MREA's Membership Dues and Legal Option PAY for Themselves!
Investing in MREA Membership and subscribing to the Legal Option is one of the most cost effective decisions a school district can make! With most attorneys experienced in school law charging well over $100.00 per hour for their time, this optional service provided to MREA members pays for itself in a matter of a few phone calls requesting advice on minor legal issues or almost instantly when a major legal challenge hits the district. Even if your district already subscribes to another legal service, we believe that it is important, in today's climate, to consider the value of having easy access to a "second opinion".
MREA's Legal Option is the only one of its kind in Montana!
MREA's attorneys serve the needs of our schools under an independent contract from their own offices. Rich Batterman is the owner of Batterman Law Offices, P.C., a general practice law firm with offices in Baker, and Glendive, Montana. He is the elected county attorney for Fallon and Carter Counties, and serves as legal counsel to those entities (and their school districts!) on a part-time basis. Rich grew up in Glendive, earned a degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and then worked for the Boy Scouts of America. He went on to law school in Vermont, moved back to Montana in 1998, and has been in active practice ever since.
The Legal Option is telephone consultation service for school district members of MREA. Legal option participants can expect a return call from Rich within 24 hours. The legal option program allows for unlimited telephone consultation with a school attorney over a period of one year under certain conditions set forth below. The cost of the service is a one-time flat fee equivalent to 50% of a member's MREA dues, with a minimum fee of $100.00. The program is offered on a yearly basis from July 1 to June 30. Under the program, an MREA district pays its annual option fees to MREA just as it would pay its annual dues. MREA passes the district's name and legal option fee on to the attorney. The district can call the attorney directly when legal questions arise; the lawyer will check the option list before billing your district and will keep track of all time and phone services provided. The lawyer will provide you with a record of your use of the option at any time.
This legal option retainer covers all telephone consultation services with the designated lawyer. It does not cover in-depth research, the preparation of documents, written opinions, or telephone consultations in conjunction with the lawyer's representation of the district on a discrete matter, such as a county superintendent hearing, lawsuit, contract negotiations, or similar in-depth representation. The option does cover the review of documents mailed or faxed to our office in conjunction with a request for legal consultation.
It should be noted that use of the legal option does not guarantee that the legal option lawyer will be available for litigation in which the district becomes involved. The legal option lawyer will, however, advise you as soon as it becomes apparent that litigation is a possibility and, if the lawyer cannot take the case, will assist your district in securing competent counsel for the case. Should another attorney handle your case, telephone consultation on the matter would still be available with the legal option attorney. If the legal option attorney does take your case, you will be billed for all work and consultations relative to that case.
Contacting MREA's Legal Option:
Office: 406 778 3006
Fax: (406) 778-3007