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Jul 20, 2011 6:08 PM

Obituary: Donald C. Robinson

Don Robinson died July 19, 2011, in Brea, CA, surrounded by his family. He died of complications from pneumonia and sepsis.

Mr. Robinson was born and raised in Hamilton, Montana. He received his B.A. from the University of Montana (1963), was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, and Silent Sentinel (an honorary organization), and never stopped being an ardent Grizzly. He received his Juris Doctor degree, with honors, from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1967. During law school, Don (or "Donald", "Robbie", or "The Don", depending who you talked to) worked for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield. Soon after, he met the love of his life, Michele, who was also living and working in D.C. at that time. After working as a Public Defender in D.C. and as a prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office in Montana, he joined the Poore Law Firm and he and Michele settled down in Butte in 1968. Eventually, Don became president of the firm, now known as Poore, Roth & Robinson.

Mr. Robinson represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of commercial, employment, and personal injury cases. He and two of his partners had the remarkable achievement of each arguing their respective cases in three successive terms of the United States Supreme Court, 1982-1984. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America in several recent editions in three areas of specialty (employment, commercial litigation, tort litigation), the only Montana lawyer so recognized. He was a charter member, and Past President (1998), of the Montana Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), which consists of Montana attorneys who have met the national organization's strict trial advocacy requirements. He was the Chairman and Program Coordinator of the Chapter's Montana Ultimate Trial Notebook, a detailed compendium of applicable law for every aspect of civil trials in Montana, for use by both judges and the trial bar. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). He has written law review articles on the subject of wrongful discharge in Montana, and has been a guest speaker and author for legal education programs for Montana trial lawyers and industry organizations. He was also a member of the faculty of the University of Montana School of Law Advanced Trial Advocacy Program held at the University each May. He was also the Montana ABOTA Chapter's delegate to the National Board of Directors and has actively served for several years on its Civility and Professionalism Committee. He has been recognized by the Chambers U.S.A. 2003, 2004 and 2005 Client Guides, as one of the top five of Montana's outstanding commercial litigation attorneys. He has served on the Commission of Practice of the Montana Supreme Court.

His favorite place was his cattle ranch at Sula, MT, which he began out of nostalgia for working in Sula during summers as a teenager. There, he, Michele, and their two boys, John and Matt, became integral members of the community. He and Michele have received various community service awards for their contributions to all their communities and the University of Montana. John and Matt have both worked in the film industry in Los Angeles, CA, as well as other pursuits and are proud to be Don's sons. Don is survived by his wife, two sons, daughter-in-law, Jackie Lau, two grandchildren, Callon and Aria, his brother, Doug, and his cousin, John Alonzo.

Funeral service will be held at St. Ann's in Butte on Aug. 1. Burial services will be held at the Sula Cemetery in Sula on Aug. 2.


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