The University of Wyoming College of Law participated in the Fourth Annual Energy Law Negotiation Competition March 24-25, 2018 at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, Tex.
The Wyoming team of Nick Dillinger of Gillette, Wyo., and Jason Matzen of Sheridan,
Wyo. earned the highest finish to date by the UW College of Law, taking second place honors.
The national competition, which is rapidly becoming one of the highest profile energy events for law colleges in the region, boasts representation from leading energy companies and law firms across the nation. Students are guaranteed to be judged by experts in the oil and gas field and benefit from the tremendous networking opportunities surrounding the competition.
Dillinger and Matzen are both second-year law students. They earned their spot by winning the local Energy Negotiation Competition in February. The duo also competed, and won, the local ABA Negotiation Competition in early March.
Since then, they have spent countless hours preparing with their faculty advisory, Professor Tara Righetti and last year’s local Energy Negotiation Competition winners.
It was exciting to compete and finish as well as we did,” say Dillinger. “It jut goes to show that if you put in the time and have really knowledgeable advisors like Professor Righetti and Professor Cover, you can come into a negotiation prepared to represent your clients interest.”
While in Houston, Dillinger and Matzen were also able to tap into the UW alumni network for guidance and mentorship.
“It was a really great opportunity to talk through our strategies with our Wyoming alums and delve into areas that they might be experts in,” says Matzen. “It offered a really unique perspective and helped us to fully appreciate the practical application of the law in the industry.”
Professor Righetti credits Dillinger and Matzen’s success to their ability to utilize the strong combination of legal fundamentals and substantive knowledge in a specific area of the law that the College of Law promotes.
“We went up against bigger schools with very established competition programs,” says Righetti. “Our success was related to their strategy, negotiation approach, and their understanding of the underlying energy issues. I am particularly proud of their hard work and dedication.”
With some experience under their belts, they are hoping that next year they can compete again come away with the win.
A native of Gillette, Wyo., Dillinger earned his undergraduate degree at the University of California-Berkeley. With a deep interest in energy and natural resources, he returned to Wyoming for his law degree. He is currently pursuing a joint degree M.A. with the Haub School for Environment and Natural Resources and plans to practice in the energy field after graduation.
Born and raised in the Sheridan, Wyo., Matzen earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming. During law school he has worked at the Public Defender’s Office in Cheyenne through the College of Law externship program. He is broadly interested in civil law and has enjoyed expanding his legal knowledge across the scope of different areas. He is excited at the prospect of becoming a Wyoming attorney and giving back to the state.
Two UW Law students competed in the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Negotiations competition during Spring Break in Brooklyn, N. York. The students competed at the Annual National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition during the 50th Annual NBLSA Convention.
Third-year law student Debra Bulluck of Madison, Ala. and second-year law student Sarah Davis of San Antonio, Tex. are the first Wyoming Law students ever to compete in this competition.
Though they were knocked out in the semi-final round, they brought home several accolades. Davis was named the National Best Negotiator for the overall competition, and both Davis and Bulluck were awarded the National Best Negotiators of the Second Preliminary Round. They were also the highest scoring team overall in the preliminary rounds.
While the end of the story is thrilling, it is the journey that got them there that will leave a lasting impression.
In order to even compete and attend the conference, Bullock and Davis had to start the inaugural chapter of the BLSA in Wyoming. Without the numbers required for a solo chapter, the women were able to house the chapter under the existing Minority Law Students Association (MLSA) in the College of Law.
Bulluck was the real driving force behind the whole operation.
“This had been a goal of mine since I began law school,” says Bulluck. “I knew I wanted to be a member of this organization, so I became a member at large, but it was something that was really important to me to see through until the end, not only for my own law school experience, but for others as well.”
Bulluck spent her first two years of law school trying to reinvigorate the MLSA club in the hopes that it would be the best avenue for the success of the BLSA chapter. She did all of the research about starting a chapter, made connections with other BLSA members, and went to the College of Law administration about that actual implementation.
“My law school journey would have been incomplete without this,” she explains. “You can’t talk about diversity at a school if you don’t have the inclusion infrastructure to maintain and support your minority students. I feel like we were able to make a significant contribution to the College that will be an asset for incoming minority students, and will hopefully inspire other minority groups to follow suit with their respective organizations.”
That is where Sarah Davis comes in. Davis knew that once she was on board, she’d be carrying the torch into the future for the BLSA chapter and the student competition.
“This isn’t just a one and done thing that we wanted to do,” says Davis. “I knew that by doing this, I was making a commitment to make sure that Wyoming remains active in the BLSA and has a chapter going forward.”
Davis believes that by sustaining the BLSA chapter, it really enriches the College of Law. It provides an opportunity for minority students to tap into an amazing network and national community, and an opportunity for other students to step out of their comfort zone and gain some valuable perspective and insight.
“The demographics of our student population are always a challenge here,” she comments. “While there is a commitment to doing better on that front, I hope that we can start getting students involved and excited about this organization early on in their law school career. It is such an important opportunity step out of our own comfort zones even if it is just to listen.”
If the creation and sustainability of the BLSA chapter was step one, the next obstacle was the competition.
The College of Law has several student competitions, many of which are negotiations competitions. Traditionally, the College has solicited outside support from law firms to sponsor a competition, which pays for the travel to bigger competitions. With no such infrastructure in place to support this particular endeavor, Bulluck and Davis decided to commit anyway and work to make the pieces fall together.
They signed up for the competition and began preparing, while at the same time trying to find support from other organizations on campus. They made appeals to ASUW, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the College of Law and were finally able to cover their expenses.
To prepare for the competition, Bulluck and Davis signed up for the College of Law local ABA Negotiations Competition. The wanted to gain a better understanding of competition rounds and to gel their technique, but the duo functioned as a cohesive unit from the get go.
“It was less about our ability to compete and more about our ability to communicate,” says Davis. “We didn’t know what the competition was going to be like, but we did know that we felt confident in our skills and ability to work together.”
Both students brought their skills to the table as well. As the Student Clinic Director for the Immigrant and Family Justice Clinic at the College of Law, Bullock has worked on multiple cases for clients state-wide to develop her abilities. Meanwhile, Davis has gained valuable experience in a local law firm, where her supervisor has allowed her to be extremely hands-on in legal proceedings. With their strong practical background, the team was a force to be reckoned with.
Since returning from the trip, Bulluck and Davis have been proactive in sharing their experience with their fellow law students in the hopes that others can pick up where they left off and expand on their experience going forward.
“This has been a tremendous opportunity for us, and I really encourage others to be bold, take risks, and pursue the unknown. You never know what knowledge you’ll gain,” encourages Bulluck.
One final silver lining that came of the connection to the NBLSA, is that Bulluck has submitted and been accepted for publication in Legal Pad, the official publication of the National Black Law Student Association. Her piece entitled, “Understanding the Barriers that Prevent Black Women from Seeking Legal Remedies for Domestic Violence and What Young Black Jurists Can Do,” is expected to be out in the upcoming spring issue.
The College of Law is extremely proud of Bulluck and Davis. Their initiative to better themselves, their commitment to equity and inclusion, and their determination to continually give back are qualities that we are excited to see endure well into their legal careers.
The College of Law will be hosting the annual Honors Banquet on April 13, 2018 at the UW Conference Center at the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie. The festivities will commence at 6:00 pm with a reception and cocktail hour, where visitors will have the opportunity to mingle with current law students and prestigious alumni. The Banquet will begin at 7:00 pm and will recognize named scholarship recipients in the current law school classes, the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, the Thurman Arnold Distinguished Supporter of the Law School Award recipient, as well as the inductees of the Order of the Coif, Honorary Order of the Coif, the Salt Creek Energy Excellence Scholarship recipient, and the announcement of the prestigious Clarence A. Brimmer Scholarship recipient.
Each year, the Dean’s Advisory Board, which also functions as the Law Alumni Board, is tasked with selecting the recipients for our Distinguished Alumni Awards. This year, the Board has selected the Honorable J. Wade Brorby, as well as James L. Applegate and Donald E. Chapin who are being honored posthumously.
Judge Brorby is originally from Omaha, Neb. He attended the University of Wyoming where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1956 and a Juris Doctor from the College of Law in 1958. Immediately following graduation, he served in the United States Air Force for three years before returning to Wyoming and opened a private law practice in Gillette. He was a partner in the firm Morgan & Brorby from 1961 to 1988, and also served as a County and Prosecuting Attorney for Campbell County from 1963 to 1970.
Nominated by President Ronald Reagan to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 1987, Judge Broby replaced Judge James E. Barrett on the Bench. Confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1988, Judge Brorby actively served on the Tenth Circuit for 23 years before electing to take senior status in 2001 and remains a Senior Judge to this day.
A Wyoming native, James Applegate grew up in Torrington. He attended Notre Dame
University for his undergraduate education, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1953. He then enlisted in the United States Marine Corp Reserves and served on active duty from 1953 to 1955. Upon completion of his term, he enrolled at the University of Wyoming College of Law and earned his LL.B. in 1958.
After graduating, Applegate embarked on a career in private practice and public service by helping to found the law firm Hirst & Applegate, LLP in Cheyenne, Wyo., in which he practiced law for over 50 years. In addition to his practice, Applegate also served as an Assistant City Attorney for Cheyenne from 1959 to 1962. Specializing in trial advocacy, Applegate earned a reputation of being a skilled litigator, arbitrator and advocate.
Applegate also spent time in the Wyoming Legislator, serving two terms in the Wyoming House of Representatives for District 8 from 1989 to 1997. During his time in the legislature, he was the minority floor leader.
A pillar of the Cheyenne community, Applegate was named Person of the Year by the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce in 1988, and he received the Community Spirit Award in 2011 from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Mr. Applegate passed away at the age of 75 in 2016.
Donald E. Chapin, who passed away in 2009, is the third recipient of the 2018 College of Law Distinguished Alumni Award. Born in St. Louis, Mo. and raised in Casper, Wyo., Chapin attended the University of Nebraska for his undergraduate work, before attending the University of Wyoming College of Law. He graduated with his law degree in 1949.
Following graduation, Chapin returned to Casper where he started the law firm Crowell & Chapin P.C. (which later became Crowell, Chapin & Dixon) where he practiced law for over 60 years.
In addition to the practice of law, he was a longtime philanthropist and supporter of education and the humanities. He was a founding member of the Tate Charitable Foundation in Casper, which is a non-profit that supports projects for children and the arts & humanities. In 2013, Chapin was honored for his work in the Foundation by the Natrona County Public Library which installed a statue in its entrance in his memory.
His areas of service extended to the greater University as well. Chapin served as a Board member for University of Wyoming Trustees from 1977 to 1989. He was awarded the Trustees’ Award of Merit in 1989 for his service to the University.
Also selected by the Dean’s Advisory Board annually, the Thurman Arnold Distinguished Supporter of the Law School Award is awarded to a non-alumnus that has gone above and beyond the norm to promote and develop the UW College of Law. This year is particularly special to the law school as former Professor Diane Courselle will be
honored for her service and dedication to the College of Law. Courselle tragically passed away in September 2016 after a lengthy illness. She continued to work with her students, right up until the end.
Originally from Saugerties, N. York, Professor Courselle served as a Professor at the College of Law for eighteen years and ran the Defender Aid Program. She was extremely passionate about her work, always believing that people deserve a second chance, and continuously represented those in need that could not help themselves.
Professor Courselle earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1987 from Fordham University, graduating with honors. After graduating from law school magna cum laude in 1991 from Loyola University School of Law, Professor Courselle clerked for Judge Henry A. Mentz of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and then for Judge Henry A. Politz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. She then served as an attorney with the Office of the Appellate Defender in New York City. She also served as a visiting assistant professor at the Loyola College of Law in New Orleans. She joined the ranks of the Wyoming law faculty in 1998.
In addition to her tireless efforts as an educator, mentor and scholar, she was a firm advocate for justice. She served on the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center and was a leader in efforts to pass the Wyoming’s Post-Conviction DNA Statute.
In addition to the Distinguished Alumni and Supporter Awards, the Honors Banquet recognizes an induction of an honorary member into the Order of the Coif. The Order of the Coif is a national honorary society that recognizes excellence in legal education. Membership is limited to students who graduated in the top 10% of their class, and to honorary members selected by schools with a Coif chapter. The University of Wyoming became a Coif chapter in 1985, however, the faculty selects one honorary member each year to induct into the society that graduated prior to the Wyoming chapter.
This year’s recipient is J. Nicholas Murdock. “Nick” Murdock graduated in 1969 from Creighton University with his Bachelors of Science in Mathematics and continued his general studies at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. from 1971 to 1973. He attended the University of Wyoming College of Law where he graduated with honors in 1977. While in law school, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Land and Water Law Review.
Murdock is an attorney at the Murdock Law Firm, P.C. in Casper, Wyo., which has been in operation since 1996. Prior to opening up his own practice, Murdock practiced at the law firm Cardine, Vlastos & Reeves in Casper, and subsequently started the firm Reeves & Murdock before venturing out as a solo practitioner.
Murdock’s principle areas of legal interest reside in oil & gas law and civil litigation. His expertise in trial advocacy have been an asset to the College of Law and he has even served as an Adjunct Professor for trial practice. His most recent contribution to the College of Law has been the creation of the Trial Practice Success Fund, which is used to provide scholarships for students studying trial advocacy. Most recently, students benefitting from the fund have been able to take the law school’s Alaska Summer Trial Institute course.
Murdock’s philanthropic endeavors also extend beyond the law school. He and his wife Maggi are enthusiastic supports of the UW Nordic Ski Team, the Student Juried Art Exhibition, and he has even taught classes at the University of Wyoming Casper branch for free.
Having excelled in his own academic career, Murdock has made so many valuable contributions to the College of Law in order to provide students with the best opportunity to succeed in their own educations. He has used his remarkable success and experience to continue to educate the next generation of lawyers, and the College of Law faculty was extremely pleased to recognize his accomplishments.
The College of Law is excited to recognize the achievements of these deserving honorees. The Honors Banquet is an open event and we invite anyone wishing to help celebrate the accomplishments of their friends and colleagues to attend. We ask that guests please RSVP to the event by filling out this online RSVP.
The University of Wyoming College of Law, in conjunction with the Tenth Circuit Historical Society will be hosting #1 New York Times Bestselling Author David Grann on Thursday, March 29, 2018 in the College of Law Room 178 at 12:00 PM. Mr. Grann will be giving a public lecture on his most recent publication, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, followed by a question and answer session and book signing opportunity.
The UW Bookstore will be on site during the event for those wishing to purchase a copy the book.
David Grann is a New Yorker writer and bestselling author. Grann’s latest book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, is a true crime tale that unravels one of the most sinister crimes and racial injustices in American history. With more than 30 weeks on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list, it was a finalist for the National Book Award and ranked #1 on both Shelf Awareness and Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in any category.
Refreshments will be provided at the public lecture and admission is free.
The University of Wyoming College of Law will host the fourth annual Spence Law Firm Historic Trial on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the College of Law Large Moot Court Room.
The College of Law, with collaboration from the Spence Law Firm, created the annual Historical Trial as a fun and interesting way to learn about important historical events through a legal lens, while also providing law students a way to simulate a trial of a high profile case.
The Spence Law Firm Historic Trial is a fictional mock trial that is created from the facts of a chronicled historic event. Prior historic trials have included putting John Wilkes Booth on trial for the assassination of President Lincoln, trying Wyoming Governor Amos Barber for his involvement in the Johnson County Cattle War, and a civil libel case revolving around the “no-no boys” at the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain during World War II. This year’s trial will put Captain Meriwether Lewis and his expedition subordinate, Private Silas Goodrich, on trial for the theft of a canoe from the Clatsop Tribe during the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition.
The cast of the trial will once again be filled with stand-out UW law students, alumni and professors, as well as prominent figures from around the state. Presiding over the trial will be City of Laramie Municipal Judge and College of Law Professor Dona Playton (B.S. ’89, J.D. ’93). Representing the United States will be United States Magistrate Judge for the District of Wyoming Kelly Rankin (B.S. ’90, J.D. ’94) along with third-year law student Andrea Sobel of Englewood, Colo. For the defense, attorney Kyle Ridgeway (J.D. ’12) of the Casper law firm Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C. will be working with UW law student Alexandra Disque of Byron, Minn. to represent Captain Lewis, while United States Marine Corp JAG officer Major Jessica Martz (J.D. ’11) will be working with third-year law student Noah Grovenstein of Powell, Wyo., to represent Private Goodrich.
Keeping in the spirit of the event, the cast will be in full costumes, and will try to be as historically accurate as possible. The trial itself, will utilize modern legal rules, procedures, and technology, but is a fun application of the law in a historical context.
The mock trial is free and open to the public. An overflow room with a live stream of the trial will be provided in the event of high occupancy. Refreshments will be provided at the break. For further inquiries, please contact Christine Reed at the College of Law Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hosted by the Rural Law Center at the University of Wyoming College of Law, the Farm and Ranch Conference is part of the Legal Aid of Nebraska Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, supported by a USDA grant.
The conference seeks to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers by delivering business succession planning. The conference is intended to contribute to that objective by giving beginning and retiring farmers and ranchers, and those who serve them, basic education about the legal, financial, and human issues related to estate and transition planning.
Featured speakers include: Jim Magagna, Wyoming Stock Growers Association; Cole Ehmke, UW Extension & Agriculture and Applied Sciences; Josh Johnson, Agribusiness, ANB Bank; Jenna Keller, Keller Law, LLC; and Frank Kelly, Mountain West Farm Bureau.
In addition to the substantive presentations, the conference will feature an added section of one on one advising sessions with the guest speakers for individuals with their specific farm and ranch transition questions.
The conference will begin promptly at 8:30 A.M. and conclude at 2:30 P.M. The individual advising sessions will be offered from 2:30 – 5:30 PM.
This conference is free and open to the public and includes lunch. Additionally, it is worth up to five hours of Continuing Legal Education credits with the Wyoming State Bar Association.
UW College of Law student Danielle Feland was recently offered and accepted a position with the Colorado Public Defender’s Office following graduation. Feland, a current third-year student, will graduate in May 2018 and is excited to embark on her legal career, landing her dream job straight out of the gate.
Originally from Antler, North Dakota, Feland is first generation college graduate and mainly grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado. She attended the University of Northern Colorado for her undergraduate education where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in English in 2013.
She came to the College of Law unsure of what she wanted to do, only that she wanted to help people. It was here through her experiences in the Legal Clinical Programs that Feland found her calling.
Feland participated in both the Defender Aid Clinic as well as the Civil Legal Services Clinic. The experience left her with a zeal for litigation and criminal law, and passion for defense work.
“The Civil Legal Services Clinic really gave me my first taste of litigation,” says Feland. “Under the mentorship of Professor Cover, I not only gained an incredible skillset in the courtroom, but I really came to appreciate that the reason we are there is for the client. It is all about them. Really embracing that mentality added a lot of value to the work that I was doing.”
Professor Cover is extremely complimentary about the work Feland produced in the Clinic.
“Danielle adapted to the client-centered model of client representation easily,” say Cover. “She was always willing to engage in an exploration not only of how the law fit the facts of her cases, but also how any possible resolution would impact her clients’ lives. She did not practice in the bubble of always being right about what path to take. Her trial preparation skills were intense and she was willing to take constructive critique when such feedback improved the outcomes for her client or made her clients’ positions more clear.”
While the Civil Legal Services Clinic equipped her with a client-based drive and fierce set of skills, Feland found she preferred criminal defense work through her experience in the Defender Aid Clinic.
“I got a really good taste of both civil and criminal law practice through the clinics,” says Feland. “It feels like such a luxury to have been on both sides and now know which I prefer.”
Taking that direction, Feland decided to do an externship with the Colorado Public Defenders office in order to gain more experience in the area that she loved. It was a perfect fit and led to a job offer.
Feland could not be happier about the opportunity.
“The job is perfect for me because it is criminal defense and service based,” she explains. “I don’t yet know where in Colorado I’ll actually be because they are going to send me to the town where there is the most need. I think that is so important that their system is focused on the client and the offices are oriented in a manner that allows them to best serve.”
The passion for service was something that Feland tried to practice in her daily life. While in law school, she participated in the Women’s Law Forum, the Multicultural Law Student Group, and volunteered to help during the many law student competitions. She even competed in last year’s Richard E. Day Client Counseling Competition, won, and went on to represent the College of Law at Regionals in Chicago.
She’s now taken that a step further and volunteered as a coach for the Laramie High School Mock Trial Team. With the help of her mentorship, the team swept the High School Mock Trial Competition and advanced to regionals.
“Law school has had a lasting impact on me regarding the need for social justice and public service,” says Feland. “I feel like it is really important to pass on that passion and light a fire in others.”
Her generosity was deeply appreciated by the Laramie High School Mock Trial Program.
According to the Director of the Program, Whitney Martin, Feland donated an incredible amount of time in serving as a judge and jury member for a number of dress rehearsals, as well as coached the students on their courtroom presence, and reviewed their case materials.
“It takes a unique personality to work effectively with high school students and Danielle was a wonderful fit,” says Martin. “She knew how to appropriately speak to and direct the students in her constructive criticism and praise of their work, and the students were drawn to her energy and thrived from her feedback. The Laramie High School Mock Trial Program is beyond grateful for Danielle’s efforts in volunteering and we hope to continue our relationship with such a promising law student and generous individual.”
The College of Law is extremely pleased to have students like Feland out in the world representing the University. We are excited for her to embark on a career with the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, and know that she will continue to make an extraordinary difference for those who need it most.