The Browning Symposium & Lecture

Dedicated in honor of the late Judge James R. Browning of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

The Honorable James R. Browning

Judge Browning was born in Belt, Montana and graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 1941. He served as a member of the inaugural editorial board for the Montana Law Review and served as its editor-in-chief. He eventually clerked on the United States Supreme Court.

In 1962, Judge Browning was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. From 1976 to 1988, he served as Chief Judge and was known for his leadership and modernization of the Ninth Circuit. Despite attempts to divide the circuit, Judge Browning was renown for his tireless and successful efforts to keep the Ninth Circuit united.


The Honorable James R. Browning Symposium exists to provide an academic, legal forum that addresses the issues facing the Montana legal community.

Introduction and History

The Semi-Annual Honorable James R. Browning Symposium began in 1994 with a goal of honoring the legacy of its namesake. Since its inception, the symposium has brought world-class experts in various topics to Missoula, Montana to discuss and teach about contemporary issues facing Montana and the United States. Symposia have addressed the Montana Constitution, Rural Law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Tribal Sovereignty, and Federalism to name just a few.

This year, the topic of the 2016 Honorable James R. Browning Symposium is Sexual Assault on Campus: conflicts between campus and courts. The Symposium will be held at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana in Missoula on September 29 & 30.

Potential panel topics include: confusion between campuses and state authority, balancing rights of the accused and victims, defining sexual assault, and college liability.

Missoula is an opportune place to discuss these important issues, as it was cast into the national spotlight by a Justice Department investigation and subsequent book, Jon Krakauer’s Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, which followed campus proceedings and parallel criminal trials of several University students.

CLE information and the schedule are forthcoming. Confirmed speakers at this early date include: Attorney General Tim Fox, Diane Rosenfeld, Erin Buzuvis, and Kevin Cole.

For more information, contact Managing Editor Tim Brothwell, [email protected] 

2016 | Judge Alex Kozinski

Judge Kozinski delivered the 2016 James R. Browning Lecture on March 17, 2016. The lecture focused on intellectual property law and litigation advice.
Judge Sidney R. Thomas

2015 | Judge Sidney R. Thomas

Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas delivered the 2015 James R. Browning Lecture. The lecture focused on Browning’s legacy and the future of the federal judiciary.

2013 | Professor Ved Nanda

Professor Nanda, of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, delivered the 2013 James R. Browning Lecture. He discussed theories that measure emerging countries’ develpment and growth.

2012 | General William K. Suter

The Montana Law Review was honored to have General William K. Suter deliver the 2012 James R. Browning Lecture.

2011 | Roberta Cooper Ramo

Roberta Cooper Ramo, a partner at Modrall Sperling in Albuquerque, New Mexico, gave the 2011 James R. Browning Lecture. 

2010 | Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

Dean Chemerinsky delivered the 2010 James R. Browning Lecture. His lecture was entitled “Closing the Courthouse Doors.”