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J. David Slovak

J. David Slovak

Of Counsel
Great Falls, Montana

David Slovak, a former principal at Lewis, Slovak, Kovacich & Snipes, P.C. (now Kovacich Snipes, P.C.), grew up in Billings, Montana. He attended the University of Montana Law School graduating with his juris doctorate degree in 1980. Upon graduation, he served as an Assistant Attorney General with the Montana Attorney General's Office in Helena, Montana. During this time, David represented the State of Montana in litigation involving claims of governmental liability, including highway safety and design, workplace safety, and civil rights claims. Within this capacity, he had the opportunity to work with and against many of the finest trial attorneys in Montana. In 1983, David entered private practice in Great Falls, Montana, handling both the prosecution and defense of personal injury, workers' compensation, product liability, and professional liability claims.

Since 1994, his practice has been exclusively limited to the plaintiff's civil litigation. The firm's state-wide trial practice focuses on toxic tort, product liability, safe place to work, and environmental claims. David has been fortunate to handle a number of highly visible cases that have advanced not only the causes of individual clients, but the rights of Montana workers, consumers, and landowners. David was honored as the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Montana Trial Lawyers Association in 2005 and received MTLA's Appellate Advocate of the Year in 2008. In 2016, he was recognized by the Best Lawyers of America as a Montana Lawyer of the year. The awards resulted from outstanding results achieved in the courtroom. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an invitation only fellowship of exceptional trial lawyers that have demonstrated the very highest standards of trail advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, and professionalism. Membership is limited to no more than 1% of lawyer population of any state. He is annually listed in Best Lawyers of America for plaintiff's personal injury litigation and is further recognized as a Mountain States Super Lawyer and National Trial Lawyers Top 100 for his work in plaintiff's personal injury litigation. David, individually, and the firm of Lewis, Slovak, Kovacich & Snipes, P.C., have each received Martindale Hubbell's highest available ethical and legal score rating (AV Preeminent) as determined by fellow attorneys and judges. He is admitted before the Montana District Courts, the U.S. District Courts in Montana, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, wherein he has successfully represented numerous clients in toxic tort, environmental remediation, safe place to work, product liability, and insurance bad faith claims.

David is a sustaining member of the Montana Trial Lawyers Association and served on its Board of Directors. He is a frequent lecturer at the University of Montana Law School and legal seminars. He has presented at the MTLA Seminar of the Masters and has served as a faculty member at the MTLA Trial Academy and the MTLA Boot Camp. A number of the firm's cases have generated national attention. The $41.2 million verdict achieved in Sunburst v. Texaco, was recognized by Verdict Search Top 100 of 2004. Other cases have been featured in the New York Times and other national publications. David was appointed as a Special Assistant Attorney General to co-represent the State of Montana in the tobacco litigation suit that resulted in an $900 million settlement on behalf of the State of Montana. Other notable jury awards, judgments, and appellate results can be found at the Verdicts, Judgments & Settlements link.

A Montana native by chance, but resident by choice, David's recreational interests primarily involve the great Montana outdoors. An avid climber, cyclist, skier, and white-water enthusiast, he enjoys the peaks, lakes, and rivers of Montana.

Areas of Practice

  • Toxic Torts
  • Environmental Remediation Claims
  • Safe Place to Work Claims
  • Product Liability
  • Insurance Bad Faith

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Montana, 1980
  • U.S. District Court District of Montana, 1980
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1981


  • University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana
    • J.D.
  • University of Montana, Missoula, Montana
    • B.A. - 1977

Published Works

  • Life Care Planning for Spinal Cord Injury (Reviewer), Elliott & Fitzpatrick, Inc., 1st Edition, 1994
  • Spinal Cord Injury Desk Reference (Reviewer), Demos Medical, 1st Edition, 2001
  • Some Thoughts on Pretrial Motion Practice, Trial Trends (MTLA), Fall, 2006

Representative Clients

  • Brad Skramstad
  • Citizens of North Havre
  • Ann Bustell
  • Citizens of Sunburst
  • Brian Musselman
  • Jeremy Parsons
  • Mary Derks
  • Elizabeth Salway
  • Ron Huston
  • Andy Nelson
  • Jerrold G. Cooley
  • Citizens of Opportunity
  • City of Livingston & Citizens of Livingston
  • Libby Mine Claimants


  • First Interstate Bank
  • DA Davidson


  • Strategic Coordination of Remedies (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association Sping Seminar, 2014
  • Seminar of the Masters (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2008 - 2009
  • MTLA Trial Academy (faculty), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2007
  • MTLA Boot Camp (faculty), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2006
  • Pretrial Motion Practice (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2005
  • Direct Actions - Exclusivity (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2003
  • Products Liability (Presenter), University of Montana Law School
  • Trial Class (Presenter), University of Montana Law School
  • Common Law Environmental Claims (Presenter), University of Montana Law School
  • Rookie Camp (Presenter), State Bar of Montana
  • Seminar of the Masters' Remedies in Toxic Tort and Environmental Litigation (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2008
  • Seminar of the Masters' Ethics (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association, 2009
  • Pretrial Tactics and the Effective Use of Experts (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association Fall Seminar, 2011
  • Trial Masters (Presenter), Montana Trial Lawyers Association Spring Summer, 2016

Honors and Awards

  • Montana Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyer of the Year, 2005
  • Montana Trial Lawyers Association Appellate Advocate of the Year, 2008
  • Best Lawyer of America, Montana Lawyer of the Year, 2016
  • AV (Preeminent) Peer Review Rated
  • Best Lawyers in America (Plaintiff's Personal Injury, Environmental Litigation)
  • Mountain States Super Lawyers (Plaintiff's Personal Injury, Environmental Litigation), 2007 - 2012
  • Verdict Search Top 100 of 2004
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 2014 - Present
  • Montana Trial Lawyers Association, Sustaining Member, 1980 - Present
  • Montana Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Directors, 2006 - 2015
  • University of Montana Law School Board of Visitors, 2015-Present
  • Montana State Bar, 1980 - Present
  • American Bar Association, 1980 - Present
  • American Association for Justice, 1980 - Present
  • Montana Workers' Compensation Court Rules Committee, 1990 - Present
  • Governor's Advisory Counsel, 1997 - 1998

Past Employment Positions

  • Montana Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General Offices, 1980 - 1983
  • State ex rel Mazurek v. Phillip Morris, Special Assistant Attorney General (Tobacco Litig.), 1998 - 2000

Pro Bono Activities

  • Cascade County Aging Services, 1983 - Present
  • Cascade County Legal Services, 1983 - Present