Montana State Bar meeting attracts legal leaders to Kalispell

September 17, 2018 GMT

A number of the United States’ heavy hitters in the legal profession will be in Kalispell next week as the city hosts the State Bar of Montana’s annual meeting Sept. 20-22.

The meeting, in Kalispell for the first time since 2011, will be held at the Red Lion in the Kalispell Center Mall. There will be one event that is open to the public in the Grand Ballroom.

At 9:30 a.m. Friday, the public event will be a Montana Supreme Court oral argument as the court hears Cross v. Warren. At issue in the case is whether Montana law allows the stacking of automobile liability insurance policies.

Seating for the public will be very limited.

The delegation of national leaders includes Butte’s Robert M. Carlson, the 2018-2019 president of the 400,000-member American Bar Association.

Carlson is the second Montanan to be named ABA president. The first was William J. Jameson in 1953-1954. Jameson was later appointed by President Eisenhower to be a federal judge. He is one of the most revered lawyers and jurists in Montana history. The highest honor the State Bar of Montana bestows is the William J. Jameson award. In 2016, Carlson was the recipient of that award.

Carlson, a shareholder with the Butte law firm of Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson, P.C. Carlson has served in many national and state bar leadership positions, including as president of the State Bar of Montana from 1993 to 1994. From 2012 to 2014, he was chair of the ABA’s policymaking House of Delegates, the association’s second-highest elected office.

There are two events that are not open to the public, but are for attendees of the meeting.

The first is Thursday afternoon with a panel discussion about the rule of law, politics and press.

Taking part in the discussion will be former President Barack Obama White House Counsel Robert F. Bauer; Robert S. Bennett, who represented President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal; and former Reagan Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

Also scheduled to take part are former Montana governor and attorney general Marc Racicot, who was also the re-election campaign chair for President George W. Bush; Matt McKenna, crisis communication expert, longtime spokesman and senior adviser to President Clinton; and Neil Livingstone, crisis communication expert and former Republican candidate for Montana governor.

The meeting will wrap up Friday afternoon with a panel discussion about presidential perspectives on the profession of law.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker can be reached at 406-758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com.