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Legally Speaking


Issue: April, 2008
Author: Gay V. Woodhouse

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From the President . . .

The theme for this year is “Inward, Outward and Upward.” Here’s a short report card on some of the work in these areas.


Practice Sections
The Wyoming State Bar currently has 12 practice sections (see below). In an effort to energize these sections, the members of the Executive Committee, along with Executive Director Sleeter Dover, have been meeting via teleconference with the members of each practice section. As a result of these organizational meetings, each section has established leadership and discussed potential goals, projects, and additional resources for its members. Listserves have been set up for each section, and I would encourage you to subscribe to one that would benefit your practice. Log onto the Bar’s website at www.wyomingbar.org and click on “Member Services.” Each section also has its own toll-free number. These were established by the Bar office so practice sections can meet via teleconference at any time.

These 12 practice sections were set up to be a valuable resource for members of the Wyoming State Bar. I encourage you to get involved and network with your peers. If you are interested in joining a section, visit the Bar’s website or contact the Bar office today at (307) 632-9061.

Practice Section & Chairs
Administrative Law - Richard A. Horning
Business Law - Stuart S. Healy
Family Law - Matthew F.G. Castano
Criminal Law - Michael J. Krampner
Disability & Elder Law - Susan L. Feinman
Estate Planning, Trust & Probate - Jason Majors
Federal Law - James H. Barrett
Government Law - Audrey Cohen-Davis
Medical Law - Robin Sessions-Cooley
Mineral Law - Lori A. McMullen
Taxation - Chris M. Reimer
Young Lawyers - Leda M. Pojman

Women’s Legal Forum
One of my many goals for my presidency was to host a legal conference for the many incredible female members of the Wyoming State Bar. The first Women’s Legal Forum will take place in Lander on April 17 – 18, 2008, at The Inn at Lander. Like any event, this one has taken months to plan, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with the incredible members of the planning committee. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with these fine women. Members include Hon. Marilyn S. Kite, Wyoming Supreme Court Justice; Angela Boyer, Law Clerk for the Eighth Judicial District Court; N. Denise Burke, Assistant Dean of the UW College of Law; Jaclyn Caballero, second-year student of the UW College of Law; Catherine MacPherson, Past President of the Wyoming State Bar; P. Jaye Rippley, Bar Commissioner from the 7th Judicial District; and Sharon M. Rose, Evanston attorney.

We have lined up some excellent speakers to educate our attendees about gender differences in communication, advocacy, trial work and much more. Among the many speakers is Ruth Hargrove. Ruth is a legal writing professor at California Western School of Law and also happens to be a comedian! Ruth will entertain us at our “Ladies Night Out” dinner on Thursday evening. We are also thrilled to welcome Veryl V. Miles as our luncheon speaker on Friday. Veryl is the Dean of The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. And I would especially like to thank Jerry Parkinson, Dean of the UW College of Law, for not only recommending Dean Miles but also getting her to come to Wyoming.

SWAT Teams
Bar leadership is in the process of establishing SWAT teams for each judicial district in Wyoming. The purpose of the teams is to offer assistance to local attorneys, particularly sole practitioners, who become unable to work due to a sudden illness from which they, or a family member, suffer. The teams will be chaired by the Bar Commissioner from that judicial district and will include several other volunteer members of the Bar from each county. SWAT team members will be expected to assist with pending matters, resetting court deadlines, and ensuring that clients continue to be served during the attorney’s absence.

If you would like to volunteer to serve on your SWAT team, contact your local Bar Commissioner or the Wyoming State Bar at (307) 632-9061.


We are continuing our efforts to launch Law Day publicity about Wyoming attorneys who are active in their communities. Whether the attorneys are serving on non-profit boards, volunteering for community activities, or providing pro bono work to local citizens, we want to hear about it! Tell us what you do to serve or let us know about a friend or associate with whom you have been impressed in terms of his/her volunteerism. Send the information by e-mail to swilkinson@wyomingbar.org. We look forward to celebrating community involvement!

Legal Minute
We are also working on a “Legal Minute” program that we hope to launch next year. Legal Minute will be a series of public service announcements to educate the public about various areas of law as well as interesting events in the law.


The Inside Job
The upward goal is directed toward each of us as attorneys and as individuals in finding and maintaining a sense of purpose in our lives. This is important for each of us to develop within ourselves. In order to do this, we must find time for ourselves, cut back the minutia of our day-to-day obligations and concerns and decide what we are really about and what we believe in. One way to do this is to start with the end in mind. What do I want to have people remember about me when I’m gone? Today’s temptation is to work harder, to get more done, and to make more money, but will any of that leave a lasting legacy? Probably not. Having our children respect us and know that we were there for them, seeing what we can pack into the stream of life, making an effort to improve our communities, seeing the good in everything and enjoying each day of our lives to the fullest—these are things that matter in the long run. Having a sense of purpose and a sense of balance in life reduces the negative effects of stress when we’re under pressure. It can give us the deep knowledge that everything will work out in the end.

I recently attended the memorial service for Peggy J. Powers Wallace, Sharon Wilkinson’s mother. Although I did not have the pleasure to know her personally, Pastor Zerbst told us that Peggy put her family first. She was extremely organized (Christmas presents were purchased and wrapped by June of every year), was a tremendous cook and entertainer and dedicated herself to wonderful, memorable family events throughout the year. In addition, she was able to make a difference by (among other things) starting the Cheyenne Frontier Days Memorial Scholarship Fund for Cheyenne Frontier Days volunteers, which amassed $462,825 and provided over 770 scholarships during her 20-year tenure as its President. Hearing all these things and many more about Sharon’s mother, it was not only apparent how much Mrs. Wallace did for her family and her community, but the far-reaching effect of her selfless dedication and leadership in our own Sharon Wilkinson, Communications Director for the Wyoming State Bar, expresses the same kind of selfless dedication and leadership for us. The result has been that she has successfully managed seven excellent annual meetings, improved the Wyoming Lawyer by making it the best and most relevant Bar publication in the Bar’s history; greatly improved the Wyoming State Bar Legal Directory; created and maintains the Bar’s website making it a complete resource for Wyoming’s lawyers and the public; conducts surveys about the services provided by the Bar to our membership and countless other critical services for the Bar. Through Sharon’s efforts on our behalf, each and every one of us benefits from the lifetime efforts of Peggy Powers Wallace. Mrs. Wallace was the kind of person who clearly knew her purpose in life and lived every day fulfilling it.

This goal “upward” is not one that the Wyoming State Bar can do for any individual; it is strictly an “inside job.” Are you up to it?

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