Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana

Barrister eBrief - July 2015

Dean Paul Kirgis

Kirgis Begins His Role as Dean

Paul Kirgis commenced his new duties as Dean and Professor of Law at the Blewett School of Law on July 1, beginning a new chapter in the School's history. Dean Kirgis brings over two decades of practice and academic experience to UM, most recently serving for over seventeen years on the faculty of St. John's University School of Law in New York City. "This is an exciting time for Montana's law school," Kirgis said. "We have an outstanding group of students, a dynamic and enthusiastic faculty and record fundraising. That's a great combination and puts us in a strong position in an otherwise very challenging time for law schools around the country."

An outdoor enthusiast, Dean Kirgis has found some time between meetings in Missoula and around the state to take in his first Montana summer. "It's been a hectic pace, but our family has been heartened by our warm welcome in the community and we are getting outside as much as possible," Kirgis said. "We have been in love with the beauty of Montana for a very long time – it is wonderful to now call this place home."
Montana Barrister Magazine

The Montana Barrister Set to Return this Fall. Provide Your Alumni Updates!

The Montana Barrister magazine, which first appeared in 1980 as The Barrister, a rebranded version of the Law Forum, is poised to make a comeback this fall after a fourteen-year absence. The magazine will connect the School with alumni and friends throughout the United States. "With its small classes, strong sense of community, and close relationship with the practicing Montana bar, our law school is unique," said Dean Paul Kirgis. "We need a print forum to tell our story to alumni and friends and, importantly, to the rest of the country."

While feature stories and departments are still being developed, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, John Mudd, said he hopes that, for their part, alumni will use the magazine as a chance to update the School on their families and careers. "One of the great privileges of my job is meeting alumni around the country who are making a real impact for their clients and communities," Mudd said. "Part of this new effort will be to use a 'class notes' section of the magazine to share that information."

Dean Kirgis says he hopes the magazine will be something people look forward to. "We have some great things going on at the School that we plan to share, along with information that is interesting and useful to members of the bar." The electronic Barrister eBrief will continue its monthly distribution. Alumni can provide updates for this issue by emailing John Mudd at before August 25, 2015.
Law School Building

Montana Ranks Third on Most Underrated Law School List

The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana ranks third as one of the most underrated law schools according to Alfred Brophy, a law professor at the University of North Carolina. His evaluation is based on three simple metrics: employment outcomes, median LSAT scores, and the number of citations that a school’s law review receives.

Read the full article, The 10 Most Underrated Law Schools.
Professor Jon Byington

Professor Jon Byington Cited by Several Bankruptcy Courts

Professor Jon Byington’s article, The Challenges of the New Defalcation Standard, 88 American Bankruptcy Law Journal (2014) (peer reviewed), has been cited by three different bankruptcy courts. The article covers the Bankruptcy Code’s exception to discharge relating to debts for defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity.

Read the full story on Professor Byington's article, The Challenges of the New Defalcation Standard.
Law Alumni Reunion Weekend

Law Alumni Reunion Weekend September 25-26, 2015

Join fellow classmates and other law school alumni from class years ending in a 0 or 5. The reunion weekend schedule includes a CLE program on Friday, class dinners, a tailgate Saturday, and GRIZ Football vs. Northern Arizona University.

The full agenda and registration information will be available on the Reunion Weekend webpage by the middle of August.

Faculty in the News

Stacey Gordon
Professor Stacey Gordon's work on a proposed ordinance regarding wild and exotic animal acts in Missoula was discussed in a recent Missoulian article titled "City to decide future of exotic and wild animal acts in Missoula."

Maylinn Smith
On Friday July 24, 2015, Professor Maylinn Smith was appointed to the Public Defender Commission by Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

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