Stegner Center Student Opportunities
One of the main reasons I am pursing a J.D. with the S.J. Quinney College of Law is because of the Wallace Stegner Center. Before even applying to the J.D. program, I attended the Stegner Center’s Green Bag events to become engaged as an environmental practitioner. Now as a student, I attend the Stegner Center events to continue to stay engaged. The events offer timely and inspiring speakers and topics—providing students like myself with unbeatable access to research opportunities, professional networking, and creative, multi-disciplinary thinking. By design, the Stegner Center is a huge part of my top-class curriculum and academic growth.
–Kathryn Tipple, ’14
For students interested in environmental and natural resource legal education, there is no better place than the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law. The College has one of the top-rated environmental law centers in the Western United States. In addition to the degree programs for the Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, or the Master of Laws in Environmental and Resource Law (LL.M) degree, the College provides support for students and a variety of opportunities.
Students come first at the Stegner Center, with numerous scholarships ranging from writing awards to full-tuition scholarships with employment upon graduation. The Center also sponsors various student activities, including professional conferences and social gatherings, and annually sends a team to the Pace Environmental Law Moot Court Competition, where Stegner Center teams regularly reach the quarter-final and semi-final rounds.
Relevant Programs and Speakers
At the Stegner Center, you can delve into environmental law through the Center’s annual symposium, which brings together legal scholars and thinkers from around the world to tackle pressing environmental issues. Recent symposia have focused on wildlife conservation, alternative energy, global climate change, and sustainability.
The Stegner Center convenes a bi-weekly, noon-hour Green Bag Lecture Series, providing students with the opportunity to meet top scholars, policy makers, and community leaders working on the environmental challenges that define our times. Past speakers have addressed such diverse topics as air quality along the Wasatch Front, population growth and sustainability, the politics and science of climate change, nuclear waste and Utah’s West Desert, Utah’s energy future, and the Snake River Valley-Las Vegas water transfer proposal.
The Center has also hosted numerous luminaries, including Bruce Babbitt, Wendell Berry, Helen Caldicott, Patty Limerick, Pamela Matson, Bill McKibben, Pat Mulroy, Naomi Oreskes, Zygmunt Plater, Joe Sax, Lynn Scarlett, George Schaller, Michael Soule, Alan Weisman, Charles Wilkinson, and Terry Tempest Williams, among others.
From day one, students at the Stegner Center engage in collaborative, real-world problem solving through the Environmental Law Clinical Program. By providing students with an opportunity to work with nonprofit organizations on legal issues, the clinic grants students the practical skills they need to become effective attorneys. The clinic has two components: a weekly class meeting and an individual student project in which the student is paired with an outside attorney to work on an active case with a live client. Each project is unique, and the range of potential projects fills the spectrum of environmental advocacy, from litigation, to administrative petitions, to strategic white papers or policy proposals, to regulatory drafting, to environmental enforcement. The clinic expands experiential and skill-oriented learning opportunities for students, while strengthening community efforts to protect and preserve the environment.
Students may also work with the Center’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Program, which promotes collaboration, mediation, and other dispute resolution processes as a means to address contemporary environmental conflicts. Finally, students have opportunities to work with the Research Fellows Program and to work on directed research projects with faculty members and research fellows.
Natural Resources Law Forum
The Natural Resources Law Forum (NRLF) student group is open to all S. J. Quinney students who share common interests in environmental law and responsible outdoor recreation. NRLF coordinates educational activities to serve the community and facilitate contact with leaders in the field of natural resources law. NRLF also sponsors social and volunteer activities such as tree planting, hikes, and cleanup of trails and rivers.