MTACDL Lawyers of the Year
Presented by Joslyn Hunt, Assistant Federal Defender, to the FDOM/MTACDL webinar on March 11, 2021:
Our wonderful MTACDL President, Colin Stephens, has for years advocated for a Rookie of the Year Award. Colin and I are incredibly happy to say that this year, we are implementing it. There are several reasons underlying this decision. And while I haven’t actually consulted with Colin about what reason I believe is most important, I will tell all of you that reason now.
That reason, for me, may sound super corny. Those of you who know me aren’t going to be surprised by what I will say. But that reason is love. Love for our clients. Love for the law. Love for equality. Love for constitutionality. Love for hard work. The list goes on. I feel we’re all living in a world that loves to hate, right now in particular. But, being surrounded by people like all of you renews my sense of hope that there are still good people in the world, doing what’s right, and doing it for the right reason—out of love for what’s right.
Some of you out there knew you wanted to be a criminal defense attorney. Some of you fell into this line of work for whatever reason. Some of you tried this work, like I did, and fell in love with it. Whatever the reason, I have come to know this about criminal defense attorneys.
You are smart! You are smarter than the prosecutors but, unlike the prosecutors, you don’t have to let everyone know how much smarter you are.
You are dedicated and hard working! You work nights and weekends and countless hours, almost with enthusiasm as you undertake challenging the government.
You are funny and have a sense of humor about life, the ups and downs! Given the facts you face, this is a must.
You have empathy and hope! You see that our clients are people. They deserve our support and another chance.
I go through these attributes because I have come to know a lot of you over the years and I look forward to knowing a lot more of you in years to come. I stand in awe of your attributes and your abilities. We are especially impressed with those attributes and abilities when we see them in someone in the very beginning stages of their career. We stand in awe of you because we know with this type of dedication seen so early, we will see you again in the spotlight defending the clients you love. Simply put, you are a force.
That is what MTACDL saw in our recipient this year. Our recipient this year obtained her law degree in Missoula, graduating in 2017. She is passionate about criminal defense and actually focused her training in law school and her practice thereafter on criminal defense. Our recipient is currently in solo practice. She makes herself available for treatment court, state court, and federal court and she is currently handling a very difficult, sexual assault and incest trial. The recipient is one who “has gone above and beyond to immerse herself in the world of criminal defense. … She has made her legal insights and creative approaches to defense available to other defense attorneys, establishing herself as a trusted colleague and cooperative thinking partner.” **
Abigail Rogers, on behalf of MTACDL, we say thank you for your dedication, for your mutual love for our clients and what’s right. You are MTACDL’s first ever and standout Rookie of the Year Recipient. Congratulations!