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Sam Panarella

Professor of Law; Director, Max Baucus Institute


Personal Summary

Professor Sam Panarella is the director of the Max Baucus Institute and teaches Contracts, Business Transactions, Climate Change Law, and Renewable Energy Law.

Before joining the law school faculty, Professor Panarella was the CEO of Crux Consulting, LLC, a legal process and management consulting firm whose clients include the legal departments of several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, Professor Panarella was a partner at Stoel Rives LLP, a leading western law firm, where he focused his legal practice on energy law, with a specialty in renewable energy development, and representing public and private companies in large-scale industrial and commercial project development.

Professor Panarella clerked for United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Otto R. Skopil, Jr. before entering private practice. Professor Panarella was selected for inclusion in the The Best Lawyers in America.


Professor Panarella earned a B.A. degree, with honors, in Liberal Studies from the University of Montana. He earned his J.D. degree, cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School, where he was a member of the law review.

Selected Publications

Article: Renewable Energy Development on State Trust Lands, Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum (forthcoming Fall 2021)

Article: Species Conservation and Recovery through Adequate Regulatory Mechanisms, Harvard Environmental Law Review (Fall 2020)

ChapterHistory of Federal Energy Regulation, Law of Distributed Generation, American Bar Association (Spring 2020) 

Article: Troubled Water: Building a Bridge to Clean Energy through Small Hydropower Regulatory Reform, UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy (Summer 2018)

Article: A Bird in the Hand: Shotguns, Deadly Oil Pits, Cute Kittens, and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, University of Virginia Environmental Law Journal (Spring 2017)

Book: eDiscovery Response Planning: A Guide for Corporate Legal DepartmentsMatthew Bender (2015)

Article: For the Birds: Wind Energy, Dead Eagles, and Unwelcome Surprises, Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy (Winter 2014)

Book: Litigation Readiness: A Practical Approach to Electronic DiscoveryOxford University Press (2011)

Treatise: eDiscovery for Corporate Counsel, West Publications, Thomson Reuters Company (2008)

Article: Not in My Backyard: The Clash between Native Hawaiian Gathering Rights and Western Concepts of Property in Hawaii, Environmental Law (Winter 1998)

Article: Creating Landowner Value with Lease Agreements: The Finer Points Explained for a Document that Could be Valid for Years, North American Windpower (2004)

Article: Effectively Managing Legal Holds During e-Discovery, The Electronic Discovery Counselor (2007)

Article: The FRCP Clock Has Rung. Now What?, e-Discovery Law & Strategy (2007) 

Article: Just Starting Out: Leasing, Siting, and Permitting Geothermal Projects, Lava Law: Legal Issues in Geothermal Energy Development (2004)

Article: Wind Energy Lease Agreements, The Law of Wind: A Guide to Business and Legal Issues (2004)

International Experience

Courses in Comparative Energy Law, Comparative Climate Change Law, and Comparative Environmental Law taught in Shanghai, Beijing, and Chongqing, China, 2014 - Present