Kathleen L. DeSoto

Kathleen L. DeSoto

Missoula, Montana
USA Chambers 2018

Katie was raised in Missoula, Montana, where she graduated from Loyola Sacred Heart High School in 1985.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, with a minor in Latin, from Santa Clara University in 1989.  She attended graduate school at the University of Montana, studying English Literature with an emphasis on Anglo-Irish authors.  Katie graduated from the University of Montana School of Law (with highest honors) in 1999.  While at law school, she competed at the national level for the ATLA Trial Team and was counsel on the 1999 Western Regional Champion team.  After graduation, Katie clerked for United States Chief District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom in Billings, Montana for two years. 

Katie entered private practice with the firm in the fall of 2001.  Her practices areas include insurance coverage, defense of insurance unfair claims practices act cases, school liability defense, legal malpractice defense, and federal criminal defense.  She is admitted to practice before all Montana courts, the United States District Courts, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, and the Western Montana Bar Association.  She is listed in Chambers USA, Mountain States Super Lawyers under Civil Litigation-Defense, and is listed in Best Lawyers under Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar and Insurance Law.  In 2016 Katie was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Mountain States Super Lawyers, and in 2017 was designated by Best Lawyers as the Missoula Lawyer of the Year for Insurance Law. 

Katie is currently a Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She is the immediate past-President of the Federal Bar Association for the District of Montana and Federal Practice Section of the Montana State Bar, a past-President of the Western Montana Bar Association and a past officer with the School Law Section of the Montana State Bar. 

Areas of Practice

  • Insurance Defense
  • School Liability Defense
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Legal Malpractice Defense
  • Federal Criminal Defense

Bar Admissions

  • Montana
  • U.S. District Court District of Montana
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit


  • University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana - 1999
    • Honors: With Highest Honors
    • Honors: Counsel, 1999 Western Regional Champion team
  • University of Montana
    • Major: English Literature
    • Major: Emphasis on Anglo-Irish Authors
  • Santa Clara University
    • Bachelor’s Degree - 1989
    • Major: English Literature
    • Major: Latin

Honors and Awards

  • Chambers USA: Leading Lawyers for Litigation
  • Mountain States Super Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in America: Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar and Insurance Law
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Mountain States
  • Best Lawyers' 2017 Missoula Insurance Law Lawyer of the Year

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Federal Bar Association Montana Chapter, President
  • Montana Defense Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • Western Montana Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member

Past Employment Positions

  • United States District Court Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, Billings, Montana, Clerk