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Dean Russell and Pace Professor Jeffrey Miller

UM Law’s Dean Irma Russell served in three roles at the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition.

Dean Russell judged two preliminary rounds and the quarter final round of the moot court competition held at Pace Law School in White Plains, NY. She also participated as a panelist with Professors Zig Plater and Victor Flatt for the Annual Environmental Professor Workshop held in conjunction with the moot court competition.  The panel presentation was entitled “40 years of the ESA: Our Nation’s Pioneering Wildlife Law, Still under Siege.”

Finally, she served as MC for a dinner in honor of Pace Professor Jeffrey Miller.  This year, in honor of his contributions to Pace Law School and the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, the Law School named the Competition in Professor Miller’s honor.  Now named The Jeffrey G. Miller Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, the Competition has grown to become the most prestigious environmental moot and the largest inter-school moot court competition of any kind under one roof.  Pace held the first competition in 1989.  Professor Miller conceived the competition and, along with judges, professors, practitioners and generations of students and alumni presented the annual competition since then. 

For more information on the National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition please visit: http://www.law.pace.edu/2014-competition

Successful Trial Team Season Ends in Norman, Oklahoma

Randy J. Cox, Boone Karlberg P.C.

In early February, the 2014 trial teams competed in the American College of Trial Lawyers/Texas Young Lawyers national trial competition in the regional championships hosted by the University of Oklahoma.  While neither team advanced to the National Trial Championships, both performed extremely well.  

2014 Trial Team

The second year team, Caitlin Boland and Leah Tracy, built a strong foundation of skills and are looking forward to coming back strong next year.  Caitlin and Leah won their first-round match against University of New Mexico and then narrowly lost, 2 – 1, to the University of Colorado.  In the round to determine the teams advancing to semifinals, the 2Ls lost to BYU.  

The third year team, Rachel Wanderscheid and John Newman, easily won their two opening rounds against Idaho and Oklahoma City College, lost a close match to University of Colorado (2 – 1) and then lost a superb semi-final match to the University of Denver, also by the score of 2 – 1.  On both adverse ballots, John and Rachel lost by one point.  The University of Denver team went on to win the regional championship and and advance to the national competition.

Jeffery Kratz, a 2L, was the fifth team member, working as back-up counsel.  Jeff coordinated all practice witnesses and also tried the case in practice.  Jeff’s contribution was highly valued.    

The most valuable component of the trial team experience is the preparation required to be prepared for competition. The teams spent much of December and January attending weeknight and weekend practices.  Most Saturday mornings were devoted to trials against lawyers with substantial trial experience.  Volunteer lawyers included: AUSA Tim Racicot, Missoula Prosecutor Jason Marks, Dylan McFarland of Milodragovich, Dale & Steinbrenner P.C., and Mary Cile Glover Rogers and Randy Cox of Boone Karlberg.  Former regional champion and national trial competition team members Matt Jennings, William “Mac” Morris, Zach Franz, and Justin Cole gave up Saturday mornings to try the case as well.

While the trip to Oklahoma was memorable, the highlight of the season was the final practice trial in United States District Court before Hon. Dana L. Christensen.  Trying the case and spending an hour discussing trial techniques with Judge Christensen was invaluable and an experience that cannot be duplicated.      

The teams were coached by Missoula practicing lawyers Randy Cox of Boone Karlberg and Katie DeSoto of Garlington, Lohn, and Robinson, both of whom volunteer their time.  The Hon. Karen Townsend, a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, presided over several practice trials and provided access to the Missoula courthouse for practices.  Judge Townsend’s assistance is greatly appreciated.

UM Environmental Law Moot Court competes at Pace Environmental Law Moot Court Competition

UMSL’s Environmental Law Moot Court Team participated and advanced to the quarterfinal round at Pace Law School’s National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, held in White Plains, NY held February 20 – 22, 2014.  The team of Kristine Akland, Alana Brown, and Katelyn Hepburn was one of 27 teams out of 78 to advance based on brief score and oral argument performance.

Katelyn was voted best oralist in the second round when the team argued against UCLA and Tulane University.  In the first round, Montana met the University of Louisville and the University of Mississippi (the eventual winner of the competition).  In the third preliminary round, Montana met Washington St. Lewis and the University of Wyoming.

Advancing to the quarterfinal round, the team met the University of Washington and the University of Illinois.  In what clearly was a closely scored round, Illinois advanced to the semifinals. This is the fifth time in 14 years that Montana has advanced to the quarterfinal round. During this time, the team has been coached by Heidi Fanslow, class of ‘94.  In 2005, Montana advanced to the final round, and in 2002 a team member received the best-oralist award for the competition. UMSL’s Dean Irma S. Russell served as a judge for two preliminary rounds and a quarterfinals and found the competition to be at a very high level.  Pace is the longest running and premier environmental law moot court competition.  (Pictured L to R: Alana Brown (3L), Katelyn Hepburn (2L), and Kristine Akland (3L)


UM Jessup International Moot Court team finishes in Top Ten

2014JessupInternlMootCourtTeamThe UM Jessup International Moot Court team, comprised of 3Ls Morgan Shaw and Mark Handelman and 2Ls Ross Keogh, Zach Patten, and Greg Trangmoe, placed 4th in a field of 19 teams competing in the preliminary rounds of the Pacific Regional Jessup.  Their memorials placed 5th. They were defeated in a close match in the elimination rounds by the University of Washington.  The University of California-Davis won the competition; University of Denver was the runner-up.  The Pacific Regionals, hosted by Lewis & Clark, are noted as one of the most challenging Jessup regionals.  The UM Law School team ranked higher than many larger schools, including the University of California-Davis, UCLA, Berkley, University of Arizona, and Santa Clara.  Please join us in congratulating the team. They represented you well!


UM Law's NALSA's Moot Court team represents exceptional legal writing

Dustin Kuipers’ and Dan Knudsen’s NALSA moot court brief placed second out of 75 entries. William & Mitchell placed first. Kuipers and Knudsen beat out briefs from the University of Kansas, Seattle, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Hawaii and Columbia to name a few.  Although the team did not advance to the final rounds, they did an exceptional job of representing this law school and its legal writing program. For more on the 22nd Annual NNALSA Moot Court Competition, click here.

DanielKnudsen

While in Oklahoma for the NALSA Moot Court competition, Dan Knudsen was notified that he was selected to participate in the 2014 ABA Business Law Clerkship program. During his clerkship this summer, Dan will clerk for a federal judge, who is yet to be determined. 


UMSL ABA Negotiation Team Invited To National Competition 

2013 ABA Negotiation Team, NickVAndenBos,ClareHansen,KlausSittee(pictured above, left to right: 1L, Nick VandenBos [Bozement, MT] 3L, Clare Hansen [Tofte, MN] and Prof. Klaus Sitte, Coach)

UPDATE February 10, 2014:  

The UMSL ABA Negotiation Competition Team of Clare Hansen and Nick VandenBos competed at the National Negotiation Competition in Chicago this past week.  Nick and Clare advanced to the semifinal round before succumbing to the University of Minnesota Law School team which eventually took 3rd place.  The ABA does not officially ranked teams below the final 4.

Clare and Nick are remarkably gifted negotiators.  Clare's appearance in the Saturday morning round marked the end of her amazing 3-year competition career.  She is one of only a handful of students who has competed in the Regional Final round twice in successive years, followed by a national competition appearance.  I have had no other Neg Team member who has accomplished that feat in 22 years.  Those of you who have had her in class are witnesses to her talent and competence.  Nick, as a 1L, was notable just by his mere presence, let alone unique skills: not many 1Ls make it to national competition, of course.  His ability to sense Clare's next sentence is quite uncanny. 

As you can tell, I am resoundingly proud of these 2 UM Law Students.  Not only are they amazing ambassadors for UMSL, they are incredibly fun to work with.  Please join me in congratulating their impressive achievement.


UMSL Recognized for support of Montana Judicial Institute

Hon.JeremiahLynch,DonaldMolloy,Irma Russell,Dana Christensen

(from left to right) Hon. Jeremiah Lynch, Hon. Donald Molloy, Dean Irma Russell and Hon. Dana Christensen

The print, displayed in the administrative suite of the Law School conveys the message, "Presented to the University of Montana School of Law with gratitude and appreciation for the continued support of the Montana Judicial Institute." Pictured in the photograph are the judges who are currently serving on the Montana Federal District Court with a notation of the graduate date of each of the judges from the University of Montana School of Law.

"It is an honor to support the Institute and to partner in the important work with the District Court," said Dean Russell. The Judicial Institute has received recognition for its innovative work in enhancing the knowledge of Montana teachers about the judicial system and the work of the courts. The Insitute has served as a model for similar endeavors in other states. Judge Molloy founded the Judicial Institute in 2008.


WWII 'ace' and tail gunner recount missions at UM law school

By Kim Briggeman of the Missoulian

World War II air combat veterans Frank McCauley, left, and Richard Munro were honored Monday afternoon with a ceremony at the University of Montana law school. McCauley was a fighter pilot and Munro was a tail gunner in a B-17.

He’s 97 and sharp as a tack, and the man who’s thought to be the oldest living fighter ace in the nation had a rapt audience Monday on the University of Montana campus.

But Frank McCauley of Hamilton had an addendum for the more than 50 people who showed up at the UM law school to pay tribute to him and Richard Munro, 88, of Helena, a former B-17 tail gunner in World War II. (Read more...)

UM Law School ABA Negotiation Competition Team Places Second

The University of Montana Law School ABA Negotiation Competition Team earned a second-place finish at the ABA-sponsored Law School Regional Negotiation Competition November 2 and 3.  This year’s Region 10 event was hosted by the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, OR. The region includes law schools from throughout the Northwest and western Canada, with additional entries this year from California and Nebraska.

NegotiationteamUM Team Members Clare Hansen, 3L, [Tofte, MN] and Nick VandenBos, 1L, [Bozeman, MT] advanced to the Sunday Final Round appearance, with the best score out of 24 teams following the opening Saturday sessions.  "With so many different teams from different locations and backgrounds, we knew we needed to use all the skills we've learned," said Hansen. "For me as a 1L, this was such an exciting personal learning opportunity and the result was incredible,” added VandenBos.

A last-minute cancellation from a Canadian entry brought an invitation to UMSL to field a 3rd team this year.  Competing for their first time this year were 1Ls Norris Ham [Mishawaka, IN] and Lindsay Thane [Missoula, MT].  After serving as alternates and observing last year, 2L Samir Aarab [Oslo, Norway] and 2L Elizabeth Musick [Memphis, TN] also made their first appearance.

This year's Negotiation Competition subject is Contracts. The UM Teams represented clients seeking to modify or terminate multifaceted contracts between two competing parties.  Succeeding rounds increased in complexity and intensity.

Together with Team Coach, Klaus Sitte, the Team prepared many long hours, culminating in the Competition.  Sitte is Director of Students and Clinic Director at the UM Law School. He has coached the Law School’s Negotiation Teams since 1991, with 5 teams competing at nationals and one international competition. UM Teams have place 2nd and 3rd nationally. 

The Hansen/VandenBos entry into the Final Round marks the seventeenth time UM Law School Negotiation Teams have advanced to the Regional Final Round.  Hansen becomes the first UM Law Student to appear 2 successive years in the Regional Final Round.  “Effectively using what I've learned on the Team has been the most valuable and rewarding experience in Law School," said Hansen.

“It was gratifying that our hard work paid off again,” commented Hansen, “But, it's bittersweet," she added, "since this is my last time as a 3L at the Regional.”  “This year's competition was terrific.  We were able to adjust to different styles and gain confidence in our own abilities," Team Member Aarab remarked. Aarab’s partner Musick agreed, “We’re already planning what we'll do differently at next year's competition.  An incredible amount of preparation and planning goes into the Team’s Regional appearances." Musick added.  “I was just expecting to observe this year as a 1L so it was terrific to be a part of the Competition,” commented Thane. “The practice sessions were so incredibly helpful.”  Team partner Ham agreed, "Actually sitting across the table from another law school team focused all the elements of our numerous practice sessions.  We are definitely looking forward to next year."

Hansen and VandenBos now await an invitation to national competition in Chicago in February.  The competition is held in conjunction with the ABA Midwinter Meeting.

Montana Legal Services Association (MLSA) and the University of Montana School of Law are proud to announce third year law student Emily Lucas as this year’s recipient of the Montana Law Student Pro Bono Service Award. (click here to read more)

Klaus Sitte

The State Bar of Montana has just announced that Klaus Sitte has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 William J. Jameson Award, the State Bar’s highest honor. The Jameson Award is presented annually to the attorney who has exemplified the highest values of the legal profession throughout his or her career.  Klaus joined the Law School staff in August of 2012 as Director of Students, later assuming the Clinical Director position as well. Prior to his positions at the Law School, Klaus worked at Montana Legal Services Association for nearly 40 years, his last eight as MLSA's Executive Director. "We are delighted with Klaus's designation as this year's Jameson Award Recipient. The Jameson recognizes his many years of service in seeking access to the justice system for countless Montanans living in poverty," said UM Law School Dean Irma Russell. "And, of course, we are also delighted that he is now at the Law School, where he uses his long-standing experience and connection with the Law School’s Clinic Program to benefit our students," she added. Congratulations, Klaus!

Hon. Karen Townsend is recognized in American College of Trial Lawyers for Teaching Trial Advocacy Skills in Montana

This article appeared in the Fall 2013 issue of the Bulletin, the publication of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is reproduced here with permission of the College. (photos by Todd Goodrich, University of Montana.)

Jeff Renz Jeff Renz recently argued and won a case in California's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which addressed the matter of Prisoner Civil Rights/Attorney’s Fees. Granting a prisoner’s motion for attorney’s fees on appeal, and disagreeing with the Sixth Circuit, the panel held that the 150 percent cap on attorney’s fees set forth in the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(d)(2), does not apply to fees incurred on appeal by a prisoner who successfully defends the verdict that he obtained in the district court. "The decision is significant and will encourage lawyers to take these cases on appeal in the future," says Renz.

Jeff Renz has been chosen as a Fulbright Scholar for 2013-2014.  “According to Mary Kirk, the Director of the State Department’s Office of Academic Exchange Programs, 2013 was the most competitive year for Fulbright applications.  Professor Renz will be teaching Civil Rights in the United States, Scientific Evidence, and Jury Practice at Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia.  He will also assist in Free University’s Constitutional Law Clinic, which collaborates with the Constitutional Law Project at Washburn University School of Law.”

Tim Fox Attorney General, Tim Fox, recently appointed former Dean Eck as the interim trustee of Montana Healthcare Foundation, a non-profit foundation created after the merger of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and Healthcare Service Corporation to manage the proceeds from the sale and to continue the mission of BCBS.  Dean Eck will help choose the board to oversee the foundation.  According to the foundation website, its purpose is "to provide financial support to improve the quality, availability, and awareness of healthcare programs and services for Montanans."  Attorney Fox noted that Dean Eck's "professional experience and impeccable character make him the ideal man to get this very important foundation started on solid footing."  The Law School community is honored by Dean Eck's appointment and wishes him success.  (click to read the full story)

UM Law's Dean Russell KU Alumni (L'80) Recognized in Kansas University Law Magazine

Russell_JayhawkThe Right Environment
by Sarah Shebek

A passion for environmental law that started in the Sierra Club led Irma Russell, L’80, all the way to the top as dean at the University of Montana School of Law. “Not many women were law students when I graduated from KU with my bachelor’s degree, and I planned to teach college-level English,” she said. “I was active in the Sierra Club and became friends with George and Margie Coggins. George helped me understand the connection of law to protecting the environment.” (Read more...)

News Release from the University College Cork

University College of Cork honors Montana Judge Donald Molloy

May 29, 2013

Contact: Ruth McDonnell, Office of Media and Public Relations, University College Cork, Ireland, r.mcdonnell@ucc.ie.

Irish University to Honor Montana Judge Donald Molloy

CORK, IRELAND – United States District Court Judge Donald W. Molloy of Montana is among four distinguished persons who will be conferred with an honorary doctorate from the University College Cork in Ireland on Friday, June 7.

Other recipients are broadcaster and comedian Graham Norton, Irish writer and BBC broadcaster Fergal Keane and local Cork businessman Dermot O’Mahoney.

Molloy has been a leading reformer in judicial practice in Montana and has adjudicated on significant environmental rights cases involving cleanup of polluted sites and hunting practices. Molloy presided over the largest criminal environmental case prosecuted in the United States, United States vs. W.R. Grace. He decided several endangered species cases including those of the gray wolf, the grizzly bear, and the lynx, as well as cases involving Montana’s world-class fisheries.

Molloy has a strong personal interest in his Irish heritage and in the early 2000s studied the Irish language for a semester under the guidance of Traolach O’Riordain, originally from Cork, Ireland, who heads the Irish Studies Program at the University of Montana. Molloy claims no expertise beyond his interest in the language and his love of Ireland. He has strong links with UCC’s law and Irish programs, whereby UCC students teach Irish at the University of Montana for a term and attend the UM School of Law while they clerk in Molloy’s chambers or in courtrooms of judges or Magistrate Judge Lynch, working under Molloy’s supervision.

University College Cork also offers a joint bachelor’s degree with the University of Montana in international field geosciences. Students spend their third academic year in Missoula, where they take a number of field-oriented courses set in the Rocky Mountains and western United States.

Molloy and his wife are natives of Butte, a place closely tied to many Irish families. Molloy will receive a degree of Doctor of Laws.

Legislators OK bill giving domestic violence victims choice for mediation

By Gwen Florio

Dateline: April 23, 2013
Missoulian.com

A recent Montana Supreme Court decision means that domestic violence victims no longer can be forced into mediation over custody arrangements … Read more

A bill approved by the Montana Legislature gives victims of domestic violence – both physical and emotional – the power to choose whether they want mediation in family law cases.

“I’m thrilled. It’s a victory for women and children in Montana,” said Chris Herb, whose niece, Heidi Hendershott of Lost Prairie, was the subject of a 2011 Montana Supreme Court ruling that spurred the bill.

Hendershott herself said Monday that she was glad the bill’s backers “were able to put my history to such good use. It’s definitely been very humbling and powerful at the same time.”

In the Hendershott case, the Supreme Court ruled that courts couldn’t force domestic violence victims into mediation. And, it included suspected emotional abuse along with physical and sexual abuse in cases that would demand “an absolute bar to mediation.”

House Bill 555, approved 43-3 Saturday in the House of Representatives, addressed that “absolute bar.”

“We thought that the absolute bar disempowers survivors and basically substitutes the state’s prerogatives for women’s choice,” University of Montana associate law professor Eduardo Capulong, who with four students in the law school’s mediation clinic wrote HB 555.

The bar “revictimizes survivors by robbing them of control over their lives – in particular, the way in which they choose to resolve disputes with their abusers,” according to a list of talking points on the bill.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, was backed by a coalition including domestic violence and mediation groups, as well as judges, Capulong said. Although the bill originally failed to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a second attempt won unanimous support among committee members.

“I really credit (the victory) to a broad coalition of people interested in the issue,” said Linda Gryczan, president of the Montana Mediation Association.

When people do opt for mediation, the new law requires in certain cases that a mediator be trained in domestic violence.

“That means we really need to make sure there’s a pool of mediators trained in working with domestic violence for people who choose this option so they can do it fairly and on an even playing field,” Gryczan said. “It’s very important that we let the public know there’s different types of mediation so they can choose what’s right for them.”

As many as a quarter of filings in district court are family law cases, with 50 percent to 80 percent of those involving allegations of domestic violence, Capulong said.

Without the option for mediation, “we’re talking a lot of cases, 10,000-plus, that would go back into the court system,” he said.

The bill now awaits action by Gov. Steve Bullock.

Trial Team Competes at National Trial Competition – San Antonio, Texas

2013National Trial Team and CoachesDateline: April 9, 2013
Coach Randy Cox, Esq.

Matt Jennings and Mac Morris represented the University of Montana Law School at the National Trial Competition held April 4 through 6 in San Antonio, Texas.  For the third straight year, a Montana team won the regional championship and competed at the national level in the National Trial Competition, the most prestigious national trial competition in the United States.  Approximately 350 teams competed in 14 regions for the right to advance to the National Competition.

The National Competition is sponsored by The American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association.  The National Competition drew 28 teams to the national finals and the 2013 national championship was won by a team from Georgetown University Law School.  All rounds are judged by Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and/or state and federal trial judges from around the country.  State district court judge Karen Townsend, a Fellow in the College, served as one of the judges in each round – though not in rounds involving Montana.

The team performed well but unfortunately did not advance to the quarterfinals.  In the first round, Mac and Matt narrowly lost a 2 – 1 decision to eventual national champion Georgetown.  In the second round they beat a very strong team from the University of Akron Law School and then lost an extremely close match to William & Mary Law School.  Every round was very close and could have gone either way.  The talent level at the National Competition is extraordinarily high and the Montana team performed admirably.

 

Matt Jennings and Mac Morris

The team is coached by Katie DeSoto of Garlington, Lohn & Robinson and Randy Cox of Boone Karlberg.  During the practice trials leading up to the national competition, Mac and Matt had the good fortune of trying the case against two prior Montana teams with national competition experience – Tracey Neighbor Johnson and Tim Dailey (2011 regional champions) and Zach Franz and Justin Cole (2012 regional champions).  We greatly appreciate those lawyers giving of their time and experience to help the trial team prepare.

Special thanks to trial team members – 2L lawyers Rachel Wandersheid and John Newman and witnesses Allie Harrison, Andrew Person, Zach Coccoli and Zane Aukee.  

UM Law ABA Mediation Team places Second in Northwest/West Regionals

Dateline: March 1, 2013
From Coach Professor Eduardo Capulong

Christine Brauer Wesley Parks Third-year students Christine Brauer and Wesley Parks deserve congratulations for re presenting the Law School so ably at the regional ABA Representation in Mediation Competition this past weekend.  The annual competition trains students to represent clients in mediation--an essential lawyering skill, as court-ordered mediation becomes standard in civil matters.

After two preliminary rounds, Wesley and Christine beat 12 teams (from UC Berkeley, UC Hastings, Pepperdine, Seattle, Idaho, and South Dakota) to face off with Chapman in the final round.  We were given the final problem the evening before the final, and they prepared tirelessly through the night against the top-ranked Chapman team.

Despite their stellar performance, however, Chapman beat us by the narrowest of margins.  We're disappointed, of course.  But the real reward lay in the judges' evaluation.  They told Christine and Wesley that they did "a beautiful, very impressive job."  Judge Richard Collier, an seasoned mediator, commented that their "level of thoroughness, preparation, and thoughtfulness was astonishing.  I forgot that this wasn't real life."

Congratulations, Wesley and Christine!  You make Montana proud!

Montana Justice Foundation Honors Two UM Law Professors

Associate Professor Michelle Bryan MuddAdjunct Professor Mark WilliamsThe Montana Justice Foundation honored two UM Law professors for their service to the organization at the group’s recent Lunch for Justice in Missoula.  Associate Professor and Director of the UM Law Land Use Clinic, Michelle Bryan Mudd and Adjunct Professor of Insurance Law Mark Williams both received recognition for their work.  Prof. Bryan Mudd served two terms as the president of the Montana Justice Foundation board, while Williams served the organization on its board for over 17 years in a variety of capacities, including as president.  UM Law graduate and Justice of the Montana Supreme Court, Mike Wheat, was the key note speaker for the lunch.

Dean Russell, who attended the luncheon, expressed her admiration for the work of Bryan Mudd and Williams.  “Access to justice is an important and pressing issue.  All of us at the School are proud that our faculty continue to show dedication and leadership in this important cause.”  In addition, UM Law Professor Andrew King-Ries and Director of the Clinical Programs Klaus Sitte serve on the newly created Equal Justice Task Force Commission of the Montana Supreme Court, with Professor King-Ries serving as co-chair.

UM Environmental Law Moot Court Team Reaches Quarterfinals at Pace Competition

Dateline:  February 22, 2013
White Plains, NY
From Coach Heidi Fanslow

2013 Pace National Environmental Law Moot TeamCongratulations to Alan Zackheim, Keif Storrar, and Bradley Jones who advanced to the quarterfinal round at the 2013 Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition.  As one of 27 teams out of 72 advancing, Montana met the University of California-Berkeley and Wayne State.  Montana competed well, but was bested by Berkeley who advanced to the semifinal round.  

In the three preliminary rounds, Montana competed against University of Florida, Georgetown University, Florida Coastal University, University of Wisconsin, University of Denver and American University.  Alan Zackheim earned the best-oralist award in the third round against Denver and American.

Montana has advanced to the quarter-final round in four of the last eleven years. In 2005, Montana competed in the championship round.  In 2002, team member KD Feeback won the overall best-oralist award at the competition 

The team and I owe a debt of gratitude to the many local attorneys who volunteer their time and expertise in preparing the team for competition.  Without their help, Montana would not be as competitive at this event.

Trial Team wins regional to Compete at National Competition in April 2013

Dateline: February 12, 2013
Missoula, MT
From Coach Randy Cox 

2013 Trial TeamThe University of Montana Law School trial teams competed in the Regional Trial Team Competition held in Siuox Falls, South Dakota, February 8 - 10.  There were two UM teams - the 3L team of William "Mac" Morris and Matt Jennings, and the 2L team of Rachel Wandersheid and John Newman.  The trial competition is sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Texas Young Lawyers Association.

Twenty teams competed in the regional competition.  Making their debut in trial team competition, 2Ls Rachel and John won two of their first three rounds and, with that, the right to advance to the semifinals.  This was a great accomplishment for a 2L team.  In the semifinal round, Rachel and John faced, and lost to, a very strong, polished 3L team from the University of Denver.  The loss in the semifinals will serve as incentive to return next year with the hope of advancing to the national championships.

The 3L team advanced through the competition with wins over, among others, the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.  In the championships, Mac Morris and Matt Jennings avenged the loss suffered by the 2L team and prevailed over the 3L team from the University of Denver in an extremely hard-fought trial.  The trial judge in the semifinal round was a Justice from the South Dakota Supreme Court and, in the final round, a United States District Judge from South Dakota was the presiding judge.  Other scoring judges were either Circuit Court judges or Fellows in the American College of  Trial Lawyers.

In 2011, the team of Tracey Neighbor Johnson and Tim Dailey advanced to the national championships in Houston and in 2012, Zach Franz and Justin Cole advanced to the national 

2013 Trial Team with Witnesses

championships in Austin, Texas. With their win in the regional competition, Mac Morris and Matt Jennings earned the right to advance to the National Competition in San Antonio, Texas, April 4 through 7.  This is the third straight year that UMLS has placed a team in the national championships.  

The team is co-coached by Randy Cox of Boone Karlberg and Katie DeSoto of Garlington, Lohn and Robinson.  Judge Karen Townsend provided special assistance during preparation as did a long list of Missoula lawyers.  Special thanks to Hon. Dana L. Christensen for clearing a half day of his busy calendar to preside over a 3L v. 2L practice trial and to then, afterwards, provide invaluable advice and perspective.There were also four witness team members who devoted substantial time to the preparation and team practices:  Allie Harrison, Andrew Person, Zane Aukee and Zach Coccoli.
Numerous people have asked how the National Moot Court team did at the final rounds in New York City the first week of this semester, so here is a brief report.  The UM team, consisting of Nick Brooke, Talasi Brooks, and Tiffany Nunnally, earned a spot in the national finals as one of the top two teams at the Northwest regional competition last fall.  Along with a team from the University of Washington (tuition: $21,870/$41,840), UM’s team joined the top teams from the 14 other regions, with approximately 150 law schools participating overall.  So just making it to the national final rounds as one of the top 30 teams in the country is a significant achievement.

National Moot Court Final Rounds Dateline: February 12, 2013
NY, New York
By Larry Howell

The final rounds, held at the headquarters of the New York City Bar Association in mid-town Manhattan, begin with two nights of preliminary rounds, after which the top 16 teams advance to the single-elimination rounds.  The UM team handily defeated Ohio State ($27,886/$42,836) on the first night, but then lost narrowly to Loyola Chicago ($40,785) the next night.  Because of the point differential between the large win and the narrow loss, UM not only advanced to the elimination rounds, but was the highest ranked 1-1 team to do so, breaking into the top 10 as No. 9 seed.  UM’s third round was against the No. 8 seed from McGeorge School of Law at Pacific University ($41,394).  On the third night of the four-day tournament, UM lost to McGeorge by 1.5 points out of 100 in a round that Professor King-Ries and I thought could have gone either way. 

Although Nick, Talasi and Tiffany were disappointed not to have advanced to the quarterfinals, Andrew and I could not be more proud of their performance and the incredible amount of work they did.  That’s also true of the students on the UM team that didn’t advance -- Bryan Dake, Daniel di Stefano and Amy McNulty -- but who also would have done well in the finals.  This year’s teams more than lived up to the stellar reputation that UM has earned in the competition.   In fact, a conversation I had with the McGeorge coach before the last round brought home what UM students have accomplished over the years.  He said he had been coaching for 12 years and was thrilled, and relieved, that one of his teams had finally made it to New York.  Fortunately, he didn’t ask whether UM had advanced before, so I didn’t have to tell him our students have been to the finals 12 of the last 15 years.

UM's Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program Featured In High Country News

Dateline: January 30, 2013

Missoula, MT

The University of Montana’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program is featured in the January issue of High Country News. The annual “natural resource education” issue of the regional magazine features some of the best programs that are inspiring and training future leaders. UM’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program was featured on page 18.

To read the full article online, visit http://bit.ly/VIYc9T.

“This is a terrific affirmation of the University’s commitment to a unique graduate program,” said Matthew McKinney, founder and chair of the program. “The NRCR program regularly attracts students from 15 different departments and includes faculty and deans from UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Law.”

The program was created in 2006 and has conferred more than 60 graduate certificates in natural resource conflict resolution. Graduates have gone on to leadership positions in conservation organizations, government agencies, private businesses and the practice of law.

John Senn, deputy communications director at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was one of the first graduates from the program.

“The NRCR program gave me the unique and invaluable opportunity to work on critical real-world natural resource and environmental public policy issues, often times directly with stakeholders and decision-makers,” Senn said. “NRCR faculty are tremendously dedicated to ensuring each student in the program is able to hone skills and identify opportunities related to their particular interests or field of study.”

“The NRCR program’s focus on critical thinking and negotiation skills provided me with the professional tools I needed to succeed after graduate school,” said Shoren Brown, Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited and a 2007 graduate of the program. “Anyone interested in participating in contemporary policy debates should take a hard look at UM’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program.”

UM's Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program Featured In High Country News

Dateline: January 30, 2013

Missoula, MT

The University of Montana’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program is featured in the January issue of High Country News. The annual “natural resource education” issue of the regional magazine features some of the best programs that are inspiring and training future leaders. UM’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program was featured on page 18.

To read the full article online, visit http://bit.ly/VIYc9T.

“This is a terrific affirmation of the University’s commitment to a unique graduate program,” said Matthew McKinney, founder and chair of the program. “The NRCR program regularly attracts students from 15 different departments and includes faculty and deans from UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Business Administration and School of Law.”

The program was created in 2006 and has conferred more than 60 graduate certificates in natural resource conflict resolution. Graduates have gone on to leadership positions in conservation organizations, government agencies, private businesses and the practice of law.

John Senn, deputy communications director at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was one of the first graduates from the program.

“The NRCR program gave me the unique and invaluable opportunity to work on critical real-world natural resource and environmental public policy issues, often times directly with stakeholders and decision-makers,” Senn said. “NRCR faculty are tremendously dedicated to ensuring each student in the program is able to hone skills and identify opportunities related to their particular interests or field of study.”

“The NRCR program’s focus on critical thinking and negotiation skills provided me with the professional tools I needed to succeed after graduate school,” said Shoren Brown, Bristol Bay campaign director for Trout Unlimited and a 2007 graduate of the program. “Anyone interested in participating in contemporary policy debates should take a hard look at UM’s Natural Resources Conflict Resolution Program.”