Courts Shall Decide Whether Marcia Boris Must Become Mineral County Attorney

Courts Shall Decide Whether Marcia Boris Must Become Mineral County Attorney

9/21/2010

Marcia Boris, a candidate for Mineral County attorney is being questioned on her eligibility for such position.

The Montana Code Annotated, particularly MCA 7-4-2701 (2) states that, “A person is not eligible for the position of full-time county attorney in counties that have a population of less than 30,000 unless the person…has been admitted to the practice of law for at least 3 years before the date of election or appointment.”

Boris was admitted to the practice of law in October 7, 2008. By Election Day on November 2010, Boris would only have a total of more than 2 years, as being admitted to the practice of law. This timeframe falls short on the MCA requirement of “3 years before the date of election or appointment.”

Boris argued that the time she spent as a certified legal intern by the University of Montana, which lasted for almost a year from May 14, 2007 to May 9, 2008, must be counted in the 3-year requirement of the MCA. She based her argument on Shapiro V. Jefferson County, 278 Mont. 109 (1996) where the decision allowed the inclusion of the work rendered by a law student under the Montana Student Practice Rule.

At the time, Justice Karla Gray strongly opposed the decision stating the difference between “admitted to the practice of law” and “practicing law.” “Admitted to the practice of law” includes passing the bar examination, taking the oath, and signing the roll of attorneys among other requisites.

Kevin O’Brien from the Attorney General’s office said that the courts will be the one to make a determination on the issue. Boris also agrees.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com