With over 20 student groups in the law school for you to choose from, including our first and oldest law student organization, the Student Bar Association, there is something for everyone. If you would like to create a new group, you can fill out a New Group Application. There are also numerous campus-wide student groups you can join.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.
These rights include:
- Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
- Your right to equal protection under the law - protection against unlawful discrimination.
- Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
- Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.
The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities.
American Constitution Society (ACS)
Business and Intellectual Property Group
Criminal Law Student Group (CLSG)
The Criminal Law Group gives students interested in criminal law a chance to develop a greater understanding of the challenges and rewards of criminal prosecution and criminal defense. The CLG seeks to educate the student body and the public about the ways in which the criminal justice system functions and contemporary issues in criminal law. Criminal cases account for more than 3/4 of all cases in trial courts, and about 1/2 the cases in appellate courts across the nation. In other words, it is the only area of law where significant opportunities to conduct trials are guaranteed. Many of the country’s most successful trial attorneys (Gerry Spence, for example), as well as a number of the country’s highest judges (Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Mike McGrath) began their careers in criminal law. The CLG provides insight into the details of the practice of criminal law and significant opportunities to network with professionals currently practicing in the field.
Signature Event(s): The CLG hosts three events each year: Montana State Prison Tours each semester, Beyond These Wall Speaker Series throughout the year, and the Student/Staff Basketball Game during the spring semester.
Environmental Law Group (ELG)
The Environmental Law Group (ELG) was founded for the purpose of raising environmental consciousness within the legal community. One of our major focuses is to provide hands-on experience within the field of Environmental Law. To facilitate this goal, the group works to secure legal research projects with local environmental organizations, it matches student members with practicing environmental attorney mentors, and organizes a range of speakers who discuss current environmental topics. As a group, the ELG hosts an annual silent auction benefit for a different environmental non-profit each year, as well as sponsors trips to legal conferences, plans recreational outings, and participates in hands-on restoration activities.
Signature Events: Bulls Blues and Brews Silent Auction Fundraiser (October), ELG Lecture Series, Sponsor trip to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference - PIELC (February, University of Oregon)
The Federalist Society is an organization of conservatives and libertarians seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Founded in 1982, it is one of the nation's most influential legal organizations. It plays a central role in networking and mentoring young conservative lawyers. According to Amanda Hollis-Brusky, the author of Ideas with Consequences: The Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution, the Federalist Society "has evolved into the de facto gatekeeper for right-of-center lawyers aspiring to government jobs and federal judgeships under Republican presidents."
The society is a membership organization that features a student division, a lawyers division, and a faculty division. The society currently has chapters at more than 200 United States law schools and claims a membership exceeding 10,000 law students. The lawyers division comprises more than 60,000 practicing attorneys (organized as "lawyers chapters" and "practice groups" within the division) in eighty cities. Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Through speaking events, lectures, and other activities, the society provides a forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, law students, and academics.
International Law Student Association (ILSA)
Mindfulness in Law Society (MILS)
The Mindfulness in Law Society (MILS) seeks to improve the mental well-being of students at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana through mindful practice. Mindful practice in this context includes secular meditation and mindfulness in all of its forms, including creative outlets and types of meditative journaling, and specifically mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) meditation techniques and yoga. MILS activities are intended to help ABIII students cultivate a personal mindfulness practice to assist in refining their focus and finding inner peace, and to assist students in developing effective mindfulness strategies to become more well-balanced and productive law students and practicing lawyers.
Montana's Black Law Students Association (MBLSA)
Montana’s Black Law Students Association (MBLSA) was formed in 2012 as a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association. After years of dormancy, it was revived in 2020. MBLSA’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible Black and minority attorneys who excel academically, succeed professionally, and positively impact Montana and the legal community.
Through leadership development and community-building initiatives, MBLSA addresses legal and socioeconomic issues that limit the advancement of Black and marginalized communities in the legal field. MBLSA’s purpose is to ensure the inclusion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color’s (BIPOC) voices in the U.S. legal system, advocate on behalf of those marginalized within our Montana community and at ABIII, build scholarships that provide financial assistance to incoming BIPOC law students, and to increase the enrollment of BIPOC students to promote a diverse student body.
Montana Public Interest Law Coalition (MPILC)
Montana Trial Lawyers Association (MTLA)
National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
The University of Montana’s student chapter of the National Lawyers Guild hosts an annual “DisOrientation to Law School”; “Know Your Rights” workshops; Legal Observer trainings and services; and educational panels open to the community. Additionally, members are encouraged to attend the Regional meeting in the Spring to meet other social justice lawyers and law students as well as the National Convention in late summer or fall.
Native American Law Student Association (NALSA)
The Native American Law Students Association was founded to promote the study of Federal Indian Law, Tribal Law and traditional forms of governance, and to support Native Americans in law school. We strive to reach out to Native communities and encourage Native People to pursue legal education. We also strive to educate the legal community about Native issues.
Signature Events: Once a year, NALSA hosts an auction in conjunction with Indian Law Week, a full week of speakers and events devoted to Native issues and law.
Outdoor Recreation Law Group (ORLG)
OUTlaws is the student organization committed to advancing the legal rights of the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Intersex) community. The group is open to all students regardless of their sexuality.
Signature Events: During the fall semester, OUTlaws hosts the Drag Karaoke Gong Show to help raise funds for other Montana organizations that support LGBTQI issues. During the week of the Gong Show, a few professors have their names placed on jars at student services. Students “vote” with their money, and the professor with the most money in his or her jar performs for everyone’s enjoyment at the Gong Show! They are judged by a panel of drag queens and kings and the professor who “won” last years jar fundraiser competition. OUTlaws also hosts a panel discussion during spring semester, which focuses on LGBTQI issues such as the right to marriage.
Parents, Allies & Caregivers (PAC)
Parents, Allies & Caregivers (PAC) was created to provide positive solutions, support, and wellness strategies to specific needs of law students with caregiving responsibilities, to provide intentionally structured opportunities for law students to take full advantage of their legal education; and provide educational, cultural, and social meetings or programs to create a safe space of support for parents, allies, and caregivers.
Phi Delta Phi, The International Legal Honor Society Clayberg Inn
Phi Delta Phi is an International Legal Honor Society dedicated to maintaining the high standards of professional ethics, integrity, character, and responsibility in the legal profession. It is the oldest and most prestigious legal honor society in the world. The Clayberg Inn, School of Law’s chapter, meets on a semi-monthly basis to discuss, plan, and promote ethically centered, philanthropic and scholastic events that connect the law school with the larger Missoula community through charity and light-hearted competition.
Signature Events: Canned Immunity Food Drive, Annual Caroling Extravaganza, both central events in the life of the law school.
Rural Advocacy League (RAL)
We host Rural Advocacy Week every spring to discuss pressing issues facing rural Montana. Past panel discussions have included topics such as: eminent domain, bison regulation, rural healthcare, CSKT water rights compact, open range laws, and renewable energy.
As a member of Rural Advocacy League at the University of Montana you will be afforded a unique opportunity to consider a broad range of issues and help provide valuable information to rural community members.
Student Advocates For Equity (SAFE)
Student Advocates For Equity (SAFE) is dedicated to providing a safe space of belonging for enrolled students of Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana (ABIII), in order to enhance each student’s legal education and overall law school experience. We celebrate the diversity of all students and recognize their right to be included at ABIII without regard to race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
SAFE is committed to increasing accessibility at ABIII, and events associated with ABIII, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund is proud to work towards greater protection of animals both nationally and here in Montana. This is done through the legal system and general advocacy efforts within the Missoula community. Specific efforts of the last few years include ensuring adequate enforcement of anti-cruelty laws, volunteering at the Humane Society, and working with Footloose Montana on the campaign for trap-free public lands. Benefits of being part of the SALDF include continual awareness of groundbreaking animal-abuse lawsuits, and taking a leadership role in protecting animals without overburdening your already busy schedule.
Signature Event: Yearly Friday at 5 (Fall), Footloose fundraiser, Humane Society Volunteer Day (Spring)
Student Bar Association (SBA)
The SBA represents law students to the faculty, administration and the University, acting on behalf of the student body. And, as the custodians of law school traditions, it is the job of the SBA to maintain those traditions and perform vital administrative duties to foster a strong community within the law school.
Veteran Law Group (VLG)
Women's Law Caucus (WLC)
Women’s Law Caucus (“WLC”) is committed to celebrating strong, successful advocates in the legal community by promoting women’s issues in the law, helping women and families in the community, and connecting law students to attorneys and the Missoula community. Events that support our mission include the mentorship program, social and networking events, and community service. WLC membership fosters lasting professional relationships and mentorship opportunities that support student members as they transition into the legal profession.
Signature Event: Every spring, the WLC holds a Silent Auction that provides the majority of the yearly support for the YWCA Pathways Program, which helps provide housing to women seeking aid from the YWCA.