Put Montana State Bar Under Legislature’s Jurisdiction

I know of several folks that would take and likely pass an open, available to anyone, exam

By Russell Sias

Our Montana code has about 70 to 75 occupations where if one wants, they can go to the state and take an exam. When they pass the exam, they can then be qualified by the state to do business under their certification. These certifications are essentially under the jurisdiction of the state Legislature.

Not so with becoming an attorney. To get that certification, one has to first graduate from an “approved by an American Bar Association” college or school. Then and only then can one take their Montana State Bar exam – from the Montana State Bar Association. Not from the state, like other certifications, but from the Montana State Bar itself. This Montana State Bar exam is under the jurisdiction of our Montana State Courts – instead of our state Legislature as are the other certifications.

This is a classic monopoly. It is non-competitive and designed to limit those who can be “authorized” to practice law within our state. I know of several folks that would take and likely pass an open, available to anyone, exam.

The problem has a further implication than what I have described. If one wants elected as a judge one must first be an attorney. Are judges then part of the attorney good-ole–boy club? Think about that for a moment! Then ask yourself:  Are we part of a government subject to the people, or are we a people subject to the government?

A 12-year-old home schooler from Red Lodge has proposed a constitutional initiative (CI-124) to move the Montana State Bar away from our courts and put it under the jurisdiction of our legislature. We ALL need to sign this initiative!

Russell Sias
Columbia Fall

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