BUTTE — A Missoula lawyer had been named U.S. bankruptcy judge for Montana and will keep his chambers in Butte, according to a federal court news release issued last week.

Benjamin Phillip Hursh will serve a 14-year term, which starts Feb. 1. A formal investiture ceremony will be held on Feb. 3 at the Mike Mansfield Federal Building, 400 N. Main St.

Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced Hursh’s appointment this week. Thomas will preside at the investiture.

Hursh, 42, has been a partner in the Missoula office of Crowley Fleck PLLP since 2011 and was previously an associate at Cederberg Law Offices P.C. from 2003 to 2008.

He will fill a vacancy resulting from the retirement of Chief Bankruptcy Judge Ralph B. Kirscher, who had served on the court since 1999. He also assumes the role of chief judge of the bankruptcy court, which has a single judgeship.

Hursh has been the chair of the Bankruptcy Local Rules Committee in the District of Montana since 2014. He has been a member of the Annual Bankruptcy Section CLE Organization Committee since 2013 and has served as the former chair of the Bankruptcy Section of the Montana Bar Association from 2011 to 2012.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Hursh received his undergraduate degree in history from Montana State University, Bozeman, in 1999 and his juris doctor from the University of Montana School of Law in 2003. He was awarded the Dean Robert E. Sullivan Scholarship in law school.

Bankruptcy judges serve a 14-year renewable term and handle all bankruptcy-related matters under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have statutory responsibility for selecting and appointing bankruptcy judges in the nine western states that comprise the Ninth Circuit. The court uses a comprehensive merit selection process for the initial appointment.

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