Friday, May 20, 2011

Three Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program Graduates Recognized for Academic Achievement in Awards Ceremony

Three graduates from the Denver Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program were recognized at today's Annual Student Awards Ceremony, held before several hundred people in the Forum at the College of Law.

The graduate program awards recognize students with the highest grade point averages in the LLM (Masters in Law) and Masters in Resources Law Studies programs.

This year two LLM students were recognized for their performance: Alyson Gould and Andrew Seidel. The Masters in Resources Law Studies award winner is Stacy Coyle.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, said, "Alyson, Andrew, and Stacy join a long line of distinguished graduates before them who have received this prestigious award. We are thrilled for them as individuals, as well as their families and friends who supported them in this wonderful accomplishment."

Editor's note: In the photo above, left to right, Alyson Gould, Stacy Coyle, Don Smith, and Andrew Seidel.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring 2011 Graduation Reception Takes Place in Tuscan-Themed Wine Cellar; Tradition of Recognizing Future Env. and Resources Leaders Continues

One of highlights each spring is the reception for Denver Law Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program students.

The reception brings together students who will soon graduate from the program along with professors they have studied under, graduates who have completed the program in prior years and are on hand to "welcome" the new graduates, the graduates' family members, and friends of the program.

The reception, which this year was held at the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management on the DU campus, is one of the final opportunities for the program to recognize the hard work of the graduates and those who supported them during their study at Denver Law.

The evening was a great one, with those gathered enjoying the warm Tuscan architecture of the "wine cellar" room where the event took place.

The event has turned into a part celebration/part networking event because of the close knit nature of the program's students and supporters.

Don C. Smith, Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program, said, "It is enormously satisfying for all of us at DU Law, and the Graduate Program in particular, to bring together the many different members of the program's community -- students, graduates, family members, members of the faculty, and friends -- to officially toast the success of our soon to be graduates. The warmth and friendship of this community cannot be understated, and our desire is to enhance our students' experience. This is one event that allows us to do just that."

Lucy Daberkow, Assistant Administrative Director of the Graduate Program, noted that the event brought together individuals from Brazil, Chile, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and all across the U.S. "The Graduate Program has a rich tradition of attracting the best and most capable students from across the world, and the annual spring reception allows all of us to join together one final time before graduation. Ultimately our graduates will work and serve their clients and communities on every continent in the world, thus resulting in the growing stature and reputation of the Graduate Program."

Editor's note: The top picture includes (from left) graduating students Lauren Suerth, Mike Dietrich, and Selene Neuberg . The following picture includes (from left) graduating student Alex Aidaghese, Adjunct Professor and alumnus Tonye Oki, and alumnus Pedro Camacho. The following picture includes Associate Adm. Director Lucy Daberkow and former LLM student Payal Sathe. The next picture includes (from left) graduating student Carla Araya, Joan Policastri, Adjunct Professor Jim King, alumnus Eva Kuoni, and current student Ambika Chawala. The last picture at the bottom shows Director Don Smith and winner of the Outstanding Graduate Student Award Stacy Coyle.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Allison Altaras and Matt Brodahl Named Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute 2011 Student Award Winners

Two Denver Law students, Allison Altaras and Matt Brodahl, received the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute/Sturm College of Law Award at the 2011 Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute Conference held recently at the University of Denver.

The annual award recognizes students who academic achievement and community service while in law school demonstrate outstanding potential for impact in the sustainable development field. Ms. Altaras and Mr. Brodahl received a cash award from the Denver law firm of Isaacson Rosenbaum.

William Shutkin, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, said, "Matt and Allison have excelled in both the classroom and their work with the Institute. Their passion for the field and commitment to pursuing careers related to sustainable development make them the perfect choice for the award. They are tomorrow's land leaders, and will help us find ways to live more responsibly and equitably on the planet."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First International Sustainable Companies Conference Will Feature Three Lawyers With Denver Law Connections

The First International Sustainable Companies Conference will be held August 29 and 30, 2011, in Oslo, Norway, at the Faculty of Law in Oslo.

The conference is part of the Sustainable Companies project, in which scholars from different branches of academia, practitioners and decision-makers from business and government participate in a high-level discussion of these questions, in a multi-jurisdictional and cross-disciplinary context.

Denver Law Professor Celia Taylor, Adjunct Professor Anita Halvorssen, and Denver Law LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy graduate and Argentine lawyer Diego Parravicini are participants in this major new study.

The schedule for the conference can be accessed by clicking here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Denver Law Adjunct Professors, Graduates, and Students Actively Involved in Far-Reaching "Model Mining Development Agreement"

Several Denver Law adjunct professors as well as graduates and current students of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Graduate Program played important roles in the recently published Model Mining Development Agreement Version 1.0 (MMDA) Project.

The MMDA Project, which was undertaken by the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association (IBA), was launched in 2009. The aim has been to draft an agreement that can be used by mining companies and host governments for mining projects. The project is led by the IBA Mining Law Committee, with civil society and university-based groups working with the Committee to ensure a well-balanced final product.

The Committee collected and analyzed more than 60 existing mine development agreements that were "deconstructed" in the review process and then assembled in the model agreement. The result was the MMDA, which contains representative language for each provision with links to example clauses taken from the existing agreements.

The project is aimed primarily as a tool for use with and in developing countries, in particular where a mature mining code is not in place or effective. The MMDA may also be of use where the mining code must be supplemented by private agreement, or as a template for agreements with state owned mining enterprises.

According to the Mining Law Committee:
"The MMDA project seeks to provide a tool with a specific starting point. It asks what a mining contract might look like if the process started from the precept of a project aiming to contribute to sustainable development not just of the project itself, but of the local, regional and national community as well.

"While the project clearly recognizes that a mining development must be commercially viable to proceed, it also recognizes this is no longer the only issue around which contract negotiations should proceed. Rather, all parties to a negotiation should take a broader, and integrated, look at the relationship between the proposed project, the state and the local communities.

"The natural, social and economic environments around mining projects are also essential considerations today. The final product is web-based and publicly accessible. It is not “prescriptive” in the sense of setting out one standard form. Rather, it seeks to provide an agenda for negotiations based on a sustainable development objective that is common to all parties."
Peter Leon, chair of the IBA Mining Law Committee and partner and co-head of the Mining, Energy, and Natural Resources Practice Group at Webber Wentzel in Johannesburg, South Africa, said:
"The Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA) is an attempt by the Mining Law Committee to take an important step forward in an area that has long seen its share of conflicts and problems – the contractual relationship between host states and mining investors.

"All of us share the vision that in the future mineral investment can increasingly catalyze and support sustainable development of the countries and regions where it occurs, and that we can find ways to avoid or minimize any negative environmental, social or economic impacts of mineral development. In other words, far from how it is so often perceived, mining can be a force for good.

"We envision[ed] producing...a non-prescriptive,web-based, widely available resource that can lead to informed, transparent, and equitable negotiations and contractual outcomes. Our vision is that host countries and investors share an interest in the stability of the investment relationship, and that this stability is best achieved when host countries and regions secure sustainable and meaningful social and economic development.

"We accept that a model agreement, albeit one of a non-prescriptive kind, cannot alone solve all of the problems. At most, it can be one element of a better future.

"We invite you to participate, comment, and help us achieve the goal of a model contract negotiation tool."
Its public nature will also allow local communities and civil society groups to contribute in a sound manner to negotiation processes. By setting out a comprehensive and common template, it is hoped the project will enable and assist better structured negotiations, and better lasting results in mining projects.

Denver Law adjunct professors who played a central role in the preparing of the MMDA included Project Coordinator Bob Bassett, a partner at Holland & Hart in Denver who teaches "International and Comparative Mining Law," Dr. Elizabeth Bastida, who teaches mining law at the University of Dundee and also teaches in the Denver Law "Sustainable Natural Resources Development Series," and Cecilia Dalupan and Luke Danielson, both principals in the Gunnison, Colorado-based Sustainable Development Strategies Group who also teach in the "Sustainable Natural Resources Development Series."

Denver Law alumni who participated included Cassies Boggs, General Counsel for Resource Capital Funds, Jim Cress, a partner at Holme, Roberts & Owen in Denver and a frequent speaker at DU, Steve Gottesfeld, General Counsel at Newmont Mining, and Bruce Kirchoff, General Counsel at Royal Gold.

Denver Law students who helped on the project included Nino Coppero, Jeff Cullers, Kristi Disney, Kasmali Mochamad, and Kelli Schulte.

The full-text of the 200+ page agreement can be accessed by clicking here. Comments about the draft agreement can be entered at the website.