Class of 2019 - Graduation Spotlight

Seventy-two optimistic and adventurous legal minds are set to graduate at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, from the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. Bob Carlson, president of the American Bar Association, will speak during Commencement and hooding ceremonies in UM’s Dennison Theatre. Each of these juris doctor candidates has shown true Grizzly grit by reaching this milestone, including the three featured below. Tyler Morgan of Missoula has landed a prestigious clerkship with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington in Spokane. Tori Nickol of Helena earned a federal clerkship with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Billings. Please join us in congratulating all our amazing law school graduates!

Tyler Morgan jumps in front of the Law school buildingTyler Morgan
Missoula, Montana
Term Law Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington (Spokane)

Tyler was born and raised here in Missoula, and received his B.A. in Communication Studies with a concentration in Communication and Human Relationships from the University of Montana. While at UM, he was recognized as the President’s Outstanding Senior Recognition Award winner for his major’s concentration.  

At law school, Tyler served for two years on the Student Bar Association (SBA) as the 2L Representative and Vice President in his second and third years, respectively. He published an article, with three other co-authors, in the Montana Lawyer, the State Bar of Montana's monthly publication, winning the Frank I. Haswell Award for the Most Outstanding Article contribution to the Montana Lawyer for 2018. Tyler completed his clinic work with Judge Benjamin Hursh of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana, where he gained valuable experience and connections with the Montana Bar and its practitioners.

Tyler will be clerking for Chief Judge Frederick P. Corbit in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington for the next two years. During the clerkship, he will work alongside the Judge and the other clerks, doing legal research on novel issues and interacting with practitioners across the state on a daily basis.

"I’m looking forward to growing my personal and professional connections with members of the Washington Bar, while also bridging the geographic gap between Washington and Montana attorneys, where my parents are practicing bankruptcy attorneys," noted Morgan. "Following my clerkship, I would hope to work as a debtor’s bankruptcy attorney in both Washington and Montana."

Tori Nickol poses with her law school graduation cords on the UM ovalTori Nickol
Helena, Montana
Law Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Billings)

Tori was born and raised in Helena and attended Carroll College, graduating with a degree in Political Science through the Honors Scholars Program, with minors in English Writing and Constitutional Studies. While at Carroll, she served as a tutor in the Honors Scholars Program, received an Apgars Constitutional Studies Fellowship, and graduated summa cum laude as the recipient of the Bishop Gilmore Award for Highest Undergraduate GPA. She was a collegiate 400 meter hurdler and served as a captain for the men's and women's track teams. Tori also completed an internship with Florence Crittenton Home, a nonprofit serving at-risk mothers and their babies, which solidified her interest in public service and ultimately led her to law school.

At the Blewett School of Law, Tori served on the Montana Law Review for the last two years, most recently as a co-Editor-in-Chief. She also served as a Junior Partner in the Law Firm Program and as a Teaching Assistant for Torts in the Academic Success Program. She also completed two amazing employment opportunities - one at Garlington, Lohn & Robinson here in Missoula and the other at the Civil Litigation Division in the Office of the Attorney General, where she focused on constitutional issues, submitted a brief to the Montana Supreme Court under the student practice rule, and realized her passion for constitutional law. She completed her clinic requirement as an intern for United States District Court Judge Donald Molloy.

"Attending law school here has been one of the best decisions I've ever made," Tori noted. "It has shaped me into an enthusiastic, analytical, and curious thinker, and I'm confident that the skills and relationships I've developed here will continue to impact me in the future."

After graduation, Tori will be clerking for the Honorable Sidney Thomas, the Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a clerk for Chief Judge Thomas, she will prepare memos, as well as draft orders and opinions on a range of appellate issues. She will also have the opportunity to travel within the Ninth Circuit to observe oral arguments and collaborate with other law clerks from across the country.

Tori added, "I'm very excited about this unbelievable opportunity to participate in the appellate process and to delve into important and complex issues. After clerking for Chief Judge Thomas, I will return to Missoula to clerk for Judge Molloy. I could not be more grateful or humbled to have the opportunity to work with such respected judges and the members of their chambers."


Oliver Wood
Seattle, Washington
Wildlands Attorney, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (Moab)

Oliver cultivated his passion for the wild corners of the American West while growing up in Washington State. Oliver received his undergraduate degree at Whitman College in Walla Walla, where he majored in Environmental Humanities. After a couple years guiding trips throughout the United States and abroad, Oliver came to Missoula to attend graduate school in environmental studies, which morphed into law school. When he was considering law schools, Oliver turned to the Blewett School of Law because of its program at the intersection of natural resource and Indian law, and the state’s holistic tackling of natural resource disputes.

“Upon arrival, I felt drawn to the community of Missoula where something is always going on, whether it be socially, culturally, or academically,” said Oliver. “The unique combination of work and play in Missoula falls perfectly in-line with my aspirations, and provides many opportunities, making this a fantastic place to live. Outside of class, I head into the mountains with friends, and enjoy baking and working in my garden.”

During his time as a student at the Blewett School of Law, Oliver served as co-Editor-in-Chief of the Public Land & Resources Law Review, a student-run law review that publishes and promotes world-class legal writing on important issues in public lands, natural resources, environmental, and Indian law. He has contributed to the Missoulian as a guest columnist, and recently worked as a summer legal intern for the NRDC’s Northern Rockies Office in Bozeman. Oliver will receive his Natural Resources Conflict Resolution certificate during graduation.

After graduation, Oliver will move to Moab, Utah, where he will work as a Wildlands Attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. His job will include monitoring wild lands in southern Utah, improving public land management, and challenging projects when they do not meet the expectations of the organization.

Oliver added, “I am excited for the combination of fieldwork, relationship-building with the agency, and the opportunity to put my writing skills to use to benefit the remaining wild spaces in Utah.”