Distinguished Lawyer: Larry C. Hunter

By Lindsey M. Welfley

With a robust legal career and impeccable reputation for civility and professionalism, Larry C. Hunter is certainly a name well-known among the Idaho State Bar.

Larry was born in Northern Utah while his dad was attending Utah State University, but was raised in Twin Falls, Idaho from first grade on – “I consider myself a native Idahoan.” After graduating from Twin Falls High School, Larry moved to Massachusetts to complete his undergraduate education at Harvard University. He graduated cum laude in 1968 and received the Harvard Service Award. While at Harvard he recalls one of his most interesting classes was one called “Law in Society,” which was taught by a Harvard law professor. It focused on the myriad ways the law impacts our daily lives. Larry says this kindled his interest in pursuing a legal career. After graduation, Larry served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Chile. After his return, he enrolled in the Master’s Program in Latin American Studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. While there, he met and, after a long pursuit, married his wife, Iris, in 1971.

Larry’s first job after college and his time in South America was with the Bank of America as an International Banker in the Latin American Division. He and his family moved to San Francisco, where they lived until his decision to go to law school in 1973. Larry chose Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago and again they relocated. During their time in Chicago, Larry and his family were asked to attend a Spanish-speaking congregation where Larry served as Branch President.

Once in law school, Larry and Iris knew he had made the right decision. While he had never known a lawyer or even that much about the practice of law, he had always gravitated more toward an area where he could be of benefit to society. Besides being a husband, father, and lay minister, Larry worked part-time all three years of law school for a corporate law department and in a law firm.

By the time he graduated from law school, he and Iris had three young children, the third of whom was delivered on the day of a final exam in his third year. Larry graduated with his law degree in 1976 and began looking for work back in Idaho. Larry accepted a job with Moffatt Thomas and remained there for the entirety of his 45-year legal career (the firm later merged with Hawley Troxell).

Photo of Larry in Cuba next to a classic car. Larry and Iris have traveled quite a bit in the past including all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and over 25 countries. Larry has even played golf in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five continents. All photos courtesy of Larry Hunter.

Larry recalls the day he and his family pulled into Boise. It was the same Saturday in June 1976 that the Teton Dam burst, flooding the upper Snake River Valley and causing major loss of property and minor loss of life. When Larry walked into work on Monday, the Teton Dam case was the first on his desk. Unbeknownst to him, this early litigation experience would catalyze a career-long love for trial work.

In the early years of his practice, Larry worked briefly on business work as a transactional lawyer, because he had experience in the banking industry. He focused on real estate transactions and banking law. Soon he got into litigation and that is where he found his home. As Moffatt Thomas was a civil law defense-oriented firm, Larry mostly practiced defense litigation in a variety of settings: agricultural products and chemicals, aviation litigation, and automotive design cases. His defense work, as he states, could really be summed up as a products liability practice.

After practicing in these areas for approximately 35 years, Larry also began working as a mediator and arbitrator while maintaining his litigation practice. (Iris says helping raise six children contributed to his success as a mediator.) Overall, he maintained a truly diverse practice, working also in administrative law and serving as the attorney for the Idaho State Board of Accountancy for over 10 years. On occasion, he did a little domestic relations work and had a couple of criminal law cases. One of the more interesting things that Larry did in the practice of law was in South America. From 2014 to 2016, Larry was the Associate Area Legal Counsel for his Church in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile as a volunteer missionary. He represented the Church in a variety of legal scenarios.

Larry has served the profession and his community well over the past four decades, taking his retirement in 2020. Throughout his six children’s school years, he volunteered in various PTO capacities, coached a variety of youth sports teams, and served on various committees of the Boise School District. He remembers, after coaching his eldest daughter, Risa’s, soccer team for two years, telling the rest of his children that he would coach their teams as well for as long as he had coached her. This put him on track for 12+ years of coaching youth sports. He also chaperoned for his children’s music competition trips. Larry and Iris continued to work with the Spanish-speaking community of their Church after moving to Boise as well as filling other significant volunteer positions in the Church.

Photo of Larry near his hometown of Twin Falls, golfing with the Perrine Bridge and Snake River Canyon as a backdrop.

Larry consistently dedicates himself to giving back to his community as well as his profession. He has been a member of the local Boise and Eagle chapters of the Kiwanis International service club since 1978. He served on its Board of Directors and as President from 2010 to 2011. Additionally, he served as Lieutenant Governor of the Utah-Idaho District of Kiwanis from 2016 to 2018, and then as Governor from 2018 to 2019.

While he claims not to have a musical bone in his body, Hunter enjoys music very much and joined the Boise Philharmonic Board of Directors in 2000. He served as Board President from 2007 to 2008 and has been a member of the Boise Philharmonic Foundation since 2008. He now serves at the Governor’s appointment as the public member of the Idaho State Board of Accountancy. Even before his retirement, Larry and Iris served as poll workers on election days.

In service to the profession, Larry Hunter has been committed to a long history of volunteer initiatives since the late 1990s. He recounts, notably, his time as an Idaho State Bar Commissioner from 2001 to 2004, stating that it was “truly a highlight of my legal career, being able to serve in that capacity.”   Additionally, Larry served as Idaho’s delegate to the American Bar Association House of Delegates during various terms spanning from 2004 to his retirement in 2020. His work on two specific ABA committees during that time frame was of significant importance to him:  first, serving on the ABA Standing Committee on Paralegals from 2005 to 2009 (Chair from 2008 to 2009); and second, serving on the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Program from 2016 to 2019. Larry has also served as a Bar Exam grader for the past several years; it is a method of giving back to the profession that he continues to enjoy. Another opportunity for service in the profession that was particularly fulfilling was his work with the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program Soundstart initiative at the Idaho Women’s Prison, the Salvation Army, St. Michael’s, and more working with new mothers, expectant mothers, and families regarding child custody issues. In addition, he has worked on the Anti-Harassment, Anti-Discrimination Subcommittee of the Idaho State Bar’s Professionalism & Ethics Section.

Throughout both his professional and personal life, Larry names several individuals as having an important influence on him. During his time at Harvard, Larry fondly remembers those he met during his Church experience, as well as those he met and lived with. Once he made it to Boise, Larry recalls the first person who interviewed him at Moffatt Thomas, the late Ron Rock, a litigator at the firm, as having influenced his early career. Later, Larry would go on to model the work of the late Richard “Dick” Fields, eventually following him on to the Board of the Boise Philharmonic. Dick showed Larry the importance of serving the community and the profession. Both men showed him the importance of ethics and civility in the practice of law.

Photo of Larry and Iris’ grandchildren, 18 of the 22!

When asked about any specific achievements or accomplishments that stick out to him, Larry exercises quite a level of humility despite his long resume and outstanding reputation. He says he will always remember being sworn into the bar; a day that held a deep importance to him, after he had made the decision to change professions, weathered a challenging law school experience, passed the bar exam, lost his father to cancer just before the ceremony, then to be in sworn in. “That was a big deal and a big highlight, but I don’t want it to sound like it’s all been downhill from there because it hasn’t.” Larry also remembers in 2003 when he and Iris had the opportunity to host in their home a Russian Supreme Court Judge – “That several-day experience was enlightening on both sides.”

Throughout the course of his career, Larry has always worked to ensure that the Rule of Law is upheld. He passionately writes, “The practice of law is meant to safeguard the Rule of Law in our society. It is our responsibility as attorneys to assure the rule of Law is upheld.” His career is a testament to that. He adds, “Civility is essential to a beneficial practice of law. That does not imply a milk toast approach to advocacy, but it does eliminate, or at least reduce, disrespect and unnecessary contention.”  His reputation is a testament to that.

Larry and Iris have six children and 22 grandchildren. They enjoy traveling, family time, reading, golfing, kayaking, and several other fun pastimes. Larry would like to mention the deep appreciation he has for the support his wife, Iris, has always given him. Anything he has accomplished is due to that support. His children are all productive members of society, and he thanks them for their patience, good humor, love, and support through the years. Larry would also like to thank his associates at Moffatt Thomas and later Hawley Troxell for what they taught him and how they gave him fellowship and a solid platform for his practice for almost 45 years. Also, friends and extended family have been important in providing him with a positive environment throughout his time in Boise.

Lindsey M. Welfley is the Communications Director of the Idaho State Bar, overseeing all communications-related initiatives of both the Idaho State Bar and the Idaho Law Foundation, Inc. She graduated from Grand Canyon University with her undergraduate degree in history in 2015 and has been employed with the Idaho State Bar ever since. Lindsey has been the Communications Director since March 2019.

Distinguished Jurist: Hon. Roger S. Burdick

By Lindsey M. Welfley

Justice Burdick was the first member of the bench I met when I started with the Bar a little over eight years ago. I had only been on the job for a month when I was ushered away to the Annual Meeting in Sun Valley (also my first work trip). I was fresh out of college and had stepped into the coolest world I could have imagined at the time.

After the Distinguished Lawyer & Jurist Award Dinner on the first night of the Annual Meeting, my boss at the time, Mahmood Sheikh, told me that if I’d like he’d introduce me to “all the right people to know.” After shaking several hands and perfecting how to introduce myself in a professional manner, I found myself getting ready to meet one of the justices of the Idaho Supreme Court. I had never been more intimidated in my life. Mahmood introduced me to Justice Roger S. Burdick after which we all had the most hilarious, lively, authentic conversation – with Justice Burdick feverishly inviting anyone within earshot to come join us at the table. Mahmood was correct; Justice Burdick was certainly the right person to know. I remember thinking to myself later that night, if these are the types of people who serve on our judiciary then we are truly in the best of hands.

That is a sentiment I still hold to be true here in Idaho. Year after year I get to interview members of the bench for the Distinguished Jurist Award and my confidence in our judiciary is renewed with each conversation – Justice Burdick is no exception.

Born in Boulder, Colorado but moving to Boise in his youth, Justice Roger S. Burdick has had the unique tenure of living out four separate legal careers – seven years in legal practice, 12 years as a Magistrate Judge in Jerome County, 10 years as a District Judge in the Fifth Judicial District, and 18 years as a Justice on the Idaho Supreme Court.

Photo of Burdick (right) being sworn in as a Magistrate Judge by Judge Theron Ward (left) on August 1, 1981. All photos courtesy of Roger Burdick.

After graduating from Boise High School, Burdick returned to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado during the “golden years of the ‘60s.” He received his Bachelor of Science in finance with a minor in geology and marketing in 1970. Upon graduation, Burdick made his way back to Boise for a job with the State of Idaho’s Department of Finance as a bank examiner. His decision to go to law school came about through a series of unconventional circumstances – disillusioned with the banking industry after observing some questionable conduct by management, Burdick was told he had 30 days to find a new job. Now with a wife, child, and no job, Burdick remembered he had recently taken the LSAT. His score came back high enough to make applications to law school. And so, he did.

Justice Burdick attended the University of Idaho College of Law in Moscow for what were “the most fun three years of [his] life. The friends you make in law school stay with you forever.” During his senior year, Burdick recalls listening to the late Lloyd Webb give a lecture that was so captivating he had to speak to the man. After following Webb to the snack area and introducing himself, Burdick praised the lecture as the best speech he had ever heard and asked to work with him. Burdick told Webb, “I’ll come down for an interview and if it doesn’t work out, I can at least get you a bid to paint your office.” Burdick graduated with his juris doctorate from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1974, interviewed for and got the job with Webb, Pike, Burton & Carlson, and moved to Twin Falls with his wife and first son.

Burdick loved every minute of his time in Lloyd Webb’s firm – right up until he got fired, for reasons he’s still not certain. This put him again back to square one, with a wife, child, and no job. After a call to Bill McCurdy who worked for Dave Leroy at the time, Burdick secured a job in Boise as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the Ada County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. “This was where I finally learned how to be a lawyer.” During this time, Burdick served as the Chief trial lawyer in charge of narcotics prosecutions.

Photo of Burdick (left) and his wife, Rachel, (right) showing off their catch of the day.

After his stint in Ada County, Burdick again relocated to the Magic Valley to take a job in Jerome. He got a call from Bill Hart to come work on a public defense contract for Jerome, Camas, Gooding, and Lincoln counties. From 1977 to 1980, Burdick did this public defense work while also holding a general practice. In 1980, Burdick was elected Prosecuting Attorney for Jerome County while continuing his general practice. One year later, in 1981, Burdick was appointed to the bench as a Magistrate Judge for Jerome County, where he served until 1993. Justice Burdick remembers his first day as a magistrate judge being one of deep significance. He kept a quote on his desk that said, “I want to feel today like I did the first day I felt in this job.” He recalls the wonder and importance of it being his guiding lights.

Justice Burdick’s presidency of the Magistrates Association from 1989 to 1991 aligned with a turning point for the judiciary; salaries were due for an increase and until then no magistrates had been welcomed onto the Judicial Council or the Administrative Conference. Justice Burdick and his colleagues on the Magistrates Association championed access to both of those avenues. From 1991 to 1993 Burdick served as the first magistrate judge on the Judicial Council and as an ex officio member for magistrate discipline. He distinctly remembers only being allowed to participate during certain portions of the meetings, sitting in the hallway and waiting to be called in. Burdick made sure that all his future replacements would have an unrestricted seat at the table.

Burdick considers his time spent on the Judicial Council his most important act of service to the profession. During this time, Burdick helped to amend the Judicial Code of Conduct twice and implement the first Idaho Judicial Council Rules of Civil Procedure. These procedural rules were a significant improvement for judges who have issues before the council. Before then the process was a bit informal.

Burdick kept his guiding lights – the wonder and importance of judicial service – at the top of his mind during his later appointment to the district bench in 1993. Burdick served as a Fifth District Judge, chambered in Twin Falls, from 1993 to 2003 – subsequently serving as Administrative Judge for the Fifth Judicial District from 2001 to 2003 and as Presiding Judge of the Snake River Basin Adjudication from 2000 to 2003.

Photo of Burdick biking back in the good ole’ days when he used to compete in triathlons and generally stay active.

Burdick recalls his time presiding over the Snake River Basin Adjudication (“SRBA”) as some of his most rewarding work. Prior to taking the caseload, Burdick had a deep interest in the matter and regularly attended all the seminars. When Justice Linda Trout called him to see if he’d take it, he happily obliged despite being told by nearly everyone that it would ruin his career. Burdick gave the best retort: “It’s easy to ride a draft horse, but it’s the wild ponies that build character.” This was a principle he held as truth throughout his tenure as a District Judge; whatever case nobody else wanted, he would take.

In 2003, Justice Burdick received his final judicial appointment as the 53rd Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court. During his time on the Supreme Court, Burdick chaired numerous committees and has been involved in a variety of court-related initiatives. He served two four-year terms as Chief Justice, as elected by his peers, from 2007 to 2011 and again from 2017 to 2021. During both terms as Chief Justice, he served as a delegate to the Conference of Chief Justices. Burdick oversaw the adoption of the new Idaho Judicial Council Rules of Civil Procedure and the revised Idaho Code of Judicial Conduct, both approved in 2016. He has also spent the majority of his career on the bench serving as chair for the Idaho Criminal Rules Committee.

Justice Burdick says he’ll never forget walking into the Supreme Court building for the first time as a justice – “I still get goosebumps every time I talk about it.” He reminisces on the last 18 years fondly, stating, “I am still so touched that I had that opportunity. The outpouring of gratitude for being on the bench as a justice has just been overwhelming.”

Burdick, now retired, still serves as a senior justice, taking a minimal caseload as needed. When he is not donning the robe, he and his wife, Rachel, enjoy a lot of gardening, fishing for salmon (but certainly not fly fishing), deer hunting, and reading – though Burdick jokes, “Never for content. I’ve been reading for content for decades and I’m tired of it.” He used to be an avid triathlete, competing in several triathlons during his younger years. Burdick has two sons; Phillip, who lives in Sitka, Alaska, has worked in the education system for the majority of his career, and Benjamin, who lives in Boise, runs the Boise Contemporary Theatre. Between them, Rachel and Roger have eight grandchildren spanning ages 21 to six, who keep them busy.

Burdick states, “I have had a career I could have never dreamed of. I would have never had it without the support of others. Professionally, thank you to the overworked, underpaid clerks of the Court who are the scaffolding all judges depend upon. They are too numerous to mention, but never forgotten. I would have never accomplished my work on the district or appellate court without my brilliant, hard-working law clerks who enriched my legal work, but more importantly my personal life.” “And lastly, but always first, my family. I gathered and still get inspiration from my boys as I watch how hard they have worked to succeed in their many endeavors and now in fatherhood. Nothing would have gotten done without the support of my Jerome family and now Rachel. Thanks to all.”

Lindsey M. Welfley is the Communications Director of the Idaho State Bar, overseeing all communications-related initiatives of both the Idaho State Bar and the Idaho Law Foundation, Inc. She graduated from Grand Canyon University with her undergraduate degree in history in 2015 and has been employed with the Idaho State Bar ever since. Lindsey has been the Communications Director since March 2019.

Idaho Academy of Leadership for Lawyers Accepting Applications for the Class of 23-24 – Deadline 8/18

Applications are being accepted by the Idaho State Bar for the Idaho Academy of Leadership for Lawyers (IALL). Now in its 12th, IALL aims to promote diversity and inspire leadership qualities in the legal profession by presenting proven leadership skills. The program features professional development for a small group of Idaho’s most promising lawyers. IALL brings together lawyers from different practice areas with a variety of backgrounds from all across the Gem State. The deadline for application submission is Friday, August 18th.

The mission of IALL is to promote diversity and inspire the development of leadership within the legal profession. IALL will bring together lawyers from different practice areas with a variety of backgrounds from all across Idaho. IALL will build upon the participant’s leadership skills and promote leadership experience by:

·         Teaching accepted and recognized leadership skills and philosophies;

·         Fostering professional relationships within the Idaho legal community and the greater community;

·         Promoting professional obligations and community service; and

·         Raising awareness among lawyers of the broad range of issues and challenges facing leaders today.

For more information regarding the program, please visit our website at Idaho Academy of Leadership for Lawyers.

APPLY NOW – To apply online, use our new IALL ONLINE APPLICATION.  To download the brochure, click here: IALL Brochure 2023-2024.

Idaho Supreme Court Public Comment Regarding Disqualification Without Cause – Deadline 8/4

Hilarity For Charity – 9/14