MTLA Annual Convention

August 8-9, 2013

Yellowstone Conference Center
Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana

  Convention Sponsors
Register NOW

 

PDF Order Form (mail in with check)
Speaker bios                        
Topics & Speakers
Brochure
Schedule

 

Speaker Bios

John Amsden is a native of eastern Montana, a graduate of Montana State University in Civil Engineering and a 1988 honors graduate of Georgetown University Law School, where he served as Administrative Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal. Beginning in 1988, John practiced law in Los Angeles, California, where his practice concentrated on litigation and trial of complex business disputes. John has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in large, complex partnership disputes, federal and state securities litigation, accountant malpractice and insurance coverage. In 2001, John returned to Montana and joined the law firm of Monte D. Beck in Bozeman. John’s current practice is limited to representing plaintiffs in cases involving pension fraud, hospital liability, medical malpractice, automobile crashworthiness, product liability and general personal injury matters. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America. John serves on MTLA’s Board of Directors as Vice President and Education Committee Chair.
Back to Top
Carl Bettinger of Shapiro Bettinger Chase in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has litigated hundreds of personal injury, medical malpractice and nursing home neglect claims. Author of Twelve Heroes, One Voice: Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts (Trial Guides 2011), he has some of the largest personal injury verdicts in New Mexico, first for $54 million in a 2007 trial involving a ManorCare nursing home and then for $54.1 million in a 2009 trial involving a ResCare group home. He practices in New Mexico and nationally. He focuses on bringing trials alive, utilizing a variety of non-conventional approaches, including those from improvisational acting, storytelling and psychodrama. In a recent trial, he sang part of his closing. Before attending University of New Mexico Law School, Carl went to medical school at Boston University School of Medicine and then completed an internal medicine residency at The University of New Mexico. In addition to his practice, he serves as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he teaches trial practice. In his spare time he goes fishing.
Back to Top
Randy Bishop practices civil trial and appellate law as a member of the firm of Bishop & Heenan in Billings where his practice now focuses on first party insurance bad faith claims. He earned his law degree at the University of Montana School of Law in 1977 and has served as a member of the Supreme Court Commission on Civil Jury Instructions (MPI Commission) since its inception in 1985. He is a sustaining member of MTLA, has served the organization both as a Board member (1995-2005) and as its President (2000-2001). 
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 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 Montana State Coordinator for the National Board of Trial Advocacy and a President’s Club Member of the American Association for Justice (formerly ATLA). 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 was also listed in the inaugural issue of Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America. He is a member of MTLA’s Board of Directors and the recipient of the Montana Trial Lawyer of the Year award In 1993-94 and 2006-07.

Back to Top

Hon. Patricia O'Brien Cotter  graduated from Notre Dame Law School in 1977, after which she became licensed to practice law in Indiana. After practicing law in South Bend for a number of years, 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 MTLA’s Public Service Award, and received the group’s Appellate Advocacy Award in 1999, after chairing the Amicus Curiae committee for seven 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. On November 7, 2000, Justice Cotter won election to the Montana Supreme Court for an eight-year term and was re-elected in November, 2008. She and her husband Michael have two grown children.

Back to Top

Carisa Fisher is the business development manager at the family-run Fisher Video Conferencing, Court Reporting and Videography, and is responsible for an array of activities, including technology management and development, video production, multimedia projects, and trial support activities. Ms. Fisher has wide experience as an account manager and project producer, including a sponsorship at a New York-based creativity conference for Microsoft Zune, a website piece for NBC's Where in the World is Matt Lauer, a webisode portal for Microsoft Vista, and a multifaceted campaign and event at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Carisa earned her bachelor's degree in English Literature at the University of Washington. Most recently, she gained her certification as a TrialDirector 6 court presentation support specialist and trainer at inData's headquarters in Phoenix.

Back to Top
Matt Hayhurst is a shareholder in the law firm of Boone Karlberg, where he focuses his practice in personal injury and commercial litigation, insurance, and product liability. Mr. Hayhurst received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Montana. After law school, he clerked for Judge James Browning of the Ninth Circuit and then joined the Seattle law firm of Perkins Coie. He eventually returned to his native Montana to join Boone Karlberg. Mr. Hayhurst holds an AV rating and has been honored by Best Lawyers, Mountain States Super Lawyers, the Benchmark Litigation Guide, and Chambers and Partners. He was a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Montana Law Review and is a current member of the Advisory Board. 
Back to Top
State Senator Larry Jent is an MTLA member from Bozeman who served three terms in the Montana 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.
Back to Top
Stephanie Kucera joined the Buxbaum, Daue, & Fitzpatrick law firm in Missoula after graduating from the University of Montana School of Law in May 2011. Her practice is dedicated to representing plaintiffs in cases involving hospital liability, medical malpractice, traumatic brain injuries, and general personal injury matters. Prior to attending law school, Stephanie earned her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience and worked in clinical development for Amylin Pharmaceuticals in San Diego, California. When she returned to Montana in 2007, she worked as the Development Director of the Brain Injury Association of Montana, and as a post-doctoral clinical neuropsychologist with the NeuroDevelopment Center out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Her clinical background is in central nervous system disorders and traumatic brain injury.  
Back to Top
Prof. Greg Munro regularly researches and writes the quarterly Insurance Consumer Counsel’s Column for 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 Torts at the University of Montana School of Law where he is Associate Dean and Director of Professional Skills.  He has also taught Pretrial Advocacy and Remedies and co-coached the law school’s national championship Trial Team from 1989 until 1999.  He regularly teaches CLE for organizations of lawyers, judges and law professors.  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. 
Back to Top
Nathan Wagner earned his law degree from UM School of Law in 2006 and is a partner of Datsopoulos, McDonald and Lind in Missoula. His practice areas include civil litigation, personal injury, real property and criminal defense. Mr. Wagner has handled a wide variety of claims for plaintiffs and defendants in both state and federal court. Nate is passionate about helping those who have been harmed. He was admitted to the Montana State Bar and the U.S. District Court in 2006, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2013. He has been a member of MTLA since 2010. Nate is involved in the community as a coach for his children's sports teams. He enjoys many outdoor activities with his wife and three boys, including fly-fishing, golf and backpacking.    
 
Hon. Justice Michael E. Wheat graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 1978. He practiced as deputy county attorney in Butte from 1978 until 1981, then moved to Bozeman and entered private practice with Mike Cok (now Cok & Kinzler). Justice Wheat’s law practice focused primarily on personal injury, products liability, and insurance litigation. He was a member of MTLA for 28 years and President in 1995-96. He served in the Montana State Senate in 2003 and 2005, and served as chair of the Judiciary Committee during the 2005 Session. Justice Wheat was appointed to the Montana Supreme Court by Governor Schweitzer in 2009 and sworn in January 2010. His term ends in December 2014. 
Back to Top
Corrie J. Yackulic has practiced law in Seattle since 1986. Since 1990 her practice has focused exclusively on the representation of plaintiffs in individual and class action lawsuits arising from defective products, medical malpractice, toxic exposures and environmental contamination, and maritime, construction site and automobile accidents. For 19 years she was an attorney with the Seattle firm, Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender. In 2009 she opened her own law firm where she continues to have a 100% plaintiffs’ trial practice, handling a wide range of injury and wrongful death claims. Before joining Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender she was an attorney with the public interest law firm now called Earthjustice. She is the President of the Board of Directors of the Western Environmental Law Center, and is active in WSAJ and AAJ. Corrie graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985, where she was President of the Fellowship in Public Interest Law and an Editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. She clerked for the Hon. Ted Goodwin of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1985-86. 
Back to Top