MTLA Annual Convention
August 6-7, 2020
Live Streaming Only

10.0 CLE Credits – including 2.5 ethics credit


Thank You Convention Sponsors

 Register NOW



PDF Registration Form (mail in with check)

Speaker  Bios

Speakers & Topics -  Schedule





Social Hour Sponsor 

Bechtold Law Firm    |   McGarvey Law
Awards Sponsor 

Hunt & Fox PLLP

Become a Firm Sponsor (includes 1 free Convention Registration)

FORMAT - Live Streaming ONLY

Due to the unknowns of the COVID situation come August, and especially the dangers to our at risk members, we've reluctantly made the decision not to hold an in person event. This seminar will be live streaming only.  Registrants will receive information from MTLA on how to attend on their desktop or mobile device via the Zoom platform.  This virtual format qualifies for live CLE credits!

We've reduced the registration fees for this virtual event!
Thursday – August 6, 2020
8:25   Welcome & Introduction
    Anthony Jackson, Bozeman
8:30   Start to Finish:  Jury research from Pre-discovery to Post-trial
    Christopher J. Dominic, Portland, OR
9:30   An Update on the Law Applicable to Record Requests
    Hillary P. Carls, Bozeman
10:00   BREAK
10:15   Lessons Learned from the Courtroom
    Alexander (Zander”) Blewett III, Great Falls
11:15   Benefits of Diversity in the MTLA and Beyond - ethics
    Veronica A. Procter, Billings
11:45   Women's Section Meeting  
11:45   LUNCH Break
1:00   Litigating in Secret: Getting Hot Documents While Preserving Justice for All
    Lori E. Andrus, San Francisco, CA
2:00   Using Decision Analysis in Settlement Negotiations
    Dean Paul Kirgis, Alexander Blewett III School of Law, Missoula
3:00   BREAK
3:15   Not So Excellent Adventures – ethics
    Hon. Elizabeth A. Best, Eighth Judicial District, Great Falls
    Hon. Amy P. Eddy, Eleventh Judicial District, Kalispell
    Randy Bishop, Kalispell
    Alexander (Zander) Blewett III, Great Falls
    Clifford Edwards, Billings
    Prof. Gregory S. Munro, Alexander Blewett III School of Law, Missoula
5:15   Program Concludes for the Day
6:00   "Social Hour" & Awards 
Friday – August 7, 2020
7:00   Work Comp Section Meeting
7:55   Welcome & Introduction
    Matt Murphy, Great Falls
8:00   Montana Insurance Law Update: July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020
    Prof. Gregory S. Munro, Alexander Blewett III School of Law, Missoula
9:00   Creating Jury-Relatable Themes in Complex Medical Malpractice Trials
    Jeff Mitchell, San Francisco
10:00   BREAK
10:15   COVID-19 and Montana Workers
    Stacy Tempel-St. John, Great Falls
11:00   Establishing Coverage for COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims
    Hillary Carls, Bozeman
12:00   What, Legislation Affects My Practice?
    Al Smith, Helena
12:15   Membership Meeting

Program Concludes

Back to Top
Faculty Bios

Lori E. Andrus is a founding partner of Andrus Anderson, based in San Francisco, California. She serves as the Parliamentarian of the American Association for Justice and on the Board of Consumer Attorneys of California. Ms. Andrus’ practice encompasses a wide range of subject matter, including personal injury, mass torts, and class actions. In recent years, Ms. Andrus has brought several groundbreaking equal pay cases on behalf of underpaid women lawyers. The National Law Journal named Ms. Andrus as one of the nation’s 75 “Outstanding Women Lawyers.” Ms. Andrus graduated with honors from Duke University School of Law.

Back to Top

Hon. Elizabeth A. Best, Eighth Judicial District, was appointed to the bench in March 2016 and won election (to retain) in November 2016 and 2018.  After earning her law degree from the University of Montana School of Law, Judge Best served in the U.S. Army JAGC.  Upon return to Montana, she clerked for U.S. District Judge Paul Hatfield and then entered private practice.  Judge Best is a past president of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and was named MTLA Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2008.

Back to Top
Randy Bishop maintains a limited civil trial and consulting practice in Kalispell, Montana. From 2015 through Spring semester 2020, he served the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana as an adjunct professor of torts, products liability and insurance law and and co-coached the AB3 Trial Team. Randy is a Past President and sustaining member of MTLA, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and a member and Past-President of Montana ABOTA. He has been honored with MTLA’s Public Service, Appellate Advocacy and Career Achievement Awards.  
Back to Top

Alexander (Zander) Blewett III, obtained a juris doctorate in 1971 from University of Montana School of Law and is a partner in the firm of Hoyt & Blewett in Great Falls. He is a fellow of the Inner Circle of Advocates, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American College of Trial Lawyers and International Society of Barristers. Mr. Blewett is a charter member and advocate of the Montana Chapter of ABOTA and has been certified in civil trial advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1983. Zander is the state Coordinator for the National Board of Trial Advocacy. His name is listed in Who’s Who in American Law, The Best Lawyers in America and in the top 100 Mountain States Super Lawyers. He is the recipient of the Montana Trial Lawyer of the Year award in 1993-94 and 2006-07 and the MTLA Appellate Advocacy Award in 2006-07.

Back to Top

Hillary P. Carls, a Bozeman attorney, has practiced law in Montana since 2006.  In 2005, she earned her J.D. and Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis and Clark Law School, and clerked for Chief Judge Robert Coats of the Alaska Court of Appeals. She is a partner at the law firm of Blackford Carls where she primarily focuses on litigation for her clients in personal injury, insurance disputes, and class actions. She earned her B.A. in Business from Montana State University.  Hillary serves on the board of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association.

Back to Top

Christopher J. Dominic serves as President and a Senior Consultant of Tsongas Litigation Consulting. He leads the company’s national practice and counsels clients on cases ranging from everyday litigation and ADR to some of the highest profile, highest stakes trials in the nation. He has presented many seminars across the nation on case strategy, witness preparation, pre-trial research, jury selection, opening statement, closing argument, and jury decision-making. Dominic’s practice is broad but he spends significant time working on multidistrict litigation, class actions, commercial, and intellectual property matters.

Back to Top

Hon. Amy Eddy has been serving as one of the four District Court Judges in Flathead County since November of 2015. She has presided over more than 5,500 cases. She currently serves as the Chair of the Uniform District Court Rules Commission, is a Member of the American Law Institute, and a Judicial Fellow of the American Bar Association. Prior to serving as District Court Judge, Judge Eddy was in private practice for 15 years as a complex civil litigator. She handled a wide variety of cases on behalf of individuals, families and small businesses across Montana. Judge Eddy is a Past President of the Northwest Montana Bar Association and the Montana Trial Lawyers Association. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Cal Poly in 1997, and attended law school at the University of Montana School of Law, where she currently serves on the Board of Visitors.

Back to Top

Clifford Edwards was born and raised as a 3rd generation Edwards in central Montana’s Judith Basin near Denton. Mr. Edwards received his Montana Education from Denton Public Schools, Carroll College and a Law Degree from the University of Montana in 1974. Edwards & Culver's Billings based firm practices in all areas of Negligence, Product Liability, Oilfield and Construction Site Safe Workplace violations, Insurance Bad Faith, Tortious Breach of Contract and Environmental Remediation for Montana properties. Mr. Edwards is current President of the invitation only International Academy of Trial Lawyers, limited to 500 USA trial lawyers and 100 International courtroom Fellows from 40 countries. He is also a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, ABOTA, AAJ, MTLA, the Montana Bar Association, and serves as Chair of the Board of Visitors, National Judicial College in Reno.

Back to Top

Paul F. Kirgis is Dean and Professor of Law at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana and is an expert in the field of dispute resolution. He has taught civil procedure, evidence, and alternative dispute resolution. His articles have been published in the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, the Negotiation Journal, the Oregon Law Review, the William & Mary Law Review, the Ohio State Law Review, and the Georgia Law Review, among others. Dean Kirgis began his legal career practicing with two major law firms in Washington, D.C.. He then joined the faculty of St. John’s University School of Law in New York City, where he founded the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution. He was awarded the Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal by St. John's University in 2012 and was twice voted the Law School's Professor of the Year by the students. He assumed the Deanship at the University of Montana in 2015.

Back to Top

Jeff Mitchell is a San Francisco based medical malpractice attorney at Mitchell Leeds LLP. He currently handles cases in California, Arizona and Washington state.   He is annually listed by his peers in Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America, Top Attorneys in San Francisco and many other peer reviewed listings. He has won the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year award and has been a finalist several other times. He has also been a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys of California Consumer Attorney of the Year award on multiple occasions.  He has obtained the two largest medical malpractice verdicts in California history and holds record verdicts in three California counties. He has tried to verdict and resolved approximately 500 million dollars for his malpractice clients. He is a highly sought after speaker throughout the country.

Back to Top

Greg Munro is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law having recently retired after a career that involved teaching torts, insurance law and regulation, pretrial advocacy and trial advocacy.  Munro is a past president and board member of MTLA.  He has researched and written the Insurance Consumer Counsel’s Column for Trial Trends.  Professor Munro has published articles, a book and book chapters on topics of insurance, torts, medical-legal and legal education and is co-author of Lawsuit Guide, a book for client plaintiffs.  He co-coached the law school’s national championship Trial Team in ATLA competition from 1989 until 1999.  He practiced plaintiff’s civil litigation in Billings for thirteen years before joining the UM School of Law in 1988.  In his 30 years at the law school, he continued to handle tort and insurance cases and also maintained a thriving pro bono practice.  Greg is a recipient of MTLA's Career Achievement award.

Back to Top

Sam Panarella is a law professor at the Alexander Blewett III School of law at the University of Montana and the Director of the Max Baucus Institute.  He has significant expertise and practical experience in contract law, renewable energy development, environmental law, and business and transactional law, including the legal and business aspects of siting, permitting, and operating renewable and fossil fuel energy projects.  Panarella has authored several papers and articles on energy and environmental topics and is a frequent presenter to both legal and business audiences.  He has also published extensively on business law topics, including two books on business process and electronic discovery.  As a practicing attorney, Panarella was involved in the development of over 4,000 megawatts of new renewable energy generation across the United States.

Back to Top

Veronica A. Procter has been a solo practitioner at Procter Law, PLLC, since 2014, where she focuses her practice on representing adult and child victims of serious injuries, wrongful death, sexual abuse and civil rights violations. Veronica previously worked for an insurance defense firm, where she gained valuable insight on defense strategies. This experience has made her a better plaintiff lawyer and trial lawyer. Veronica has argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and successfully tried jury and bench trials in Yellowstone and Gallatin County. She is a member of the Yellowstone Area Bar Association, State Bar of Montana, Montana Trial Lawyers Association (Board Member), and American Association of Justice (Revitalization Governor). Veronica earned an economics degree from the University of Arizona (2007) and her law degree from the University of Montana School of Law (2011).

Back to Top


Back to Top


  Jeff Mitchell, San Francisco