The State Bar Association of North Dakota Fall 2015 Gavel Magazine - Page 36

Koppelman Receives Legislative Award SBAND presented its 2015 Legislative Service Award to Rep. Kim Koppelman of West Fargo at the Annual Meeting in June. Because Koppelman was unable to attend the Annual Meeting, Jack McDonald, pictured at right, past president of SBAND, and Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, pictured at left, gave Koppelman the award plaque at the State Capitol in September. Koppelman has served on the House Judiciary Committee for most of his 21 years in the Legislature, the last two sessions as chairman. He is vice chairman of the Legislature’s Interim Judiciary Committee and the Suggested State Legislation Committee of the Council of State Governments. He also is on the board of the North Dakota Commission for Legal Counsel for Indigents and the Political Subdivisions Committee, the interim Government Finance and Incarceration Issues Committees, and the Statutory Administrative Rules Committee. The past national chairman of the Council of State Governments, Koppelman previously chaired its Public Safety and Justice Task Force. He has also served on the North Dakota Supreme Court’s Judicial Planning Committee and the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Student Trial Lawyers Hear Williams Speak The State Bar Association of North Dakota, the North Dakota Association for Justice, and the UND Student Trial Lawyers Association teamed up September 24 to present their annual Mentorship Mixer at the Empire Arts Center in downtown Grand Forks. The networking event brought together new and experienced attorneys with UND law students participating in the Mentorship Program led by Mike Williams, an attorney with Maring Williams Law in Fargo. Joining him were Tony Weiler, SBAND executive director; Bradley Parrish, assistant dean for student life at the UND School of Law; Al Austad, executive director of the North Dakota Association for Justice; and Mikayla Reis, president of the UND Student Trial Lawyers Association, and 35 students. Williams spoke on the crucial leadership role attorneys provide for new law students through their participation in the Mentorship Program, which offers students the opportunity to develop relationships with members of the North Dakota legal community. LAWYER DISCIPLINE NOTICE OF DISCIPLINE OF ATTORNEY Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of the State of North Dakota, v. Jesse D. Matson, Petitioner No. 20150219-20150221 The Supreme Court considered the report of a hearing panel of the Disciplinary Board recommending that Jesse D. Matson be suspended from the practice of law in North Dakota for six months and one day; that he be required to take a continuing legal education course on the rules of professional conduct as a condition of reinstatement; that he pay the costs and expenses of the disciplinary proceeding; and that he pay unpaid costs and expenses assessed in a previous disciplinary action. Matson was admitted to practice law in North Dakota on October 10, 2011. 36 THE GAVEL This matter involves three consolidated disciplinary actions in which Matson represented clients in family law matters. He failed to timely and effectively communicate with the clients, timely prepare documents, or both. Documents that Matson did prepare showed a lack of knowledge and skill. In one matter, Matson’s failure to understand the military compensation system resulted in an error in child support. Matson falsely assured the client he would get the judgment amended with respect to child support. Neither Matson nor his law firm had an IOLTA account, and retainers paid by two clients were deposited into Matson’s operating account. The fee agreements in the two matters stated the fee was earned upon payment, but also stated that the retainer would be applied toward earned fees and reimbursement for costs. The agreements did not state that the fee was earned upon receipt, was a minimum fee, or was for the purpose of retaining Matson’s time. The clients were forced to seek new counsel or proceed self-represented, experienced delays, and incurred expenses. Matson was previously reprimanded by a hearing panel of the disciplinary board and failed