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UM Law Dean Search

The University of Montana seeks a Dean to lead its School of Law as it begins the second century of its distinguished history.

Founded in 1911, the School of Law is an established leader in legal education, preparing students for serving people in the practice of law through effective integration of theory and practice.  Our curriculum begins with an innovative skills-based law-firm program in the first year, continues with intensive trial and transactional simulation courses in the second year, and finishes with a required third-year clinical program offering professional placements at both in-house law clinics and government and public-interest law offices. Beyond preparing students for practice, our curriculum emphasizes areas of law significant to the Rocky Mountain West including natural resource law, environmental law, and Indian law.

At a challenging time for legal education, the success of Montana’s model in training and placing lawyers has earned it recognition as one of the best-value law schools in the nation. Our strengths allow us to attract a small, diverse, talented, and tightly knit student body, and have made us one of a handful of law schools to attract significantly more applicants this year than last. As Montana’s only law school, we enjoy a close connection to the Montana bench and bar.

We work and study in a spacious, state-of-the-art facility, and live and play in the heart of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Missoula is a small, vibrant city surrounded by mountains, wilderness, and clear, cold rivers, including the famous Blackfoot. The educational, medical, and cultural hub of the region, Missoula offers a rare blend of outdoor adventure, big-city culture, and Montana’s relaxed way of life. 

Updates from the Search Committee

February 2014. The search for a new dean for the University of Montana School of Law continues.  Provost Perry J. Brown and President Royce C. Engstrom, working with the law dean search committee, identified a high-caliber first choice for its deanship who was set to accept until he was nominated to a high-level position in the Obama Administration. With great regret, the candidate was unable to come to Montana at this time.  As a result, Provost Brown has decided to continue the current search and, if need be, appoint an interim dean when Dean Russell formally concludes her tenure as dean and returns to teaching and writing as a member of the faculty.


August 11, 2014. The Search Committee is pleased to announce that three finalists for the position of dean of the School of Law will visit the Missoula campus in late August and early September.  The law dean search is being chaired by Dean Roberta D. Evans of the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences under the direction of University of Montana Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Perry Brown.  The search for the dean remains open, and applicants are encouraged to apply.  Additional applications will be reviewed beginning August 18th.     

Each candidate will be presenting at a public forum on the topic "UM School of Law's Role in the Future of Legal Education." Remote participants may join us for the public fora at the following locations. Recordings of the presentations will be available on this website. Remote participants may provide feedback on the candidates using this form.

Billings
Granite Tower
222 North 32nd Street, Suite 402

Miles City
Custer County Justice Court
1010 Main St
(406) 874-3408

Sidney
Mid-Rivers Communications
204 N Central Ave
(406) 433-6782

The finalists invited to campus are:

Prof. Donald P. Judges is the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Experiential Learning and E.J. Ball Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law where he teaches a variety of courses, including Law and Psychology, Constitutional Law and Evidence.  He will visit UM Law on August 26th and 27th. His public forum will be held on Wednesday, August 27 at 3:30pm in Room 203 of the Law School.

Lt. Col. David J.R. Frakt served most recently as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and is the Assistant Staff Judge Advocate and Reserve Coordinator at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.  Lt. Col. Frakt teaches in the area of criminal and military law.  He will visit UM Law on September 2nd and 3rd. His public forum will be held on Wednesday, September 3 at 3:30pm in Room 203 of the Law School.

Associate Prof. Marcilynn A. Burke is the former Acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior.  Prior to that she was Deputy Director for Programs and Policy for the Bureau of Land Management of the U.S. Department of the Interior. She is currently a member of the faculty at the University of Houston Law Center.  Associate Professor Burke teaches in the areas of Federal Natural Resources, Land Use and Property.  She will visit UM Law on September 8th and 9th. Her public forum will be held on Tuesday, September 9 at 3:30pm in Room 219 of the Law School.

Each of the finalists will be meeting with students, faculty, administrators and members of the bench and bar during their visits to campus.  Provost Brown will then make the dean final selection.  Interim Dean and Professor of Law Gregory S. Munro will continue to serve until a new dean is in place.

School of Law Dean Role Description:

The Dean’s leadership responsibilities include:  implementing the School of Law’s mission by promoting excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service; developing and maintaining supportive relationships with alumni, the legal and business communities, and tribal, state and federal governments; working effectively with the School of Law’s faculty, staff, and students; managing its budget; and executing Law School affairs in accordance with all applicable laws, accreditation requirements, and Board of Regents and University policies.

Required Experience

The successful candidate must hold a Juris Doctor degree or its equivalent from an ABA-accredited law school, or a comparable degree from a foreign law school, demonstrate the ability to lead the School of Law’s faculty, staff, and students, and have the following additional qualifications:

  • Distinguished professional achievement in legal practice;
  • Successful administrative experience, including personnel supervision and financial administration;
  • Strong listening, communication, and consensus-building skills;
  • A commitment to legal scholarship; and
  • A commitment to diversity.

Preferred qualifications include: commitment to innovation in legal education; potential for recruiting and retaining talented students, faculty, and staff; successful fundraising experience; and a high probability of being tenured in the School of Law.

The Dean’s leadership responsibilities include:  implementing the School of Law’s mission by promoting excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service; developing and maintaining supportive relationships with alumni, the legal and business communities, and tribal, state and federal governments;  working effectively with the School of Law’s faculty, staff, and students; managing its budget; and executing Law School affairs in accordance with all applicable laws, accreditation requirements, and Board of Regents and University policies.

For full consideration for inclusion in the next review phase, applications must be submitted to the University of Montana no later than 5PM MST on Monday, August 18, 2014. Later reviews will continue until the position is filled.  Please click here to visit Human Resources for the full position listing and application instructions. 

Complete applications must include:

  • A statement of interest;
  • A current résumé or CV;
  • And contact information for at least three references.

Applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences, ability, and perspectives are encouraged to apply.  AA/EEO/ADA/Veterans Preference Employer

UM Law Dean Search Committee

Roberta Evans, Chair
Dean
University of Montana Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences

Pamela Bailey
Attorney

Jon Byington
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law

Michael Frank
CEO
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana

Elaine Gagliardi
Dean of Students and Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law

Stacey Gordon
Director of the Law Library and Associate Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law

Larry Howell
Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law

Lisa Marie Hyslop
Registrar
University of Montana School of Law

Anthony Johnstone
Associate Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law

Soazig Le Bihan
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Montana School of Law

Brianne McClafferty
Student
University of Montana School of Law

John Mudd
University of Montana Foundation

Robert Phillips
Phillips Haffey PC

Lindsay Thane
Student
University of Montana School of Law

Hillary Wandler
Associate Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law

Martha Williams
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Montana School of Law