La Grande attorney Jared Boyd is the newest addition to the stable of attorneys at the Grande Ronde Public Defenders Consortium, from which Wallowa County Circuit Court draws its public defenders. Boyd also recently opened a private practice.
Boyd grew up in the Teton Valley in southeast Idaho, eventually graduating from high school in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. Boyd didn’t necessarily grow up wanting to be a lawyer, although his family emphasized the importance of education. In school, Boyd excelled in debating, twice earning a place in national competition. He considered entering college in that capacity but opted for a “normal” college life. “In debate, you’re putting in 80 hours a week,” Boyd explained.
After earning his pre-law degree in political science and history at the University of Idaho, he realized jobs in the field were limited. He subsequently attended law school at Willamette University in Salem.
Boyd chose to become a defense attorney and while still in school, went to work for the Marion County district attorney’s office in the juvenile section, hoping to learn the tips and tricks to augment his defense attorney skills.
Boyd graduated in 2008, passed the bar exam on his first try and mulled over which of three job offers to take. Then the economy tanked.
Boyd scrambled to fill out job applications and even hung out his own shingle in Salem for a month. His previous experience in Marion County gave him a leg up in the job pool as the Union County District Attorney’s office in La Grande soon expressed interest. Interviewed on a Thursday and offered a job on Friday, Boyd found himself reporting for duty on the following Monday. He worked in that office until recently.
Boyd now works out of the office of La Grande attorney Steve Joseph, who serves as a mentor. Their respective businesses are separate, however. Boyd opened his office on Aug. 1.
Working out of a rural DA’s office proved beneficial to Boyd’s law career. “In Marion County, you’re doing DUII cases for 3-4 years; in La Grande, I was handling Measure 11 and major drug offenses within three months of going to work there. My average case load was 350-450 cases a year,” Boyd said.
Boyd liked working for the DA’s office. The opportunity to decide against pursuing a “bad” case appealed to him, as did the experience aspect. Boyd eventually had his fill of the work partially because conflict-of-interest concerns limited his community involvement, a major concern.
“I’m back out in the community and in the DA’s office you can get an “us versus them” mentality because you’re dealing with the worst of the worst of the community,” Boyd said. He added that he now enjoys getting involved with the community and meeting people and being able to offer them a solution to their legal problems.
Among Boyd’s new legal duties is his place in the public defender’s pool as part of the Grande Ronde Public Defenders Consortium. Boyd took over the slot recently vacated by Tom Powers.
Besides criminal defense, Boyd is also interested in family law, business restructuring and bankruptcy. He also said many of these types of cases overlap with other types of law. Despite his recent foray into the civil law world, Boyd has valuable experience. “What I have is litigation experience. I’ve been in court nearly every day the last seven years. Learning subject matter is easy, but litigation skills can’t be found in a book,” Boyd said.
Although his office is in La Grande, Boyd is looking into opening a Wallowa County office. “There is a need for more legal services in Wallowa County and I’m looking into it,” he said.
A dedicated “techie,” Boyd uses the latest technology to aid his law work. “It allows me to keep in better touch with my clients and be more efficient with time management, which translates into lower costs and better results,” he said. One program Boyd utilizes allows any client with Internet access to examine their own case files online instead of coming to the office, a real money-saver.
After seven years of practice, Boyd has no regrets about his career choice. “The idea about law that I really enjoy is that you get to dabble in everything, it’s like having a backstage pass to life. As a lawyer you get to see and learn about every aspect of society. You get to be in the middle of everything — whether people like that or not,” he said.