Meet the 2018-2019 Salt Creek Energy Excellence Recipients

The College of Law and Salt Creek Energy Excellence Committee are excited to recognize Second-year law student Madeleine Lewis as the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholar for 2018-2019.

Salt Creek Scholar – Madeleine Lewis

Lewis grew up in Cheyenne, Wyo., where she began to develop an interest in energy and natural resources. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. for her undergraduate degree where she graduate cum laude with degrees in sociology and anthropology. While in college, she worked as a research assistant in environmental anthropology, integrating her interests with natural resources and her field of study. She further cultivated those interests by orchestrating two fieldwork projects related to the multiple use of public lands.

At the College of Law, she has continued to develop her skills in order to pursue a career in energy law and policy. A joint degree student, Lewis is concurrently earning her Master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources along with her law degree. In addition to taking advantage of the energy track curriculum offer at the College of Law, Lewis has served as a research assistant for Oil & Gas Professor, Tara Righetti. In that capacity, she has worked on several projects, including research on carbon dioxide pipeline siting regulations, and surface use agreements for wind and oil & gas developers, to name a few.

With a paired interest in the inner workings of industry internationally, Lewis traveled to Spain in the summer of 2017 to tour renewable energy development laboratories. She will spend part of the upcoming summer in Peru to conduct her master’s thesis research on the right to access to energy in remote, low-income areas within a human rights framework.

“I am honored to be the 2018 Salt Creek Scholar,” says Lewis. “We all depend on energy in one way or another, but we need strong people who are willing to work toward innovative solutions for the future of the industry.  I have an immense interest in natural resource and energy law, in every aspect. I am excited to be a Salt Creek Scholar because I believe this award will give me the momentum to make positive contributions in the field.”

The Salt Creek Committee is extremely enthusiastic in welcoming Lewis into the Front Range energy community, and hopes to aid in her goals of working in the region within energy and water law.

Salt Creek Logo DerrickEstablished in 2015 by University of Wyoming law alums and benefactors practicing in the areas of oil & gas and energy law, the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship is awarded to students demonstrating academic achievement and a commitment to the study and practice of energy law. It is named for the oldest producing oil and gas field in Wyoming, which has been crucial to the livelihoods of many generations of families in the area.

More than just a scholarship, Salt Creek Scholars are announced at the annual College of Law Honors Banquet, honored at the annual Landscape Discussion on Energy Law and Policy, and promoted to potential employers throughout the Salt Creek Scholars donor network. By connecting these students to a network of friends and donors, the intent is to provide an easier transition to employment and mentorship opportunities within the field.

The Salt Creek Scholar is selected by the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship Committee, which is comprised of the director(s) of the Center for Law and Energy Resources in the Rockies (CLERR), the College of Law Oil & Gas Professor, and no less than three of the donors to the fund as selected at random by the director(s) of CLERR and as approved by the Dean of the College of Law.

Impressed with the applicants this year, for the first time the Committee decided to make two awards from the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Fund, one award for the Salt Creek Scholar, and a second award to a 1L that has shown promise and interest in the field.

This year, the College of Law recognizes Terisa Oomens as a Salt Creek Scholarship recipient.

Salt Creek Scholarship Recipient – Terisa Oomens

Oomens is a native of Holmen, Wis. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville in Reclamation, Environment, and Conservation.

She came to Wyoming with the express interest of pursing a law degree with emphasis in the area of energy and natural resources. Also a joint degree student, Oomens is working toward her Master’s degree within the Haub School for Environment and Natural Resources.

Because the curriculum for first-year law students is set, it is difficult to cultivate interests outside of the required coursework. Oomens however, has been proactive in making sure that she is well prepared to track with the energy and natural resources law pathway. Oomens is a member of the Natural Resources Law Club, she volunteered to help with the David & Cannon Natural Resource Moot Court Competition, and competed in the Oil & Gas Negotiation Competition where she was a semifinalist as a 1L.

Impressed by her drive and perseverance at such an early stage in her law school career, the Committee is excited to help develop her fervor for energy.

“I have been committed to this field before I knew what it entailed, how to get there, or who would help me along the way,” says Oomens. “My passion for and commitment to my goal of becoming an energy and natural resource attorney continues to increase. I’m so grateful to the Salt Creek Committee in helping me pursue those goals and creating such an outstanding program to support students like myself in the field.”

Meet the 2018-2019 Brimmer Scholars

The College of Law is please to recognize Keeley Cronin, of Powell, and Emily Madden, of Torrington as the 2018-2019 Brimmer Scholars.

The Brimmer Scholarship is the largest and most prestigious scholarship offered by the College of Law. It is named to honor the long and distinguished service of Judge Brimmer, and to ensure that his renowned career serves as an inspiration to up-and-coming generations of legal professionals.

The Brimmer Scholars Program was established in 2011 with the intent of highlighting and rewarding the accomplishments of an outstanding student who has contributed excellence throughout their law school career and is projected to continue that trend into their profession. (See past recipients here).

While traditionally one student is selected for the scholarship, it is not unusual for more than one recipient to be selected in years where the candidates are particularly remarkable.

The depth of this class was so immense in fact, that eight finalists were selected to interview before the Brimmer Scholarship Selection Committee. The Committee consists of representatives from the judiciary, the bar, the faculty, former clerks of Judge Brimmer, and members of the Brimmer family.

It is an extraordinary honor to be named a finalist.

In addition to Cronin and Madden, this year’s finalists included Allison Connell, of Sheridan; Catherine Di Santo, of Jackson; David Roberts, of Jackson; Isaiah Rose, of Castle Rock, Colo.; Allison Strube, of Laramie; and Kit Wendtland, of Sheridan.

Keeley Cronin

A native of Powell, Wyo., Cronin earned dual bachelor’s degrees from the University of Wyoming, graduating in 2013 with a degree in Religious Studies and a degree in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

Cronin has been an outstanding student and outspoken leader. Academically, she is extremely driven and has taken advantage of every opportunity to gain valuable legal experience during her law school career. Some of the positions that she has held through the externship program and summer internships include serving as a summer law clerk for the Honorable Tori R.A. Kricken (J.D. ’00) in the Wyoming Court of the Second Judicial District, working as a summer associate for the Cheyenne law firm Hirst Applgate LLP, and working as a research assistant for the Powell firm of Copenhaver, Kath, Kitchen & Kolpitcke. In the upcoming summer she is poised to serve as a summer associate for Baker Hostetler in Denver, Colo.

Within the law school, Cronin has excelled as well. She has been involved in the Wyoming Law Students for Equal Justice Club, the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association – Student Chapter, and competed in the 10th Annual Robert R. Rose, Jr. Voir Dire Competition finishing as a semifinalist. She has also worked as a staff member for the Wyoming Law Review, and will serve on the Editorial Board as an article editor during her third and final year of law school.

Following graduation, Cronin will serve as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Greg Phillips (J.D. ’87) in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I am very honored to be a part of the continuing legacy left by Judge Brimmer in Wyoming,” Says Cronin. “Being from Wyoming, the reputations that are built here are really important, and it is wonderful that this program exists to allow students to continue to impact the state in the same meaningful way he did.”

Emily Madden has been on a similar path through law school, forging excellence

Emily Madden

wherever she goes. A graduate of the University of Dallas in 2015, Madden earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude in Business. In addition to working towards her Juris Doctor, Madden is a candidate for a Master of Public Administration through the joint-degree program.

A scholastically exceptional student, Madden has been as equally dedicated to service as she has been to her studies. She has volunteered to do legislative research through the Rural Law Center, she has volunteered doing outreach with incoming 1L students, and has been an active participant in the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association – Student Chapter, Equal Justice Wyoming, and the law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta.

She has gained valuable practical experience through various positions during her law school career including, an externship with United States Magistrate Judge of Wyoming, the Honorable Kelly H. Rankin (J.D. ’94), an externship with the Honorable Tori R.A. Kricken (J.D. ’00) in the Wyoming Court of the Second Judicial District, and spent a week shadowing the Honorable Nancy D. Freudenthal in the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming through the Legal Liftoff Program. She is planning on spending the upcoming summer as a legal intern for the Spence Law Firm in Jackson, and will embark an externship with the Honorable Greg Phillips (J.D. ’87) in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in the fall.

An extremely accomplished writer, Madden will take the helm of the Wyoming Law Review Board as Editor in Chief for the 2018-2019 year. She has previously served as a staff member for the law review.

“I am truly humbled that I was chosen as a recipient from such a distinguished panel and amongst such an accomplished group of finalists,” says Madden. “I grew up hearing wonderful things about Judge Brimmer, and I hope to use the financial and emotional resources that attach to the Brimmer Scholarship to emulate him in my career. I am very grateful and honored for this opportunity.”

With a passion for Wyoming, litigation, and personal injury law, Madden hopes to combine those interests in some form after graduation.

A Look at the Defender Aid Clinic

The Defender Aid Program has been through changes over the past couple of years. Since the sudden passing of long time College of Law Professor and Faculty Supervisor, Diane Courselle, the clinic has gone through some transitions. The College of Law is currently seeking to hire a new permanent faculty position for the clinic, but in the midst of it all, the program has continued to flourish.

Tom Fleener

Currently at the helm is Laramie attorney Tom Fleener. Fleener has established himself as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the state of Wyoming and has been a tremendous supporter of the College of Law. He regularly teaches on the faculty for the Summer Trial Institute, and has served as an adjunct professor to teach trial practice in the past. Recognizing the value of the clinical programs at the College of Law, Fleener has stepped in as the faculty supervisor, allowing students to learn and practice under his law license. He’s also brought a new flavor to the work done in the program.

“In the past the clinic really focused on a lot of post-conviction relief cases,” says Fleener. “While we are still doing some of those cases, what I’ve tried to do this year is have the students be active in trial and appellate cases in both state and federal court.”

“All of the cases that are now being represented in the clinic would have otherwise been entitled to a public defender, or have been appointed to us through the Albany County Public Defender’s Office or through the federal courts in Cheyenne,” he adds.

Needless to say, the clinic has not been short on work. Students in the clinic have handled from start to finish, four felony cases in the District Court for the Second Judicial District, and a case in the District Court for the Third Judicial District. They have three upcoming arguments before the Wyoming Supreme Court this summer, as well as an appeal that will be argued by a student in front of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver in May.

Additionally, the College of Law hosted the United States District Court for the District of

Judge Scott Scavdahl asks Christopher Goetz questions during oral arguments

Wyoming in March. Third-year law student Christopher Goetz argued an appeal before Judge Skavdahl (J.D. ’92).

“It was really intimidating to be up in front of a federal judge,” says Goetz. “Once you get the facts out of the way it gets a lot smoother. I am grateful to have felt so prepared by the clinic and for the experience to be arguing in court at all. It is definitely an enormous advantage to gain those skills before graduating.”

Fleener concurs that the level of professionalism and abilities in the students are remarkable.

About Chris Goetz
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Goetz grew up in Florence, Colo. He attended Colorado State University, Pueblo and graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. While in law school, Goetz has competed in the WTLA Voir Dire Competition and the ABA Negotiations Competition, and took the Summer Trial Institute course offered in Anchorage, Alaska. Additionally, he did an externship with the Guardian ad Litem program in Cheyenne. Following graduation, he hopes to stay in the region and do defense work.

“Chris did a really great job on that case,” Fleener praises. “He had a really tough issue, but completely blew it out of the water during arguments. He was so good in fact that the Assistant US Attorney spoke with me afterwards and complimented Chris.”

Overall, the shift to trial work in the clinic has been well received and has reinvigorated the atmosphere. Though it is significantly more work, it has afforded the students new advocacy skills, great representation for the clients, and is saving the state money.

“I think that the students have enjoyed it a lot more because they are getting more time in court and representing clients in a more hands-on manner,” says Fleener. “The clients enjoy it too because the students put in more time on their cases than they might otherwise have gotten from our overburdened public defender system.”

As one of the clinical pillars at the law school, Defender Aid will persist. No matter what is in store in the future, the students will continue to keep fighting the good fight and making incredible contributions through their work.


Defender Aid Clinic Earns Giant Victory in the Wyoming Supreme Court

Alyssa-Clegg-supreme court
Alyssa Conway (J.D. ’17)

The Defender Aid Program at the College of Law recently received notice of a huge victory in one of their cases that has spanned over the course of a few years. On April 13, 2018, the Wyoming Supreme Court issued an opinion reversing the District Court of Johnson County’s refusal to modify their client’s original sentence of life imprisonment with a consecutive twenty-to-fifty-year sentence.

In recent years, students in the Defender Aid Program began representing a series of cases seeking resentencing for juvenile clients through the application of the 2012 United States Supreme Court Decision on Miller v. Alabama. Many of those cases represented by the Defender Aid Clinic made their way before the Wyoming Supreme Court. (Read more here.)

clinics logo
About the Case
In 1982, when Mr. Davis was seventeen years old, he and a friend picked up a hitchhiker, robbed, and then murdered him. In 1983, he was sentenced to life plus an additional twenty-to-fifty years, to be served consecutively, meaning one after the other. However, following the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama, that life without parole is an excessive sentence for all but the rarest of juvenile offenders, in 2015 Mr. Davis was granted parole from his life sentence and began serving his consecutive twenty-to-fifty-year sentence. Mr. Davis had served almost thirty-four years on his life sentence when he began serving the twenty-to-fifty-year sentence.
Represented by the University of Wyoming College of Law Defender Aid Program, Mr. Davis first filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that this new aggregate sentence remains a de facto life sentence with no meaningful chance of release during his lifetime. The decision by the Wyoming Supreme Court reversed the district court and remanded for resentencing.

The recent victory stems from one of those cases.

Alyssa (Clegg) Conway (J.D. ’17) of Saratoga, Wyo. was the main student that worked on this particular case. In 2016, Conway, with the help of fellow student Hannah Toland (J.D. ’17), appeared in the Johnson County District Court in Buffalo, Wyo. for a full-day hearing pursuant to a motion to correct an illegal sentence for the client. Unsuccessful at the district court level, Conway drafted the initial appeal of the case to the Wyoming Supreme Court. She appeared before the Court, making her argument a few short weeks after graduating from the College of Law.

Following oral arguments, the Wyoming Supreme Court requested additional information. Catherine Young, the current Student Director of the Defender Aid Program was tasked with providing the supplemental brief to the Court in collaboration with attorney Julianne Gern (J.D. ’14) who had previously served as the Faculty Supervisor for the Clinic, and attorney Tom Fleener, the current Faculty Supervisor for the Clinic. Their collaborative efforts culminated with the ultimate win for the client.

“I am immensely proud of the work done by the students in the Defender Aid Clinic,” says Gern. “Alyssa drafted an outstanding brief for the Wyoming Supreme Court and her oral argument was better than many practicing attorneys. Catherine stepped up and learned a complex area of law in a short period of time. Her outstanding written advocacy skills contributed tremendously to our success in this case.”

The successful outcome was very much a team effort. One of the strengths about the clinical programs is that the cases remain housed within the Clinic rather than with one particular student or faculty supervisor. The Clinic provides continuity of representation for the client from start to finish. The client received a level of dedication from the faculty and students since the case’s initial acceptance into the Clinic under the direction of the late Professor Diane Courselle.

“Without the Clinic, Mr. Davis likely would not have had the opportunity to argue his case—which would mean that he would still be serving an illegal sentence, and the state and country would be without the important ruling made in this case,” adds Gern.

In addition to the win for the client, the four-to-one decision established several procedures Wyoming district courts must use when determining whether a juvenile offender is one of the rare, irredeemable children who deserves to serve a life sentence, or its functional equivalent. As an evolving area of law, the ruling in this case will help defense attorneys and juvenile defendants nationwide.

“This case and its history will set the legal standard for all juvenile offenders in Wyoming,” says Fleener. “I’m very proud of all of the work that was put in by each of the students and the impact they are making in the state.”

The College of Law is exceptionally proud of the hard work and dedication put into this case by all parties involved. Special congratulations to the students, the faculty supervisors, and especially to the client.

Julianne Gern (J.D. ’14), Tom Fleener, 3L Catherine Young, Hannah Toland (J.D. ’17)

Second Salt Creek Scholar to Join Crowley Fleck

Casey Terrell Energy Conference
From Left to Right: Joe Evers, Poe Leggette, Casey Terrell, Dean Klint Alexander, Alex Obrecht

Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship recipient Casey Terrell has accepted an offer to join the nationally recognized energy practice at Crowley Fleck PLLP as an associate in the firm’s Sheridan, Wyoming office.

Terrell, of Pinedale, Wyoming, is the second Salt Creek Scholar at the University of Wyoming College of Law. The scholarship both financially awards law students as they pursue an education in energy and natural resources law and connects students to a network of friends and donors to provide employment and mentorship opportunities.

“The Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship and its network of outstanding donors has

salt creek logo
Established in 2015 by University of Wyoming alums and benefactors practicing in the areas of oil and gas and energy law, the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship is awarded to students demonstrating academic achievement and a commitment to the study and practice of energy law.
Recipients are selected by the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship Committee comprised of the director(s) of the Center for Law and Energy Resources in the Rockies (CLERR), the Oil & Gas Professor, and no less than three of the donors to the fund as selected at random by the director(s) of CLERR and as approved by the Dean of the College of Law.

been invaluable in helping me to break into the practice of energy law,” said Terrell. “I could not have asked for a better opportunity, and I am extremely grateful for the encouragement and support of the network.”

 Poe Leggette, the managing partner of BakerHostetler’s Denver office and co-leader of the firm’s national energy team, co-founded the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship. He said, “We are proud to help outstanding young scholars complete their legal education and enter the field of energy law. Casey Terrell will be a great asset to Crowley Fleck and the legal profession.”

In addition to nearing completion of his law degree, Terrell is concurrently earning a master’s degree in environment and natural resources though the dual-degree program offered by the College of Law and the Haub School.

Jim Mowry, hiring partner for Crowley Fleck’s Sheridan, Wyoming office, praised Casey’s bright future: “Casey has proven an outstanding law student and we are excited to have him join our energy and natural resource practice group. He will be an excellent attorney and advocate for the energy industry.”

 The Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship was founded to encourage students who demonstrate a strong interest in energy law. It is named for the oldest producing oil and gas field in Wyoming, which has been crucial to the livelihoods of many generations of families in the area.

Salt Creek Scholars will be acknowledged at the annual scholarship dinner, honored at the annual Landscape Discussion on Energy Law and Policy, and promoted to potential employers through the Salt Creek donor network.

Faculty Highlight: Danielle Cover Wins Faculty/Staff Award at Shepard Symposium on Social Justice

danielleCollege of Law Professor Danielle Cover was recognized at the 2018 Shepard Symposium on Social Justice with the Faculty/Staff Award. The award recognizes an individual for their dedication and leadership in promoting equality, inclusion, and social justice in local, national and global contexts.

Professor Cover wins this award hot off the heels of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, of which she was the recipient in the fall.

In addition to receiving the award, Professor Cover was one of the many presenters at the Symposium. Her presentation “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination” (Presented through a transgender lens), tackled legal discrimination topics including expungement, name changes, workplace rights and discrimination, and domestic and sexual violence.

Professor Cover is the Faculty Director of the Civil Legal Services Clinic (CLSC) at the College of Law, where she tirelessly works with students to provide free legal services across a broad range of legal issues.

The importance of work that Professor Cover does in the clinical programs at the College of Law cannot be overstated. Not only does the clinic provide much needed legal services to under-served populations within the state of Wyoming, the representation of low-income and marginalized individuals has challenged law students engage in more inclusive dialogue addressing issues of social and environmental justice.

The College of Law is extremely proud of the work that Professor Cover has accomplished in her time as a faculty member at Wyoming, and is pleased to see her recognized through this much-deserved award.

UW College of Law Ranked as a Best School for Practical Training

Badge-Practical-Training2018-nofonts-A-brownFor the fourth year running, the University of Wyoming College of Law has been ranked as one of the best law schools for practical training by PreLaw and National Jurist Magazines. Receiving an A grade, the UW College of Law lands 21st in the nation as a leader in experiential education.

Only schools that receive an A+ or A grade receive an actual ranking.

According the methodology of the rankings, PreLaw and National Jurist use the data submitted to the American Bar Association (ABA) annually. The categories used for the rankings are opportunities in clinics; externships; simulation courses; interschool competitions; and “other,” with the most weight placed on clinical opportunities.

The College of Law has a strong tradition in practical skills with the backbone of its mission being clinical education. The law school offers six clinics: Civil Legal Services, Prosecution Assistance, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Defender Aid, Family and Immigrant Justice, and International Human Rights as well as an Estate Planning Practicum.

In addition to the robust clinical programs, the College of Law offers other diverse opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience including a vibrant externship program, simulation and skills courses such as the Summer Trial Institute, and a growing number of student competitions.

“The clinical programs at the College of Law are such an asset,” says Tim Crawford, Director of Experiential Learning. “Not only do the students get valuable practical training, the clinics have a widespread impact around the state by providing free legal resources and access to justice for citizens of Wyoming.”

The story and ranking with grades appear in the spring issues of The National Jurist and PreLaw magazines.