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Legally Speaking


Issue: December, 2005
Author: Warren A. Lauer

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From the President. . .

2006 Annual Meeting & Judicial Conference
First and foremost, the 2006 Wyoming State Bar Annual Meeting and Judicial Conference will be held at the University of Wyoming Campus in Laramie, from Tuesday evening, August 16th through Friday afternoon, August, 19th. Mark your calendars, call your out-of-state attorney friends, former classmates, and reserve your motel rooms. There are not too many other places as unique and enjoyable as Laramie and the University of Wyoming Campus during the month of August. I am fortunate that two very capable, energetic Wyoming lawyers have agreed to co-chair the planning, organizing and implementation of plans, along with our Bar staff. I’m not going to write about the two co-chairpersons - yet. But stay tuned, because our co-chairs will be unveiling plans for an annual meeting you won’t want to miss!

My First 60 Days
Reflecting upon the past two months and contemplating how I might report to the Bar, I feel somewhat like the minister who presented his monthly report to the church board and congregation. His report went something like this: “I prepared and delivered four separate Sunday sermons and led four separate Bible classes during Church School; I visited and prayed with three shut-ins; made ten hospital visits; performed one wedding and three funerals; counseled separately with six members of the congregation; and, wrote and responded by letter nine times.” My first sixty days were similar to the minister’s because I, too, have been engaged in a whirlwind of activity. However, I would not trade duties with the minister. Working with the business of the Bar is less challenging but more fun than saving souls! I am having a very enjoyable and rewarding time as Bar president.

Judge Deegan’s Robing Ceremony
I attended the robing ceremony for Hon. Nick Deegan, district judge for the Sixth Judicial District in Gillette. I was honored to represent the Bar with some very distinguished people, including: Governor Dave Freudenthal and First Lady Nancy Freudenthal; Judge Terry O’Brien, of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; Chief Justice William Hill and Justices Michael Golden, Barton Voigt, and E. James Burke; Clerk of the Supreme Court, Judy Pacheco and several people from Gillette, including State Senator John Hines, Judge Dan Price and Jeremy Michaels, a Gillette attorney. All of these distinguished lawyers and judges spoke highly of Judge Deegan’s abilities and experience and wished him good luck. It was very interesting that so many of the participants, including the Freudenthals, Judge Deegan and I had been law school classmates; Justice Voigt graduated a year before we did.

Prior to the robing ceremony, Judge John Perry gave Steve Sherard, an attorney from Wheatland, and me a personal tour of the Court facilities in Campbell County. (Yes, Judge Perry and Steve Sherard were also members of the U.W. College of Law class of 1980!) The Courthouse is phenomenal and truly represents what can be provided for the judiciary, lawyers and the public, when money is readily available. I was very interested in the security system that includes camera surveillance for Courthouse and Courtroom safety. I agree with Judge Jeff Donnell, who has suggested to me that Courthouse-Courtroom safety issues should be addressed state-wide.

Bar Welcomes 65 New Attorneys
On October 28th, 65 people were recommended for admission to the practice of law in Wyoming. Of those, 42 attended Bar admission ceremonies in Cheyenne. The event was attended by several hundred people. It is a tradition for the State Bar to invite newly admitted attorneys and their families to lunch after the Fall Bar Admission ceremonies. The Bar Officers and Commissioners were pleased to be able to meet so many new attorneys. After meeting many of them, I am confident about the future of the law in Wyoming.

While some of you might consider attending a Bar admission ceremony a one time event in your life, I would encourage you to refresh yourselves and attend another swearing in. The sincerity, enlightenment and encouragement that graced the comments of representatives of the State and Federal Bench, the University of Wyoming College of Law, the Board of Law Examiners, the Wyoming Bar and members of the practicing bar made for a very moving and enjoyable experience for all.

As an aside, I spoke with Dean Jerry Parkinson recently who shared with me that 88% of first time exam takers who were graduates of the University of Wyoming, passed the July State Bar exam. That’s good news.

UW Honors Banquet
The U.W. College of Law held its Honors Banquet October 4th in Laramie. Many people were honored, including student scholarship award winners and U.W. College of Law Distinguished Alumni, the Hon. Alfred Taylor, retired Wyoming Supreme Court Chief Justice, and F. Stewart Blunk, posthumously. Greg Dyekman, Cheyenne attorney (and you guessed it, a member of the law school class of 1980) was honored as a Member of the Coif.

Board Update
While in Cheyenne on October 28th, we held our first Officers’ and Commissioners’ meeting for this fiscal year. I am pleased to welcome new Bar Commissioners: Lynn Boak from Cheyenne; Jeff Gonda from Sheridan; Steve Cranfill from Cody; and, Brian Hultman from Jackson. Steve was not able to attend the entire meeting, because he was being honored that weekend by his alma mater Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, for his accomplishments as a collegiate track star. Our first meeting was productive as we focused on matters that are important to Wyoming lawyers.

Staff Recognition
As I proceed this year with my term as president, I am, as well as all of you, fortunate to have the great support of the Bar office. We truly do not give those who work hard for us in our State Bar office enough recognition. Mary Guthrie, our Executive Director, provides us with a writing, communications, administration, public, bench and bar relations legal and attorney skill-set that help keep our Bar functioning at the top of expectations - across our State, border to border. If there is something I do not know or have a question about, I can always be assured that Mary has the answer or knows exactly where to obtain it.

One of the toughest jobs at the Bar office is Bar Counsel. Becky Lewis is now in her fifth year with the Bar and has done an exceptional job. Outside the grievance and disciplinary processes, many of you may have also seen Becky in connection with “Road Shows,” where she very effectively presents CLE classes on a variety of topics, including the new disciplinary code, the proposed rules of professional conduct and other areas on ethics. Becky’s multi-talents, legal background and work ethic provide the Bar with professional legal and administrative support.

As this year proceeds, I plan to better acquaint you with our very talented, dedicated and hard-working Bar staff: Sharon Wilkinson, Director of Communications; Kim Mayo, CLE Program Director; Sandy Inniss, Assistant to the Board of Professional Responsibility, Marie Ellis, Administrative Assistant; and Linda Thayer, Staff Assistant.

In closing, I ask you to think of the Wyoming Bar as being about you and what you do for your clients. With that in mind, please let us know what we can do to help you as a Wyoming lawyer.

Copyright © 2005 – Wyoming State Bar