Ronald A. Bender



Known for his Butte upbringing and his knowledge of Montana History, and to a greater degree, Butte History, and even to a greater degree, the rise and fall of the Butte Copper Kings, Ron Bender is first and foremost a member of The Ancient Order of Hibernians. Next, he is the President of Worden Thane, holding the distinguished title primarily because of the firm’s trust in him. His calm and sensible demeanor, institutional knowledge, and ability to lead (or herd) a large group of independent professionals, is a rare gift that he accepts humbly.

Ron carries these traits over to his practice of law, where he successfully manages a rigorous litigation practice representing individuals, small businesses and even Fortune 500 companies. His clients trust him so much that they retain Ron to manage various legal issues outside of the litigation arena involving personal matters like estate planning, or business organizations. In short, Ron’s presence at the firm of Worden Thane is the solid foundation of our firm’s culture and values.



  • University of Montana School of Law, Missoula, Montana
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence summa cum laude – 1971, With Honors
    • Law Review: Montana Law Review, Associate Editor
  • Carroll College, Helena, Montana
    • B.A., Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude – 1968, With Honors

Bar Admissions

  • Montana, 1971
  • U.S. Federal Courts, 1971
  • U.S. District Court District of Montana, 1971
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1974
  • Confederated Salish Tribal Court, 1998

Litigation Percentage

  • 35% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers®:  Best Lawyers in America since 2007.
  • Best Lawyer of the Year – Missoula:  2013 (Banking); 2014 (Insurance); 2016 (Banking); 2017 (Labor); 2018 (Banking); 2019 (Labor Law Management); 2020 (Banking and Finance)
  • Top 100 Montana Attorneys
  • Super Lawyers since 2008; Top 100 Super Lawyers in the Mountain West (2019)
  • Irish Legal 100 (2011)

Pro Bono Activities

  • Ancient Order of Hibernians
  • Missoula Chamber Rangers
  • United Way
  • Rotary
  • Society for Human Resource Management
  • Ruff Club

Published Works

  • Employee Handbooks National Business Institute, Inc., 1991
  • Foreclosure of Mechanics Liens State Bar Legal Education Institute, 1984
  • Repossession and Sale of Personal Property Lorman Business Center, Inc., 1989
  • Liability of the Manufacturer to the Ultimate Consumer Montana Law Review, 1969
  • Title VII: Seven Years After Montana Law Review, 1971
  • Right to Kill Wild Animals in Defense of Person or Property Montana Law Review, 1970


  • Phi Delta Phi


  • Lecturer, Business Law, University of Montana Business School, 1976
  • Chairman, Business Law Seminar, Continuing Legal Education, 1987 – 1992

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Associate, 1991 – Present
  • Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce, Director, 1990 – Present
  • Montana Bar Association, Member, 1971 – Present
  • American Bar Association, Member, 1971 – Present
  • Defense Research Institute, Member, 1986 – Present
  • Montana Defense Trial Lawyers, Member, 1980 – Present
  • State Bar of Montana
  • Western Montana Bar Association
  • ABA; Section of Law Practice Management, Labor & Employment Law, Litigation
  • Lawyer Pilot Bar Association

Past Employment Positions

  • Worden, Thane, Haines & Williams, Associate, 1973 – 1979
  • United States District Court, Law Clerk to Hon. Russell E. Smith, 1971 – 1973

Representative Clients

  • Sammons Trucking
  • St. Patrick Hospital
  • Neptune Aviation
  • First Montana Bank
  • Montana Community Development Corp.
  • Educational Logistics
  • Bob Ward & Sons
  • Mazda Motor of America
  • Toyota
  • General Motors
  • Northern Montana Care Center
  • Historical Resources Associates
  • Sheehan Majestic
  • Zip Distributing

Representative Cases

  • Speaks v. Mazda, CV-14-25-M-DLC (D. Mont. October 13, 2015), successful jury verdict defense of $7 million claim of seat belt misfit design.
  • Yellowstone Club-Blixseth, U.S. Bankruptcy Court D. MT #08-61570, AP-09-0018, USCA 9, No. 13-35113 (February 11, 2015), Multi-million dollar unsecured claim of B unit members related to diversion of $286+ million of loan proceeds assignment to liquidating trustee for $22 million class 4 claim upheld.
  • Education Logistics, Inc. v. Laidlaw Transit, Inc., CV-07-06-M-DWM (D. Mont. 2012) aff’d 583 Fed. Appx. 624 (2014), cert. den. 2015 WL 852427, $28,409,512.00 jury verdict in favor of software developer for lost licensing fees, lost annual maintenance fees, lost perpetual license fees and lost royalties against international school bus operator for failure to promote software for bus routing services and providing unlicensed access.
  • FWS Design Builders, Inc. Miller, Sievertsen v. International Malting, Montana 8th Judicial Cascade County #DV-0501241 & 1272 representation of design builder in wrongful death claims involving collapse of malting bins
  • Brendon Retz-Abbey, US. Bankruptcy Court D. MT #04-60302-7, AP #04-00049 representation of financial institution involving foreclosure of multiple loans in multimillion dollar development and construction projects involving various operating and partnership agreements and claims by investing partner that loans made were unauthorized.
  • XL Specialty Ins. Co. v. Patrol Helicopters, Inc., 411 Fed. Appx. 78, 2011 WL182154 (9thCir. 2011), successful declaratory action holding insurer of fuel truck not entitled to equitable contribution from Helicopter insurer in multiple death and injury accident involving passenger car and fuel truck enroute to fuel helicopter.
  • Travelers Casualty & Surety Co. v. Ribi Immunochem Research, Inc., 326 Mont. 174, 108 P.3d 469, 2005 MT50 (2005), prosecution of declaratory action that pollution exclusion bars coverage for intentional dumping of hazardous waste into landfill; no duty to defend; and recovery of defense costs allowed.

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