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Brett D. Schandelson practices law in Missoula, MT, for Tipp Coburn Schandelson PC and is shareholder with the firm.
Brett’s passion for civil liberties, fighting government abuses, and always rooting for the underdog led him to pursue a career in the law. Brett has been heavily involved with social and criminal justice non-profits, and has served on the Board of Directors for the ACLU of Montana.
Additionally, Brett is a cooperating pro bono attorney with the Montana Innocence Project, representing an incarcerated individuals in their efforts to their innocence of the crime for which they were convicted. In late 2014, after years of litigation, Brett successfully overturned his client Richard Raugust’s conviction for deliberate homicide, and secured a full exoneration for Richard in September of 2016. Richard is the first exoneree as a result of the Montana Innocence Project's efforts as well as the first exoneree for murder in the history of the State of Montana.
Brett continues his interest in constitutional law by focusing his practice on Criminal Defense and Civil Rights work, in addition to his pro bono non-profit work. Brett is also currently the managing partner of Tipp Coburn Schandelson PC, running the day to day operations of the firm.
Originally from Great Falls, Montana, Brett was an accomplished Debater at C.M.R. High School. During the years Brett spent skiing in Bozeman, Montana, he also earned a B.A. in Political Science with High Honors, a Minor in History, and an Honors Degree with Highest Distinction. Despite scheduling classes around skiing, Brett was nevertheless a successful student, earning several of the top awards at Montana State: the Jim Goetz Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Political Science, the Max Worthington Award for Service to Montana State University, and the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence as the Outstanding Graduating Senior in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
As part of his undergraduate education, Brett served as a legislative intern in Washington, D.C. for U.S. Senator Max Baucus. Although he enjoyed the experience and learned much about the political process, the most important thing Brett took away from his time in Washington was that Montana is the best place on earth.
With that realization in mind, Brett chose to stay in Montana and attend the University of Montana School of Law, where he graduated with a J.D. with Honors. Although Brett is a lifelong Bobcat, he has come to love and appreciate all that Missoula has to offer: the rivers, the mountains, the people, the culture, and yes, even the Griz (unless it’s a Cat-Griz game, in which case Go Cats!).
When he’s not working Brett can usually be found with a guitar in his hands or having adventures with his sweetheart Jessie.
Brett is a member of the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National College for DUI Defense, and the National Trial Lawyers. He is also certified in the Standard Field Sobriety Tests and regularly attends NACDL and NCDD Criminal Defense and DUI seminars.
Brett is admitted to practice in the Montana Supreme Court, all Montana state courts, the United States District Court for the District of Montana, and the United States Supreme Court.
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|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Top 40 Under 40||National Trial Lawyers||2016|
|Top 100 Trial Lawyers||National Trial Lawyers||2016|
|Defender of Justice Award||Montana Innocence Project||2014|
|Best Appealate Brief||University of Montana School of Law||2008|
|Goetz Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement||Montana State University||2005|
|Dean's Award for Academic Excellence||Montana State University||2005|
|Secretary of Board of Directors||Montana Free Press||2016 - Present|
|Shareholder||Tipp Coburn Schandelson PC||2015 - Present|
|Adjunct Instructor||University of Montana College of Technology||2011 - 2012|
|Associate||Tipp & Buley, P.C.||2008 - 2014|
|Director||ACLU of Montana||2007 - 2008|
|Legal Intern||Jasper Smith Olson, PC||2007 - 2008|
|Legal Intern||Office Of The State Public Defender||2007 - 2008|
|Legal Intern||Paoli, Latino, Kutzman and Jasper||2006 - 2007|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|National Trial Lawyers Association||N/A||2016 - Present|
|National College of DUI Defense||State Delegate - Montana (2009 - 2012)||2009 - Present|
|National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers||N/A||2008 - Present|
|Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers||N/A||2008 - Present|
|American Civil Liberties Union||State Board Member - 2007/2008||2005 - Present|
|State v. M.M.||Dismissal|
|State v. C.C.||Non-felony disposition|
|State v. J.H.||Dismissal|
|See all legal cases|
|LinkedIn Blog Post||Defenses to Drug Possession in Montana||2015|
|LinkedIn Blog Post||Is One Crime Lab Enough for Montana?||2015|
|LinkedIn Blog Post||How Will Marijuana Charges Affect Your Life in Montana?||2015|
|LinkedIn Blog Post||What are Your Rights as an Employee?||2015|
|University of Montana School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||2008|
|Montana State University, Bozeman||Highest Distinction||Honor's Degree||2005|
|Montana State University, Bozeman||Political Science||BA - Bachelor of Arts||2005|
|DUI Training for Tribal Defender's Office||DUI Defense in Montana||2010|
|Know Your Rights||Panel Moderator||2008|