Lisa Blue Baron earned a law degree from the South Texas College of Law and a Ph.D. degree in Counseling Psychology from North Texas State University. After law school she worked in the Dallas County District Attorney's office and later moved to the law firm Baron & Budd where she specialized in environmental and toxic tort law. Ms. Blue Baron's accomplishments in trial courts nationwide have been widely recognized, including being named one of the Top 50 Women Litigators in the U.S. by the National Law Journal, Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, as well as receiving the Honorary Barrister Award from the University of Texas Law School and the Distinguished Alumni Award from South Texas College of Law. In addition to her legal practice, Lisa maintains a private consultancy as a forensic psychologist and is a nationally renowned expert in jury selection. With her unique background, Blue Baron has been a commentator for several high-profile trials covered by Court TV and has co-authored numerous articles on jury selection. Lisa was elected in July 2011 as Secretary of the American Association for Justice.
Hon. Justice Patricia O’Brien Cotter was born in South Bend, Indiana. She graduated fom Western Michigan University with a B.S. in Political Science and History in 1972 and from Notre Dame Law School in 1977. After practicing law in South Bend, she and her husband Michael moved to Montana in 1983 and began practicing law in Great Falls in 1984 with John Hoyt. In 1985, they established the law firm of Cotter & Cotter. Justice Cotter was twice honored with the MTLA Public Service Award, and also received the group’s Appellate Advocacy Award in 1999, after chairing the group’s Amicus Curiae committee for 7 years. From 1996 to 1998, she served as chair of Montana’s lawyer representatives to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. In 2006, Justice Cotter was presented with the Edward C. Alexander Award for distinguished legal service and professionalism by the Cascade County Bar Association. Justice Cotter won election to the Montana Supreme Court in 2000 and was re-elected in 2008.
Georg Finder, Independent Credit Evaluator (ICE), is an expert on credit reporting violations and credit damage measurement regarding increased out-of-pocket costs, loss of credit capacity, and loss of credit expectancy. He has more than 16 years experience evaluating credit reports and appearing as an expert witness for both plaintiff and defense. Finder has authored numerous books including his upcoming, Credit Reputation Damage Compensation Success (2012). He is a multiple MCLE provider on credit report issues and credit reputation damage compensation.
Russ M. Herman is a senior partner in the firm of Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar of New Orleans, LA. He earned his law degree from Tulane University in 1966. Mr. Herman was lead trial counsel in Scott V. American Tobacco, et al. ($5.9 billion verdict). He, as Liaison Counsel and lead negotiator, was successful in concluding a $4.85 billion dollar settlement with Merck. He has served as past president of LTLA, AAJ, Roscoe Pound Foundation and Civil Justice Foundation. Russ has been honored with numerous awards including LTLA's Outstanding Trial Lawyer, AAJ's Leonard M. Ring Champion of Justice, Lifetime Achievement and Joe Tonahill awards, and induction into The American Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. His opinion editorials and interviews regularly are reported in major periodicals and magazines. Russ has authored or coauthored serveral publications including Courtroom Persuasion: Art, Drama & Science.
Philip A. Hohenlohe is a partner at Hohenlohe, Jones, PLLP, in Helena. He graduated first in his class from the George Washington University Law School, where he served on the law review and moot court board. He began his legal career as associate appellate counsel with the Criminal Appeals Bureau of the New York Legal Aid Society, and then served as a staff attorney at the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He worked at the Montana Advocacy Program from 2002 to 2007, where he represented clients in cases of disability discrimination. Mr. Hohenlohe now practices primarily in the area of employment discrimination, and has litigated cases in state and federal court, as well as before the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. Phil received the MTLA Appellate Advocacy Award for 2008-2009.
State Senator Larry Jent is an MTLA member from Bozeman who served three terms in the House before his election to the Senate in 2006. Senator Jent serves on the Senate Judiciary, State Administration, and Fish and Game committees. He is a partner in Williams & Jent and has been listed in Who's Who in American Law and Best Lawyers in America directories. Larry practices in the areas of Federal and State criminal defense, plaintiff's personal injury, and professional negligence law. Jent graduated from West Point in 1973 and served as a Green Beret. He received his law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1983. Larry represented Montana at the 1996, 2000, and 2008 Democratic National Conventions.
Gary C. Johnson has been successfully representing Plaintiffs in personal injury cases for over 35 years. He is the founder of Gary C. Johnson, P.S.C., which currently has 10 attorneys in three offices located in Pikeville, Lexington and Hazard, Kentucky. Mr. Johnson has been named a Kentucky Super Lawyer® for the last two years. In 2008, Gary C. Johnson was awarded the Peter Perlman Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Kentucky Justice Association for his work as an advocate for the people and his service as a mentor to young lawyers. He has received several multi-million dollar jury verdicts and settlements over his long and distinguished career including the largest single Plaintiff's verdict in Kentucky, over 270 million dollars. His firm practice consists almost entirely of plaintiff personal injury cases in the fields of vehicular negligence, products liability, and medical malpractice. In addition to his past public service as Pike County Attorney and Kentucky State Senator, Gary has been providing free legal advice on a weekly basis through his televised show, "Simply the Law," which airs in Central and Eastern Kentucky.
Leigh E. Johnson is the founding attorney and principal of the Law Offices of Leigh E. Johnson. Ms. Johnson graduated from John F. Kennedy School of Law in June 2003. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, where she is on staff and teaches trial skills. She is the facilitator of the Bay Area TLC Group, where she hosts monthly meetings and seminars to teach trial skills and to assist lawyers with discovering the stories of their cases.Leigh regularly uses focus groups to better understand and flesh out the issues in her cases. She has participated in numerous focus groups with other attorneys and she has given focus group presentations to trial lawyer groups in San Francisco and at the Death Penalty College in Dubois Wyoming.
Prof. Greg Munro regularly researches and writes the quarterly Insurance Consumer Counsel’s Column for MTLA’s Trial Trends. Prof. Munro has published articles, a book and book chapters on topics of insurance, torts, medical-legal and legal education. He teaches Insurance Law, Trial Practice and Pretrial Advocacy at the University of Montana School of Law where he is a Professor and Director of Professional Skills. He has also taught Torts and Remedies and co-coached the law school’s national championship Trial Team from 1989 until 1999. Munro is a past president and board member of MTLA. He serves on the Montana State Uniform District Court Rules Committee. He practiced plaintiff’s civil litigation in Billings for thirteen years before joining the UM School of Law in 1988.
Hon. Justice James C. Nelson has served on the Montana Supreme Court since May 1993. He obtained his law degree, cum laude, from George Washington University in 1974. Justice Nelson engaged in the general practice of law in Cut Bank for nearly 20 years representing individuals, small businesses, ranchers and farmers in domestic relations, real estate, litigation, contract, wills, probate, estate, and oil and gas matters. He served as the Glacier County Attorney for 14 of those years. Justice Nelson presently serves as the Supreme Court's liaison to the Commission of Courts of Limited Jurisdiction; as a member of the State Bar of Montana CLE Institute; as Chairperson of the Supreme Court's Commission on Technology; and was formerly one of Montana's Commissioners to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Gary M Paul is a partner of Waters, Kraus & Paul in Los Angeles and is President of AAJ. Mr. Paul has more than three decades of trial experience in consumer and medical product liability, medical and professional malpractice, commercial and insurance litigation, and employment and labor law. After earning a bachelor's degree in engineering from Arizona State University and a master's in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, Gary worked as a space and missile engineer for a decade before deciding to pursue a career in law. Gary earned his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1974, and was admitted to practice by the State Bar of California the same year. A respected author, Gary has written numerous articles for legal journals.
Molly B. Powell is a trial attorney at the Seattle Field Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. At the EEOC, Ms. Powell tries employment discrimination cases in the Federal District Courts of Washington, Idaho, Alaska, Oregon, and Montana. The EEOC in Seattle receives over 2,000 complaints of discrimination a year. Of those, the legal unit generally chooses between 20 and 25 to file in federal court on behalf of the charging party and the public interest. The Seattle Field office obtained jurisdiction over Montana in 2006. Ms. Powell brought the office's first case in Montana in 2006, which she prosecuted jointly with Elizabeth Best and Santana Kortum, who represented the individual charging party.
Alexander H. Rate graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 2009. Upon graduation Alex opened a solo practice, Rate Law Office, P.C., focusing on civil rights, discrimination, and employment law in Livingston, Montana. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2000. As with most small-town practitioners who are dedicated to serving people, Alex also represents criminal defendants and does some estate planning. He is currently admitted to the Montana Bar, as well as the Federal District Court for the District of Montana.
Philip “Shad” Shadwick is a 2010 graduate of the University of Montana School of Law. Prior to entering law school, Shad spent 18 years working for Farmers Insurance Group. Seeking a more fulfilling and meaningful career, Shad decided to go to law school in 2007. While at the University of Montana, Shad completed an internship with the United States Attorney General’s Office in Missoula and worked as a hearing officer for the Missoula Housing Authority. While completing his clinical requirement, Shad was able to win an acquittal in his first trial. In January of 2009, Shad began working as an intern for the Paoli Kutzman firm. Shad has recently joined the firm as an associate.
James C. Sturdevant is the principal of The Sturdevant Law Firm in San Francisco, which represents plaintiffs in class actions involving consumer protection, financial and insurance fraud, employment discrimination and other unlawful business practice cases. He has tried and settled many multi-million dollar class action cases and is known as well for his appellate advocacy. In his thirty-five-plus year career he has successfully handled cases challenging financial services practices and fees, binding, mandatory arbitration clauses, employment discrimination, disability rights, Title IX, federal and state benefit rights and housing. He graduated from Boston College Law School in 1972 and is admitted to practice in both California and Connecticut, serves or has served on numerous Boards of public interest organizations nationally and in California, and has won many awards nationally and statewide.
Andrea L. Richard, a Wyoming native, has been serving the people of Wyoming as an attorney since 1991. Ms. Richard began the private practice of law in 1993 after serving a two-year clerkship for the Wyoming Supreme Court. She practiced in the Cheyenne office of a large Denver-based law firm, and became a partner in 1999. After eleven years of practicing in a large firm environment, in 2004, Ms. Richard opened her own law practice in Jackson, Wyoming, where she represents people, not corporations. Her practice is focused on personal injury and civil rights. Andrea has had several successful jury verdicts. She is a member of the Wyoming, Colorado and American Bar Associations. She is admitted to practice before the Colorado Supreme Court, Wyoming Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Richard is a graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College.