MTACDL - Lawyers of the Year
Dwight Schulte accepts the 2020 John Adams Award at the 2020 FDOM/MTACDL annual CLE in Chico Hot Springs. MT.
The Montana CJA Panel attorney of the year award is named in honor of John Adams. In the two and a half centuries since Adams was called upon by the Court to represent the British soldiers accused in connection with the Boston massacre, fairness, due process, and the right to counsel have formed the bedrock of the American criminal justice system, guaranteed by the Constitution Adams helped shape. Well before he became President, Adams himself set the example for generations of criminal defense lawyers who understood that taking on unpopular clients protected the integrity of the system and thus the rights of everyone.
The 2020 Adams Award recipient is Dwight J. Schulte. Dwight has a reputation for enthusiasm and an uncanny desire to make chicken salad out of chicken s**t. When other attorneys have not been successful establishing a solid relationship or the representation goes sideways he is the attorney to call. One example arose last year when an attorney had brought the client to the point of settlement only to have him back out at the last minute. Dwight then took over. He was able to get the client to plead – the same facts, the same charges, and the same offer. The evidence was quite strong; the deal was almost a necessity. Then the client debriefed but the government did not move to give him relief from the 10-year floor for the drug count. Dwight was able to convince the client to hang in there despite threats of withdrawing plea, etc. Not as low as he wanted, but the client would have done much worse if he had failed to listen. Sometimes getting a plea agreement and seeing it through to sentencing takes the greatest skill and is the best possible representation. Not all wins involve not guiltys or dismissals.
Born in Missoula, Dwight Schulte is a fourth generation Montanan. He grew up on a ranch in the Bitterroot Valley, attended the University of Colorado and the University of Montana where he received a B.S. in Finance. Dwight graduated from the University of Montana School of Law and after becoming a member of the State Bar of Montana began his practice focused on criminal defense and personal injury.
Dwight is a leader on the CJA panel, an effective Mentor and a tireless advocate. He accepts appointments to the difficult cases -- no matter the charge, the prosecutor, or the assigned Judge. He never shies away from anything, handling each situation with the utmost skill and advocacy. As one of his colleagues said – it must be the hair.
Dwight Schulte, right, with Montana Federal Defender Tony Gallagher