TORRINGTON – Local attorney Nate Hibben was drawn to the law.
His path took him from his Central Iowa hometown, to law school in Virginia and, eventually, brought him here to Torrington. And now, he’s been elected to serve as president-elect for the Wyoming State Bar Association, the entity charged with overseeing lawyers across the state.
He’ll serve in that capacity for one year, at which time he’ll become president of the association, he said. To become president elect, and eventually president, of the State Bar, Hibben was nominated by at least two member attorneys and elected by the general membership of lawyers from across the state in August, he said.
The Wyoming State Bar Association is designated as a quasi-governmental entity, Hibben said. It has some regulatory and oversight responsibilities within the state of Wyoming, but remains a privately-funded body ultimately responsible to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
The Bar Association “oversees and regulates the practice of law,” Hibben said. Additionally, the organization administers admissions examinations twice a year to lawyers wishing to practice in the state and sets continuing-education requirements for its members.
The State Bar is governed by its Board of Officers and Commissioners, made up of one representative from each of the nine judicial districts in Wyoming, along with a president, president-elect, vice president and secretary. Hibben has represented the Eighth Judicial District, which covers Goshen, Platte, Converse and Niobrara counties, for the past four years.
As president elect, he’ll serve on several committees within the organizationand take over the duties of the president if the president is temporarily unable to serve. Then, on Oct. 1, 2019, Hibben will be sworn in as president for one, one-year term.
Raised in the Des Moines, Iowa, suburb of Pleasant Hill, Hibben was studying history at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, when, more and more, his interests pointed him to his eventual career as an attorney. With his undergraduate degree in history under his belt, he attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., earning his law degree.
“I knew early on I wanted to be an attorney,” Hibben said. “I’ve always been interested in the law, the interaction of events, how the law applies to different situations.
“I have interests in history, politics and economics,” he said. “The practice of law generally fits my personality.”
Hibben met his wife, Chelsea, during his undergraduate years at ISU. After law school, the couple moved to Goshen County in 2009 with one child in tow and another on the way, so he could take a clerk-ship for former District Judge Keith Kautz, who now serves as a justice on the state’s Supreme Court.
“Very quickly, Goshen County became our home,” Hibben said.
Now, in addition to his private practice, Hibben serves as an assistant prosecuting attorney for the Goshen County Attorney’s office. Current County Attorney Ken Brown asked Hibben if he’d be interested in helping out with prosecutions in the county. Hibben said yes.
In his private practice, Hibben works with fellow attorneys Herb Doby and Anna Barnes out of offices in the Call Building near the Goshen County Courthouse. The trio share a “pretty general practice,” a mix of criminal and civil litigation and general law.
But Hibben has one, true passion.
“My particular interest is litigation,” he said. “I love to be in the courtroom.
“I love jury trials,” Hibben said. “It’s an opportunity to really tell a story, to engage that jury in a way that can be persuasive.”
Outside his law practice, Hibben serves on the board of Torrington Little League and the county Healthcare Foundation. He coaches sixth-grade boys’ basketball and is active in North Hills Baptist Church in Lingle with Chelsea and the couple’s now-four children.
Through it all, Hibben credited a portion of his success to the mentors he found when he came to eastern Wyoming and Goshen County, the judges he’s worked with, including current Eighth District Judge Patrick Korell, himself a past president of the State Bar Association.
“I love practicing the law,” Hibben said. “I love working with clients to help solve problems. I love being a part of our community.”