Montana State University

MSU names Kellie Peterson new legal counsel

May 4, 2015 -- MSU News Service

Montana State University has hired Kellie Peterson, an attorney in private practice in Flagstaff, Ariz., as its new legal counsel. Photo courtesy of Kellie Peterson.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

Montana State University has hired Kellie Peterson, an attorney in private practice in Flagstaff, Ariz., as its new legal counsel. She will begin at MSU on June 8.

Peterson’s appointment is subject to approval by the Montana Board of Regents.

As legal counsel, Peterson will manage the institution’s legal affairs, including advising on legal rights, obligations and related matters. Peterson will also provide legal advice to the Commissioner of Higher Education, campus president and chancellors/CEOs, manage matters in litigation, and supervise both inside and outside counsel. She will serve on the Montana University System five-member legal staff and report to the Chief Legal Counsel located in Helena, as well as to the MSU president.

In addition to serving the MSU campus in Bozeman, Peterson will also serve the three affiliated campuses – MSU Billings, Great Falls College MSU and MSU Northern – as well as the Montana Agricultural Experiment Stations, Extension Service and Fire Services Training School. 

“I am honored to be chosen for this position at Montana State University,” Peterson said. “I have the greatest respect for MSU and appreciate this opportunity to return home and contribute to the Montana University System."

A native of Butte, Peterson is currently a partner of Mangum, Wall, Stoops and Warden, P.L.L.C. in Flagstaff, Ariz., where she serves as general legal counsel to public entities, including public schools, community colleges, universities, cities, special taxing districts and tribal entities. Peterson also responds to legal issues regarding personnel, regulatory compliance, land use, civil rights, disability accommodations and contracting. Peterson has a law degree from the University of Montana School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Gonzaga University.

She is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Hopi Tribal Courts, Navajo Tribal Courts, and the Courts of the Gila River Indian Community.

“We are pleased to have Ms. Peterson join us in this important role,” said MSU President Waded Cruzado. “Legal counsel advises the university and its affiliates about issues that are both diverse and complex, and we are confident that her extensive knowledge and experience will serve her very well in this position.”

Peterson was selected from among four finalists after a national search. She succeeds Leslie Taylor, who will retire at the end of June after 26 years of service to MSU.

Contact: Terry Leist, MSU vice president for administration and finance, (406) 994-4361 or