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United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit
Office of the Circuit Executive
Contact: Mark Mendenhall
P.O. Box 193939
San Francisco, CA 94119
(415) 556-6177/FAX -6179
November 15, 1999
Court of Appeals Names Ralph B. Kirscher
New Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Montana
Chief Judge Procter Hug, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has announced the appointment of Ralph B. Kirscher, Esquire, of Missoula, Montana, as bankruptcy judge for the District of Montana. He succeeds Bankruptcy Judge John L. Peterson, Montana’s first full-time bankruptcy judge who started as a bankruptcy referee in 1963, began working full time in 1985, and who will retire on November 17, 1999. Judge Kirscher’s investiture ceremony will take place on Thursday, November 18, at 1:30 p.m. in the courtroom of the Federal Building at 400 N. Main Street in Butte where he will maintain his chambers. Members of the press may arrange for coverage through Clerk of Court Bernard M. McCarthy (406/782-3354).
Judge Kirscher graduated from the University of Montana, received an M.P.A. degree from The American University, and graduated from The University of Montana School of Law. Admitted to practice law in Montana in 1979, Judge Kirscher has engaged in the private practice of law in Missoula since that date. He served as an adjunct lecturer in bankruptcy at the University of Montana School of Law from 1992 to 1997. Prior to his appointment, Judge Kirscher was a partner in the law firm of Worden, Thane & Haines, P.C., in Missoula, where his practice emphasized bankruptcy, commercial law, and general civil litigation.
Active in professional service, Judge Kirscher is a member of the State Bar of Montana, the Western Montana Bar Association (and director in 1993-95), the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Montana (and chair in 1991-92), and the American Bar Association. He has been a frequent writer and lecturer on bankruptcy-related topics and in 1996 received the Award for Exemplary Service to the Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Montana. Judge Kirscher has also been active in community service, including Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Sentinel Kiwanis Club of Missoula, and Friends to Youth, Inc. (as president in 1993-94). Kiwanis International honored him with the Distinguished Lt. Governor Award in 1996.
The 28 judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit select and appoint the United States bankruptcy judges who serve within the circuit. The court is assisted in the selection process by a local Bankruptcy Judge Merit Screening Committee. Appointments are made after a nationwide recruiting effort pursuant to affirmative action and equal opportunity guidelines. Bankruptcy judges are appointed for a 14-year term. The District of Montana has one authorized bankruptcy judge who serves all of Montana through circuit-riding and an innovative system of videoconferencing sites across the state that reduces travel costs and time for the court, the bar, and the litigants.
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