.

Please give us a call at (208) 345-1890 or send an email to if you have any questions. 


Posted by: J. Charles Hepworth on Dec 18, 2019

As trial lawyers, we understand that our clients and all Idaho citizens are impacted by the law. We represent citizens who need a unified voice with which to seek fair treatment throughout Idaho’s courtrooms.
Nine years ago, the ITLA Foundation Inc. Amicus Program was established. The Amicus Program provides independent and scholarly assistance to Idaho’s courts through friend-of-the-court briefings and arguments on issues of public interest.  identify cases in which an amicus brief from the ITLA Foundation will showcase implications beyond the particular issue.
When citizen’s rights are advanced, our ability to advocate just cases becomes less burdensome and more impactful. Please make your tax-deductible contribution today. Your support of the ITLA Foundation, Inc., will ensure that our collective voice will continue to be heard in Idaho courtrooms in the upcoming year and beyond. To give online, visit or fill out the enclosed contribution form. 
Thank you in advance for your commitment to justice.

- The ITLA Foundation Board of Directors

Posted by: Avery Roberts on Dec 9, 2019

Please unspam us. We don’t want you to miss out on any important ITLA news and information.

However, your email service provider may use filters which prevent you from receiving or properly viewing ITLA emails in your inbox.

To prevent this from happening, please add us ( to your trusted list of senders, contacts, or address book. Also known as "Whitelisting." Follow the simple steps for adding ITLA to your contact list.
  1. Please open your spam folder and if you find an email from open it and mark it as "Not spam"...
  2. Whitelist the domains,, and For specific instructions on how to whitelist a domain with your email service provider click here.
If you believe you are still missing messages after whitelisting us, please contact the ITLA office at (208) 345-1890 or for additional troubleshooting.  

Posted by: Jarom Whitehead on Nov 18, 2019

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

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.

Posted by: Avery Roberts on Sep 5, 2019


Make the most out of the ITLA 2019 Fall Seminar, book your accommodations through ITLA’s Room Block at the Snow King Resort. Staying at the Snow King will enable you to build connections with attendees and exhibitors beyond the seminar.

Located at the base of Snow King Mountain, a few blocks from downtown and 20 minutes from the Jackson Wyoming Airport, Snow King Resort boasts breathtaking views of the Teton Mountain Range and features a wide variety of onsite activities and amenities.

The deadline to receive an ITLA-designated room rate is Thursday, September 12. Reservations can be made by calling Snow King at (307) 733-5200 and mentioning ITLA or online here.


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