Barrister eBrief - December 2017

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Collage of photos from Blewett School of Law events, including graduation ceremony and students posing

As 2017 winds to a close, I write to wish you and yours the very best for the coming year!

This year has been one of success and progress for the Blewett School of Law here at UM. After successfully navigating our seven-year ABA reaccreditation process, we welcomed former Senator and Ambassador Max Baucus and his wife Melodee Hanes back to Montana, where they have been integral to the development of the Max S. Baucus Institute.

Our students have excelled, with the negotiation team of Frans Andersson and Kirsi Luther winning their region, then taking second in the US national competition, and finally finishing third in the world at the International Negotiation Competition in Oslo, Norway. This past summer, 90% of our graduates passed the Montana Bar Exam on the first try. That’s up from our first-time passing rates of 80% in July 2016 and 68% in July 2015.

Those strong bar passage results are bolstered by outstanding job placement numbers. We are in the top-50 in the nation on the key measure of graduates securing full-time, long-term, JD-required jobs. About 25% of our grads land in a judicial clerkship. With respect to the most prestigious clerkships with federal judges, we rank fifteenth in the nation, far surpassing not only our peer institutions but many nationally-acclaimed law schools.

We were also ranked as one of the top-15 Best Value Law Schools by Pre-Law Magazine this fall. We have been able to keep our tuition reasonable while ramping up our scholarships through the generosity of our donors. As a result, our students are seeing their debt loads decline, giving them more opportunities to pursue their passions and serve the legal needs of Montana and our region.

We look forward to 2018 and to continuing to build on the momentum of this year.

With best wishes for a healthy and happy new year,

Paul Kirgis
Dean and Professor of Law


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