T. Guy Hallam Jr.
Published May 2022
Trial lawyers are important. The Idaho Trial Lawyers Association (“ITLA”) has been protecting the access to justice for all and working to preserve the constitutional right to a trial by jury for nearly 55 years.
A handful of Idaho attorneys founded the ITLA in 1967 to ensure that Article I, Section 7 of the Idaho Constitution, which says that “The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate,” is consistently upheld. That handful of attorneys has become a team of hundreds of trial lawyers working to better the legal community in Idaho while championing the access to courts for all Idaho citizens. Some of the programs of the ITLA include:
The Street Law Clinic
For years, the ITLA Street Law Clinic has provided pro bono legal advice to citizens of Idaho who might otherwise be unable to afford to get their legal questions answered. At the ITLA Street Law Clinic, law students work with volunteer ITLA trial attorneys to provide this service to the community.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, this previously in-person clinic has morphed into a telephonic and/or video undertaking which serves persons throughout Idaho. Hundreds of law student and trial attorney volunteers have provided thousands of hours of time over the course of Street Law Clinic operations. Upcoming dates and details regarding the ITLA Street Law Clinic can be found on the ITLA website, at: https://www.itla.org/?pg=StreetLawClinic.
The ITLA also provides top tier education and courses for attorneys. At least three times a year, the ITLA provides a full day of continuing legal education classes. The speakers at ITLA classes are nationally recognized attorneys and experts, state and federal judges, and local trial attorneys who cover cutting edge topics and practical trial skills. The ITLA believes that the location of its courses should also highlight the beauty and activities of Idaho, so summer events and CLEs are in Sun Valley, fall events and CLEs in McCall, with additional stops in Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Jackson, Wyoming, and an occasional trip to Jackpot, Nevada.
The ITLA is committed to ensuring that changes to Idaho law do not erode a citizen’s access to our courts. ITLA has a governmental relations committee which reviews legislation, suggests amendments to bills, and assures the ability of Idahoans to hold others accountable for their actions under the civil justice system. The associated ITLA PAC was organized to support and elect candidates who will uphold and strengthen the civil justice system and defend the constitutional right to trial by jury.
Building a community of Idaho Trial Lawyers
Most importantly, the ITLA is about building a community of trial lawyers who serve the citizens of Idaho. ITLA members are able to access the expertise of fellow trial lawyers, whether it be through networking at meetings and CLEs, during practice specific working groups, or through a trial lawyer only listserve. The ITLA also recognizes greatness and service amongst its members, whether it be excellence in trial advocacy (the James J. May Trial Lawyer of the Year Award), outstanding professionalism in the practice of law (the Walter H. Bithell Professionalism Award), service to the ITLA (the Darrel Aherin ITLA Service Award), or years of supporting efforts to improve civil justice (the ITLA Civil Justice Partner Award).
Despite all of these ongoing accomplishments and activities, this is the first time that the ITLA has sponsored an issue of the Advocate. We hope that you will enjoy this issue, which contains articles on a variety of topics important to trial attorneys and litigants in Idaho.
Guy Hallam was Born in Florida, the son of a university professor and a nurse. His family had stops at schools in Florida, Georgia, and Rhode Island before they set roots in lovely East Tennessee. Guy learned a few things on the Hallam Family Fruit Farm in Loudon County, Tennessee, including the value of hard work, that not all peaches are created equal, and that it’s not a good idea to try to get a pickup truck up on two wheels. Truth be told, Guy would be happy to spend the day back out on the tractor, dragging a “bush hog” around the farm.
Although he likes to refer to his youth as “hard scrabble,” there is little evidence to support the use of that term. Guy’s love of the Tennessee Volunteers also started in his youth, as a boy scout guarding the pennants at the top of Neyland Stadium on Saturdays in the fall and continued through his graduation from the University of Tennessee with a degree in English. An appellate clerkship brought Guy to Idaho from law school in Portland, which allowed him to find a home in the Idaho foothills and the love of his life, Shannon. Guy is a trial attorney with the firm of Strindberg Scholnick Birch Hallam Harstad Thorne (affectionately shortened to the more manageable “SBHT”), with a practice primarily in employment law. Guy has been a long-time board member of the Idaho Trial Lawyers Association and is currently serving as the President of the ITL