Gagliardi prioritizes tradition, access as UM law school dean

Skylar Rispens

As the new dean of the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law, Elaine Gagliardi hopes to build upon her alma maters’ strong program by focusing on tradition and improved communication.

After the law school’s first search for a dean failed last spring, Gagliardi decided to apply for the position with the encouragement of her colleagues, students and alumni.

“It was heartwarming to have people that I’ve admired very much support me in what I was doing as interim dean,” Gagliardi said. “I’m a graduate of this school. I’ve loved this school. I’ve given a lot of my life to this school and it’s very important to me.”

Born and raised in Missoula, Gagliardi obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale in 1982, returned to Montana to get her law degree from UM in 1985 and later received a specialized law degree in taxation from New York University.

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Students with the UM Woodsman’s Team use a crosscut saw to cut through a log during the Boondocker’s Day event on campus, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.

She also served two judicial clerkships

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