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University of Montana School of Law Names New Dean
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University of Montana School of Law, Paul Kirgis, law school news

Summary: Paul Kirgis has been named as the new dean at the University of Montana School of Law after serving as a law professor at St. John’s University School of Law. 

A new dean has been named for the University of Montana School of Law, according to


The announcement was made on Monday by Provost Perry Brown. The new dean will be Paul Kirgis, who is working as a law professor at St. John’s University right now.

He will take over the position on July 1, 2015 and will replace Greg Munro, the interim dean. Munro took over in May after Irma Russell stepped down.

Kirgis is a Washington and Lee School of Law graduate and practiced in Washington, D.C. until 1998.

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Kirgis performs the majority of his research as a law professor in the field of dispute resolution.

“The law school has a strong focus in areas such as environmental law, energy law and Indian law,” Kirgis said. “These are areas where the disputes are ongoing and litigation is often not the best way of resolving them.”

Kirgis also said that the law school is innovative and wants to bring that innovation to the next level “by working with the faculty to bring new methods of teaching and instruction,  including things like online learning.”

To read more about the University of Montana School of Law, click here.

Originally, the committee to find the new dean selected Norman Bay, a former U.S. District Attorney for the District of New Mexico. After being selected, Bay was selected by President Barack Obama for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Roberta Evans served as the head of the search committee.

“Now we have someone who has administrative experience, fundraising experience, built programs and won teaching awards,” she said.

“We have what we call an integrated curriculum where we integrate theory and practice,” Munro said. “Traditional law schools have purported not to teach people to practice law. Instead they want to teach them the theory and science of law.”

Munro spoke about Yale and Harvard and how the schools do not teach their students to practice law.

“They’re targeted at putting students at big firms where the firms will train them to practice law,” he said. “Schools like Montana that are regional schools, a lot of our people are going to graduate to go work for very tiny firms.”

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