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Longtime Missoula judge reflects on career

Posted at 10:02 AM, Apr 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-05 12:04:12-04

MISSOULA – Longtime Missoula district court Judge Karen Townsend says it’s time for a new adventure.

“Well, I’ve always been thinking that there comes a time that it’s time to go and you want to go before people are hoping you are out the door right,” Townsend said.

Townsend has announced she is retiring from her position as Missoula District Court judge in August.

It might seem like a little early for that announcement but the timing is for a good reason.

“So one of the reasons that I am announcing retirement as early as I am.  Is that the judicial nominating commission needs to start the process of replacing me,” Townsend said. 

“The commission will interview candidates they will then send three to five names to Governor Bullock and Governor Bullock will select a new judge,” she added.

Townsend has been serving since 2011 and says that the support she has had from her staff has been paramount to her success.

“I’ve had three absolutely outstanding law clerks. I mean I just can’t say enough about how wonderful all of them were and have helped me do this job because you just can’t do it by yourself,” Townsend said.  “I mean its a lot of people helping you do the kind of work that you have to do.”

Her long legal career in Missoula started before she was a judge and Townsend says the thing she will miss most is the camaraderie she has developed from her time in the Garden City.

“I think [of] my colleagues, right?  You know and I think the intellectual aspect of the work. I mean it keeps you — I’ve learned an incredible amount here stuff that I just didn’t know — so that’s always interesting,” Townsend told MTN News.  And we are going to really miss Missoula we’ve been here for a long long time but new adventure right?” 

Townsend plans on moving to Colorado to be closer to her son and granddaughter. While she doesn’t plan on taking the BAR exam in Colorado she might volunteer to help out with educating up and coming lawyers.