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Gallagher retires after 30 years with Federal Defenders of MT


Anthony R. Gallagher retired on April 1 after 30 years as executive director of the Federal Defenders of Montana, having served in that role since he was selected as the first executive director for the Federal Defenders upon its creation in 1992. 
The Federal Defenders is a community defender organization created pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act to provide criminal defense services to indigent individuals charged with the full gamut of criminal accusations in federal court throughout the district of Montana.
“Under Tony’s excellent management, the Federal Defenders of Montana has garnered the reputation of providing excellent criminal defense services to those charged in federal court,” said Hank Branom, senior litigator for the Federal Defenders. The organization has grown from five employees in 1992 to 32 employees now, employing a range of individuals from attorneys to legal assistants, paralegals, investigators and computer systems analysts.
Before assuming the executive director position, Gallagher worked in both private and public positions. After graduating with distinction from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in 1971, and following decorated service in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam conflict, he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law. He then worked for nearly seven years as a prosecutor in Baltimore, leaving to become an assistant federal public defender for the District of Maryland. After a brief stint in private practice he rejoined the Federal Public Defenders in Maryland as a supervisory assistant, and later, acting federal public defender.
Branom said that Gallagher maintained an active litigation and appellate practice while serving as executive director, “exemplifying his incredible work ethic and leading by example. He has taken part in hundreds of jury and non-jury trials, argued before the Ninth Circuit on numerous occasions, and mentored countless attorneys both at the Federal Defenders of Montana and through the Criminal Justice Act panel mentorship program. He maintained this practice while providing leadership to the Great Falls headquarters office of FDOM, and all three branches located across the state in Helena, Missoula and Billings, regularly traveling to provide support and management to attorneys and staff throughout the state of Montana.”
A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations of America for which membership is extended only by invitation to extremely experienced trial lawyers with the highest ethical, professional, and collegial practices, Gallagher has also won countless other awards and honors. He was named Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year in 2005 by the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2016, he received the prestigious Ninth Circuit John Frank Award, which “recognizes an outstanding lawyer practicing in the federal courts of the western United States.”
Gallagher has also contributed to the greater legal community through sharing his knowledge with others. He has been an adjunct professor at three law schools, a guest lecturer at five others, and a featured speaker on criminal defense topics and professional ethics for Continuing Legal Education programs throughout the United States. He has served on a number of local and national committees, expert panels, advisory and working groups, helping to improve the provision of indigent defense services across the nation, within both the Federal Defender and private communities.
In addition, Gallagher has contributed to his local community in Great Falls and the surrounding area, serving as a small college football official, and an American Legion baseball umpire for more than 30 years. To this day, Tony continues to be a high school football official.
Although he is retiring from the executive director position, after enjoying retirement for a bit, he will continue to practice federal criminal defense.