Land Use & Natural Resources Clinic

In-House Clinic

Academic Year

Clinic Director: Distinguished Visiting Professor Sandi Zellmer

This clinic satisfies the Natural Resources and Environmental Law Certificate

Pre-requisites
: Professional Responsibility and Introduction to Environmental Law

Track Pre-requisites/Co-Requisites:
            Land Use Track: Land Use Planning & The Environment
            Water Track: Water Law
            Wildlife Track: Wildlife Law

Areas of Emphasis: Land use; property law; natural resources law; water law; wildlife law; conservation law; environmental law; local and state government law; constitutional law; regulatory drafting; legal research and writing; preparing studies and reports; agency litigation skills; presenting to governing bodies, the public, and other organizations; interacting with scientists, elected officials, planners, and other professionals in interdisciplinary settings

Sample Projects
Model conservation easement provisions
Study on Montana’s water rights system
Drafting agency wildlife regulations
Report on agricultural land protection
Report on planning for wind farm development
Drafting wildland-urban interface fire protection regulations

General Information

The primary mission of the Land Use and Natural Resources Clinic is to provide government support on land use and natural resources issues facing our community and state.  On occasion, the clinic assists non-profit organizations that are engaged in studies or educational initiatives related to natural resource issues in the West.  The clinic does not represent non-profit organizations in litigation matters.  In selecting clinic projects, emphasis is made on the importance of community service, the interdisciplinary nature of natural resources law, and the complex balancing of stakeholder interests and perspectives that is necessary to a land use and natural resources practice.

This clinic has three tracks: land use, water, and wildlife.  Students are not limited to one track, and clinic projects often involve multiple natural resource issues.  For example, a student may work on a project involving both fish habitat concerns and water rights protection.  Another project might involve land use development and wildlife protection.

Students may work with local government, state agencies, or other organizations on projects related to land use, water, wildlife, or other natural resources issues.  Recent clients have included City of Missoula Parks and Recreation, Missoula County Planning Services, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Montana Supreme Court / Water Court.  The clinic has also worked on educational projects for the National Land Trust Alliance, Montana Association of Land Trusts, and the National Wildlife Federation.  

Selected Clinic Work
Agricultural Protection in Montana:  Local Planning, Regulation, and Incentive
The Role of Fish and Wildlife Evidence in Local Land Use Regulation
Local Government Regulation of Wind Energy Development in Montana
Local Government Water-Climate Planning Legislation Draft