MTLA Spring Seminar

Trial Masters — Lessons from Legends
of the Montana Trial Bar and Other Hot Topics

April 8, 2016
Hilton Garden Inn
2520 14th Street SW
Great Falls, MT



Seminar Co-Chairs:
Ross Johnson and Matthew Murphy, Great Falls


Register Now - pay by credit card 
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, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Kalispell or Missoula you must register on line.


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


6.25 CLE Credits – including 2 ethics



7:15   Registration & Continental Breakfast

Introduction & Welcome
Matthew Murphy, Great Falls


8:30   The Affordable Care Act for Trial Attorneys
Christina Lechner Goe, Helena

Pursuing Non-ERISA Claims Against Health Insurers and TPA’s
Anders Blewett, Great Falls



Primer on Class Actions
Anders Blewett, Great Falls

John Heenan, Billings

10:15   BREAK
10:30   Suicide, Stress and Grief — 1 ethics credit
Leslie Ann Murphy, Great Falls
11:30   LUNCH (on your own)
12:45   Lessons Learned in the Courtroom
Alexander (Zander) Blewett III, Great Falls
1:45   Ethical Considerations From the Bench — 1 ethics credit
Hon. Dirk M. Sandefur
Eighth Judicial District, Great Falls
2:45   BREAK

Verdict Power Hour: Practical Pointers
From a Medley of Jury Verdicts
Alexander (Zander) Blewett III, Great Falls
Dennis P. Conner, Great Falls

John C. Heenan, Billings 

J. David Slovak, Great Falls 

Gary M. Zadick, Great Falls

Anders Blewett graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 2003 with a degree in Government. He graduated with honors from the University of Montana School of Law in 2007.  He is an associate in the firm of Hoyt and Blewett in Great Falls where his practice focuses on personal injury, products liability, and insurance litigation. He previously served in the Montana Senate and Montana House of Representatives. In 2015, Anders received the MTLA Outstanding New Lawyer Award.  He serves on MTLA’s Board of Directors.
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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. He is a member of MTLA’s Board of Directors and the recipient of its Appellate Advocacy Award, Career Achievement Award and a two-time recipient of the Montana Trial Lawyer of the Year award.
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Dennis P. Conner is a University of Montana Law School graduate of 1974.   His practice specializes in plaintiff’s litigation involving claims of product liability, general negligence, insurance law and personal injury with his partner, Keith Marr.   Mr. Conner has served on the Montana Trial Lawyers Board of Directors and was awarded MTLA’s Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in 1991 and its Career Achievement Award in 2010.   He is a member of Montana Trial Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice, and American Board of Trial Advocates.   Mr. Conner is a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers.   He is listed in Best Lawyers in America.

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Christina Lechner Goe joined the Montana Department of Insurance as an attorney in August 1999 and is currently the General Counsel for the department. Her job duties focus primarily on state and federal health insurance law and related health reform issues, privacy law, the regulation of insurance companies, and drafting legislation and administrative rules.  Ms. Goe earned her law degree at Santa Clara University.  She is currently the chair of the NAIC ERISA working group and was formerly the chair of the NAIC Market Analysis Procedures working group. 

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John C. Heenan practices in Billings, focusing his practice on representing consumers, including consumer class actions, bank misconduct, debt collection harassment, identity theft, insurance bad faith and unfair trade practices. He has served as co-lead counsel on several successful consumer class action cases including class actions under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Fair Credit Reporting Act.  He is state chair of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.  John serves on MTLA’s Board of Directors and chairs the Education Committee and Consumer Law Section.  

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Leslie Ann Murphy is a mental health therapist specializing in family therapy and clinical disorders in adults and children.  Ms. Murphy is a licensed clinical counselor who is an excellent communicator and is passionate in helping to improve the well-being of others.  She currently works as a breavement specialist at Benefis Peace Hospice for families and children who have experienced a death or traumatic loss.  Prior to that she developed and owned a successful private practice for over 17 years.  Leslie earned her graduate degree in family counseling from the University of Great Falls.

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Hon. Dirk M. Sandefur is a sitting three-term State District Judge in one of Montana’s busiest and most populous districts, Montana’s Eighth Judicial District in Great Falls. Prior to serving as a State District Judge, he served for eight years as a State prosecutor and chief legal counsel for Cascade County and local government agencies regarding zoning, subdivision, property, property tax, employment, school, and other local government issues and transactions. After graduating from the University of Montana School of Law, with high honors, ranked third in his class, he worked in private practice as an associate attorney in a Great Falls law firm and briefly as a contract public defender. Prior to attending law school, he served for three years as a police officer for the City of Havre. He is currently seeking election to the Montana Supreme Court in the seat to be vacated by Justice Cotter.  

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J. David Slovak graduated from University of Montana School of Law in 1980.  He is a partner with Lewis, Slovak & Kovacich of Great Falls, Montana.  The firm has a state-wide trial practice exclusively limited to plaintiff’s civil litigation.  The firm’s work emphasizes toxic tort, product liability, safe place to work, and environmental litigation.  Mr. Slovak is a sustaining member of Montana Trial Lawyers Association and has served on its Board of Directors.  He is annually listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Mountain States Super Lawyers for plaintiff’s personal injury litigation and is AV Peer Review Rated.  Slovak received MTLA’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award along with partners Tom Lewis and Mark Kovicich in 2005, and in 2008 they also earned MTLA’s Appellate Advocacy award.

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Gary M. Zadick is a member of the Great Falls firm of Ugrin, Alexander, Zadick & Higgins specializing in negligence, insurance and products liability law.  After prevailing in the Matter of Insurance Imposed Billing Rules and Procedures, a seminal decision addressing the role of insurance defense counsel, his practice has changed and Gary is now primarily representing plaintiffs.  He earned his law degree from the University of Montana School of Law in 1978 and is a member of MTLA, ABA and MDTLA.  Gary is listed in The Best Lawyers in America,  Chambers Leading Lawyers-USA, Super Lawyers-Mountain States, Top 100 Lawyers-Montana and Martindale Hubbell Preeminent List.  In addition to representing insureds and injured persons, Mr. Zadick has an active mediation and arbitration practice.
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