Office of General Counsel U. S. Dept. of Agriculture Clinic

Professor Elaine Hightower Gagliardi

Variable Credit(s)
Fall: LAW 600 11 | Spring: LAW 601 11

Academic Year Only

Office of General Counsel

U. S. Dept. of Agriculture
Supervising Attorneys:
  Mark Lodine, Alan Campbell, Jody Miller

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: Environmental Law; Contract Drafting; Agricultural Law; Business Law; Water Rights; Civil Procedure; Public Lands Law; Federal Tort Claims Act; Mining Law; Criminal Law; Professional Responsibility

Lawyering Skills: Research and writing; Civil litigation; Contract review and analysis

Sample Projects: Research and draft summary judgment brief; Research and assess water right priorities; Review and analyze loan documents; Research and advise as to public land access issue.

The Office of General Counsel is located in the Federal Building, 340 North Pattee.  Clinical students assigned to the U.S.D.A. perform in a variety of civil and in a limited number of criminal matters.  The Office of General Counsel represents Region 1 of the U. S. Forest Service encompassing Northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and parts of South Dakota, with responsibilities encompassing federal contract appeals, forest planning, mining claim review and contests, claims and objections under Montana and Idaho water law, Federal tort claims, land acquisition and special uses, and law enforcement.  This office also represents the Montana Offices of  Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Commodity Credit Corp., Natural Resource Conservation Service, Agricultural Research Service, Food & Nutrition Service (Food Stamps), and other U.S.D.A. agencies with responsibilities including loan servicing, foreclosure actions, bankruptcy proceedings, tort claims, water right claims and objections, criminal prosecutions of food stamp violations, and general advisory opinions.

Students who are seriously considering USDA must visit the USDA Table during the Clinic Fair and meet attorney Mark Lodine. Students must be in the academic top 50% of their class and must also submit a resume.