University of Montana Law School Appoints Interim Dean After Research Failure | Local News

The search for a new dean for the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law is back to square one after offers from some of the finalists were rejected.

Dave Kuntz, the university’s director of strategic communications, confirmed that the university made offers to finalists who visited campus, but did not specify the number of offers made or other details.

“While I can’t speak to the specifics of the offers, I can tell you that the rapidly rising cost of living in Missoula has impacted nearly every job search at UM over the past year. “said Kuntz. “It’s not a dynamic specific to leadership positions.”

“We have failed to identify the right leader for the law school at this time, despite the excellent efforts of the search committee over the past few months,” UM Provost and Executive Vice President Pardis Mahdavi wrote in an e-mail. -mail to the law. school community on Thursday afternoon.

Effective July 1, the law school will be led by Elaine Gagliardi as interim dean. Gagliardi has been a faculty member at the university since 2001, including a wide range of administrative roles such as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs from 2007 to 2010 and Associate Dean of Students from 2015 to 2017.

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Elaine Gagliardi will serve as acting dean of the Blewett School of Law effective July 1 after job offers to finalists were rejected.

Courtesy of the University of Montana

Most recently, Gagliardi was a professor at the law school and served on the dean’s research committee.

Former law school dean Paul Kirgis resigned from his post in early October following a student-led walkout after women at the law school said he and associate dean Sally Weaver had them discouraged from reporting allegations of sexual harassment and assault to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity. and Title IX, originally reported by the Daily Montanan.

After resigning from the deanship, Kirgis returned to a professorship at the law school. Weaver also resigned from his managerial position and his contract with the university was completed at the end of the school year.

Kirgis had been dean of the law school since July 2015. His annual salary in that position was $201,630.

Following the leadership reshuffle last year, a trio of law professors, Monte Mills, Sara Rinfret and Cathay YN Smith, served as acting deans. According to Mahdavi’s email, Mills and Rinfret are “looking for exciting opportunities beyond UM next year,” and Smith will be on sabbatical next year.

For the rest of the school year, a committee narrowed down a few dozen applicants to four finalists, including Emily Hughes from the University of Iowa Law School, Rosa Brooks from Georgetown University Law Center, Johanna Bond from Washington and Lee University and Norman Bay, a partner with Willkie, Farr & Gallagher in Washington DC

Brooks, Bay and Bond visited campus this spring and were interviewed by students.

Kuntz noted that although that first attempt to find a permanent dean was unsuccessful, the overall search was successful and “produced such a deep pool of candidates.”

“The university is confident that we will soon bring more exciting candidates to campus who have the experience and leadership skills to serve as dean of Montana’s only law school,” Kuntz said.

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Nancy I. Romero