Attorney, Domestic Violence Law
Jean Bearcrane is a Billings-area native and lives on the nearby Crow Reservation. Jean is a Crow tribal member. She graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1984 and became a member of the Wisconsin Bar upon graduation. Shortly after graduation, she returned to Billings and became a member of the Montana Bar in 1985. Part of her legal career included teaching full-time for four years at MSU-Billings (formerly Eastern Montana College). Since her return to Montana, Jean has been staff attorney for a number of the Montana tribes, serving as general counsel, special counsel, juvenile prosecutor, and attorney-prosecutor for domestic violence and sex assault crimes. She also staffed the Browning MLSA office a number of years ago. Her special interest and love are her six grandchildren, three of whom live in Billings and the other three who live on Rocky Boy’s Reservation and her many nieces and nephews.
Attorney, Indian Law
Aubrey Bertram received her J.D. with a focus in International Law and an LL.M in Environment and Natural Resource Law and Policy from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 2016. During law school, she participated on the National Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Team and served as President of the Native American Law Students Association. Ms. Bertram interned with the pro bono program of the Denver Bar Association, helping Denver area residents access free and low cost legal help. While serving as a student attorney in DU’s Environmental Law clinic, Ms. Bertram worked with community groups from the Navajo and Hopi reservations to address environmental and cultural resource issues in their communities. Ms. Bertram's interest in Indian Law was further fostered by her involvement in Tribal Wills Projects on the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute reservations in 2014 and on the Crow reservation in 2016.
Attorney, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic
Celia Blewett graduated from University of Washington School of Law in 2013. Prior to joining MLSA, Ms. Blewett was an associate at Foster Pepper PLLC in Seattle, primarily focused on Investment Management and Real Estate. While at Foster Pepper, she staffed a monthly legal aid clinic in a homeless shelter, and during law school she worked in several low income legal aid clinics and volunteered as a tax preparer for the United Way of King County. Before law school Ms. Blewett worked as a program coordinator at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, a low income housing advocacy organization based in Seattle.
Attorney, Medical Legal Partnership
Kallie Dale-Ramos received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 2015. While at UT, Ms. Dale-Ramos represented clients during immigration proceedings and served as a human rights law scholar. Before starting at MLSA, Ms. Dale-Ramos was a legal fellow at the Indian Law Resource Center in Helena, advocating for legal reforms to increase tribal sovereignty in cases of violence against women.
Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow
Kristin Dexter is originally from Seattle, Washington. She received her J.D., with a focus in Land Use Law, from Vermont Law School in 2016. During law school, she participated extensively in the appellate program, and on the Emory Civil Rights and Liberties Moot Court Team. Ms. Dexter interned with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, assisting General Counsel in re-writing the Grants Management Guide, a resource for federal funding. She also represented family law clients and immigration clients as a student clinician at the South Royalton Legal Clinic.
Attorney, Domestic Violence Law
Shannon Fuller received her J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 2014. Ms. Fuller interned with MLSA during law school, and enjoyed serving clients who had been affected by domestic violence. She was also involved in fundraising for the YWCA Pathways Program, which provides ongoing support to victims of domestic violence. Ms. Fuller particularly enjoys working with children and families, and has volunteered as a Girl Scout troop leader and a Cub Scout den leader.
When not working for MLSA, Ms. Fuller loves to read anything BUT law books, spending time with her family in the great outdoors, and singing in various community choirs throughout Missoula. She knows every lyric to every musical, and is known for breaking out in random song and dance routines (much to the embarrassment of her teenage daughter). Ms. Fuller is also the resident baker in the Missoula office, and loves to shower the staff with her delicious treats.
Diana E. Garrett
Supervising Attorney, Domestic Violence Law
Law School Clinical Supervisor
Diana E. Garrett is the Supervising Attorney for MLSA’s Domestic Violence Practice Group and she also supervises a clinical program for the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. Ms. Garrett received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and received her J.D. in 2002 from the University of Montana School of Law (now the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana). Ms. Garrett is based in MLSA’s Missoula office and serves on the Montana Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, the Planet Kids Supervised Visitation Center Advisory Council, the Legal Issues Committee of the Ravalli County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the JUST RESPONSE (Missoula Justice System Coordinated Team Response to Intimate Partner Violence).
Supervising Attorney, Housing Law
Amy Hall is MLSA's housing specialist and farm worker attorney. She also has experience representing domestic violence survivors. She received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Before coming to MLSA, Ms. Hall worked at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., primarily in housing and farmworker law. Ms. Hall was recognized by the Montana Justice Foundation as one of its 2014 Champions of Justice, awarded for her extraordinary efforts on behalf of equal justice.
Supervising Attorney, Indian Law
Joe Hardgrave has represented clients in tribal courts since 2008. Mr. Hardgrave graduated from law school in South Florida, came to MLSA in 2008 as an AmeriCorps Legal Fellow working on the Indian Wills Project, then worked for a year at California Indian Legal Services.
Since his return to MLSA, Mr. Hardgrave has served as a public defender for the Northern Cheyenne and Crow, and now provides public defense services to Fort Belknap. In addition to defending clients charged with major crimes, he also handles all types of civil cases in tribal courts, including now at Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy's.
Attorney, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Project
Beth Hayes received her J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 2009. Ms. Hayes has previously worked with the Foreclosure Assistance Program, as a Triage Staff Attorney and an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Fellow at MLSA. She also currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD), and plays trumpet in the Missoula City Band and Missoula Community Concert Band.
Ed Higgins received his J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 2000. After earning his law degree, he served as Judicial Staff Attorney to the Honorable John W. Larson. Mr. Higgins has been with MLSA since 2001 and has previously served as a Managing Attorney and Staff Attorney.
Mr. Higgins serves as a Volunteer Mediator at the Community Dispute Resolution Center of Missoula, where he is also a member of the Board of Directors. Additionally, he is the Vice Chair of the Western Montana Bar Association Pro Bono Committee, a member of the Missoula County Foster Care Review Board, and a member of the Montana Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission's Committee on Self Represented Litigants.
In 2016, Mr. Higgins received the George L. Bousliman Professionalism Award from the Montana State Bar. The Bousliman award recognizes lawyers who have established a reputation for professionalism and have demonstrated extraordinary professionalism by contributing time and resources to public service, public education, charitable or pro bono activities, and encouraging respect for the law and our legal system by making the legal system more accessible and responsive.
Volunteer Attorney, Public Benefits Law
Bob LaRoche received his J.D. from the University of Montana School of Law in 1969. He has been working at MLSA since 1976, and had previously worked for MLSA from 1969-1973 as well.
Attorney, Domestic Violence Law
Kathryn Seaton received her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2016. During law school Ms. Seaton interned at Iowa Legal Aid where she worked directly with clients who had experienced domestic violence. Most recently, she was a legal intern at the Montana Supreme Court where she worked for Justice Beth Baker on Access to Justice Commission projects, including the Public Forum Series on access to justice issues as well as drafting a Forum Report summarizing the findings of that series to use in future advocacy efforts.
Attorney, Public Benefits Law
Lindsey Simon received her J.D. from the University of Idaho in 2008 and her LL.M. from the University of Washington in 2010. In law school, Ms. Simon interned in public defenders offices at both the county and state level in law school, and after graduating she spent one year as a research and writing attorney with the Federal Defenders of Idaho. Mostly recently, Ms. Simon was in private practice in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for six years, primarily focusing on real estate and commercial law litigation and transactions.
In 2012, Ms. Simon received the Denise O’Donnell Day Award from the Idaho State Bar for her pro bono representation of a single father who ultimately obtained a paternity order and award of primary custody of his child, over the mother’s assertions that he was not the biological father.
Louis C. Villemez
Supervising Attorney, Victim Rights
Lou Villemez graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1993 and spent the next 12 years as a Legal Aid attorney, first with Rappahannock Legal Services in Fredericksburg, Virginia and then with Montana Legal Services in Browning and Cut Bank. From 2005 through 2016 Lou worked for Montana’s Area Agencies on Aging, through the DPHHS Legal Service Developer where he specialized in Elder Law, and he also contracted a diverse caseload with the Office of the Public Defender. Lou is married with five children, and he enjoys bird hunting, flyfishing, and motorcycles.
Attorney, Domestic Violence Law
Jessica Wilkerson graduated from Vermont Law School in 2012 with a J.D. and a Masters degree in Environmental Law and Policy. While in law school, she provided domestic violence prevention services to her community in Vermont. Just after graduating from law school, Jessica also interned with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Before coming to MLSA, she spent two years advocating for indigent clients with the Montana Office of the Public Defender in Anaconda, MT.
When not working at MLSA, Jessica enjoys getting outdoors to backpack or ski and spending time with her precious long-haired chihuahua/dachsund mix, Caliente.
Attorney, Domestic Violence Law
Bree Williamson graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 2007. She has worked in Montana since graduation in criminal law, family law, and as a guardian ad litem. Bree is an eighth generation Montanan and grew up primarily in the Bitterroot Valley. Bree's favorite thing is spending time with her amazing family and friends. She also loves running, reading, and spending time outdoors under the Big Sky.
Shannon Fleetwood – Accounting Technician
Tim Frederick – IT Support Specialist
Sherri Gleason – Office Assistant, Billings
Kallie Mandala – Accounting Technician
Emma O'Neil – Development Associate
Krista Partridge – Administrative Assistant
Alethea Brown – Program Assistant
Anna Chithelen – Legal Assistant
Angela Deputee – Program Assistant
Stefanie Flynn – Legal Assistant
Mistee RidesAtTheDoor – Tribal Advocate – Indian Law
Angie Wagenhals – Pro Bono Coordinator
Alex Clark – Community Outreach Assistant
Mel Fisher – Project Coordinator
Patt Jenks – Intake Office Assistant
Naomi Kaneen – Intake Specialist
Melissa Magnuson – Victim Rights Intake Navigator
Tracie Poindexter – Program Administrator
Mēghan Scott – AmeriCorps Coordinator
Eric Seepe – Intake Specialist