Pocatello Firm Honors Founder with $100,000 in Gifts
By Stacie Jones
Originally published in the 2014 Idaho Law Magazine
With more than 30 attorneys in three Idaho cities – and a service area that extends into Utah, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington – Racine, Olson, Nye, Budge & Bailey is one of the largest law firms in Idaho.
The firm’s reach is great. And, thanks to its generous contributions of more than $100,000 to the University of Idaho College of Law and scholarship programs, the firm’s impact is even greater.
“Idaho has many fine and prosperous law practices throughout the state, but no firm has given more generously to the University of Idaho – especially in scholarship aid for our students – than this remarkable, public-spirited firm in Pocatello,” said Don Burnett, College of Law faculty member and former dean.
Founded in Pocatello, Idaho, by well-known Idaho trial lawyer, Louis F. Racine, Jr. ’40, the firm will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year. Racine was the first in the firm’s long line of University of Idaho College of Law alumni. Mark Nye ’74, managing partner, said the gifts to the college honor not only the legacy of the firm’s founder, but also the significant role the college has played in the firm’s longevity and success.
“All of us in the firm greatly value the education we received at the U of I College of Law,” Nye said. “We wish to give back and hope that the training and experience will go on for a long, long time – or as in Idaho, esto perpetua.”
This spirit of “helping others” was a guiding principle for Racine as he and his partners built the small Pocatello practice into the preeminent statewide firm that it is today. Racine is remembered by many for his work representing members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, often on a pro bono or reduced-fee basis. Notably, in the early ’70s, he took a case through the Idaho Supreme Court to establish the tribes’ right to fish on aboriginal lands pursuant to the 1868 Fort Bridger Treaty. In gratitude, the tribes granted Racine (along with only one other person in history) lifetime fishing rights on tribal lands. They also paid tribute to Racine with ceremonial honor drums at his funeral in 2005.
“Lou was a role model for young lawyers when I was a solo practitioner in Pocatello,” said Burnett, a Pocatello native. “He was open and unpretentious. Judges respected him, and jurors warmed to his authenticity. He was guided by an inner gyroscope of justice. His clients ranged from corporations and insurance companies to individuals in need.”
Today, the attorneys at Racine, Olson, Nye, Budge & Bailey continue to provide comprehensive legal services to a broad range of clients, from individuals and family-owned businesses, to government agencies and large corporations, such as General Motors, General Electric and U.S. Bank.
Nye said the firm’s support of College of Law students directly benefits the firm’s clients, as well as the broader Idaho law community.
“We want to help Idaho law students study in Idaho – and stay in Idaho,” Nye said. “The collegiality of lawyers throughout the state helps clients to no end. The trust level is so much higher in people who are from Idaho and who went to the University of Idaho College of Law.”