Recap of 2023 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting

By Teresa A. Baker

Justice Roger S. Burdick giving remarks after accepting this year’s Distinguished Jurist Award. Photo by Lindsey Welfley.

The 2023 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting was held in Boise at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (“JUMP”) from July 19th through the 21st.

The meeting kicked off with the Distinguished Lawyer, Distinguished Jurist, and Outstanding Young Lawyer Awards Reception on Wednesday evening.  The awards ceremony began with President Laird B. Stone serving as the Master of Ceremonies with over 150 guests in attendance.  The recipients of the 2023 Distinguished Lawyer Awards were Larry C. Hunter of Boise and Marvin M. Smith of Idaho Falls.  The Distinguished Jurist Award was presented to the Honorable Roger S. Burdick, former Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court.  The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award was presented to Ashley R. Marelius of Boise.  Each award recipient was introduced with a short video of an interview by a colleague or friend and then each graciously accepted their award at the podium.  Ms. Marelius’ award was accepted by her law partners, as she was unable to be in attendance.

Thursday morning, July 20th, began with a Plenary Session in which President Stone gave an update on the state of the Bar and Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice G. Richard Bevan gave an update on the state of the Idaho Courts.  President Stone then introduced the keynote speaker, Jerry V. Teplitz, J.D., Ph.D. Dr. Teplitz spoke on the importance of attorney well-being and gave participants techniques and tools to increase their level of energy and productivity to better serve clients and themselves.  A total of 5.5 CLE credits were offered on Thursday with two different breakout sessions offered.  The late afternoon CLE session featured a session entitled “Preserving Independence, Impartiality, and Excellence in Idaho’s Court System: A Remarkable Judiciary, If You Can Keep It,” and featured a distinguished panel that was moderated by Idaho State Bar Commissioner Mary V. York.  The panel included Justice Jim Jones, Former Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, Hon. Karen L. Lansing, retired member of the Idaho Court of Appeals, J. Philip Reberger, Idaho Judicial Council, and Donald L. Burnett, Jr., Dean Emeritus at the University of Idaho College of Law and an inaugural member of the Idaho Court of Appeals.  The session was informative and thought-provoking for all.

During a Noon luncheon, the Idaho State Bar and Idaho Law Foundation Service Awards were presented with over 125 people in attendance. Seven lawyers from around the Gem State who have provided volunteer time to support the work of the Bar and the Law Foundation were honored including:

Outgoing President Laird Stone (left) passing the gavel to incoming President Gary Cooper (left). Photo by Lindsey Welfley.

Mia Bautista of Moscow, Charles “Clay” Gill and Emily MacMaster of Boise, Casey Simmons of Coeur d’Alene, Brent T. Wilson of Salt Lake City, along with Debbie Dudley, the recently retired controller of the Idaho State Bar. Howard Burnett of Pocatello and William “Bill” McAdam of Sandpoint were also honored but were unable to attend.  When the awards program concluded the Idaho Law Foundation held their Annual Meeting led by President Fonda L. Jovick of Sandpoint.

The Milestone Celebration and Awards Reception: Celebrating 25, 40, 50, 60 & 65 Years of Admission was held Thursday evening with over 130 people in attendance.  The longest admitted member of the Bar in attendance was William Parsons, a 65-year member and was joined by 60-year attorneys Tony Park and Hon. Jesse Walters.  The 50-year attorneys in attendance included Darrel Aherin, Ron Bruce, Linda Cook, Don Farley, James “Jim” Kaufman, Doug Nelson, Jerry Reynolds, Milton Slavin, Paul Street, Ron Twilegar, Cindy Weiss, and Hon. William Woodland. Each of these attorneys were presented with a plaque and each gave a highlight of their career. The 40- and 25-year attorneys were also honored with lapel pins for their attendance and dedication to the profession.

On Friday, July 21st an additional 4.5 CLE credits were offered to conference participants with two sets of CLE breakout sessions and the final plenary session.  This year, the annual “Lessons from the Masters” was called “Lessons from the Bench” and featured Justice Colleen D. Zahn, Idaho Supreme Court, Hon. Debora K. Grasham, U.S. Magistrate, District of Idaho, and Hon. Nancy A. Baskin, Fourth Judicial District.

At Noon a networking BBQ was held with the Section of the Year Award presented to the members of the Employment and Labor Law Section.  President Stone then passed the gavel to incoming President Gary L. Cooper who will serve as president until the next Annual Meeting in 2024.  Lastly, the door prizes from our exhibitors were drawn from the meeting attendees who visited the exhibit hall.

The Annual Meeting would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.  This year’s sponsors included platinum sponsors Idaho Trust Bank and the Fourth District Bar Association, gold sponsors University of Idaho College of Law and Clio, silver sponsors River’s Edge Mediation and the Idaho Community Foundation, and bronze sponsor Eagle Creek Recovery.