The idea of becoming a lawyer had always been in the back of Hannah Stone’s mind.
“As a young kid I was an advocate, which is another way of saying I liked to argue,” she said.
But it was a specific incident that bumped the idea to the forefront. While Stone was in college, her husband David Flores’ grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, given a short life expectancy, and wanted to create a will.
“I sat with her with a phone book, trying to find an attorney who would come to her house, because she couldn't leave, and we couldn’t,” Stone said.
Born in Libby, Stone and her family moved to California when she was young, and she grew up in a town near Yosemite National Park.
After finishing her undergraduate, Stone applied to law schools in California but said they just never felt right. At the time, her brother had moved to Missoula to go to graduate school at the University of Montana, and Stone decided to come visit.
When she toured the campus, Stone said, “It just clicked,” and she decided to go to law school at UM. An internship during law school at her current firm, Milodragovich, Dale & Steinbrenner, cemented an appreciation for civil law.
“You get to learn things you never thought you would learn about, like standard poodles and breeding or liquor liability and standards of intoxication,” she said. “You’re constantly continuing to educate yourself.”
In addition to her business clients, where she helps draft company policies and other employment-related matters, Stone also works with individuals, primarily on workers’ compensation cases.
“It’s a complicated process. You don’t get a lot of thank you notes as an attorney but the ones I do have in my office are my workers’ comp clients,” she said.
Outside of work, Stone and her husband enjoy biking and hiking, as well as anything active that “helps wear out” their three children.
“We built an ice skating rink out in the yard for the winter, and I learned to ice skate,” she said.
As an attorney, Stone also donates her time as the pro bono counsel for a pair of area nonprofit organizations: the Families First Children’s Museum and the Tamarack Grief Resource Center.
Stone said she initially used the museum as a place to take her kids, but didn’t know anything about the parent and family counseling services and classes they offered. After learning more and talking with the staff, she was invited to join the board of directors, a role she served in — including time as the chair — until last year.
When she left the board, Stone said she wanted to stay involved and use her legal knowledge to help Families First, so she became its attorney. A week after making the change, the children’s museum received a subpoena in a lawsuit the county has filed against a cigar club that was located directly below it, a case that has kept Stone busy since.
“As an attorney, a mother, and a concerned community member, Hannah has worked continuously on our case for over a year without billing for a single hour of her time,” said Executive Director Nick Roberts.
In her work with the Tamarack Grief Resource Center, Stone helps the organization with its policies and procedures governing the board, as well as employees and volunteers.
“I knew just from meeting with her that it was something that would be rewarding to work on, knowing that everyone involved is working to help people who are in crisis,” she said.
Like Roberts, Executive Director Tina Barrett also sang Stone’s praises, highlighting her “consistent professionalism, clarity, accessibility and gracious presence,” that she has had with the group in her pro bono capacity over the past four years.
“Hannah is a gift to our organization, to the hundreds of bereaved families we serve, and to the larger Missoula community,” Barrett said.