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]
MALCOM & PIERS PLLC
Before law school S. Chase Rosario drove double-trailered semis for harvest, drove buses of fire-fighting crews up mountains, ran a YNP guide company, taught business English to foreign professionals, and a variety of other odd jobs. In law school, she experienced everything she could, including writing on to two law reviews, publishing in one, arguing as a member of the international moot court team, and serving as the elected law school representative to the American Bar Association. She designed an independent study program based on the premise that basic legal concepts and research techniques could be included in regular English and Civics high school classes. After graduating, she worked 4 years clerking for a district court judge, did misdemeanor trial work for 3 years and then appeals to the Montana Supreme Court for 3 years. In private practice, she spent the last 7 years focused on representing children in the foster care system, and assisting the disabled in hearings before the Social Security Administration. She recently married and left Great Falls to join her husband in Lewistown, where they live with her two children. Chase continues to serve her passion for children in foster care by serving as the state coordinator for the National Association of Counsel for Children, a position that enables her to advocate for continuous improvement in the quality of representation of children in Montana’s foster care system. Contact Chase here - https://www.alawcarte.lawyer/
Kathy Coleman, Coleman Law, PLLC
Kathy is licensed to practice law in both Montana and North Dakota. She grew up in Havre, MT and then lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest before deciding to go to law school at mid-career. Kathy graduated from the University of Wyoming College of Law in Laramie, WY and began her legal career as a public defense attorney in North Dakota. Kathy established a private practice in Miles City, MT in 2019 and currently practices in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Kathy’s legal practice focuses primarily on family and criminal law along with availability for additional areas of civil practice. She is honored to participate in the Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) RIPL program to provide limited scope representation, sliding scale fees, telephone advice and pro bono services in an effort to make legal representation affordable for a greater number of families and individuals. Kathy thoroughly enjoys spending her free time with her husband Mike and their little dog Rusty.