MTLA Fall Seminar

Effective Settlement Techniques


November 17, 2017

Hilton Garden Inn
2023 Commerce Way
Bozeman, MT


Seminar Co-chairs:
Sherine Blackford and Domenic Cossi, Bozeman

Video will be available 4-6 weeks after seminar.

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PDF Form - mail in check


Speaker Bios



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

If you plan to attend by live remote from the Fisher location in Billings, Helena, Kalispell or Missoula - you must register on line AND call Fisher Video at 406-587-9016 to confirm. Butte and Great Falls are not available.


During online registration use the COMMENTS box to enter the remote location site nearest to you.


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



7:00 Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:00 Introduction & Welcome Domenic A. Cossi, Bozeman

Montana Medicaid Third Party Liability and Recovery


Barbara Banchero, Helena
Olivia Roussan, Helena


Settlement Brochures and Colossus:
How to Maximize the Value of Your Car Wreck Case


Michael A. Schafer, Louisville, KY

10:15 BREAK

Negotiation: Ethically But Effectively (1.5 ethics credit)


Hon. Carolyn S. Ostby, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Billings
Hon. Keith Strong, Bozeman
Moderator: Sherine D. Blackford

12:00 LUNCH (on your own)
1:15 Maximizing Settlement For Your Client

Dylan McFarland, Missoula


Tips and Tricks for Reducing and/or Resolving CMS Liens


A.J. Miller, Billings

2:45 BREAK

The Keys To A Successful Settlement Conference


Tracy A. Axelberg, Missoula

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Tracy A. Axelberg is a 1986 graduate of the University of Montana School of Law.  He engaged in private practice until 2011, most recently with the Kalispell firm of Moore, Cockrell, Goicoechea & Axelberg.  He has worked as a full time neutral since 2011, forming Axelberg Mediation and Arbitration in Missoula in 2015.  Tracy has served as an arbitrator for more than 15 years in the arenas of employment and labor claims, construction claims, and tort and insurance disputes.  Since 1999, he has served as a mediator in more than 2,500 contested civil matters, and as a court-appointed Special Master in a variety of tort and commercial cases pending in Montana’s state district courts.  Tracy is a Fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, and serves on the Montana Supreme Court’s Commission on Practice. 

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Barbara Banchero was raised in Ann Abor, Michigan and South Bend, Indiana and earned her law degree from Indiana University.  Before moving to Montana in 1990, she practiced law in the private sector in Indiana and Michigan and as a staff attorney for the Florida Legal Services Corporation.  She has been employed by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services for 27 years, specializing in the areas of public assistance eligibility and Medicaid third party liens and estate recovery.  


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Dylan McFarland is a shareholder at Milodragovich, Dale & Steinbrenner.  Mr. McFarland’s  practice comprises a wide variety of complex civil litigation work including medical and professional malpractice, personal injury, wrongful death, construction litigation and property disputes.  Dylan also provides federal criminal defense services for those accused of felony crimes and misdemeanors and has in-depth experience and expertise in handling lawsuits and disputes regarding insurance coverage.  He has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict and has experience in every aspect of trial. Dylan has made trial work a priority in his practice and is comfortable in both trial settings and arguing motions before state and federal district courts.  Mr. McFarland earned his law degree from UM School of Law and served as an intern to the Hon. Donald W. Molloy.




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A.J. Miller was raised in Billings and graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 2012.  After law school, he served as law clerk for Hon. Gregory R. Todd in Yellowstone County before accepting a position as an associate at Brown Law Firm, practicing mostly insurance coverage and civil defense litigation.  In mid-2015, A.J. joined Odegaard Braukmann Law, where he completely shifted the scope of his practice to representing injured claimants in various personal injury and workers’ compensation matters across Montana.  


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Hon. Carolyn S. Ostby was an active US Magistrate Judge from 2002 to 2016 and is now on recall status with the District of Montana.  Judge Ostby was a litigation partner with the Crowley Law Firm (now Crowley/Fleck), and before that, she worked in the USDOJ Office of Legal Counsel in Washington D.C.  Judge Ostby served as law clerk to Chief District Judge Russell E. Smith.  She is a member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.   She serves on the Ninth Circuit Fairness Committee, the International Judicial Relations Committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference, and is a member of the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.


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Olivia Roussan is the Third-Party Liability Supervisor for the Department of Public Health and Human Services. She started her career in Montana Medicaid in 2011. As the TPL Supervisor, Olivia’s primary focus is on protecting the tax payer’s dollars by ensuring that Montana Medicaid is the last payer of services. The TPL team is constantly researching new and effective ways to discover potential recoveries and establish communications with legal representatives and insurance companies. 

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Michael A. Schafer is an attorney who concentrates his law practice in personal injury litigation. The Schafer Law Office is in Louisville, Kentucky in historic Old Louisville. Mike practices throughout the State of Kentucky. Mike graduated from the University of Louisville School of Law in 1985. He was an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Louisville for three years. He then spent two years working for an insurance defense firm. Mike opened The Schafer Law Office in 1990. His practice includes representing the victims of automobile accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, child accidents, wrongful death and fatal accidents as well as vicious animal attacks. Mike is a District Vice-President for the Kentucky Justice Association and has been on the Board of Governors since 2012. Additionally, Mike has authored four books, “The Kentucky Accident Book,” “Wrongful Death In Kentucky," “What you Don’t Know About Buying Car Insurance Can Hurt You” and “The Family Survival Guide To A New Driver.” 

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Hon. Keith Strong was sworn in as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of Montana, Great Falls, in January 2007. Previously, Judge Strong practiced with Dorsey & Whitney and Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams. He belongs as a fellow to American College of Trial Lawyers, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and American Law Institute. Judge Strong is a past president of ABOTA and was listed in Best Lawyers in America,  1995 - 2006.  He earned his law degree from UM School of Law in 1974.


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