1979 GHS grad now a judge in Montana

by marlys good

On May 11, Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced that he had appointed a new interim judge to the Fourth Judicial District Court to replace retiring judge Ed McLean.

From the seven attorneys applying to replace McLean, Gov. Bullock gave the nod to Leslie Vining Halligan, a name well known to longtime Greybullites.

The daughter of Les and Phyllis Vining and a 1979 GHS grad, Leslie was very involved in high school activities. She was a member of the Photo Club, German Club, School Senate, band, pep band, volleyball, track, basketball, swimming, golf and track teams and was on the staff of both the school newspaper and annual. She was a delegate to Girls State.

At St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Basin, where she was a member, Leslie was a nursery and Sunday school teacher.

Many of her friends will remember that she worked in the office and darkroom at the Greybull Standard. Not too surprising as the talented young woman was named Outstanding Newspaper Photographer and Outstanding Assistant Annual Editor.

Despite her busy schedule, Leslie maintained a 4.0 GPA and was valedictorian of her class. She said, way back in 1979, that she “planned to attend college and major in either law or chemistry.”

She chose chemistry. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana in 1983, and earned her juris doctorate from UM’s School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 1986.

She was a deputy Missoula County attorney from 1991-2012, and a deputy Missoula city attorney for a year prior to that.

She is an adjunct professor at UM’s School of Law, where she teaches a course in child advocacy law and is currently the chair of the board of trustees of the State Bar of Montana.

Leslie and her husband Michael have three sons. Outside of her career, Leslie is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boy Scouts.