Jack Gjording and Richard Hall First to be Recognized With IADC’s Most Prestigious Award

By the Idaho Associations of Defense Counsel Staff

“Jack Gjording has a true love of the law.” “He pours his all into every case; he truly enjoys working up cases and preparing the best litigation strategy possible for his clients.” Quotes from the young attorney who nominated Jack for the Idaho Association of Defense Counsel’s (IADC) first Carl P. Burke Award of Excellence in Legal Defense.  That attorney went on to comment that when litigation occasionally presents an attorney with a choice to take the high road or a lower road, without fail, Jack chooses the high road. Powerful words to accurately describe a true professional and asset to Idaho’s legal community; one of two recipients of IADC’s Carl Burke Award.

As a civil defense attorney, Jack has represented defendants in well over 100 civil jury trials.  Jack has tried every civil cause of action that can go to a jury.  Most trial lawyers stay in their comfort zone, but Jack really doesn’t mind venturing into lawsuits most of us have never heard about.  He also is liked by most lawyers on the other side!  Jack doesn’t enjoy the wins more than he mourns the losses.  After each trial, he just says, “What’s next.”  That’s all.  He doesn’t brag and he doesn’t beat himself up.

In addition to being a talented trial attorney, Jack truly cares about sharing his experience and knowledge with less experienced colleagues. His door is always open and he willingly spends countless hours working with them on deposition or trial preparation, even if he is not working on the case.

Jack has been a long-time member of IADC and DRI. Jack is an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and, like Carl Burke, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Jack and Trudy have been married for 27 years and he has 8 grandchildren ranging in ages from 22 down to 1 1/2.  He sees each one as perfect and with them “yes” is his favorite word!  The entire family does wonder, though, why with his large family, are all his screen savers and pictures of his Golden Doodle, Zena!  Jack loves to travel and occasionally play golf.

The other recipient of IADC’s Carl P. Burke Award is Richard E. Hall.  This year, Rich is celebrating his 50th year as an Idaho attorney.  During those 50 years, Rich has earned the reputation as one of Idaho’s legal legends and is widely recognized as one of the best civil defense attorneys in Idaho’s history.  Throughout his years of practice, Rich devoted much of his career to defending physicians across the state and has a near-perfect record in doing so.  He was recognized by Chambers (USA) as “the best medical malpractice attorney in Idaho – if not beyond.”  Known for his incredible presence before juries, Rich commanded the courtroom with an exceptional knowledge of medicine, a gentlemanly and civil nature, and a quick wit.

In addition to Rich’s numerous successes in the courtroom, Rich, like his mentors Chuck Blanton and Dick Fields, is a devoted mentor.  Rich was never shy to have a newer attorney handle an oral argument, deposition, or trial witness.  In fact, he was notorious for turning to his second chairs during trial and deciding on the fly that his second chair was going to handle the cross-examination of the testifying witness – a horrifying and thrilling moment for all who had the privilege of trying a case with Rich.  Rich also has an impressive track record of having his mentees promoted to the bench, with the Honorable Candy Dale serving as Idaho’s first female federal Magistrate Judge and with Judge Steve Hippler serving as a District Judge in Ada County.

Rich is also known for his sense of humor and for his ability to talk to anyone about anything.  As Keely Duke knows, having been a dear friend and attorney with Rich for the last 20 years, “there is never a lonely person at a party Rich attends because Rich will quickly make any stranger feel a part of the moment and have them laughing by the night’s end.”

An integral part of Rich’s success is the support of his wife of 53 years, Tonya.  She is as well-known as Rich in the organizations Rich belongs to and is a much-loved unofficial member of Idaho’s legal bar.  Rich and Tonya have four beautiful daughters and six grandchildren.

Rich is a past President of the Idaho Association of Defense Counsel and, among his numerous other honors, is a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. In addition, Rich’s unwavering commitment to professionalism and civility was recently recognized by Concordia University School of Law when he was awarded the Richard C. Fields Civility Award in 2017.

From his childhood in Mountain Home, to law school at Harvard, to 50-years as a civil defense attorney in Idaho, Rich is not just a “legend in his own mind” – a classic Rich saying – but a legal legend in Idaho.

As stated by IADC’s current president, Robert A. Anderson, “The Carl P. Burke Award of Excellence was designed to recognize those attorneys who possess not only the legal skills to successfully navigate the courtroom, but, also the true civility and ethical standards necessary to make the practice of law the respected profession it should be.  Both Jack and Rich clearly exemplify these characteristics and it has been a pleasure to know and learn from them both over the years.”

Founded in 1964, the Idaho Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) promotes the highest professional and ethical standards for Idaho’s civil defense and business attorneys. The IADC serves its members through education, recognition, collegiality, and professional development.