2019 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting Recap: Education, Awards, and Camaraderie

By Lindsey M. Welfley

The 2019 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting was held at the Boise Centre this past July and was a year of several exciting “firsts.” One of the mainstays of the Annual Meeting is the slate of exceptional CLE sessions held on Thursday and Friday. This year was the first year we have offered a webcast series to coincide with the live sessions. A total of six programs were offered via live webcast to remote attendees both state and nationwide. A flagship program, this year’s Annual Meeting Webcast Series welcomed 113 remote participants – increasing our ability to reach members who were unable to attend in person.

Photos by Lindsey Welfley. Idaho Court of Appeals Chief Judge David Gratton (right) presented the 2019 Distinguished Jurist Award to the Honorable Jesse Walters (left) at this year’s Annual Meeting.

In addition to the first Annual Meeting Webcast Series, attendees also participated in the first Lawyers Give! Blood Drive in partnership with the American Red Cross. A total of 37 donors registered and donated 32 pints of blood as part of this year’s community service project. Of the 37 donors, 20 were first-time donors. The commitment of our membership to help fill the missing blood types helped boost the community blood supply and helped ensure hospital patients have the lifesaving blood they need. A huge thank you to those who participated!

While 2019 held a few “firsts,” this year’s Annual Meeting also held to several longstanding traditions. Each year, lawyers and a jurist selected by the Board of Commissioners are awarded with the Idaho State Bar’s highest honor, the Distinguished Lawyer & Jurist Awards. On the evening of July 24, the President’s Reception and Distinguished Lawyer & Jurist Awards Dinner brought together this year’s award recipients and their families, friends, and colleagues to celebrate. The 2019 Distinguished Jurist is Hon. Jesse R. Walters of Meridian. The 2019 Distinguished Lawyers are Robert R. Chastain of Boise, Jeffrey C. Fereday of Boise, and William F. Gigray III of Nampa.

The Plenary Session was held on the morning of Thursday, July 25 and featured Idaho Supreme Court Justice Robyn Brody with an update on the state of the Courts. Following Justice Brody was Keynote Speaker Tim O’Brien, journalist, author, and TV commentator. O’Brien spoke on the media’s coverage of the United States Supreme Court and the importance of fostering a collegial disposition between the press and those within the legal profession. After the Plenary Session, CLE programming for the week began with a total of 4.5 CLE credits, including 3.25 Ethics credits and 3.0 NAC Approved credits, available on Thursday.

Interim Dean of Concordia University School of Law, Latonia Haney Keith, presented to a full house during one of the CLE sessions at this year’s Annual Meeting. The panel’s presentation on implicit bias was a crowd favorite.

The Idaho State Bar and Idaho Law Foundation Service Awards Luncheon and Idaho Law Foundation Annual Meeting were held Thursday afternoon, during which recipients of the Family Law Section Award of Distinction, Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, and 2019 Service Awards were recognized. This year’s recipient of the Family Law Award of Distinction is Maureen Laflin and the 2019 Outstanding Young Lawyer is Brit Kreimeyer. The 2019 Service Award recipients are: Anthony C. Anegon of Lewiston, Jim Everett of Boise/Caldwell, Shirley Fields of Boise, C. Clay Gill of Boise, Denise McClure of Boise, Michael F. Peacock of Boise, Amanda J. Rekow of Meridian, Mary E. Shea of Pocatello, Mahmood Sheikh of Boise, and S.E. Anne Solomon of Coeur d’Alene. President of the Idaho Law Foundation, David Maguire, gave an update on the latest achievements of the Foundation and spoke to the importance of financial support from our members.

On Thursday evening we celebrated those attorneys who have been members of the Idaho State Bar for 25, 40, 50, 60, 65, and 70 years at the Milestone Celebration Reception. We heard from several attorneys who have been practicing for 50, 60, 65, and 70 years – the first time in decades we’ve been afforded the opportunity to honor 70-year members. The dedication of these members to upholding the values of the legal profession is inspiring.

Special thanks to the team from the American Red Cross who helped our members donate blood as part of the first Lawyers Give! Blood Drive.

Another round of CLE sessions began Friday morning with a total of 5.5 CLE credits, including 3.0 Ethics credits and 8.0 NAC Approved credits, available throughout the day. The Social Networking BBQ on Friday afternoon provided an opportunity for attendees to network with colleagues as well as the lineup of Official Corporate Sponsors and Exhibitors whose support of the Annual Meeting makes the event possible each year. The Idaho State Bar’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Section was recognized as the 2019 Section of the Year. The inaugural “Learned Foot Trophy” was presented to the Idaho Supreme Court for their participation as the largest team running in the 6th Annual Access to Justice FUND Run 5K this past June. The Administrative office of the Courts had justices, judges, and staff totaling 39 participants.

The final awards of this year’s Annual Meeting were the Best of The Advocate Awards, acknowledging the Editorial Board’s selections for the previous calendar year. This year’s categories and respective recipients were: Best Issue Sponsor, November/December 2018 sponsored by the Idaho Legal History Society; Best Article, “It’s the Little Wondrous Blunders that Can Summon One’s Demise” by Leslie Hayes and Bryan Nickels from May 2018; and Best Cover Photo, August 2018 cover photo by John Marshall. Rounding out the festivities, the Presidential Gavel was passed from outgoing President David Cooper to current President Judge Michael Oths. One final CLE session followed the BBQ and the 2019 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting formally concluded at 3:15 p.m. on Friday, July 26.

Lindsey M. Welfley is the Communications Director for the Idaho State Bar and the Idaho Law Foundation, Inc. She has worked for the Idaho State Bar since 2015. Lindsey received her B.A. in History from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and is a certified social media marketer. In her free time, Lindsey enjoys cooking international cuisines, reading classic literature, and playing with her two pets.