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Administrative Law & Government Relations
Members of the firm each have general as well as specialized expertise in diverse areas of the law, which collectively provides the broad base of knowledge, experience and depth that enables the firm to offer a full range of legal services across the spectrum of legal practice. The firm has historically resisted the formation of rigid practice groups that may tend to pigeonhole client problems in any particular way, and these practice areas are intended merely to illustrate the broad range of expertise available within the firm. In actual practice, the firm creatively draws on the collective depth, and the particular abilities and experience of its individual members, to serve each client’s specific needs as effectively and efficiently as possible, subject always to the client’s ultimate prerogative to select specific counsel.
Appellate courts do their work in relative obscurity, and are known principally for what they write. Nonetheless, they are assuming an ever greater role in resolving disputes in our increasingly complex and litigious world. When a case has the importance to go to an appellate court for its final resolution, clients require and deserve the finest, most well experienced counsel available. Members of the firm have achieved an enviable record of superior performance and success in representing clients in the appellate courts, often in landmark cases, and the firm takes understandable pride in the work and reputation of its appellate lawyers.
Every member of this firm has litigation experience. Some are devoted exclusively to litigation. The firm believes that the capacity to litigate, when required, is essential to the practice of law in all of its facets. Also part of the firm’s philosophy is that good legal counsel can only be given if the counselor has personal experience in resolving legal controversies in that ultimate crucible for resolution of dispute–the trial court. This firm has built a reputation on its ability to solve problems for clients, which includes taking those problems to court if that should be required.
The firm represents major full service banking institutions, savings and loans, credit unions and other lenders. Complete service is provided to banking clients, ranging from secured transactions to foreclosures, trust work and general bank litigation.
Corporate & Commercial
General corporate and commercial law, together with litigation support, have traditionally been the firm’s main strengths. Whether the client’s need is the creation of a partnership or publicly held corporation, or for general corporate counsel, the firm has both the skill and experience to provide counsel as to the form a business association should take, as well as to prepare the documents and agreements necessary to create and carry on that business. A client can expect counsel based upon years of experience serving as and providing general counsel to some of our region’s most successful businesses and institutions. The firm draws on the depth and special abilities of its members to resolve more complex and specific problems in such fields as taxation, pension and profit sharing, government relations, intellectual property, employment and commercial litigation, to capably address whatever need a business or institutional client may have.
Some members of the firm maintain active criminal practices and have extensive experience defending clients charged with crimes ranging from minor traffic violations to major felonies in both state and federal courts. Becoming involved in the criminal justice process as a defendant is seldom pleasant, often baffling and always unfortunate. The consequences can be devastating and long lived. Knowledgable and experienced counsel can assure that the system performs properly and the client’s rights are preserved while looking toward a fair and just result which minimizes, to the extent possible, the impact on the client.
Employers and employees face an increasingly complex matrix of legal requirements, and issues concerning the employment relationship frequently arise. Members of the firm provide sound counsel and advice to clients across the entire range of issues surrounding the employment relationship, from pre-employment issues such as employment applications, pre-employment inquiries, affirmative action plans and employment contracts, including non-compete and confidentiality contracts, to ongoing employment issues such as employee handbooks and policies, training programs to prevent harassment and discrimination and audits and investigations of the workplace. In the event an employment dispute does arise, firm members regularly appear before administrative bodies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Idaho Human Rights Commission, as well as the state and federal courts, to advocate our client’s position, and the firm enjoys an excellent record of success in that regard.
Estate Planning & Administration
As with any full service law office, the firm provides complete and sophisticated estate-planning counsel to meet the needs of every client, from wage earner to retiree, and from young families concerned with the care and education of their children, to people who no longer have those concerns and who wish to plan for a comfortable retirement and the succession of their estate with a minimum estate tax impact. The firm also offers expertise in the administration of estates as well as in counseling institutional and individual fiduciaries and, when called upon, in litigation with respect to estate and estate tax disputes.
Members of the firm have considerable experience in family and domestic relations law. This area of the law has become more and more sophisticated. Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, the firm is always ready and willing to work with its client to obtain a fair and just result. Adoption services, child custody, visitation, property division and other aspects of family law all receive the special attention they deserve from knowledgeable counsel.
Given the growing prominence of issues concerning immigration and the status of individuals within our borders, both employers and families are frequently faced with a puzzling and bewildering maze of immigration law and regulation. Business clients need help dealing with immigration agencies, performing audits and taking measures to assure compliance with immigration laws and legal employment practices. In addition, the firm has been guiding individual clients through the process of family-based immigration petitions of various types for over two decades, keeping or bringing families together. Members of the firm stand ready to assist whenever a client’s needs require dealing with the involved agencies or assuring legal rights and responsibilities under immigration laws.
Injury, Death and Damage Claims
The firm takes particular pride in its ability and record in maximizing recovery for injuries and losses caused by the wrongful actions of others. The resources of the firm permit acceptance of cases in which both significant manpower and support will be needed before recovery is obtained. The firm’s knowledge in the areas of negligence, products liability, professional malpractice and other torts, coupled with its knowledge in related fields such as medicine, insurance and general litigation, serve as fundamental elements in making successful recoveries. If a client has sustained personal injury or death, property damage or other economic harm as a result of another’s wrongful behavior, this firm stands ready with skilled and experienced help to pursue maximum recovery.
The firm is actively involved with its insurance clients in the defense of claims against insureds, the enforcement of subrogated rights, and providing coverage assessments and defense of the carrier itself as appropriate. Combined years of experience in the firm allow for accurate and objective loss assessment in a cost-efficient manner. Working with the companies, opposing counsel and others has produced the desired goal of minimizing loss. Informal resolution of claims is most often quickly and fairly reached, but the firm’s trial lawyers have defended cases ranging from auto accidents, property damage and uninsured motorist claims to products liability and professional malpractice claims, to coverage disputes and claims of bad faith, and have a remarkable record of success when litigation is required.
Land Use, Planning and Zoning
Given the explosive growth in recent years in Idaho generally, and Eastern Idaho in particular, land use planning and zoning issues are increasingly important to the firm’s clients. Quasi-judicial bodies initially determine client rights in this area, and members of the firm have extensive experience in land use entitlement and planning and the associated public hearing process on issues relating to conditional use permits, planned developments, rezoning, subdivisions, comprehensive plan amendments, annexation, variances, special exceptions, development agreements, traffic access, impact fees and building code compliance. When these quasi-judicial bodies make the wrong decision, the firm stands ready to resort to the court system, where it enjoys an enviable record of success on appeal.
Mediation and Arbitration
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) techniques such as mediation and arbitration play an increasingly prominent role in the determination of legal disputes. Mediation, a non-binding effort that employs a neutral third party to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable settlement, is routinely ordered by Idaho courts. Arbitration, a less common binding determination of the dispute that employs a non-judicial third party as the decision-maker, must be mutually agreed to by the parties in advance. Both techniques offer the possibility of a faster, less expensive process than the court system, but potentially carry their own set of concerns. Every member of the firm has experience employing these techniques to the benefit of the firm’s clients and can offer counsel on the relative merits of each in a given situation. Some firm members have developed a reputation as effective mediators and/or arbitrators among our colleagues in the bar and are frequently sought out to act as the neutral third party employed to resolve the disputes of others.
Legal services involving real property have always been a vital dimension of the firm’s practice. The real property group has depth and experience in title review, document preparation and counsel concerning all types of real estate transactions, including sales and leases of residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and mining properties, as well as water law, conservation easements and the development and management of condominiums, subdivisions, shopping centers and the related financing and security arrangements. The firm’s real estate litigation experience ranges from routine landlord-tenant disputes to the most specialized of foreclosure and quiet title actions. Successful litigation results have also been obtained by the firm in a number of landmark planning, zoning and land use cases.
Social Security Disability
Every person should take pride in their ability to work and contribute value to society. When that ability is lost, it can have a devastating impact, both financially and emotionally, on the individual and their family. Social Security Disability payments are a federal benefit available to those who have worked in the past, but can no longer do so because of a disability. The issues involved in a disability claim can be confusing and the information from the government, while well intentioned, is sometimes not sufficient to fully inform people of their rights and how to pursue them. Members of the firm are available to explain the options, procedures and steps that can be anticipated, and if necessary, to take the case through a hearing or trial before an administrative law judge.
Members of the firm are thoroughly versed in Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law. For clients who have been injured on the job, those members can help assure that medical and income benefits are made available during the period of recovery. Once the condition has stabilized the claim is assessed using relevant medical and nonmedical factors, impairment and disability are determined, and then appropriate awards can be sought from either the employer or its surety. For its clients who are employers and sureties, the firm utilizes the same experience and working knowledge of the law for loss assessment, benefit awards and defense. Experienced trial lawyers are well prepared in this field if litigatiion should be necessary.