MTLA Fall Seminar
Law and Technology


November 8, 2019

Hilton Garden Inn
2023 Commerce Way
Bozeman, MT


Seminar Co-chairs:
Hallie Bishop, Billings and Scott Phelan, Bozeman


Register Now - pay by credit card
PDF Form - mail in with check


Speaker Bios





NEW Live Remote OPTION


Problems with driving winter roads, hotel costs, time away from office? MTLA and Fisher Video Conferencing have a solution.


We will be using a Zoom platform to provide  live streaming of the seminar to your desktop or mobile device.  The platform allows you to interact with the seminar, including asking questions of the presenter. 


If you plan to attend via live streaming to your desktop/mobile device, you must register online.





FISHER - Video Conferencing | Court Reporting | Video Services | Trial Presentation Consultation

Schedule – 6 CLE Credits, including 1.5 ethics credit
7:00   Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:25   Introduction & Welcome
    Scott Phelan , Bozeman
8:30   Cybersecurity - How to Protect Yourself and Keep the Hackers at Bay - ETHICS
    Mark Bassingthwaighte, Billings
10:00   BREAK
10:15   Admitting Social Media into Evidence
    Hon. Rodney E. Souza, 13th Judicial District, Billings
11:15   When Technology is Defective or Absent: An Overview of Collision Avoidance Technology, Electronic Control Modules, Airbags, and More
    Michael D. Cok, Bozeman
12:15   LUNCH (on your own)
1:30   View From the Bench

Hon. Kathleen DeSoto, U.S. District Court, District of Montana, Missoula

    Hon. John Brown, 18th Judicial District, Bozeman
    Hon. Amy P. Eddy, 11th Judicial District, Kalispell
3:00   BREAK
3:15   Social Media in PI Cases: Pitfalls and Possibilities
    Matt Dodd, Bozeman







Mark Bassingthwaighte has been a Risk Manager with ALPS, an attorney’s professional liability insurance carrier since 1998. In his tenure with the company, Mr. Bassingthwaighte has conducted over 1200 law firm risk management assessment visits, presented numerous continuing legal education seminars throughout the United States, and written extensively on risk management, ethics, and technology. Mr. Bassingthwaighte is a member of the State Bar of Montana as well as the American Bar Association where he currently sits on the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility’s Conference Planning Committee. He received his J.D. from Drake University Law School.

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Hon. John C. Brown was sworn in as District Court Judge for Department No. 3 of the Montana Eighteenth Judicial District, Gallatin County, on January 3, 2006 after being appointed by Governor Brian Schweitzer on October 17, 2005. Judge Brown was subsequently retained by the voters of Gallatin County in November 2006 and in November 2012. Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Brown was a partner in the Bozeman law firm of Cok Wheat Brown & McGarry and engaged in the private practice of law for 19 years with an emphasis in commercial and real estate litigation. Judge Brown is a long-time supporter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Gallatin County (BBBS). He and his wife Kathy have served as a volunteer “big couple” for 15 years. Prior to that, Judge Brown served on the BBBS Board of Directors for six years.


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Michael D. Cok graduated with honors from the University of Montana School of Law in 1978. He is a partner of Cok Kinzler PLLP, with Travis Kinzler and Jonathan Cok in Bozeman.  He is an active trial lawyer, specializing in civil litigation, primarily representing individuals with products liability, personal injury, environmental contamination and insurance related claims.  The firm’s clients have received well over $100 million in verdicts and settlements. He has been inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers and ABOTA.   He is past president of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and served on the Board for over 20 years.  He is a sustaining member of the American Association for Justice and Public Justice.  He is a member of A.I.E.G. 



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Hon. Kathleen DeSoto was appointed magistrate judge to the U.S. District Court of Montana on August 2, 2019.  Prior to her commission she was a partner at Garlington, Lohn & Robinson PLLP in Missoula, Montana.  Before entering private practice in 2001, she clerked for Chief United States District Court Judge Jack D. Shanstrom in Billings, Montana.  She is a former Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and is past-President of the Federal Bar Association for the District of Montana and Federal Practice Section of the Montana State Bar, a past-President of the Western Montana Bar Association, and a past officer with the School Law Section of the Montana State Bar.

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Matt Dodd comes from a family of lawyers and has been in the courtroom as long as he can remember. After attending school at the University of Utah and clerking for Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill Parrish, Matt moved to southwest Montana where he opened offices in Bozeman and Big Sky. In addition to his duties as a partner in Dodd Blackford & Carls, P.C., Matt travels nationwide to lecture and teach trial skills to other lawyers in criminal, civil, and family law. He has authored a number of articles that have been published nationwide, and most recently, co-authored the book, Cross-Examination for Depositions.


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Judge Amy Eddy has been serving as one of the four District Court Judges in Flathead County since  November of 2015, and has presided over thousands of complex civil cases. In addition to this role, she was appointed by the Montana Supreme Court as the Asbestos Claims Court Judge in November of 2017, and in that capacity presides over the pretrial proceedings of more than 2,200 claimants who have alleged exposure to asbestos in Libby, Montana. She currently serves as the Chair of the Uniform District Court Rules Commission, is a member of the American Law Institute, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. 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. In her free time she enjoys spending time outside with her family.


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District Judge Rod Souza has served in the Thirteenth Judicial District since January 2015. He is a Billings native and received his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Montana. Following graduation, Judge Souza worked for the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office from 1999 through 2014. While in the County Attorney’s Office, he served as the Chief Criminal Litigator from 2008 through 2010, and Chief Deputy from 2011 through 2014. In 2008, he received Montana’s Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year Award. Over 15 years in the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office, Judge Souza tried numerous district court jury trials. Judge Souza currently presides over an Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Court in Yellowstone County. Judge Souza is married to Brittney, and they have three children.


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