2020 RIPL Fellows
Walter Clapp, Honor Coin Law, PLLC
Having grown up in a rural community of about 10,000, Walter moved back to rural Montana from Washington D.C. because he believes the future of America lies in thriving rural communities. For Walter, the facts are simple - if all of the talent in America permanently migrates to urban centers - rural America will be left without the people necessary to ensure successful and vibrant rural communities. As an attorney and an entrepreneur - the RIPL program immediately caught Walter's attention as a way to better ensure that rural Montana continues to thrive. For Walter, serving modest means clients through the RIPL program means filling the gap between those rural Montanans that qualify for free services, and those that can afford extravagant attorney fees. For decades, everyday middle class Americans and rural Montanans have been without access to Justice. RIPL fills that gap for rural Montanans - and Walter could not be happier to lend his time and energy to the effort.
Jennifer Williams, The Law Office of Jennifer A. Williams, PLLC
Jennifer A. Williams studied law at William Mitchell College of Law in Saint Paul, MN. Jennifer has practiced since 2017, working as a district court law clerk and at a private firm in the Twin Cities metro area. She established her own Montana based practice in May 2018. She currently practices throughout rural communities in Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota, focusing on estate planning, probate, real estate transactions, landlord/tenant law, plus a mix of a traditional general practice and a sprinkle of litigation as needed. She established two office locations, her first in Ekalaka, MT and her second in Dickinson, ND. Jennifer strives to provide modest means, sliding scale, limited scope representation, and pro bono legal services to Montanans throughout the state. Jennifer balances all of the above while commuting between her two offices and raising three children, Maxton (11), Aiden (3), and Stephanie (8 months) with her husband, Tye. While her life seems hectic at times, she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in RIPL and bring her services to rural communities for the benefit of everyone.
Jessie M. Wiles, Wiles Law Office, PLLC
Jessica M. Wiles graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School, with a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, in 2010. She began her legal career as an associate attorney at Hobbs, Straus, Dean, and Walker, LLP, in Portland, Oregon, where she advised tribes and tribal organizations on a variety of legal matters including tribal self-governance contracting and compacting and tribal housing. Ms. Wiles next worked as an Attorney-Advisor for the Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in Billings, Montana. At the Solicitor’s Office, she advised the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other client agencies on topics including grazing, oil and gas, mineral title and trespass, torts, administrative law, and water law. She also represented BLM in litigation before relevant administrative boards. Upon moving to Helena, Montana, Ms. Wiles worked as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) providing legal advice and representation to the DNRC Trust Land Management Division. In 2019, she established her own solo practice with a focus on natural resources, Indian law, estate planning and probate, and Indian wills. Ms. Wiles is proud to be a 2019 Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA), RIPL fellow, and is excited to work with MLSA to expand access to justice for modest means Montanans throughout the State by providing full representation, limited scope, phone advice, and pro bono legal services in a wide variety of practice areas. She proudly hails from Lander, Wyoming, and when not in the office, spends her time with her incredible husband, their two children, Jasper (4) and Eliza (1.5), and their red heeler Ginger.
Christopher Fisher, Montana Families PLLC
Christopher Fisher is an attorney licensed to practice in both Montana and Wyoming. Christopher was raised in Helena MT, and after a brief stint as an aircraft mechanic, he studied economics at Montana State University and later law at the University of Oregon. Passionate about helping families, Christopher returned to Montana to begin his legal practice. Very quickly, he became acutely aware of the many financial and regional limitations families face when seeking legal assistance in Montana. Now, partnering with Montana Legal Services Association through the Rural Incubator Project for Lawyers (RIPL), he is leveraging available technology and the RIPL Fellowship to help families that may become otherwise been unable to find legal assistance. Christopher’s legal practice focuses on finding and implementing practical legal solutions for everyday Montana Families. When he isn’t preoccupied with the law, he spends time with his family and friends enjoying frisbee, kickball, hockey, and snowboarding. You can reach Christopher at [email protected]