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; Water Law; MEPA; NEPA; Indian Law; Employment Law; Contracts Law: Legal research and writing, litigation support; alternative dispute resolution, legislative drafting; problem-solving

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
  • Conduct administrative hearings representing the department and assist department hearings officers conducting administrative hearings

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 adminsitrative 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, and compliance.  MDT attorneys also provide day-to-day legal advice to agency personnel 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, and problem-solving.  Students are asked to attend internal and public meetings, scheduling conferences, depositions, and jury and non-jury trials.