Environmental Faculty

Students work closely with program faculty during their three years of law school and build relationships that continue long after graduation. Our faculty members have substantial practice experience in natural resources and environmental law, and are eager to pass this experience on to their students. From our faculty's diverse backgrounds, students cultivate an ability to look at issues from a variety of perspectives.

Each faculty member contributes his or her own unique talents beyond the classroom as well; they sponsor law reviews and student groups, coach competition teams, and work on environmental cases and causes. Our faculty also contributes important scholarship in the areas of environmental, natural resources, and Indian law, often working with student research assistants on these endeavors.

Beyond the classroom, students benefit from their work with clinical supervisors, who provide a wealth of expertise about natural resources and environmental law. Additionally, we have faculty who hold expertise in complementary areas such as agricultural law, environmental legal research, renewable energy transactions, and environmental crimes. In sum, our students are part of a strong community of faculty and mentors that support them as they undertake their legal studies and careers.

Professor Michelle Bryan teaches in the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Program and is Co-Director of the Land Use & Natural Resources Clinic, which works on behalf of Montana governments and is among only a few such clinics nationwide.  She has been honored to receive the Garlington, Lohn & Robinson Faculty Teaching Award and the Margery Hunter Brown Faculty Merit Award for her professionalism in the classroom, in her research, and in her public service.

Growing up in ranching and farming communities in the West, Professor Bryan was drawn to the fields of natural resouces and environmental law. Before joining the law school faculty, she was in private practice representing a variety of clients including local governments, private landowners, non-profits, developers, and affected neighbors and community groups. She brings this diversity of perspective to her scholarship, her teaching and her work iwth government clients.   Her current research interests include the relationship between land and water use, planning in an age of climate change, the balancing of environmental and land use rights, and the role of public trust in water use.

Outside of teaching, Professor Bryan has served as board member and past president of the Montana Justice Foundation.  She enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and exploring the vast spaces of Montana.  Professor Bryan graduated from The University of Montana School of Law with high honors and served as an editor of the Montana Law Review. Prior to law school she was a policy specialist for the Water Resources Center in Bozeman, Montana.

Professor Williams teaches Introduction to Environmental Law, Wildlife Law and supervises the Public Land and Resources Law Review and is the Co-Director of the Land Use & Natural Resource Clinic. She joined the faculty at the law school after serving as the Deputy Solicitor Parks and Wildlife for the United States Department of the Interior where she oversaw legal issues and litigation for the National Park Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Professor Williams also served as Agency Legal Counsel for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, as well as policy analyst for the Environmental Quality Council, and clerk to the Honorable James Nelson of the Montana Supreme Court. Professor Williams received her B.A. from the University of Virginia and her J.D. with honors from the University of Montana School of Law.

Irma Russell served as the Dean of The University of Montana School of Law from July 2009 to May 2014. Prior to coming to Montana, Professor Russell was the NELPI Professor and Director of the National Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Professor Russell's areas of expertise include environmental law and ethics.  Her courses have included Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Administrative Law,  Environmental Law Seminar, International Environmental Law Seminar, and Environmental Justice Seminar.

Professor Russell is immediate past chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and the immediate past chair of the AALS Section of Natural Resources and Energy Law.  She is a newly appointed member of the Board of Dividing the Waters, an organization of judges and lawyers focused on issues of water adjudication in the Western United States. 

In practice, Russell represented potentially responsible parties, government entities, lenders, and other clients on issues arising under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), wetlands designation, site mitigation, and other environmental issues. She served as the Liaison of the ABA Environmental Section to the Association of American Law Schools and Chair of the Strategic Response Committee of the ABA Environmental Section. She was founding Chair of the Memphis Bar Association Environmental Law Section and served as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Environmental Section. 

Adjunct/Affiliated Faculty
Steve Brown srbrown@garlington.com   406.523.2558
Matt McKinney matt@cnrep.org 406.457.8475
Jack R. Tuholske jack.tuholske@umontana.edu 406.243.6653