Rebecca Watson, an attorney at Welborn Sullivan Meck & Tooley and former Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management at the U.S. Department of the Interior, has been named the A.T. Smith/Gerald J. Schissler Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner-in-Residence at the Sturm College of Law of the University of Denver. Ms. Watson will teach and direct a semester-long program focused on the practical side of natural resources law.
Established in 1987, the Distinguished Natural Resources Practitioner-in- Residence Seminar is an independently endowed “capstone” skills seminar, taught by a distinguished member of the Colorado natural resources or environmental bar.
The seminar’s purpose is to apply the content of substantive law classes a student has taken to the context of what lawyers actually do, and identify how to do it well. Students learn critical lawyering skills from the “best of the best”—prominent guest speakers and a syllabus developed by the Practitioner-in-Residence.
Ms. Watson has more than 30 years of legal and policy experience in the fields of conventional and renewable energy, natural resources and federal environmental law. As Assistant Secretary of the Interior Department she was the overseer of a $1 billion budget and three bureaus which together have the responsibility for management of federal energy resources and 262 million acres of public land. Prior to her service in the Interior Department, Ms. Watson served as the Assistant General Counsel for Energy Policy at the U. S. Department of Energy in the George H. W. Bush administration.
Ms. Watson focuses her practice on public land access and energy development for solar, wind, geothermal, wood biomass, and oil and gas with an emphasis on federal environmental law. She is a frequent speaker and author on these topics. She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and past appointee of the National Petroleum Council. She serves on the boards of the Western Energy Alliance (formerly IPAMS), Jefferson County Open Space Commission, Center of the American West at the University of Colorado and the Public Land Policy Institute at the University of Montana School of Law.
Rebecca Watson received her J.D. from the University of Denver College of Law, as well as a M.A. and B.A. from the University of Denver. She is admitted to practice in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and the District of Columbia.