About

Dean's Welcome

Dean Paul KirgisWelcome to the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana! For more than a century, the School of Law has been a leader in legal education, with a commitment to practical training that began with its first class of students in 1911. That commitment continues today, as our reasonable tuition and extraordinary outcomes make this one of the Top-10 Best Value Law Schools in America according to PreLaw Magazine.

Our law school is distinguished by its unique combination of people and place. Montana’s physical beauty provides a spectacular setting for a University, with unmatched opportunities to unwind from the rigors of legal study. But even more important is the vibrant community that this institution fosters. Whether they come from the sweeping plains of eastern Montana, the mountains straddling the continental divide, one of our seven tribal reservations or beyond our borders, our students join a tradition of mutual respect and support that they carry through their academic and professional lives. This law school is not just a place to get a degree. Our students build relationships that last a lifetime.

They also build the skills that allow them to hit the ground running upon graduation. With our mission of preparing students “for the people-oriented practice of law by integrating theory and practice in a competency-based curriculum,” we emphasize experiential learning throughout the curriculum. Every student learns how to prepare a case for trial in civil court, how to negotiate the purchase and sale of a small business, and how to advocate before a tribunal. Every student experiences the practice of law first-hand through a third-year clinic, whether in one of our in-house clinics focused on Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Indian Law or Veterans Advocacy or through one of our dozens of external clinic placements. Our extensive pro bono program allows students to give back to their communities during law school while building the skills that will sustain them in careers of meaning after graduation.

Those experiences in law school translate into outstanding outcomes. Almost 30% of our graduates begin their careers in a coveted judicial clerkship, with our rates of placement in the most prestigious federal clerkships putting us in the top 15 in the nation. More than 80% of our graduates pass the bar exam on the first attempt, and over 92% pass within two years. For the Class of 2019, 86% were employed or seeking a graduate degree 10 months after graduation, with 76% in full-time, long-term, bar passage required or JD advantage positions.

Through everything we do, we affirm our deep commitment to the value of service. The Max S. Baucus Institute exemplifies that commitment. With its mission of inspiring public service, the Baucus Institute is home to our Department of Public Administration & Policy, which offers the only accredited Master of Public Administration in Montana. Our joint JD/MPA, the oldest and largest joint degree program on campus, prepares students to serve their communities as both lawyers and public officials.

Law and legal institutions have never been more important to our society. At the same time, events have forced our nation to reckon with the ways both law and legal institutions have been used to perpetuate injustice. Here at the Blewett School of Law, we believe in the promise of the law and we commit ourselves to addressing the ways it has failed to live up to that promise. We strive to create a culture here in the School of Law that welcomes all members of our community while delivering a legal education that empowers our graduates to lead our legal system in living up to its principles.

Welcome to the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana!

Paul F. Kirgis

Land Acknowledgement

UM campusThis law school is on the traditional lands of Indigenous peoples, including the Selis, Ksanka, and Qlispé. Many others, including Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Shoshone, Bannock, and Coeur D’Alene, had and continue to have a crucial presence in the area.

We acknowledge the role the legal system has played in the removal of Indigenous peoples from these lands, and, through our commitment to education, service, and scholarship, strive to improve the quality of justice for future generations. Doing so demands respect for tribal sovereignty and Indigenous cultures as well as accountability to the needs and perspectives of Indigenous peoples, who, from time immemorial to the present and until the end of time, protect and remain connected with this land on which we gather, live, learn, and work.

Mission and Values

The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana prepares students for the people-oriented practice of law by integrating theory and practice in a competency-based curriculum; serves as the academic legal center in Montana; and contributes to the development of national, state, and tribal law and legal institutions through teaching, scholarship, and service.

In pursuit of this mission, the Blewett School of Law strives to:

  • Develop in its students the demonstrated ability to serve society as lawyers, to represent clients generally and in particular transactions, and to seek resolution of conflicts in appropriate forums;
  • Foster intellectual inquiry, knowledge of the law, fundamental professional skills, perspective on the role of law and lawyers in society, and the character and values necessary to serve society;
  • Support scholarship and provide professional service to Montana, tribal governments and communities, the nation, and the international community;
  • Emphasize those areas of law significant to the Rocky Mountain West, including natural resources, environmental, and Indian law; and
  • Promote among students, faculty, and the profession a sense of community enriched by a diverse group of people devoted to freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression.

Commitment to Diversity

The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana shall promote and support a learning environment that encourages, enriches and respects the multidimensional aspects of diversity. Recognizing that the quality of legal education is enhanced by a diverse educational community, the Blewett School of Law is committed to recruiting and retaining students, faculty, staff and administrators capable of creating a safe, vibrant, diverse, engaging and intellectually stimulating learning environment. This educational environment reinforces and models the principle that diversity is an integral part of learning and the competent, people-oriented practice of law. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, differences based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation or background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, economic class or status, points of view, or disabilities.

Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan (pdf)