Sam Panarella JD '98

Sam Panarella

Pronouns: he/him/his


Sam Panarella JD ’98 was announced as the new dean of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Law on July 18, 2023. Panarella had previously served in several roles at the University of Montana Blewett School of Law, including as a tenured professor of law teaching contracts, business transactions, law practice, and renewable energy and climate change law. He has research interests in clean energy, endangered and threatened species, and environmental law. At the University of Montana, Panarella also served as associate dean of academic affairs and as director of international programs before becoming the executive director of the Max Baucus Institute, a nonpartisan public policy center focused on creating opportunities for students from rural, tribal, underserved, and underresourced communities to engage in public service domestically and internationally. He was an active fundraiser and community builder, helping to secure more than $5 million from foundations, corporations, and individuals to support the institute’s programs. Throughout his career, Panarella has prioritized increasing the diversity and inclusivity of his workplaces. As a partner at Stoel Rives, he was heavily involved in mentoring young attorneys from underrepresented communities, and at the University of Montana, he worked closely with student groups, the admissions committee, and fundraising to increase representation and access to resources. Before joining the University of Montana, Panarella was the CEO and founder of Crux Consulting LLC, a legal firm that worked with Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Prior to that, he was at Stoel Rives in Portland, where he became a partner in 2004. Panarella also clerked for the Honorable Otto R. Skopil Jr. on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1998 to 1999.