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We asked several of our students to respond to the following questions:
1. Why did you choose the University of Denver’s Graduate Environmental & Natural Resource Law & Policy Program?
2. What do you like about the program?
3. What advice do you have for prospective applicants?
Sonia Marcela Nunez Orduz, LLM’13
Since I studied law in Colombia, I have been interested in Energy law, Sustainable Development, and Renewable Energy Law. This interest led me to pursue my masters in Environmental and Natural Resource Law and Policy studies. I chose the University of Denver because of its excellence and its national and international reputation as a specialized university in the area of environmental and natural resources law, as well as its highly educated, experienced, and professional staff.
What I like about the program is the open-door relationship between students and faculty members. Also, I like the wide array of courses the program offers with national and international approaches. Moreover, I like the opportunity to pursue two specializations during the program, as well as the opportunity to complement knowledge learned in the classroom with the externship program the university offers to its national and international alumni.
If you are interested in environmental or natural resources law with either national or international context, I strongly recommend studying at the University of Denver, one of the U.S. premier institutions for legal education. On the other hand, if you love outdoor activities Denver is the best place to live due to the variety of year-round activities for every interest and skill level.
Darracott Osawe, LLM’13
Nigeria; BL and LLB
I decided to undertake the program basically for two reasons. First, I am a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Benin, in Nigeria, where I was involved in research into various aspects of Environmental Law. Furthermore, I am the litigating counsel for Climate Change Africa (CCA), a non-governmental organization in Nigeria committed to advocating for the protection of the environment and natural resources. My friends in Nigeria recommended the University of Denver to me as a place where I can acquire the academic knowledge and training needed to succeed in this endeavor.
I like the small size of the class which enables the professors to teach and relate with students on a personal level. I also like the crop of smart, dedicated and intelligent professors who are always willing and available to impact knowledge. Lastly, Prof. Don Smith and Lucy Daberkow are a balancing factor in the program. They are patient, understanding and always available to provide an atmosphere which would enable students get the best from the program.
My advice to prospective applicant is that if they wish to acquire knowledge in a first class university outstanding and committed to teaching and research into various aspects of interesting courses like International and Comparative Mining Law, Natural Resources Law, Oil and Gas Law and Energy Law, they should think of no other university than the University of Denver.
Allen Wilson, MRLS’13
Pennsylvania; BS and MBA
After several years experience in consulting, I have been exposed to all aspects of business. Looking forward though, I felt the area I was most interested in was the environment. Particularly, I see renewable energy and sustainability as key growth areas that tie well to business. I wanted to have the opportunity to advance my understanding of the issues that can both bolster and hinder such growth. I chose the University of Denver’s Master in Natural Resources Law Studies because of the strong curriculum and excellent reputation in these areas.
What I find most attractive about the program is its reputation. DU Sturm College of Law’s reputation stems from both a diverse student body and a renowned faculty. The students bring international experience, legal experience, and practical work experience to class discussions, making for concrete examples of real world problems. The faculty have tremendous experience as well from which to draw and often bring in other outside experts to add to the lectures from a practitioner’s view point. This may be a legal perspective, but just as often guests may come from business, government, or engineering to offer insights and real-world knowledge.
When considering the available options, prospective applicants need to know that the DU community brings a wealth of opportunities. From weekly lectures to a very helpful library staff to a faculty that really wants to make sure they impart a real understanding of complex issues. Also, be open to learning new topics. The school has so much to offer.
Felipe Abreu, LLM’12
Brazil; MBA and JD
I decided to attend the ENRL program at DU because I knew that it will prepare me to better understand all issues related to Natural Resources, and because it is not only recognized as one of the best ENRL LLM programs in the world, but it was highly recommended by some my co-workers and friends who took this course and were pleased with the whole background that they got.
The structure of the course, the high qualification of the professors, the background of the students selected, and the kindness and efforts of the administrators to make the DU ENRL LLM program the best course in the world. In short, everything!
I would tell them that they don’t need to be concerned about anything. The program is already wholly structured to extract the best of each student.
Ryan Donlon, LLM’12
California; BA, JD and LLM
From practicing law for seven years previously, I had some experience in environmental litigation and the international energy industry, but I wanted to advance my education and credentials so that I could truly focus my career on natural resource law. I chose DU’s program because of its complete curriculum in domestic and international natural resource law and its international student body.
The diversity of the student body. In my classes there are students from Peru, Chile, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and others, who offer different and valuable legal perspectives. Also, they’re not just lawyers and law students. There are many industry representatives which give classroom discussions a unique dimension.
If you are interested in environmental or natural resources law, especially in the international context, strongly consider DU’s program.
Yewande Adeyemo, MRLS‘12
I felt that this program would provide me with a good education in a field I want to pursue in my future career.
I like the small size of the graduate program at DU as well as the selection of courses offered.
It helps to have an idea of what subject matter you are interested in within the natural resources field but sometimes one finds that other areas of the natural resources field are more suited to one’s interests. Basically it helps to have an open mind.
Tom Bayly, MRLS’12
First and foremost, my wife (fiancée at the time) became interested in the program, and introduced me to it. Otherwise, I likely would have never stumbled upon this program. At the time, I was seeking a way to enter the solar power industry in Maryland. I was contemplating a number of options, from getting an MBA, to knocking on a bunch of doors of solar companies asking if I could help install panels. Upon researching DU, I began to see this program as perhaps the best way to position myself in the energy (and specifically solar) industry. It also served as an adventure for us newlyweds.
I like the content of most of the courses. The people in the program are cool and from a wide array of backgrounds. The teachers are good. The mountains are nice. Lucy and Professor Smith are legit.
My advice hinges on how strong of a notion you have for what you want to do professionally. I would say don’t be naïve, realize that this program is expensive, and will likely follow you for years after you are done. It’s not really a good thing to do to kill time or to satisfy a whim. If that’s what you’re looking for, go hang out in an inexpensive foreign country, learn a new language, and don’t deal with student loans. Having said that, if this subject matter is your cup of tea, go for it. There’s a lot of work involved, but you will receive a good education and perhaps even a little inspiration.
Eduardo Paseta, LLM’12
Peru, BL and LLB
Having worked for about 8 years in mining and environmental law, I decided to expand my knowledge in the field and pursue a master’s degree. In 2010 I decided to search for a specialized LLM program that could build over my expertise in mining, environmental and natural resources law, rather than a general LLM program. Hence, after searching several LLM programs in the United States and Europe, I realized that the DU ENRLP contains all the requirements and specialized courses that I was looking for. Also, I had the opportunity to receive excellent references from other colleagues in my country, who followed the program in the past. The other aspect that I considered in choosing this program is the city where DU is located, which offers great outdoor activities all year long. Since we came here, my wife (who is also an LLM student) and I are having a great living experience in Denver.
The most important aspect about the program is that it is designed not only for US students but for international students as well, unlike many other LLM programs. The curriculum contains several courses of environmental and natural resources law with an international perspective, which is very attractive for international students. Therefore, in my case, I am learning a lot about mining and environmental law with a valuable international perspective, which will contribute significantly to my professional career. Lastly, I have to recognize the high quality of the professors who are teaching the LLM, which is an added value to the program.
My advice would be that DU’s ENRLP is an excellent complement in the career of a lawyer practicing environmental law and natural resources, especially for international professionals. They should have the confidence that they will receive kind assistance from the staff in the program.
Veronica Morelli, LLM’12
Peru, BL and LLB
Because I was practicing law in the energy sector for 7 years, I decided to pursue an LLM program that could expand my expertise in that field, as well as in environmental and natural resources law and policy. After a thoroughly evaluation of the different options in the market, I decided to attend the LLM in Natural Resources and Environmental Law and Policy of Denver University, not only for being a highly ranked program, but also for its well defined course menu, its high quality professors, and its wonderful location in Denver, which is a wonderful city full of amenities and outdoor activities.
I like the “package” offered by the LLM program, which includes a broad range of very well designed and up to date courses in the field of natural resources and environmental law; excellent and experienced professors; a friendly environment at campus; and a wide range of resources and facilities to support your learning experience.
If their interest is in natural resources and/or environmental law, this is the place to be. Some LLM’s focus only on one sector of the natural resources; however, this program offers you a wide range of courses in all the types of natural resources, and the possibility of having 1 or 2 Mentions depending on your orientation within the curricula. In addition, in terms of environmental law, this program would provide students a valuable international perspective, which is necessary for the environmental law practitioners nowadays.