image description

The Good Successor

Reflecting on a memory that encapsulated his experience at Concordia Law, Greg Chaney spoke about the moments before presenting his LRW (Legal Research & Writing) oral arguments during his first year. “I remember everyone outside the mock trial room was nervous, and everyone was encouraging,” said Greg. “I remember thinking to myself that we had what the school had told us we would: a group of classmates that sincerely wanted each other to succeed.” 

Greg graduated in December 2017, was sworn into the Idaho State Bar in May 2018, and didn’t hesitate to immediately open his own practice. Chaney Law Practice, based in Caldwell, Idaho, handles family law, employment law, personal injury, and small business matters. 

“I think the focus on being practice-ready that Concordia has, gave me a huge advantage in private practice,” said Greg. “Beginning as a solo practitioner straight out of law school is difficult, but it would have been impossible had Concordia not valued real-world readiness.”

A commitment to service

Laying the foundation for his career as a kid, Greg says he grew up around politics, volunteered on campaigns during high school, and wanted to find ways to serve his community. “Similar to my desire to become an attorney, public office feeds my desire to advocate for those who are unable or less able to advocate for themselves,” said Greg. 

When State Representative Darrell Bolz announced his retirement in 2014, that desire to advocate and serve was amplified by Greg’s concern about who would fill the seat, hoping they’d bring some of the same qualities Representative Bolz brought to the job—willingness to listen, deliberate, and respectful of others.

“I really wanted someone who would continue on with those values … and, after the first four days of the period for filing passed with nobody filing, I decided the best way to ensure a good successor to Representative Bolz was to be a good successor,” said Greg. 

Now in his third term in the Idaho House of Representatives, Greg believes his time at Concordia Law has had a positive influence on his role as a legislator. “Concordia’s emphasis on civic engagement and leadership helped inform my approach to the legislature as well,” he offered. “It was a significant help in both substantive policy discussion and general civil discourse.” 

Greg is a member of the Revenue and Taxation Committee and was recently named Chairman of the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee. On his appointment to that vital commitment, Greg said “… my focus will follow my passion toward issues relating to criminal justice, statutory civil causes of action, and the courts in general.”

Legislating justice for all

Earlier this year, Greg introduced Idaho House Bill 118 pertaining to an issue of concern to him—the use of risk assessment algorithms in the criminal just system. Greg clarified, “In sum, a secret program is being used to hold people in jail for things they haven’t done yet and the result is racially disparate.” 

Greg explained that these pretrial risk assessment tools are being used to predict whether a defendant will return to court when directed, may or may not commit another crime while waiting for trial, and to determine if bail should be offered. The programs, said Greg, tend to overpredict risk for minority populations and underpredict risk for whites. 

Another significant issue the bill addressed was the lack of transparency about how the computer programs works. “In many states, when defendants have sought to challenge these systems in court, they’ve been denied access to the methodology on the basis of ‘trade secret protection’,” explained Greg. The bill was signed into law, ensuring transparency and eliminating the “trade secret” defense. 

Poised to lead

Greg—who likes to unwind by bowling, watching funny movies with his family, and working out—is grateful for his time at Concordia Law. “Concordia has done a great job building its culture around camaraderie and cooperation, and I always knew I could trust my classmates to have my back and help me understand something,” he said. “That has transferred into practice where Concordia graduates are some of the most civil attorneys I interact with, and not just because we share an alma matter.”

When making his decision to attend law school, Greg said he was initially drawn to Concordia Law because it was part of a well-respected, faith-based institution and he could study close to home. But, after doing a deeper dive into the program he was impressed with the school’s focus on, as he put it, “creating leaders not just lawyers.”

Learn more about Concordia University School of Law and its tradition of service-based leadership.