Law School Classes Hear From Idaho Supreme Court Justice, Others on Professionalism and Ethics

Monday, August 15 2011


MOSCOW, Idaho — New student orientation at the University of Idaho College of Law begin today with a serious message: ethical, professional behavior is a first priority for Idaho law students. It’s all part of the college’s First Day Professionalism and Ethics program.

First-year University of Idaho College of Law students will hear presentations and participate in small-group discussions of ethical issues and professional behavior under the guidance of seasoned members of the Idaho bench and bar. The law school is located in the Menard Building on the Moscow campus.

Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann, Idaho Court of Appeals Chief Judge Karen Lansing, Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Sergio Gutierrez, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, and Idaho State Bar President Reed Larsen are among the 27 jurists and attorneys volunteering their time to make presentations or lead students in the small-group discussions

Larsen defined professionalism as, “doing the right thing, for the right reason and at the right time.”

Larsen brings 26 years of experience as a practicing attorney to bear on his First Day presentation and ensuing discussions.

The exchanges between students and practicing professionals will include real cases and the ethical issues they raise, and will address truthfulness and fairness in litigation, fiduciary obligations to clients, reasonableness of fees, conflicts of interest, the duties of lawyers and pro-bono service.

David Nevin, a partner at Nevin Benjamin McKay & Bartlett, LLP in Boise, will present a talk on the value of public service.

“Public service is, and always has been, an important part of being a lawyer,” said Nevin. “When we pass the bar exam and become licensed to practice law we gain access to a profession which allows us to change the world. It also can provide us -- if we play our cards right -- interesting work and a living wage for the rest of our lives. It is only fair, not to mention satisfying in its own right, for us to give back to the society which has created and provided us access to this profession.”

Eismann, who recently completed a four-year term as Idaho’s Chief Justice, will comment on the centrality of ethics and professionalism, not only in the individual careers of the new law students but also in maintaining public confidence in the rule of law. Lansing will provide concluding remarks emphasizing the importance of individual integrity.

Law Dean Don Burnett introduced the the First Day Professionalism and Ethics Program in 2003 as part of the college’s historical focus on integrity and ethical conduct. The program is made possible in partnership with the Idaho State Bar Section on Professionalism and Ethics.

“One of the purposes of the program,” said Burnett, “is to make it clear on day one that stereotypes and media depictions of lawyers do not reflect the true standards of the legal profession. The small group discussions ensure that every student gets the message in a personal way.”

In 2006, at least 40 hours of uncompensated law-related pro bono service became a condition of graduation from the University of Idaho College of Law. Students have taken the message to heart. The graduating class of 2011 provided more than 11,000 hours of pro bono service, averaging approximately 100 hours per student.

Renowned participants in the 2011 First Day Focus program include: Stephen Brown, Ellis, Brown & Sheils, Boise; Jeff M. Brudie, Idaho Second District Court Judge; Tom Callery, Jones, Brower and Callery PLLC, Lewiston; Ted Creason, Creason, Moore, Dokken, & Geidl PLLC, Lewiston; Julia Crossland, Idaho State Bar deputy bar counsel;

Paul Daugharty, solo practitioner, Coeur d’Alene; Jim Dickinson, Senior Deputy Prosecutor for Ada County; Peg Dougherty, Idaho Attorney General’s Office; Daniel Eismann, Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice; and Mikela French, Hall, Farley, Oberrecht & Blanton, Boise. Mary Giannini, Witherspoon Kelley, Spokane, Portland and Coeur d’Alene; Tim Gresback, defense attorney, Moscow; Sergio Gutierrez, Idaho Court of Appeals Judge; Dana Herberholtz, Zarian Midgley & Johnson PLLC, Boise; Larry Hunter, Moffatt, Thomas, Barrett, Rock & Fields, Chtd., Boise; John Judge, magistrate judge for Latah County; Karen Lansing, Chief Judge, Idaho Court of Appeals; Reed Larsen, Cooper & Larsen, Pocatello; Brian McClatchey, in-house attorney at Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel, Worley; Stephen McCrea, solo practitioner, Coeur d’Alene; Kendall McDevitt, Deputy Attorney General for the State of Idaho; Kinzo Mihara, Howard Funke & Associates, P.C., Coeur d'Alene; Sherry Morgan, Ada County Prosecutor’s Office; Molly O'Leary, Richardson & O’Leary PLLC, Boise; Laird Stone, Stephan, Kvanvig Stone & Trainor, Twin Falls; Lawrence Wasden, Idaho State Attorney General; and Robert Wetherell, Brassey, Wetherell and Crawford LLP, Boise.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant 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 classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu.