UM Law Student Helps Coordinate Mining Between Nation States

UM law student Noah Gipson spent his summer at an internship with the International Energy Agency in Paris.

MISSOULA – Within three days of taking his final test as a University of Montana first-year law student, Noah Gipson found himself sitting in a brasserie in Paris, about to start an internship with the International Energy Agency. He was there to work for the Office of the Legal Counsel, drafting energy policy around mining of critical minerals for countries around the world.

“I was looking for a job for the summer and came across this interesting internship through the Baucus Institute,” said Gipson. “They helped me with the connection, and I was set for a summer of adventure.”

Gipson was selected as a Baucus Climate Scholar, part of the Baucus Leaders program. This program furthers the Max S. Baucus Institute’s mission of bipartisan environmental and natural resource policy. The institute is affiliated with UM’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law.  

Although he was nervous about only having completed one year of law school, the energy agency put Gipson to work right away.

 “I spent the first week learning about mining throughout the world,” Gipson said. “Within two weeks, I was writing briefs and recommendations for IEA’s member countries, helping them come to an agreement around their mining policies.”

This sort of hands-on learning was exactly what Gipson hoped for.

“I quickly realized that the skills I’m learning, in just my first year at law school, were enough to be useful,” said Gipson. “The IEA put their trust in me right away, something I credit to my studies and professors at the law school.”

The IEA has a Montana connection in Rebecca Gaghen, head of Division for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Gaghen is originally from Billings and still considers Montana home. She has worked internationally for over 30 years, including as a U.S. diplomat, and encourages Montanans to become more involved with international policy.

“I feel that it is vital to understand perspectives beyond the U.S.,“ said Gaghen. “Every country and region – including Montana – will need to make decisions about its energy and climate future. The more we can learn from each other and work together to overcome these challenges, the better.”

Gipson is still exploring the type of law he would like to practice once he graduates from law school. The experience of spending the summer in Paris has opened up his options.

“I am now interested in water law, which is adjacent to oil and gas law,” he said. “You have to be part of the conversation if you want to make meaningful change in the world. My law school education is already getting me a seat at the table.”


Contact: Phil Stempin, director of events, marketing and communications, UM Alexander Blewett III School of Law, 406-243-6509,