Question: Can the County Attorney advice me of my rights, legal options, interpret statute for me, or assist me, as a private citizen or entity of the County?
Answer: No, the County Attorney’s duties are outlined and limited by the Montana Statutes, and she cannot advise private parties.
Question: Can the County Attorney advise how to practice law or proper procedure for filing law suits or what legal avenues are available to me?
Answer: No, the County Attorney cannot advise private parties in any legal capacity whatsoever. It is a commonly preconceived myth that the “County Attorney” is the attorney for all citizens of the county. This is not the case. The County Attorney is the attorney for Stillwater County, as a whole, representing the interests of the County, but cannot represent the individuals within the County. To do so would put the County Attorney in situations of conflict, and is not allowed by law.
Question: Where can I go then, as a private citizen, for legal help, guidance, or advice?
Answer: You may inquire upon a private attorney. Many will give a free initial consultation. Another option is to contact www.mtlsa.org (Montana Legal Services Association), 800-666-6899. Additionally, the County Attorney cannot recommend an attorney for you.