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In re Petition of Newton

Supreme Court of Montana

January 22, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF SAMUEL NEWTON FOR WAIVER OF THE BAR EXAMINATION REQUIREMENT

ORDER

Samuel Newton has petitioned for admission to the State Bar of Montana without necessity of taking the Bar Examination, requesting waiver of Rule III.C. of the Rules for Admission. Newton's petition states he is a graduate from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University and has earned a PHD in History from the University of Utah. He has extensive criminal defense experience and practiced law in the State of Utah since 2003. Newton has published books and papers in the criminal law and is also a criminal justice professor. Newton currently resides in Kalispell and is employed at Flathead Valley Community College as an adjunct professor. Newton is a member of the bar of the State of Utah, the bar for the United States District Court for the District of Utah, and the bar of the United States Supreme Court. He is an active member in good standing with no history of disciplinary action in Utah since his admission.

This Court has rarely waived the Bar Examination requirement for admission to the State Bar of Montana and only under extraordinary circumstances. After consideration of the petition and supporting documentation, we have determined to deny the request. In an order entered January 21, 2014, in Petition of Katherine Georger, we recognized that current bar admission rules are insufficient to guide this Court's discretion when assessing waiver requests and expressed our intention to revisit this process in the near future.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition for waiver of Rule III.C requiring passage of the Bar Examination for admission to the State Bar of Montana is DENIED.

The Clerk shall mail a copy of this order to Petitioner and to the Administrator of the Board of Bar Examiners at the State Bar of Montana. The Clerk shall also provide Petitioner with a copy of this Court's order in Petition of Katherine Georger.

Justice Laurie McKinnon concurs.

The petition of Samuel Newton for admission to the State Bar of Montana presents a compelling reason for our reexamination of the current bar admission rules. He is an attorney in good standing, has practiced over ten years in the State of Idaho, has earned a Ph.D in history, has extensive experience in criminal defense, is a published author in criminal law, and is a criminal law professor. He has relocated to Montana because his wife is pursuing a career in this State.

I wrote a concurrence to this Court's order in Petition of Katherine Georger, PR 06-0442. As stated therein, I believe this Court's discretionary selection of certain candidates for admission, without criteria or guidelines, undermines our obligation to be fair and impartial. My comments in my Georger concurrence apply equally here. I thus would invite reconsideration of the non-reciprocity rule.

Justice Justice Beth Baker joins the Concurrence of Justice Laurie McKinnon.

ORDER

Mark S. Munro has petitioned for admission to the State Bar of Montana without necessity of taking the Bar Examination, requesting waiver of Rule III.C. of the Rules for Admission. Munro's petition states he is a graduate of New York University School of Law and has received his LLM degree in taxation from that school. He passed the New York bar exam in 1997 and the Washington State bar exam in 2003. His expertise is tax law and has practiced for over 15 years, most recently in Seattle, where he practiced from 2002-2013. Munro served as a part-time faculty member at the University of Washington School of Law, teaching taxation. He now has a position with Garlington, Lohn & Robinson, PLLP, in Missoula.

This Court has rarely waived the Bar Examination requirement for admission to the State Bar of Montana and only under extraordinary circumstances. After consideration of the petition and supporting documentation, we have determined to deny the request. In an order entered January 21, 2014, in Petition of Katherine Georger, we recognized that current bar admission rules are insufficient to guide this Court's discretion when assessing waiver requests and expressed our intention to revisit this process in the near future.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition for waiver of Rule III.C requiring passage of the Bar Examination for admission to the State Bar of Montana is DENIED.

The Clerk shall mail a copy of this order to Petitioner and to the Administrator of the Board of Bar Examiners at the State Bar of Montana. The Clerk shall also provide Petitioner with a copy of this Court's order in Petition of Katherine Georger.

Justice Laurie McKinnon concurs.

Mark S. Munro is an attorney in good standing and is a member of the New York State Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association. Munro has practiced for over fifteen years, has earned an LLM degree in taxation, and was a partner and tax department chair in a large Seattle law firm prior to relocating to Montana. He has served as a part-time faculty member at the Washington School of Law and volunteered to teach at the Citizens Law School at the University of Montana. Mr. Munro's credentials demonstrate he would be an asset to this State's legal community.

I wrote a concurrence to this Court's order in Petition of Katherine Georger, PR 06-0442. As stated therein, I believe this Court's discretionary selection of certain candidates for admission, without criteria or guidelines, undermines our obligation to be fair and impartial. My comments in my Georger concurrence apply equally here. I thus would invite reconsideration of the non-reciprocity rule.

Justice Justice Beth Baker joins the Concurrence of Justice Laurie McKinnon.


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