Montana Department of Transportation Clinic

Professor Elaine Hightower Gagliardi

Variable Credit(s)
Fall: LAW 600 25 | Spring: LAW 601 TBD

Academic Year

Montana Department of Transportation
Supervising Attorney:
  Jolyn Eggart

Faculty Supervisor:
Professor Elaine Gagliardi

Satisfies Environmental/Natural Resource Law Certificate Requirement


  • Professional Responsibility (effective for all classes entering Fall 2011 and thereafter)
  • Introduction to Environmental Law, only if the student enrolls in this clinic for the purpose of satisfying the Environmental Law Certificate clinical requirement.

Areas of Law: Transportation Law; Property Law; Construction Law; Constitutional Law; Environmental and Natural Resources Law; Administrative Law; Water Law; MEPA and NEPA; Indian Law; Employment Law; Contracts Law

Lawyering Skills: Legal research and writing; Litigation support; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Legislation drafting

Sample Projects: Research transportation, property rights and eminent domain/inverse condemnation issues; draft motions and assist with discovery responses; attend scheduling conferences, depositions, trials (jury and non-jury); participate in mediations and right-of-way negotiations; draft contracts, memorandums of understanding, and conservation easements; work with local government officials on maintenance issues

MDT's mission is to provide a transportation system and services that emphasize quality, safety, cost effectiveness, economic vitality, and sensitivity to the environment.  Its primary responsibilities include highway planning and design, highway construction and maintenance, contract administration, property acquisition, motor fuel collection and enforcement, highway, bridge and rest area maintenance, enforcement of vehicle weight and dimension laws, public transportation, rail programs, and aeronautics, and management of the state motor pool.  

MDT attorneys appear in district and federal court prosecuting and defending lawsuits, administrative hearings involving the agency, and Supreme Court appeals.  With regard to general counsel activities, MDT attorneys assist agency directors with contracts, administrative rules, drafting and reviewing proposed legislation, and environmental documents and compliance, and providing day-to-day legal advice to agency personnel and may require periodic updates with the Director’s Office as well as the Governor’s Office.

 The law school clinic students will provide MDT with assistance in many of these legal services, including legal and factual research, deposition preparation and discovery responses, drafting pleadings and correspondence, legal analysis and problem solving, and will be asked to attend internal and public meetings, scheduling conferences, depositions, jury and non-jury trials with the supervising attorneys.