Friday, August 13, 2010

First Year Students Interested in Environmental and Natural Resources Law Welcomed to Sturm College of Law

More than 50 new first year Sturm College of Law students who are interested in environmental and natural resources law were formally welcomed to the University of Denver this week.

The welcome event, sponsored by the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program (ENRLP), was part of the College of Law week-long series of orientation meetings and events.

The welcome event provided the incoming students an opportunity to learn more about the program's offerings as well as various events and groups related to environmental and natural resources law.

ENRLP Director Don Smith noted that the College of Law's environmental program is one of the best and most innovative programs of its kind in the world. A key factor in this regard is the law school's outstanding and broad ranging curriculum. He called the students' attention to several key areas of the curriculum:
  • Environmental law
  • Energy law
  • Natural resources law
He explained that each of these areas is considered in terms of domestic law and international law (and, in many instances, foreign law including the laws of some African, Asian, Latin American countries and the European Union). The program is also exploring and implementing new courses that reflect changing conditions both in the U.S. and internationally (for example, the "Sustainable Natural Resources Development Series," which is made up of three one-week short courses offered throughout the academic year).

Several members of the ENRL faculty also welcomed the students and explained their own interests and courses they teach:
  • Fred Cheever, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor; Dean Cheever is active in teaching about Land Conservation Transactions, Environmental Law, and other related courses; he is particularly interested in the Endangered Species Act
  • K.K. DuVivier, Professor of Mining and Energy Law; she is currently working on a book about renewable energy
  • Mike Harris, Director of the Environmental Law Clinic (ELC) and Professor; the ELC has been involved in many successful legal actions aimed at enforcing federal environmental law
  • Bill Shutkin, Director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute; Professor Shutkin explained the relationship between environmental and land use issues, and told students about the Institute's Annual Conference, which will be next held in Spring 2011; he encouraged students to consider volunteering for roles associated with the Annual Conference
  • Annecoos Wiersema, Professor of Environmental Law; her research focuses on international environmental law
In addition, several student leaders addressed the group. Third year law students April Shepard and Stephanie Fairbanks, the president and vice president respectively of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Student Society (ENRLS) encouraged the new students to become involved in ENRLS. They noted that ENRLS will sponsor various events throughout the year that the new students are invited to including Earth Week in the Spring 2011 semester.

Following the presentations, the ENRL faculty and student leaders responded to questions from the new students. Dean Cheever and Professor DuVivier noted that there will be advising sessions available next spring for all students as they begin to plan their Fall 2011 schedules and beyond. Students were also made aware of the extensive externship opportunities offered by the College of Law Externship Office, headed by Professor Ann Vessels. Finally, the students were told about the ENRL Speaker Series, which will kick off on Sept. 15 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. with remarks by two former U.S. Interior Department Assistant Secretaries John Carver (professor emeritus) and Rebecca Watson (a JD alum of the College of Law).

Mr. Smith closed the session by thanking students for attending and pointing out that they can follow news about the ENRL program at the ENRL blog, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Environmental and Natural Resources Graduate Program Welcomes "Most Internationally Diverse" Class Ever

This week the University of Denver Sturm College of Law welcomed its incoming Fall 2010 Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program class. The class includes many impressive students in terms of backgrounds and experiences. But perhaps the single most notable aspect of the class is its international geographic diversity.

In fact, when combining continuing students with new students there will be students in the graduate program in Fall 2010 from 14 countries.

New students who will begin their studies next Monday at the College of Law have arrived from Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Ghana, Japan, Nigeria, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. These students will join current students from Brazil, India, Mexico, and Thailand, thus making this Fall's class the most diverse class ever -- in an international sense -- in the history of the graduate program. The 14 flags at the top of this post represent the home countries of the graduate students.

The graduate program, which was started in the late 1990s, has a long history of success in attracting a widely diverse group of international students as well as students from all across the United States. In many instances, students -- both from the U.S. and internationally -- have listed one key reason in their decision to attend DU as being the opportunity to meet and learn with other students from all over the world.

Don Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy program at the College of Law, said, "An internationally diverse student body has been a key priority for the graduate program. These students enrich every aspect of what is taught about and learned at the College of Law. Moreover, we are delighted with the quality of students who make up the incoming class."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program, played a major role in recruiting the students. Ms. Daberkow, who is fluent in English and Spanish, gets to know the students well before they set foot on the DU campus.

"One of our goals in the graduate program is to make international students feel at home from the first day they arrive in Denver. We try to anticipate their needs and then address them through a series of orientation events at the beginning of the semester," Ms. Daberkow, who has met with all students about their course selection, said.

This year's orientation program included presentations by Prof. Ann Vessels, director of the Externship Office, Kate Stoker, head of the Writing Clinic, and April Shepard, a third year law student and president of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Student Society. Program graduates Carolina Crespo (LLM, May 2010) and Matt Wagner (MRLS, May 2010), and current student Payal Sathe also spoke to the students and answered questions.

The orientation also included Prof. Mary Steffel, director of the Academic Achievement Program, presenting about citation systems and avoiding plagiarism, Joan Policastri, Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian, talking about legal research, and librarian Sheila Green taking the students on a tour of the Westminster Law Library.

In addition to the widely diverse group of international students, this year's class includes American students from every corner of the country. Each student has been attracted to DU because of its reputation for providing a well-rounded and cutting-edge curriculum taught by an outstanding faculty as well as exceptional experiential opportunities.

"It is gratifying to know that DU is held in very high esteem by our graduates, by current students, and by prospective students. Everyone associated with the 'Environmental and Natural Resources team' is committed to making the University of Denver the school of choice for outstanding environmental natural resources student candidates seeking JD, LLM or Masters degrees from all across the U.S. and the world," Mr. Smith said.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Community Expectations for Sustainable Development in Natural Resources Projects" Course Begins

The University of Denver Sturm College of Law's innovative and pioneering "Sustainable Natural Resources Development" series of courses returns to center stage this week with the offering of "Community Expectations for Sustainable Development in Natural Resources Projects," a three-credit course that will run for the entire week.

The course is being taught by Adjunct Profs. Luke J. Danielson, a Gunnison lawyer and expert in the field, M. Cecilia Dalupan, assistant director of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and Antonio La Vina, dean of the Ateneo School of Government in Manila, Philippines.

The course has attracted a wide variety of students, both from the U.S. and internationally.

Because of the one-week nature of the course, students are in class from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day. There were assignments due before the course began and there will be a final paper, due several weeks after the course ends on Friday, Aug. 13.

According to Mr. Danielson and Ms. Dalupan, "This class is designed to explore the issues of sustainable development at a community level -- in other words, where work is actually being undertaken. The major themes include: (1) understanding each other in terms of differences in culture, values, and ideas; (2) sources of misunderstanding and conflict; and (3) incorporating communities in the decision process with emphasis on managing conflict successfully."

The entire series also includes two additional one-week courses on examining sustainable natural resources development at (1) an international level as well as at (2) the level of nation states. All of the courses are three credits. They can be taken as as "package" or individually.

Don Smith, director of the Sturm College of Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy program, said, "This series of courses represents the college of law's commitment to bringing students the most cutting-edge and timely courses taught anywhere in the United States. We are thrilled to have practitioners and experts such as Mr. Danielson, Ms. Dalupan and Dean La Vina, and the impressive list of guest speakers they have arranged, as the teaching core of this important course."

The short courses are open to all DU law students, law students at other law schools, graduate students, and practitioners in the natural resources sector.

Monday, August 9, 2010

April Shepard and Stephanie Fairbanks to Lead Environmental and Natural Resources Law Students Society

Two third year Sturm College of Law students, April Shepard and Stephanie Fairbanks, will serve as president and vice president respectively of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Students Society (ENRLS) during the 2010-2011 academic year.

The mission of ENRLS is:
As Environmental and Natural Resources law continues to grow in prominence and popularity, the NRELS will continue to serve, educate, and provide information to law students regarding these important fields. NRELS sponsors several guest speakers throughout the year to provide its members, and all students, with topical and balanced information regarding legal and political issues of local, national, and global importance. NRELS is a proud sponsor of the NRELS Moot Court competition generally held early in the Spring Semester. NRELS also sponsors field trips to local areas of environmental significance.
Ms. Shepard grew up in eastern North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Environmental Studies and Sciences.

Before attending law school, she worked for Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) as part of the Land, Water, & Wildlife Program. While at EDF, April helped her colleagues achieve passage of two key environmental bills on forestry and hog farm waste in the North Carolina General Assembly. She decided to attend law school to take on new challenges and to learn more about the legal aspects of environmental protection.

April participated in the Environmental Law Clinic during her second year, where she worked on cases involving the National Forest Management Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Clean Air Act. After she graduates, April hopes to continue doing environment and natural resources legal work, whether in a law firm, government agency, or non-profit organization.

Besides her involvement with ENRLS Ms. Fairbanks is also a member of the Public Interest Law Group and the National Lawyers Guild. As an undergraduate student at Kansas State University she studied biology and wildlife populations.

As a law student Stephanie has focused on both environmental and criminal law. She has had externships at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Denver Trial Office of the Colorado State Public Defender. She will also serve as a student attorney in the Environmental Law Clinic throughout this academic year. While she is originally from Kansas, Stephanie hopes to practice law in Colorado.