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October 01, 2016 Dialogue

Meet the newest ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral Service

Each year the ABA President-Elect asks the Chair of the Standing Committee and ABA staff for recommendations for new members. There are nine committee members plus the chair, with a third of the committee (or so) rotating off each year. Terms of appointment are for no longer than three years. A committee chair may serve at the pleasure of the ABA President for up to three years. The newest three members to the ABA’s Standing Committee are from Florida, Montana, and South Dakota. Like our own LRIS Committees, the ABA’s Standing Committee for Lawyer Referral Services seeks to address the key issues affecting lawyer referral service programs and appropriately advise and construct creative solutions. To get to know them a bit more, here are the profiles of the three newest members.


Thomas Barnett

Thomas C. Barnett, Jr., has been serving the State Bar of South Dakota as the Executive Director and Secretary-Treasurer since 1989. In addition, he also serves as Secretary to the Disciplinary Board, the CFO of the South Dakota Bar Foundation, and has been the Director of Continuing Legal Education in SD since 1991. He graduated with a BA from the University of South Dakota in 1973 and a JD from the USD School of Law in 1976. He served on a number of State Bar committees, including chair of the criminal law committee, and was elected to the Board of Bar Commissioners in 1987. Mr. Barnett is a member of the ABA and a Sustaining Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is a Platinum Fellow of the South Dakota Bar Foundation. He chaired the Governmental Relations Section of NABE for two years and was the 2012 winner of the ABA Judicial Division Lawyers Conference Burnham “Hod” Greeley Award.


Imani Boykin

Imani Boykin graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she earned her BS in business administration in finance and management information systems, as well as her MBA in finance and human resources management. Ms. Boykin earned her JD from Florida Coastal School of Law where she graduated in the top 20 percent of her class. She was an editor of the Florida Coastal Law Review, elected as a Justice on the Honor Court by her peers, and accepted membership in Phi Delta Phi, an international legal honors fraternity. Ms. Boykin authored Eleventh Commandment for the Eleventh Circuit: Thou Shalt Not Violate the Establishment Clause, 5 Fla. Coastal L.J. 1 (2004). While in law school, Ms. Boykin also clerked for the Honorable Thomas E. Morris and the Honorable Monte C. Richardson, Federal Magistrates in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

In 2005, Ms. Boykin was honored by the National Association of Women Lawyers for her selection by Florida Coastal as the outstanding female law student of her class. Graduates were selected for their advancement of women in society and promotion of issues and concerns of women in the legal profession, which inspired both fellow students and professors. Ms. Boykin was the President of the D.W. Perkins Bar Association for 2010-2011 and was inducted into the Florida Family Law Inns of Courts in 2009. She currently serves as a Barrister of the Inn. She is also an adjunct professor at Florida Coastal School of Law. Previously, she served as an LRIS panelist.


Shane Vannatta

Shane Vannatta first joined Worden Thane P.C. as an intern during law school in 1991. Upon graduating from the University of Montana Law School in 1993 (JD with honors) and passing the bar exam for the State Bar of Montana, Mr. Vanetta became an associate of the firm in September 1993. He became a shareholder in the firm in January 2001.

Mr. Vannatta has a legal practice focused principally in business law, including copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, employment, business acquisitions, and contract drafting. Mr. Vannatta also handles real estate sales and acquisitions, and represented clients in a variety of civil litigation matters.

Mr. Vannatta is deeply involved in community and bar service. He recently completed a year as President of the State Bar of Montana and currently serves as a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates. He also serves as an ABA Commissioner and now—as of 2016—a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyer Referral Services.