Recap of the 2021 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting
Teresa A. Baker
Published September 2021
The 2021 Idaho State Bar Annual Meeting was held at Boise Centre East on July 21st through the 23rd. Due to the continuing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was offered as a hybrid event with both in-person attendance and a webcast option. All three of the award events were also livestreamed via YouTube. Each of the award events are available to watch on the Idaho State Bar YouTube channel.
The Distinguished Lawyer & Jurist Awards Reception was held on Wednesday evening, July 21st, at the Riverside Hotel with President Donald F. Carey serving as the Master of Ceremonies. The recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Lawyer Awards were Howard A. Belodoff of Boise, Debora Kristensen Grasham of Boise, and Donald J. Chisholm of Burley. The Distinguished Jurist Award was presented to Judge Deborah A. Bail, retiring Fourth District Judge. The Outstanding Young Lawyer Award was presented to T. Matthew Wolfe II of Boise. Each award recipient was introduced with a short, recorded video in which they were interviewed by a colleague or friend and then each graciously accepted their award at the podium. In addition to members of the bar and family and friends of the honorees, there were over 20 students from the University of Idaho College of Law in attendance.
Thursday morning, July 22nd, began with a Plenary Session in which Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice G. Richard Bevan gave an update on the state of the Idaho courts. President Carey then introduced the new Dean of the University of Idaho College of Law, Johanna Kalb, who gave a few remarks. Incoming Commissioner Gary L. Cooper introduced the keynote speaker, Walter Echo-Hawk. Mr. Echo-Hawk is an attorney, author, former Tribal Judge, and President of the Pawnee Business Echo-Hawk Council for the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. He spoke on the topic of the human rights era in Federal Indian law. This session and CLE was offered at no cost to members of the bar and 144 members attended via webcast. A total of 6.0 CLE credits were offered on Thursday with breakout sessions offered twice. The late afternoon CLE session featured the annual “Lessons from the Masters” program. The presenters for this year’s installment were Trudy H. Fouser and Wendy J. Olson, both of Boise, and Tim Gresback of Moscow.
During a noon luncheon, the Idaho State Bar and Idaho Law Foundation Service Awards were presented. Eleven lawyers from around the Gem State who have provided volunteer time to support the work of the Bar and the Law Foundation were honored. The Section of the Year Award was also presented to the members of the Child Protection Section. When the awards program concluded the Idaho Law Foundation held their Annual Meeting led by President Kari M. Campos of Idaho Falls.
The Milestone Celebration and Awards Reception: Celebrating 25, 40, 50, 60, 65 & 70 Years of Admission was held Thursday evening with over 100 people in attendance. James Charles “Chuck” Blanton was honored as the sole 70-year member, and he spoke about his years of practice that started in 1951. Other awards presented during the evening included The Advocate Awards and the new Idaho Legal History Section presented the Byron J. Johnson Award to the Honorable B. Lynn Winmill, U.S. District Court Judge and the Honorable Ronald E. Bush, U.S. Magistrate Court Judge.
On Friday, July 23rd, an additional 5.0 CLE credits were offered to conference participants. The late afternoon session featured the flagship CLE entitled “The Climate of Civility and Professionalism in the Practice of Law in Idaho.” The CLE was sponsored by the Professionalism and Ethics Section and the presenters discussed the 2020 Climate of the Legal Profession in Idaho survey and suggested ways to improve inclusivity for all members of the bar, clients, and community. The Annual Meeting officially adjourned at 2:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
All 2021 award recipients were featured in the August issue of The Advocate, including the Distinguished Lawyers, Distinguished Jurist, Outstanding Young Lawyer, Professionalism Awards, Denise O’Donnell Day Pro Bono Awards, Service Awards, the Section of the Year, The Advocate Awards, all retiring judges, and the Milestone Attorneys who have been members of the Idaho State Bar for 50, 60, 65, and 70 years. Each member of the Bar was mailed a copy of The Advocate award special edition.
The Annual Meeting would not be possible without the support of our sponsors. This year’s sponsors included: Platinum sponsors, Bank of Idaho, Idaho Central Credit Union, and the Fourth District Bar Association; Gold sponsors, Clio and the University of Idaho College of Law; and Silver sponsors, Custer Agency, LexisNexis, the Idaho Community Foundation, Sage Forensic Accounting, LawPay, and the Idaho State Bar Idaho Legal History Section.