De Die In Diem

November 2019
Next Luncheon and CLE

Bill Wagner and Jane Cowley
Preparing for Mediation: Dos and Dont's
November 21, 2019 at Noon
Florence Building
President's Message from Beth Hayes

I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed by a third-year law student from the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. Students in the Lawyers’ Values class were tasked with interviewing a practicing lawyer about job satisfaction, managing stress, and
whether the practice of law matches up with the lawyer’s values. (Apparently part of the assignment was to find a lawyer to interview who was “under 60,” so I was glad my tired, toddler-mom appearance still presents as the <60 woman that I am).

I started working at Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) in August of 2009, shortly after finishing the Montana bar exam. I was hired as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow, representing tenants living in federally-subsidized housing. The 11-month fellowship paid $22,800/year, help paying my own rent, and also qualified me to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (aka food stamps).  While this might seem unappealing to many lawyers, even new graduates, I was elated to get the job I really wanted in Missoula.

I celebrated my ten-year anniversary working at MLSA in August, 2019. Through my years here, my work has varied according to funding, but has included representing tenants, homeowners facing foreclosure, and representing consumers facing abusive debt collection practices.

As I answered the law student’s questions, I had the opportunity to
reflect on how satisfied and stressed I’ve been over the years working at MLSA. Fortunately, I was able to easily answer that the vast majority of my time at MLSA has been incredibly satisfying. It has also been stressful, but I think practicing lawyers of all types would agree about that. I have been honored to be able to make a living while also living my values—helping low-income Montanans access the justice system, assert their legal rights, and trying to better balance the scales of justice for those without money and power.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily stresses when practicing law. I encourage everyone to take a step back this month and reflect on your satisfaction and stress, and whether there might be ways to improve satisfaction and decrease stress. Hopefully the upcoming holiday season gives us all time to take that step back and look at the bigger picture.

Before you get too far into your Thanksgiving meal-planning, please join us on Thursday, November 21 at noon when Bill Wagner and Jane Cowley will be presenting, "Preparing for Settlement Conferences: Dos and Don'ts." Please RSVP by 5:00 on Tuesday, November 19. 

WMBA Lunchons are the third Thursday of each month a t 12:00 p.m. in the Florence Building. $15 for WMBA members; $20 for non-members.

Please RSVP by the Tuesday prior at 5:00 to or by clicking below
From Missoula County Justice Court
Missoula County Justice Court will become Missoula County Justice Court of Record effective January 1, 2020. On October 3rd, the Missoula County Commissioners approved the request of Justices of the Peace Beal and Holloway to make Justice Court a court of record. All cases pending on Jan 1 will no longer be subject to appeal de novo, but rather will receive a traditional record-based review. Attorneys and members of the community are welcome to call, email, or visit Justice Court to find out more.
WMBA Holiday Party!
Mark your calendars! The 2019 WMBA Holiday Party will take place on Monday, December 2, 2019, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Loft, 119 West Main Street. 
Pro Bono Update
The WMBA Pro Bono Program holds monthly committee meetings to update members on the status of both pro bono referrals and of the Free Family Law Advice Clinics held twice a month in Missoula. We are always looking for new members to join the committee to provide insight on how to improve our services. Committee meetings are generally held the fourth Wednesday of each month. Given the holiday at the end of the month in November, however, the next meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 20th at 8:30 a.m. in Jury Room # 5 at the Court House. All who are interested are welcome to attend!
Wellness Corner
Thanksgiving: Time to be Thankful!
This month the WMBA Wellness Team encourages you, and your firm, to put the rubber to the road when it comes to Thanksgiving. Cultivating a culture and attitude of appreciation, thankfulness, and gratitude has shown to increase productivity, mental positivity, and work ethic for you and your co-workers.  If you're wondering about why and how, here are some more details Here and Here! The Wellness Team encourages you to take steps each day between now and Thanksgiving (and beyond) to practice your gratitude! 
Easy ways to work a gratitude practice in your day:
  • Schedule time to send your thank you notes. Be sure to include your staff!
  • Set aside a time to meet up and share a special coffee break with someone for whom you're thankful.
  • Start a gratitude journal: finish your nights by writing down the things you're thankful for.
  • To make sure you remember to be grateful: tie your gratitude practice to a habit you do without thinking- after I brush my teeth, I sit down with my gratitude journal. Before my morning coffee, I send out three "thank you" texts, before I shut my computer for the day, I check on my staff and thank them for their work today.
Tell us how this goes! Contact us with your feedback and results, or if you would like help from our team in implementing these strategies in your office.
Looking forward to more from us? Keep an eye out in the new year for upcoming practice-balancing activities and trainings that the Wellness Team will implement to help our attorneys with resilience and thriving in the practice of law. We are now seeking volunteers from large firms and law-related offices to help us with organizing our upcoming events and to act as champions of wellness at each individual office. Please contact us if you are interested in being a firm contact or would like to nominate someone from your firm to be the wellness leader.
To reach the Wellness Team, contact Meri at
The Western Montana Bar Association (“WMBA”) periodically emails attorneys and other interested parties regarding upcoming events. To balance providing notice of relevant events while at the same time avoiding clogging our members' inboxes, effective October 15, 2016, the WMBA will send email announcements to its members for non-WMBA events on the first and third Monday of each month (if requested), and only for events that are not for profit and that promote the mission of the WMBA as approved by the Board. These announcements can also be included in the WMBA’s monthly newsletter. For all other events, ad space can be purchased in the WMBA’s monthly newsletter. If you are not receiving announcements, please contact: If you would like to inquire about purchasing ad space in the WMBA’s newsletter, please contact:
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