School of Law

Irma S. Russell, Dean

Andrew King-Ries, Associate Dean

The Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools, and offers the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.). Prerequisites for admission to the Law School are a baccalaureate degree and Law School Admission Test.

For detailed information concerning the Law School’s admission criteria, application procedures, facilities, and official course descriptions, consult the Law School Catalog, which may be obtained by calling (406)243-6169 or visiting the Law School website.

The Law School’s administrative regulations are contained in the Law School Student Handbook, which is on the website. The Law School conforms in most instances to the calendar established for the entire University. There are some differences, however, because the Law School operates on a different (and longer) semester system than the rest of the University.

Academic Year Calendar

Access the Law School Academic Calendar on the Law School calendar weg page.

Required Curriculum

First Year Credits
500 Civil Procedure I 3
501 Civil Procedure II 2
502 Contracts I 3
503 Contracts II 2
504 Pretrial Advocacy I 2
505 Pretrial Advocacy II 1
506 Legal Research 2
508 Legal Analysis 1
509 Legal Writing I 3
510 Criminal Law & Proc I 2
511 Criminal Law & Proc II 3
512 Torts I 2
513 Torts II 3
Second Year Credits
550 Property I 2
551 Property II 3
552 Federal Tax(may be taken third year) 3
554 Business Organizations 3
555 Professional Responsibility 3
556 Business Transactions 2
557 Trial Practice 2
558 Constitutional Law 4
560 Evidence 3
Electives (see below)
Third Year Credits
(minimum of 4 credits required)
599 Clinical Training II 1-8
600 Clinical Training III 1-6
601 Clinical Training IV 1-6
Electives (see below)

Elective Courses

(Elective offerings vary from year to year)
  • Advanced Criminal Procedure (Law 690, 2 credits)
  • Advanced Environmental Law (Law 649, 3 credits)
  • Advanced Legal Research (Law 615, 2 credits)
  • Advanced Legal Issues in Education (Law 686, 3 credits)
  • Advanced Legislation (Law 652, 2 credits)
  • Advanced Federal Indian Law (Law 617, 2 credits)
  • Advanced Public Land and Resources Law (Law 619, 2 credits)
  • Advanced Trial Advocacy (Law 685, 1 credit)
  • Agricultural Law (Law 656, 2 credits)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (Law 614, 3 credits)
  • American Indian Natural Resources (Law 619, 2credits)
  • Appellate Advocacy (Law 616, 3 credits)
  • Bankruptcy (Law 621, 2 credits)
  • Child Advocacy (Law 670, 2 credits)
  • Client Counseling Team (Law 638, 2 credits)
  • Conflict of Laws (Law 653, 2 credits)
  • Consumer Transactions (Law 645, 3 credits)
  • Copyright Law (Law 682, 3 credits)
  • Cyber Law (Law 676, 2 credits)
  • Disability Law (Law 668, 2 credits)
  • Elder Law (Law 620, 3 credits)
  • Employment Law (Law 622, 3 credits)
  • Environmental Law (Law 650, 3 credits)
  • Estate Planning (Law 659, 3 credits)
  • Family Law (Law 669, 3 credits)
  • Family Law Mediation (Law 672, 2 credits)
  • Federal Courts (Law 671, 2 credits)
  • Federal Indian Law (Law 648, 3 credits)
  • First Amendment Seminar (Law 675, 2 credits)
  • Foundations of Natural Resources Conflict Resolution (Law 613, 3 credits)
  • Gender and the Law (Law 625, 3 credits)
  • Health Care Law (Law 637, 3 credits)
  • Independent Study (Law 660/1, 1-2 credits)
  • Insurance Law (Law 624, 3 credits)
  • International Business & Trade (Law 629, 2 credits)
  • Introduction to Environmental Law (Law 650, 3 credits)
  • Land Use Planning (Law 687, 3 credits)
  • Law & Literature (Law 607, 1 credit)
  • Law & Technology (Law 693, 2 credits)
  • Law Practice (Law 631, 1 credit)
  • Law Reviews I, II, III, IV (Law 564/5, Law 602/3, 1-2 credits)
  • Lawyers’ Values (Law 630, 2 credits)
  • Legal History (Law 626, 2 credits)
  • Local Government (Law 646, 3 credits)
  • Moot Courts (Law 666, 2 credits)
  • Montana Constitutional Law (Law 618, 2 credits)
  • Natural Resource Development (Law 633, 3 credits)
  • Negotiations (Law 641, 2 credits)
  • Negotiation Team (Law 642, 2 credits)
  • Non-profit Organizations (Law 674, 2 credits)
  • Patent Law (Law 627, 2 credits)
  • Philosophy of Law (Law 664, 3 credits)
  • Practicum in Natural Resources Conflict Resolution
  • Product Liability (Law 657, 2 credits)
  • Public Interest Lawyering (Law 673, 3 credits)
  • Public International Law (Law 634, 3 credits)
  • Public Land and Resources Law (Law 654, 3 credits)
  • Public Regulation of Business (Law 632, 3 credits)
  • Real Estate Transactions (Law 658, 2 credits)
  • Remedies (Law 628, 3 credits)
  • Sales & Leases (Law 692, 3 credits)
  • Secured Transactions (Law 636, 2 credits)
  • Special Topics in Criminal Law (Law 667, 2 credits)
  • Taxation of Business Organizations (Law 639, 4 credits)
  • Taxation of Estates & Gifts (Law 655, 3 credits)
  • Taxation of Property Transactions (Law 640, 2 credits)
  • Trademark Law (Law 693, 2 credits)
  • Tribal Courts/Tribal Law (Law 688, 3 credits)
  • Tribal/State Relations (Law 694, 2 credits)
  • UCC Articles 203 (Law 609, 3 credits)
  • Water Law (Law 663, 2 credits)
  • White Collar Crime (Law 644, 2 credits)
  • Workers' Compensation (Law 662, 3 credits)

Irma Russell



Personal Summary

Irma Russell served as Dean of The University of Montana School of Law from 2009 to 2014. Prior to coming to Montana, Russell was the NELPI Professor and Director of the National Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa College of Law.  Among the courses she has taught are Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Professional Responsibility, Administrative Law, Contracts, Environmental Law Seminar, International Environmental Law Seminar, Environmental Justice Seminar, Appellate Practice and Procedure, Sales and Leasing, Commercial Transactions, Legal Research and Writing, Appellate Advocacy, International Human Rights, International Business Transactions, Agency & Partnership, and Remedies.

Professor Russell is past chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and the past chair of the AALS Section of Natural Resources and Energy Law.  She is member of the Board of Dividing the Waters, an organization of judges and lawyers focused on issues of water adjudication in the Western United States.  She has served as the chair of the Professionalism Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar and as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism and the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility.  She also has served as chair of the following AALS Sections: Natural Resources & Energy, Professional Responsibility, and Socio-Economics, and as a member of the Publications Committee of the Center for Professional Responsibility.

In practice, Russell represented potentially responsible parties, government entities, lenders, and other clients on issues arising under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), wetlands designation, site mitigation, and other environmental issues. She served as the Liaison of the ABA Environmental Section to the Association of American Law Schools and Chair of the Strategic Response Committee of the ABA Environmental Section. She also served as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ethics Committee, and as Section Liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She was founding Chair of the Memphis Bar Association Environmental Law Section and served as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Environmental Section. Dean Russell is an elected member of the American Law Institute, Phi Kappa Phi, the Judicial Conference for the Tenth Judicial Circuit, and the American Bar Association.

Professor Russell earned undergraduate degrees in liberal arts and education, a master’s degree in English literature, and her law degree at the University of Kansas. She clerked for The Honorable James K. Logan, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Russell engaged in private practice for several years in Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Russell's publications may be accessed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at


Book and Chapters

Mastering Contract Law (co-author: Barbara Bucholtz) (Carolina Academic Press) (2011).

Issues of Legal Ethics in the Practice of Environmental Law (ABA 2003).

Chapter, Issues of Legal Ethics in Environmental Justice Matters (co-author: Joanne Sum-Ping) in The Law of Environmental Justice (Michael B. Gerrard & Sheila R. Foster eds., 2nd ed., ABA 2008).

Chapter, The Political and Administrative History of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in The Federal Courts of the Tenth Circuit: a History (James Logan ed., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit 1980).

Chapter, Federal Statutes and Regulations Governing the Use of Pesticides and an Annotation of Federal Pesticide Regulations in Pest Control in Museums (1980).

Chapter, Prisoners’ Rights – Failure to Provide Law Libraries Denies Inmates Right of Access to the Courts in Prisoners’ Rights Sourcebook (Ira Robbins ed., Clark Boardman Co. 1980).

Journal Articles

The Sustainability Principle, (Introduction, Symposium on Sustainability: Moving from Theory to Practical Application) Env’l & Energy Law & Policy Journal 165 (2009).

Streamlining NEPA to Combat Global Climate Change: Heresy or Necessity? 39 Lewis & Clark Env’l Law J. 1049 (2009).

Measure for Measure: Cost-Benefit Analysis and Environmental Policy, 43 Tulsa L. Rev. 891 (2008) (Symposium: The Scholarship of Cass Sunstein).

The Sustainability Principle in Sustainable Energy, 44 Tulsa L.Rev. 121 (2008) (Symposium).

The Evolving Regulation of the Legal Profession: The Costs of Indeterminacy and Certainty, 2008 Prof. Law. 137 (2008) (From Canons to Codes to Rules: 1908-2008 and Beyond, A Centennial Celebration of the ABA Legacy of Lawyer Ethics).

The Power Structure: Energy, Politics, and the Public Interest in the LNG Debate, 2 Envtl. & Energy L. & Policy J. 49 (symposium issue of University of Houston Law Center) (2007).

Got Wheels?: Article 2A, Standardized Rental Car Terms, and Unilateral Private Ordering, 42 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. 137 (2007) (Symposium edition).

The Logic of Legal Remedies and the Relative Weight of Norms: Assessing the Public Interest in the Tort Reform Debate, 39 Akron L. Rev. 1053 (2006) (reprinted in AMICUS Books and ICFAI Publications, wings of ICFAI University in India).

A Common Tragedy: Promises to Benefit the Public Interest and the Enforceability Problem, 10 Tex. Wes. L. Rev. (2005). (Presented at The Common Law of Contracts as a World Force in Two Ages of Revolution, Gloucester, England, June 2004.)

Keeping the Wheels on the Wagon: Observations on Issues of Legal Ethics for Lawyers Representing Business Organizations, 3 Wyo L. Rev. 513 (2003) (reprinted in The Defense Law Journal, Matthew Bender, 2006).

Reinventing the Deal: A Sequential Approach to Analyzing Claims for Enforcement of Modified Sales Contracts, 53 Fla. L. Rev. 49 (2001).

Unreasonable Risk: Model Rule 1.6, Environmental Hazards, and Positive Law, 55 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 117 (1998).

Cries and Whispers: Environmental Hazards, Model Rule 1.6, and the Attorney's Conflicting Duties to Clients and Others, 72 Wash. L. Rev. 409 (1997).

The Role of Public Opinion, Public Interest Groups, and Political Parties in Creating and Implementing Environmental Policy, 23 Env. L. Reprt. 10665 (1993) (work identified in William H. Rodgers, Jr., The Most Creative Moments in the History of Environmental Law, 2000 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1, 26, example of “Paradigm Shifters and Domain Openers”).

Within the Best Interests of the Child: The Factor of Parental Status in Custody Disputes Arising from Surrogacy Contracts, 27 J. Fam. L. 585 (1989).

The Political and Administrative History of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 60 Denv. L.J. 119 (1983), with Judge Stanley (expanded, updated, and republished as a chapter in The Federal Courts of the Tenth Circuit: A History noted above).

Beyond Shooting Snaildarters in Porkbarrels: Endangered Species and Land Use in America, 70 Geo. L.J. 1433 (1982) (with George C. Coggins).

Columns and Shorter Articles

State and Local Governments Address the Twin Challenges of Climate Change and Energy Alternatives, 23 Nat. Resources & Env. 9 (September 2008) (with Jeffery S. Dennis).

Natural Gas: Today’s Alternative Fuel? Energy Newsletter, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (SEER), 2006-08 (with Justin Scroggs).

A Multiple-Strategy Approach to Solving the Energy Puzzle, 38 Trends 10 (March/April 2007).

Introduction, Public Health Emergencies and the Law: Terrorism and Other Dangers Symposium: Public Health and the Law: Responding to Terrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies in New York.

Regular Columnist, Teaching Contracts, AALS Contracts Newsletter, 2002-2006.

SLAPP Suits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), The Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties (2006).

21st Century Law, Technology and Ethics: The Lawyer’s Role as a Public Citizen Serving the Public Good, 35 U. Mem. L. Rev. (Introduction to Symposium edition) (2005).

The Lawyer as Public Citizen: Meeting the Pro Bono Challenge, 72 UMKC L. Rev. 1 (2004).

Chapter, Contract Interpretation and Life Experiences, in Teaching the Law School Curriculum (ed. Steve Friedland & Gerry Hess eds., 2003).

The Evolution of MJP, Trends (March/April 2003).

Why I Use "Seinfeld" as Precedent, 10 The Law Teacher 12 (Fall 2002).

Memorandum to Ethics 2000 Commission, (Feb. 9, 2001), available at

Client Confidences and Public Confidence in the Legal Profession: Observations on the ABA House of Delegates Deliberations on the Duty of Confidentiality, The Prof. Law (Spring 2002).

The Ethics 2000 Process: Revisions to the ABA Model Rules Approved by the ABA House of Delegates, Trends (Newsletter of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy & Resources (Spring 2002).

Just Between Us, Trends (July 2001).

Book Review on Trade and the Environment, by Alan M. Rugman and John J. Kirton with Julie A. Soloway, Asia Pac. J. Envtl. L. 301 (1998).

Environmental Ethics: The Potential for Conflicts in Representing Multiple PRPs, Newsl. Envtl. L. Sec. Tenn. B. Assn. 3 (June 1996).

An Authentic Life in the Law: A Tribute to James K. Logan, 43 Kan. L. Rev. 609 (1995).

Modification of Custody: When May Pre-existing Evidence be Considered?, 5 Tenn. Fam. L. Ltr. 10 (1991) (with Dorothy Pounders).

Custody Disputes Involving a Lesbian Mother, 5 Tenn. Fam. L. Ltr. 8 (November 1990) (with Dorothy Pounders). (Reprinted in 3 Memphis B. Assn. Mag. 16 (Winter 1993).)

Tennessee's Surrogacy Statute, 4 Tenn. Fam. L. Ltr. 12 (1989).

Note, Prisoners' Rights--Failure to Provide Law Libraries Denies Inmates' Right of Access to the Courts, Kan. L. Rev. 636 (1978). (Reprinted in Robbins, Prisoners’ Rights Sourcebook 1980.)