Jestrab Distinguished Lecture on Water

John Leshy in PatagoniaThe 2018 Jestrab Distinguished Lecture on Water was presented by John Leshy, distinguished emeritus law professor at the UC Hastings College of Law. This year's event, "The Interaction of Public Lands, Water, and Sovereignty in the West: Reassessing the Conventional Wisdom," took place on Wednesday, September 26, at the Blewett School of Law.

Prior to joining the faculty at U.C. Hastings, Professor Leshy was Solicitor (General Counsel) of the U.S. Department of the Interior throughout the Clinton Administration. He has also worked on the staff of the House Committee on Natural Resources and was a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, among other positions. In 2013, he received the Defenders of Wildlife Legacy Award for lifetime contributions to wildlife conservation. Leshy, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, has authored and co-authored books in mining law, water law, and federal land and resources law. Read John Leshy's full UC Hastings College of Law bio here.

This presentation was recorded by Missoula Community Access Television as part of a Media Assistance Grant donated to the Blewett School of Law by MCAT. 

Hosted by the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Program at UM’s School of Law, this event was free and open to the public.

Frank & Elvira Jestrab

Born in Havre, Montana, Frank Jestrab graduated from the University of Montana School of Law in 1938. Frank joined the Anaconda Copper Mining Company in Butte, where he worked until he was called to active duty in 1942, stationed in the Aleutian Islands and Burma. He received the Bronze Star and left the armed services in 1945 as a Captain. Frank practiced law in New York and Houston until 1949 after joining the legal department of the Amerada Petroleum Corporation in Casper, Wyoming, and Williston, North Dakota. He married Elvira Waidt Evensen in 1952, and became a founding partner of Bjella and Jestrab law firm in Williston. Frank was appointed as a Commissioner and Member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in 1956 until 1978, when President Carter appointed him as a judge for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission for a six-year term. Frank served as president of the State Bar Association of North Dakota. He was a life member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, board chairman of Northwestern Federal Savings and Loan, and an Advisory Director of Metropolitan Financial Corporation in Fargo. Frank was one of three founders of the Jackrabbit Bar Association, an association of state bars of the Northwestern Plains and Mountains areas.

Born in Chanhassen, Minnesota, Elvira Waidt graduated from the University of California School of Optometry in 1940. She married Frank in 1952, and had a private optometry practice in Williston. She was a member of the North Dakota Optometric Association. Dr. Jestrab was also a member of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, where she served as president in 1959.

Believers that water law would create relevant and interesting law throughout the plains and mountain states, the Jestrabs founded the Frank and Elvira Jestrab Lecture Series at the University of Montana's law school, a lecture series dealing with legal issues relating to water conservation, water usage, and water rights in the western states.