The University of Montana has hired Lucy France as legal counsel after a national search. She officially begins her new duties Feb. 20.
The UM legal counsel reports to the UM president and serves on the University’s senior management team. The counsel manages all legal issues affecting the University and represents UM in all legal and administrative forums. The UM legal counsel is part of the Montana University System legal team and consequently works closely with the attorneys in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and Montana State University.
“The University’s legal counsel position is complex, requiring a broad base of knowledge in higher education law,” UM President Royce Engstrom said. “Lucy France is highly regarded as a problem solver and as someone who addresses legal issues in a fair manner, informed by detailed knowledge of the law.”
France has directed UM’s Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Office since 2008 and will continue in that role until the next director is hired. She earned her UM law degree with honors in 1993.
“She has accumulated that knowledge through her work at UM these past years,” Engstrom said. “She has been a tremendous asset to the University and will continue to be so in her new role.”
After law school, France clerked for U.S. District Court Judge James F. Battin during 1993-94. She worked in the Missoula law firm of Garlington, Lohn & Robinson from 1995 to 2008, becoming a partner in 2003.
“I don’t take the responsibility of my new position lightly,” France said. “I pledge to the University and the larger community that I will work hard to carry out these important responsibilities in a professional and thoughtful manner.”
Among her many UM duties, France has chaired or co-chaired the Diversity Advisory Council since 2009. She also chairs the Diversity Task Force, which resulted in a campus wide Diversity Strategic Plan, and she led the diversity standard for NCAA accreditation. She also completed the Title IX audit for Grizzly Athletics.
Western Montana, Dailies