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News & Press: Montana Supreme Court

Brown appointed associate Montana Water Court judge

Wednesday, January 9, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joe Menden
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Missoula attorney Steve Brown has been appointed associate judge of the Montana Water Court.

Chief Justice Mike McGrath appointed Brown, who replaces the Honorable Douglas Ritter, on Tuesday. The appointment is effective Feb. 6.

Brown is the managing partner of Garlington, Lohn and Robinson in Missoula. He was among three candidates the Judicial Nomination Commission recommended to the chief justice.

“I’m very flattered to be appointed,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with (Chief) Judge (Russ) McElyea at the Water Court. I appreciate the years at Garlington, but I’m glad for the opportunity.”

“After interviewing the candidates, it was clear Steve was the person most qualified to join the Water Court,” Chief Justice McGrath said. “We are very lucky to have an attorney of his caliber willing to move to public service. He will be an excellent addition to the Water Court.”

Brown has practiced water and natural resources and energy law in Montana since 1994.  He has received multiple professional awards including recognition as a Rocky Mountain Super Lawyer and is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He is a graduate of the Lewis and Clark Law School and has a bachelor’s degree in geology from Whitworth College.

McGrath noted that Brown has taught natural resource law courses at University of Montana School of Law for many years in addition to appearing before the Water Court many times.

The Water Court was created by the 1979 Montana Legislature. It has jurisdiction over the adjudication of all water rights claims in Montana. More than 200,000 water rights claims will eventually be adjudicated through the Water Court.

Brown will serve the rest of Judge Ritter’s term, which ends in June 2020, at which time he may apply for another term through the Judicial Nomination Commission. He will earn $132,558 per year.