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Joe Borton, Partner, Borton Lakey Law and Policy in Meridian

joe-bortonThe word “service” frequently surfaces in Joe Borton’s conversation.

He speaks of service to the community, service to others, and service to a profession. And service is what Borton sees as the crux of his legal work.

“We are all very driven towards public service and helping the community,” he says of his Meridian firm’s partners. “And the way that we do that is by the way that we practice and how we practice. There’s a strong current of empathy and humility in what we do.”

The firm takes on what might seem like small cases to some but Borton says that a win of any size is always a big deal to the clients he serves.

“For the people we’re helping, it is everything to them, so it’s everything to us,” he says.

Borton’s own community service runs deep. He served as a head coach for Optimist football, served on the board of directors for the Meridian Arts Foundation, served as president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho and currently serves on the Meridian City Council. That’s just the tip of Borton’s volunteerism iceberg.

His accolades and awards run even deeper. But you’d have to prod deeply to hear about them. He’s humble and credits his legal successes to good old-fashioned hard work, but if you dig into his CV, you’ll see his work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

His awards stretch back to the 1990s and include an Idaho Business Review Accomplished Under 40 honor and a Meridian Businessman of the Year award from the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. And in 2014, he chamber recognized Borton’s all-around good works and simply named him Meridian’s Man of the Year.

Borton’s community service largely centers around building a better future for the community and Meridian’s youth. But he looks to the past for guidance on how to best serve his community.

A framed newspaper clipping from 1978 hangs in Borton’s office. The clipping notes the passing of his grandfather. Community members remember the late Borton as a respected businessman and in retirement, he became a tireless community servant, Borton says. When Cecil Borton passed away, the local newspaper published a picture of a grove of large trees with the largest tree fallen. At the base of the fallen tree grew four saplings with the words: “integrity,” “honor,” “service,” and “compassion” printed next to them followed by Borton’s grandfather’s name. That image remains seared in Borton’s mind as he lives his daily Life.

“It is a powerful image that reminds me to live honorably and that my actions can have a positive influence on others,” he says.

About Carissa Wolf