(Missoula Current) Two months after naming four finalists, the University of Montana on Tuesday named Elaine Gagliardi as the new dean of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law.

Gagliardi, an alumna of Montana’s only law school, has served as interim dean since June 2022 and has been a faculty member at the school since 1995.

I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue leading the Alexander Blewett III School of Law, an institution that means so much to our state,” Gagliardi said. “Our law school is the launchpad for legal minds in Montana, and I am eager to continue our positive momentum.”

Gagliardi brings significant practical experience to the law school, having worked with firms in Missoula, Connecticut and Washington. She has served as a chair of the State Bar of Montana’s Business, Estates, Trust, Tax and Real Estate Section.

She also is one of a few elected to both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the American College of Tax Counsel.

She has the experience, the vision and the relationship with Montana’s legal community to lead the school as it continues to bring together top-notch legal and public policy programs to serve the state, region and nation,” said Suzanne Tilleman, dean of the university's College of Business.

After graduating from the law school, Gagliardi served as a law clerk for two other Alexander Blewett III School of Law graduates: James Browning, chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and William Jameson, senior judge of the U.S. District Court of Montana.

The law school rose in the national rankings in 2022, up 31 spots from the year before. Additionally, the law school welcomed its most diverse class in history to campus this fall.

As dean, Gagliardi also will oversee UM’s Department of Public Administration and Policy, the state’s top public affairs institution