Former chief legal counsel
Leslie Taylor was a guiding influence in the policies and practices that have moved the university to an important, nationally recognized research institution and the largest flagship campus in the state. Following law school at the University of Montana, Taylor worked in both public agencies and in private practice before moving to Montana State University. Taylor served as MSU’s chief legal counsel during the tenures of Presidents Tietz, Malone, Rourke, Gamble and Cruzado. Her preceding work in state agencies was excellent preparation for the balancing of ambition and practicality for both MSU and its leaders. Her style was to focus always on university history, the direction of the current administration and the prevailing legal environment. Taylor’s counsel was based on an exhaustive gathering of relevant facts and resulted in a non-prescriptive set of options to be considered. Her best work was always reflected in the final decisions made by others. In addition to the work strictly associated with her role in the university, Taylor served the community as a volunteer attorney for child advocate, the Montana University System as part of its legal team and for other attorneys, a mentor and consultant.
Leslie Taylor’s legal guidance assisted Montana State University leadership to grow from a small university to a major research institution.