2015 Leonard v.B. Sutton Colloquium Panelist Biographies

Lakshman Guruswamy (Moderator and Distinguished Myles S, McDougal 2015 Lecturer) is the Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was born in Sri Lanka, and is a recognized expert in International Environmental and Energy Law. Lakshman teaches International Environmental Law, International Energy Law, and Energy Justice at CU. He is also the Director of the Center for Energy & Environment Security (CEES) of the University of Colorado. This is an interdisciplinary Center that seeks to find renewable energy solutions for the energy deficits confronting the globe, and pursues environmental justice for peoples of the developing world. Prior to joining the University of Colorado, he taught in Sri Lanka, the UK, and the Universities of Iowa and Arizona. Guruswamy is a frequent speaker at scholarly meetings in the US and around the world. He is the author of books traversing crucial aspects of international environmental and energy law, and is widely published in international energy and environmental law in legal and scientific journals.

Ved Nanda has taught at the University of Denver since 1965. In addition to his scholarly achievements, he is significantly involved in the global international law community. He is Past President of the World Jurist Association and now Honorary President, former honorary Vice President of the American Society of International Law and now its counselor, and a member of the advisory council of the United States Institute of Human Rights. He was formerly the United States Delegate to the World Federation of the United Nations Associations, Geneva, and Vice-Chair of its Executive Council, and also served on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Association-USA. He also serves as an elected member of the American Law Institute and as a council member for the American Bar Association Section of International Law. In 2006 Professor Nanda was honored with a $1 million founding gift from DU alumni Doug and Mary Scrivner to launch the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law. In February 2004, Professor Nanda was awarded the “Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for Community Peace Building” from Soka Gakkai International and Morehouse College. In 1990 in Beijing, China, Professor Nanda was presented with the “World Legal Scholar” award by the World Jurist Association. He was also the recipient of the United Nations Association Human Rights Award in 1997. He has received honorary doctorates from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan and from Bundelkhand University, Jhansi, India. He is widely published in law journals and national magazines, has authored or co-authored 22 books in the various fields of international law and over 180 chapters and major law review articles, and has been a Distinguished Visiting Professor and Scholar at a number of universities in the United States and abroad.

Julia Alvarez is Executive Director of Elephant Energy, a non-profit whose mission is to provide clean, portable energy technologies and effective energy solutions to remote, off-grid communities. Julia brings nearly a decade of nonprofit experience to her role with Elephant Energy. After spending five years as a social change consultant, helping U.S. based organizations work more effectively and efficiently, Julia is thrilled to be back in international development. Julia received her BA in international studies from Kenyon College and her MA in international peace studies from the UN mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. In addition to her consulting work, Julia has experience as a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. and as a facilitator of youth leadership development workshop. Having lived, traveled and worked globally, Julia is excited to have an opportunity to help share sustainable light with communities around the world.

Carla Fredericks is Director of the American Indian Law Clinic and Director of the American Indian Law Program (AILP). A graduate of the University of Colorado and Columbia Law School, Fredericks began teaching at Columbia Law School in New York, teaching Columbia’s Legal Practice seminar, focused on development of research, writing and appellate advocacy skills and working with Columbia’s National NALSA moot court competition team. Previously a partner at Milberg LLP in New York, Fredericks founded Milberg’s Native American practice and directed the firm’s civil/human rights litigation. She is an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation of North Dakota. Fredericks leads a year-long clinic at CU in which students may represent American Indian tribes, organizations, and individuals. Fredericks is also of counsel to Fredericks, Peebles and Morgan LLP, focusing on complex and appellate litigation and Native American affairs. She is chair of the Board of Trustees for the Mashantucket Pequot (Western) Endowment Trust, and has been appointed by the American Indian College Fund as its representative to the Indian Education Scholarship Holding Fund as part of the Cobell v. Salazar settlement.

Frederico Cheever (Moderator) is a Professor of Law at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. Fred is the Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the Sturm College of Law. After graduating from Stanford University (B.A./M.A. 1981) and UCLA (J.D. 1986), and clerking for Judge Harry Pregerson of United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Los Angeles (1986-1987), he came to Denver as an Associate Attorney for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (1987-1989). Between 1990 and 1993, he worked as an associate at the law firm of Faegre & Benson, in Denver. He began teaching at the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law in 1993 specializing in Environmental Law, Wildlife Law, Public Land Law, Land Conservation Transactions and Property. Between 2009 and 2014, Professor Cheever was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Sturm College of Law. Professor Cheever writes extensively about the Endangered Species Act, federal public land law and land conservation transactions. He is co-author of a natural resources casebook, Natural Resources Law: A Place-Based Book of Problems and Cases, with Christine Klein and Bret Birdsong (3rd Ed. 2013).

John Dernbach is Distinguished Professor of Law at Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Director of that school’s Environmental Law and Sustainability Center. Professor Dernbach has written on sustainable development, climate change, and other topics in more than 40 articles for law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, and has authored, coauthored, or contributed chapters to more than 20 books. He leads the only national project that comprehensively assesses U.S. sustainability efforts and makes recommendations for future efforts. As part of that project, he is the principal author of Acting as if Tomorrow Matters: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability (Environmental Law Institute Press 2012) and the editor of Agenda for a Sustainable America (ELI Press 2009) and Stumbling Toward Sustainability (ELI Press 2002).
Professor Dernbach coauthored an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 18 prominent climate scientists in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. He was a member of the National Research Council Committee that, in Sustainability and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011), made recommendations on how to institutionalize sustainability at EPA. His writings were extensively cited by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in its landmark 2013 decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which has reinvigorated the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution. Before taking his teaching position at Widener, Professor Dernbach worked in a variety of positions at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and served most recently as that agency’s policy director.

Kathleen Staks works to develop and implement policy regarding energy development across the state. She advises and coordinates with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety and the Governor’s office. Prior to joining DNR, Kathleen worked at Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) as the Program Director for Open Space and Parks and Wildlife. In that position, she oversaw land conservation grant programs and managed the relationship between GOCO and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Before working at GOCO, Kathleen worked on land conservation policy with the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts. Kathleen has a law degree from the University of Denver and a journalism degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Matt Sura is an oil and gas attorney who specializes in the representation of land owners, mineral owners, and local governments. From 1996-2008 Matt worked with Western Colorado Congress – a non-profit organization based in Grand Junction, Colorado. During his time on the Western Slope, Matt worked with rural residents and communities that were struggling with oil and gas development that was occurring on their land and throughout the region. Now based in Boulder, he continues to assist families, communities, and local governments in their negotiations and legal disputes with the oil and gas industry. Matt’s practice also emphasizes real estate law, environmental law, and administrative law.

K.K. DuVivier (Moderator) has worked as a field geologist, practicing attorney, and has taught at the law school level since 1990 both at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. In addition to her 2011 book, The Renewable Energy Reader, she has over 100 publications. Her next book, and Energy Law test, is due out in 2015. Her current research focuses on hurdles to renewable energy, with a special emphasis on wind and solar.

Jacqueline Weaver is the A.A. White Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center. Her teaching and research interests cover oil and gas law, energy law and policy, international petroleum, and environmental and natural resources law. She is a co-author of the nationally used casebook titled Energy, Economics and the Environment, and the treatise International Petroleum Exploration & Exploitation Agreements (Barrows Publishing 200 9). She also coauthors the Texas Law of Oil and Gas, a 3-volume treatise updated annually. She has lectured on topics in international petroleum transactions in Africa (Uganda, Angola and Namibia), Kazakhstan (as a Fulbright scholar), Lisbon, Bangkok and Beijing and is a frequent conference speaker in the US. She has written articles on energy markets, sustainable development in the international oil industry, comparative unitization laws in oil -producing nations, energy policy, and traditional oil and gas law topics. Professor Weaver holds a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University, a Candidate of Philosophy degree in Economics from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a J.D. degree from the University of Houston Law Center .She worked in Corporate Planning and Marketing for Exxon Co. USA from 1971 to 1976.

Troy Rule is an Associate Professor of Law at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and is the Faculty Director of ASU’s Program on Law and Sustainability. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School in 2005, where he served on the Chicago Journal of International Law and was John M. Olin Student Fellow in Law & Economics. Prior to entering academics, Professor Rule was an attorney at K&L Gates LLP in Seattle, where his practice focused primarily on real estate transactions and wind energy development. His research on property and regulatory issues involving wind energy, solar energy, and domestic drones has been published in such journals as the UCLA Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and Boston University Law Review. He is also author of Solar, Wind and Land: Conflicts in Renewable Energy Development (Routledge, 2014).

Kristi Disney is an attorney licensed in Colorado and is SDSG’s Executive Director. Kristi is a graduate of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where she completed J.D. and LL.M degrees, with specializations in Environmental Law & Policy and International Resources Transactions Law & Policy. Originally from East Tennessee, Kristi received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she majored in social work and minored in journalism and economics. Prior to her work with SDSG, Kristi worked on international trade and development issues in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, India, Cuba, and Brazil; provided services to victims of violence and war trauma in the U.S., Ireland, and Bosnia-Herzegovina; and worked on toxic tort claims at a leading personal injury law firm in New York City.