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81 Mont. L. Rev. 1 (2020)

handle is hein.journals/montlr81 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                          A  TRIBUTE TO

                            Cynthia  Ford*

     Once  started, Karen Townsend  hasn't wasted a minute of her legal
career, but they didn't make it easy to get started. Back in 1972, when Mrs.
Burke Townsend   decided to become a lawyer like her father, there literally
were  only a handful  of women   students at the University of Montana
School of Law.  Then living in Bozeman, applicant Townsend  came  up to
Missoula for an interview with the legendary Dean Sullivan. His primary
question to her was how she intended to fulfill family responsibilities to her
husband, Burke,  and their young son Alan, while she was living in Mis-
soula. Although Burke and Karen had a joint plan regarding that, her appli-
cation was denied. Not to be deterred, she re-applied and was accepted the
following year. Judge Townsend recalls that the only change in her applica-
tion was that Burke had been hired at the University of Montana as a Pro-
fessor of Philosophy, so the family address was now in Missoula. In any
event, the law school's (perhaps grudging) admission of Karen, one of only
seven women1  in the class of 1976, proved to be an amazing gift to the bar,
bench, and the people of Montana  over the ensuing four decades.
     Karen's equally talented spouse and child were, and are, her biggest
cheerleaders on her journey in the law. In fact, although I am honored to
have been  asked to write this tribute, Alan, now the Provost at Colorado
College, beat me to the punch  with one of the most moving  mother-son

    * Prof. Cynthia Ford has had the honor of teaching at the law school in Missoula since 1990, and
of knowing personally many of Montana's great lawyers.
    1. The seven women who graduated in the Class of 1976 are: Janet Berry, Jean Ellison, Mae Nan
Ellingson, Paulette Ferguson, Ann German, Ann Smoyer, and Karen Townsend. There were two or three
women in the Class of 1974, and six or seven in the Class of 1975, so steam was gathering.

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