De Die In Diem

September 2020
The Thursday Luncheon and CLE program is temporarily suspended. We hope to resume in 2021. 
**For optimal results, choose to "view in browser."**
President's Message from Randy Tanner
Hello from the WMBA!  It feels good to be back. We’re not back to normal yet, but at least we’re back.  Our last newsletter was published in a much different world—a time when depositions and mediations by Zoom seemed, well, remote.

Much has changed because of the COVID-19
pandemic, and the legal profession has been forced to adapt.  Far more tasks are now being accomplished remotely.  Going into the pandemic, many attorneys held off on depositions, mediations, and the like, opting to wait it out until in-person appearances could be made.  For the most part, though, attorneys have been forced to give in and dip their toes into this new technology.  I’ve talked with several folks who have made remote appearances and the nearly universal consensus is that it works just fine.  Remote appearances aren’t perfect, and, in some cases, they can require a little more advance preparation (e.g., organizing and sending deposition exhibits).  But there appears to be consensus—remote appearances are viable options.

Given this generally positive experience with remote appearances, this shift could have lasting effect.  There will always be certain instances where in-person appearances might be important—e.g., a party’s deposition, a summary judgment hearing, etc.  But, going forward, I expect we’ll see more depositions, mediations, and even hearings conducted by Zoom or equivalent.  The benefits are substantial.  What used to be a two-day trip to take a deposition on the other side of the State now takes a fraction of that time.  The same goes with any other mediation or hearing.  The time and travel savings can be huge, saving our clients substantial money.

For some things, however, there is no substitute for in person facetime.  Our monthly luncheons have long been a popular way for colleagues to catch up, enjoy each other’s company, and hear from engaging speakers.  Unfortunately, those gatherings do not translate very well to Zoom.  At its last meeting, the WMBA Board decided to not hold its monthly luncheon for the remainder of this year.  The risk simply remains too high at this point.  The Board plans to revisit this at end of the year and decide whether it makes sense to schedule luncheons into 2021.

We are, however, planning to resurrect the Judges Panel CLE we had planned to host this past spring.  We’ll host the CLE on November 6 from noon to 3:15 pm (registration details to follow
soon). We’re very excited for this CLE.  Theformat is simple—all or most of our Fourth Judicial District Judges will sit as a panel, candidly answering your questions about practicing in our district.  Zoom has a great Q&A function for this type of CLE.  Missoula attorney Tim Strauch will also provide an update on recent amendments to the Rules of Professional Responsibility.  Look for an e-mail soon with additional details. 

The WMBA typically holds it Board elections at our last luncheon before taking a summer break.  This year, of course, our break started (unexpectedly) quite a bit earlier.  So, we’re holding our elections remotely, like everything else these days.  Fortunately, our Bylaws—a prescient, living document—allow for this.  Here’s our slate of nominees for the coming term:
  • Vice President and President-Elect: Carey Schmidt
  • Secretary: Travis Dye
  • Director: Adam Shaw
  • Director: John Newman
You can vote on these nominees and add any write-in candidates by clicking this link.  Voting will remain open until Tuesday, October 13.  In addition to the positions above, two positions were vacated this past term, and the Board made the following appointments: Rachel Parkin (Treasurer) and Meri Althauser (Director). 

One final note—below, you will see an announcement for the Beth Clark Memorial Scholarship.  Beth was a colleague and friend of ours.  As many of you know, she unexpectedly passed away this spring from an undetected and rare heart condition.  Beth is deeply missed by her family, friends, and colleagues.  The Beth Clark Memorial Scholarship was created to honor her memory and support law students who demonstrate a commitment to veterans’ advocacy or who have completed military service.  The WMBA Board voted to donate $1,000 to the Scholarship, and we hope you and/or your office will consider donating to this worthy cause, too.

Take care of yourself, and we’ll be in touch soon with details on our Judges Panel CLE.
2020 WMBA Judges CLE
Title:             Missoula Judges’ Panel & Rules Update 
Date:             November 6, 2020
Time:            Noon to 3:15 by Zoom
Credits:        3 credits, including 1 ethics credit
Cost:            $50 non-members/$60 members
Faculty:       Missoula District Court Judges John Larson, Robert
                     Deschamps, Leslie Halligan, Shane Vannatta, Jason Marks,
                     and attorney Tim Strauch
Agenda:      12:00–12:30    State of the Bench (Chief Judge Larson or his                                              designee)
                    12:30–2:00      Judges Q&A session
                     2:00–2:15       Break
                     2:15–3:15       Updates to the Rules of Professional Conduct                                              (Tim Strauch)
Join the WMBA on Friday, November 6, for an opportunity to ask candid questions of Missoula’s State District Court Judges.  This CLE will feature a State of the Bench address followed by a question and answer session with the judges.  Attendees are encouraged to submit their questions for the panel in advance of the CLE to  Questions will be presented to the panel anonymously, to encourage candid questions.  Attendees may also submit questions anonymously during the event through Zoom.  The CLE will conclude with an update on recent amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct presented by Tim Strauch.
Beth Clark Memorial Scholarship
Elizabeth “Beth” Clark passed away suddenly on April 5, 2020 from an undetected and rare heart condition. Beth was an accomplished lawyer, endurance athlete, Sergeant in the United States Army Reserves, caring wife, and mother to three beautiful children.  Beth leaves behind a legacy of leadership and compassion and is missed by all who knew her.

Beth was born in 1981 in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, the fourth of six children. She attended Wesley College before enlisting in the Army Reserve and receiving training as an occupational therapist. Her service with the Army took her to Texas, Hawaii, Germany, and Washington, D.C.  Upon her return to Delaware, Beth completed her
undergraduate degree at Wilmington University, then moved to Missoula and continued her service in the Army Reserve while attending law school at the University of Montana.

During law school, Beth completed a clinical internship with U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, continued her service in the Army Reserve and interned with a civil litigation firm.  She graduated with honors in 2012, then went on to receive her LLM from the University of Washington School of Law in 2016.  She worked the past few years as an associate at Bjornson Jones Mungas PLLC in Missoula.  Beth’s practice focused on helping clients plan for life events, whether by creating a comprehensive estate plan, starting or selling a business, buying or selling real estate, or administering the estate of a loved one.
Beth was an avid runner and participated in several endurance events including The Rut 50k, Missoula Marathon, Blue Mountain 30k, Coeur d'Alene Olympic Sprint Duathlon, and Waco Half Ironman.  She served as the Board Chair for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Montana and volunteered at the Self-Help Law Center.  She did all this while also raising three adventurous children whom she regularly took hiking, biking, camping, and skiing.

To honor Beth's outstanding contributions to her family, community, and country, we invite you to join us in supporting the creation of a new scholarship at the University of Montana's Blewett School of Law. The “Beth Clark Memorial Scholarship” will honor Beth’s compassion, advocacy, and military service through a scholarship focused on supporting law students who demonstrate a commitment to veterans’ advocacy or who have completed military service.
Beth’s friends, family, and colleagues hope to raise $25,000 to permanently endow the scholarship, allowing it to make annual scholarship awards of approximately $1,000 to law students for years to come.  All gifts to the scholarship will be routed through and managed by the University of Montana Foundation.  Checks can be mailed to the UM Foundation, PO Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807, noting the “Beth Clark Law Scholarship – Fund 25Z” in the memo line or in an attached letter.  You may also give online at, noting the “Beth Clark Law Scholarship – Fund 25Z” in the comments field.  If you would like further information about how to give, please contact Erin Keenan, the law school’s development director, at
Thank you for your support.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact Nicole Siefert ( or Hannah Stone (
The WMBA association considers donating to scholarships and other causes upon request.
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 the current President, Randy Tanner: If you would like to inquire about purchasing ad space in the WMBA’s newsletter, please the current Secretary, Travis Dye: 
Email Opt-In
We're glad you received this month's email! To be sure your colleagues receive these notices, please forward on and instruct them to use this link to OPT-IN to our mailing list!
Copyright © 2020 Western Montana Bar Association, All rights reserved.