University of Montana law school interviews fourth dean finalist

By: - May 28, 2022 8:14 am

UM provost announces interim leadership at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law. (Keila Szpaller/The Daily Montanan)

The University of Montana has brought a fourth candidate as finalist for dean of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law.

Emily Hughes spoke Wednesday in a forum at the law school that’s part of the interview process. Hughes is an associate dean and tenured professor at the University of Iowa College of Law, where she has worked since 2011, according to her resume provided by UM. 

Her resume notes she was a Sacks Fellow at the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School, and she received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School and a master’s in international relations from Yale University.

At the forum this week available via recording through the Office of the Provost, Hughes pitched herself as a collaborative leader who builds relationships, and she praised the law school’s “robust” field placements.

She said she would want to see if the law school could benefit from greater enrollment, and she said she would want to look for its untapped resources. Hughes also said the law school has a strong regional presence, and she wanted to think about growing its presence nationally as well.

Additionally, she said she taught abroad in France, and she wanted to capitalize on the international relationships UM already has such as with Ireland. Already, she said she had sat in on Zoom meetings where people joined from Ireland, and she said international exposure is important.

“It helps us be better lawyers and better community citizens by seeing our own culture basically through the eyes of another culture,” Hughes said.

Three candidates already participated in campus forums earlier in spring semester, and in an email Monday, UM spokesman Dave Kuntz said the three other candidates were strong finalists.

“We are pleased to now have an additional fourth finalist for consideration,” he said. He said Hughes brings “an impressive background and qualifications.”

He also explained the reason she was added later in the game: “Professor Hughes was one of the original finalists for the Law Dean position. Due to some timing with her candidacy, she originally stepped back from consideration. After communication with the Office of the Provost this week, Professor Hughes is now available and excited to pursue the position.”

In an email this week, search committee Chair Suzanne Tilleman declined to share the status of the other finalists but said the committee identified Hughes, previously a public defender, as one of four finalists. And Kuntz said the committee is choosing from an excellent slate.

The candidates who visited campus earlier are Rosa Brooks, of Georgetown University Law Center; Johanna Bond, of Washington and Lee University; and Norman Bay, with the Willkie, Farr and Gallagher firm in Washington, D.C.

“As we have said before, the applicant pool for this position is deep and talented, and the hiring committee is choosing to do its diligence to ensure we identify the candidate with the best fit for this position,” Kuntz said.

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Keila Szpaller
Keila Szpaller

Keila Szpaller is deputy editor of the Daily Montanan and covers education. Before joining States Newsroom Montana, she served as city editor of the Missoulian, the largest news outlet in western Montana.