Distinguished Leadership: Idaho State Bar Association’s Highest Honor Goes to University of Idaho College of Law Dean, Alumni
Sunday, July 12 2009
July 12, 2009
by Donna Emert
BOISE, Idaho –Three outstanding attorneys with ties to the University of Idaho have received the Idaho State Bar Association’s highest honor: the Distinguished Lawyer Award. The award recognizes Idaho lawyers who have distinguished the profession through exemplary conduct and civility, devotion to clients, contributions to the pursuit of justice, and unselfish public service benefiting the citizens of Idaho.
The Distinguished Lawyer awards were presented to University of Idaho College of Law Dean Donald L. Burnett and to University of Idaho alumni J. Robert Alexander and Craig Meadows on Wednesday, July 8, at the Boise Centre on the Grove. The award ceremony was part of the Idaho State Bar annual meeting.
Each of the recipients has a long history of service to the people of Idaho and to the legal profession.
Donald L. Burnett, Jr.
was born in Pocatello in 1946 and graduated from Pocatello High School in 1964. He earned a baccalaureate degree from Harvard in economics, magna cum laude, in 1968, a juris doctor degree from the University of Chicago in 1971, and an LL.M. degree from the University of Virginia in 1990. He also is a graduate of Command & General Staff College --“Commandant’s List”, United States Army. He clerked for the Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court, Henry F. McQuade before serving as an assistant attorney general and later moving into private practice in Pocatello. Burnett was appointed to the Idaho Court of Appeals in 1982 and was retained by Idaho voters in 1986. He served on the court until 1990 when he became dean of the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. In 2002, he returned to Idaho as dean and Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Idaho College of Law. He has served as Idaho State Bar Commissioner and as the organization’s president in 1981. He also has served on a variety of State Bar committees, is currently a member of the Bar Examination Review Committee, and has been a governing board member of the Indian Law and Professionalism and Ethics sections of the Idaho Bar. Burnett also currently serves as director of the Idaho Law Foundation. He recently served as chair of the Idaho Supreme Court Task Force on the Court of Appeals: The Next Quarter-Century. Among many honors and awards, Burnett holds the Idaho State Bar Service Award, 1990, and the Professionalism Award, 2006. While in Louisville, he received the Liberty Bell Award from the Kentucky Supreme Court, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the city of Louisville, the Minerva Medal from the University of Louisville, and was named the Honorary Charles M. Allen Faculty Fellow for the Brandeis School of Law in 2002. He is an elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and past chair of the American Bar Association’s legal education professionalism committee.
Burnett’s commitment to professionalism and ethics is reflected in his career and in the College of Law curriculum: as dean, and with concurrence of the faculty, Burnett instituted pro bono service as a graduation requirement for a University of Idaho juris doctorate. His commitment to the college’s land-grant mandate –its statewide mission—continues to be a driving force moving Idaho’s College of Law into its second century.
J. Robert Alexander
was born in Butte, Mont., where his father worked for Texaco. His father joined the Army during World War II and, after the war, the family settled in Boise. Bob Alexander has made his home Idaho ever since. He graduated from Boise High School and attended the University of Idaho, where he obtained his baccalaureate degree in letters and science in 1962. Alexander went on to attend the University of Idaho College of Law, earning a juris doctor degree in 1964. After graduation he was admitted to practice before the Idaho Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1969, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1981, and to practice before the U.S. Court of Claims in 1988. He joined the firm of Benoit & Benoit in Twin Falls in 1964. His practice is litigation focused, primarily on personal injury cases, professional liability--including medical, legal and accounting--products liability and business litigation. His firm represents both plaintiffs and defendants, but primarily defendants. Most recently, Alexander has focused much of his practice on mediation and arbitration. He is currently a hearing officer for the State of Idaho, Personnel Department. Alexander has been a member of the Idaho Association of Defense Counsel since 1964, a founder and past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Idaho Chapter; a founder and past president of the Theron Ward Chapter of the American Inns of Court; a fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers; and a member of the American Bar Foundation since 1995. He was selected for fellowship in the American College of Trial Lawyers in August of 1986 and served as the Lawyer Representative for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1990-93. He is currently a member and director of the University of Idaho Foundation and served as its president from 1997-99. Alexander also has served the Idaho State Bar in many capacities and also served as director of the Idaho Law Foundation from 1995-98. He was awarded the Idaho State Service Award in 2000. In 1997, he received the Idaho State Bar Professionalism Award for the 5th District.
Craig L. Meadows
was raised on a dry farm in American Falls. He earned an associate’s degree from Mesa College in 1960 and a baccalaureate degree from Colorado State University in Agricultural Engineering in 1963. In 1966 he earned a juris doctor degree from the University of Idaho College Law, Meadows clerked for Judge Fred M. Taylor out of law school. He was an Idaho Bar Commissioner from 1998-2001 and served as the president of the Idaho State Bar in 2001. He was the lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference from 1990-93 and the state chair of the Idaho State Committee for the American Trial Lawyers from 1997-98. Meadows currently serves on the Idaho State Bar Judicial Fairness Committee and is a member of the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program Policy Council. He is a member of the American Inns of Court #130, the Defense Research Institute, the Idaho Association of Defense Council and a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was recently nominated as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
During academic year 2009-10, the University of Idaho College of Law celebrates its centennial. The college has been recognized nationally for its distinct programs, including its clinical legal education, pro bono service, diversity initiatives, and cross-disciplinary fields of study, including environmental and natural resources law, business law and entrepreneurship, advocacy and dispute resolution, and Native American law. For more information about these events and about the University of Idaho College of Law legacy of legal education, visit www.law.uidaho.edu
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu
Media Contact: Tania Thompson, University Communications, (208) 885-6567, email@example.com
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu