Montana Department of Transportation

Academic Year

Faculty Supervisor: Professor Elaine Gagliardi

Supervising Attorney: Jolyn Eggart

Prerequisite: Professional Responsibility, Business Organizations

Areas of Emphases:Property Law; Construction Law; Constitutional Law; Environmental and Natural Resources Law; Administrative Law; Employment Law; Contracts Law; Accounts Receivable (Collections) and Bankruptcy Law; Indian Law; Administrative hearings for Dyed Fuel/IFTA/Outdoor Advertising Act matters; legal research and writing; litigation support; alternative dispute resolution; legislative drafting; problem-solving

Sample Projects

  • Research transportation, property rights (deeds, property purchases/sales, easements, etc.), constitutional arguments, and eminent domain/inverse condemnation issues
  • Assist on construction claims litigation issues
  • Draft motions, briefs, and assist with discovery responses
  • Attend scheduling conferences, depositions, administrative hearings, and trials (jury and non-jury)
  • Participate in alternative dispute resolution including mediation/arbitration
  • Draft contracts, memorandums of understanding, leases, and conservation easements
  • Work with local government officials on maintenance/construction/transportation issues
  • Conduct administrative hearings representing the department and assist department hearings officers conducting administrative hearings, including drafting Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Proposed Order
  • Research issues involving ADA/Worker’s Compensation, FMLA, and conduct issues. 
  • Assist with drafting personnel policies

General Information

The mission of the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is to provide a transportation system and transportation 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, vehicle weight and dimension law enforcement, public transportation, rail programs, aeronautics, and management of the state motor pool.

MDT attorneys appear before administrative agencies and state and federal courts, including the Montana Supreme Court. With regard to general counsel activities, MDT attorneys assist agency directors with contracts, administrative rules, proposed legislation, environmental documents, leases, policies, and compliance.  MDT attorneys also provide day-to-day legal advice to agency personnel and periodic updates to the Director’s Office and the Governor’s Office.

Students in this field placement provide MDT with assistance in these legal services, including legal and factual research, deposition preparation, discovery responses, drafting pleadings and correspondence, legal analysis, negotiations, and problem-solving.  Students are asked to attend internal and public meetings, scheduling conferences, depositions, administrative hearings, and jury and non-jury trials.