Erika decided she wanted to be a lawyer in the fifth grade after winning a classroom debate about abolishing the automobile ("millions of children and household pets are killed each year by cars!"). She later took her best friend "to court" during a monopoly game dispute. In Jr. High, Erika drafted a contract with her parents providing that she be allowed to have pet parakeets once their basement was remodeled. She enforced her rights pursuant to that contract (written on a recipe card) five years later to the dismay of her parents. During a debate competition in high school, Erika and her debate partner (who will remain anonymous to protect his innocence) came up with a scheme: instead of trading off arguing the pro vs. con on nuclear proliferation as was required, Erika always argued the con, and her partner always argued the pro. They were impressed with the brilliance of this scheme until they were busted by the debate coach who figured it out when the judges' reports referred to "Erika Birch" and "she" in round one, and "Erik Birch" and "he" in round two.
With all that legal experience, she argued for a law school waiver, but it was denied. Therefore, she attended law school at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder where she received her J.D. in May 2000. Erika started her "real" legal career as an associate with the Denver firm of King & Greisen, formerly known as King Clexton & Feola. Within her first year of practicing law, she obtained her first favorable jury verdict and hasn’t stopped trying cases since.
When she and her husband decided to move back to the Salt Lake area, she began looking for work doing what she loved – employment law. Luckily there are not many firms practicing employment law for employees and we were able to convince her to come work for Strindberg & Scholnick in August 2003. Erika became a partner of the firm in January of 2006.
Erika and her family moved to Boise, Idaho in 2007 so that she could open up the firm’s first extension office in Idaho. The Boise office has gone from a one-woman operation to having three lawyers, two paralegals, regular law clerks and a great track record of successes in Idaho. This includes a recent jury verdict in Idaho federal court for $1,800,000 in compensatory damages to her client who suffered a hostile work environment at the Idaho Department of Corrections.
Erika was an honored recipient of ITLA’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award (2019), ITLA’s Professionalism award (2017), and of several awards through the Idaho State Bar. She serves on various non-profit boards and law related committees, and has volunteered her time for pro bono clients at ITLA’s Street Law Clinic.
She enjoys spending time watching her two kids play sports and musical instruments, boating and camping with her family and their dog Charley, and watching Saturday morning cooking shows on public television.
University of Colorado, College of Law, Boulder, CO
Juris Doctor, Top 1/3 of Class, May 2000
Legal Aid Clinic, 1999-2000
Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah
Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude, Economics; Minor in English Literature, December 1996
The Center for Bilingual Multi-Cultural Studies, Cuernavaca, Mexico
Intensive Spanish language program, Summer 1995
Completed intermediate course work in language and cultural studies
Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC
Partner, Boise, Idaho; January 2006 to Present
- Opened the firm’s Idaho branch office in June 2008. Manage all aspects of the branch office.
- Engage in all forms of employment litigation, including prelitigation/administrative processes, trial work, appeals, mediations and arbitrations.
Associate Attorney, Salt Lake City, Utah; August 2003 to December 2005
King & Greisen, LLP (f/k/a King Clexton & Feola, LLC)
Associate Attorney, Denver, CO; December 2000 to July 2003
Awards: ITLA’s James J. May Trial Lawyer of the Year Award (2019); ITLA’s Walter H. Bithell Professionalism Award (2017); Diversity Section’s Justice For All award (2015); and, Idaho Bar’s Outstanding Service Award (2014) and Denise O’Donnell-Day Pro Bono Award (2013)
Organizer and mentor for the Idaho Litigation Section’s Trial Skills Academy (2015, 2017 & 2019)
Organizer and presenter and author on a wide variety of employment law topics at various continuing legal education events and conventions and in various publications (2001- present).
- Co-Author, “The Impact of Leaving Idaho’s Government Employees Unprotected” (Spring 2014)
- Co-Author, “In Defense of Twin Protectors of the Middle Class: Civil Service and Labor Unions” (Winter 2011/12)
- Co-Author, "Is Legislation Necessary to Protect Transgendered Employees" (Fall 2008)
- Co-Author, "Tademy v. Union Pacific Corporation: A Plaintiffs' Victory in the Tenth Circuit" (Summer 2008)
- Co-Author, Co-Author “Litigating Against State and Municipal Governmental Entities” (2003)
- “Nuts and Bolts of Trying a Sexual Harassment Case” (June 2002).
Organizer and Presenter on employment related topics at Idaho State Bar Convention (2008 - 2011). Speaker on wide variety of employment law topics at various continuing legal education events and conventions (2001- present).
Eller v. Idaho State Police, 165 Idaho 147 (Idaho 2019); Fuller v. Idaho Department of Corrections, 865 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2017), Cryer v. Idaho Department of Labor, 332 F. Supp.3d 1260 (D. Idaho 2018); Strosnider v. City of Nampa, 196 F. Supp.3d 1159 (D. Idaho 2016); Garcia v. Western Waste Services, Inc., 969 F. Supp.2d 1252 (D. Idaho 2013); Lowe v. Idaho Transp. Dept., 878 F. Supp.2d 1166 (D. Idaho 2012); Mills v. Intermountain Gas Co., 857 F. Supp.2d 1034 (D. Idaho 2012); Tademy v. Union Pacific Corp., 520 F.3d 1149 (10th Cir. 2008); Etsitty v. Utah Transit Authority, 502 F.3d 1215 (10th Cir. 2007); Walker v. City of Orem, 451 F.3d 1139 (10th Cir. 2006); Cummings v. Norton, 393 F.3d 1186 (10th Cir. 2005).
Utah State Bar, admitted 2004
Idaho State Bar, admitted 2007
Colorado State Bar, admitted 2000
Ninth and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Labor and Employment Section of Idaho State Bar: Editorial Board Policy Handbook (2011-12), Chair (2009/10); Vice Chair (2007/08); Member (2006 – present).
Idaho Trial Lawyers Association: Board Member (2011-present); helped developed pro bono Street Law Clinic (2013)
Litigation Section of Idaho State Bar: Governance Committee (2011-20) Organizer/Mentor Trial Skills Academy (2015-2019)
ACLU of Idaho Legal Panel Member/former Board Member
Member of Federal Bar Association (including Idaho Chapter), National Employment Lawyers Association, American Association for Justice, Idaho Trial Lawyers Association, and Idaho Women Lawyers, Inc.