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W&L Law Alumnus Paul Kirgis ‘94L Named Dean at Montana Law

Paul F. Kirgis, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law and a 1994 graduate of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been selected to lead the University of Montana School of Law as dean. Kirgis will begin his new duties July 1, 2015.

UM Provost Perry J. Brown announced the appointment on Nov. 3.

“Professor Kirgis impressed a wide variety of groups across campus and, importantly, the Montana bench and bar during the search and his two visits to Missoula,” Brown said in a University announcement. “I am confident he will successfully lead the University of Montana School of Law into the future.”

While at St. John’s in New York City, Kirgis received the Faculty Outstanding Achievement Medal and was twice named the professor of the year. He is the founder and faculty chair of the Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution and previously served as associate dean for faculty scholarship.

“I am honored by the opportunity to lead the University of Montana School of Law,” Kirgis said in a press release from the school. “I look forward to working with the school’s outstanding faculty and the Montana bar to build upon its strong history of innovation and many successes in training practice-ready lawyers.”

Paul Kirgis is the son of professor emeritus Rick Kirgis, who served as Dean of W&L Law from 1983-1988. They are among a small group of families where a parent and child have both served as law school deans.

Kirgis received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He received his B.A. from Colgate University. Prior to coming to St. John’s, Professor Kirgis practiced with two major law firms in Washington, D.C., where he had extensive litigation experience in areas including defamation, insurance coverage, commercial disputes, antitrust, government contracts, and tax.