Student Law Office

Fall 2017 Student Law Office Newsletter

The 2017–2018 U.S. News & World Report law school rankings placed the University of Denver Sturm College of Law's Clinical Program 13th, marking the seventh consecutive year that the clinical programs have been ranked among the top 20 in the U.S. Denver Law has also been recognized as the nation's 9th best school for practical training by the National Jurist.

Environmental Law Clinic Argues Against Oil & Gas Developer

On October 12, 2017, Environmental Law Clinic (ELC) students Travis Parker and Erica Montague, both second-year students, argued in Denver City and County District Court on behalf of a neighborhood group in Greeley, Colorado claiming that a state agency was failing to follow its regulations when approving large oil and gas development projects in residential communities.

The lawsuit, Neighbors Affected by Triple Creek v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, is the first challenge to an approval of an oil and gas development subject to the Commission’s new Large Urban Mitigation Area regulations. Over the 11 months following the filing of the Neighbors’ complaint, ELC student attorneys filed briefs and successfully prevented the Commission and Industry-Intervenors from relying on documents outside of the administrative record to provide a post-hoc rationalization for the Commission’s approval of the 22-well development in the middle of multiple residential developments in western Greeley. The court's ruling on best management practices and mitigation measures represents the first successful challenge to the permitting of an oil and gas development in close proximity to a community in Colorado.
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Fulbright Scholar in Ghana

This year, Associate Professor Robin Walker Sterling is teaching and researching as a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ghana School of Law in Accra. Walker Sterling is the first clinical professor at Denver Law to receive a Fulbright award. Walker Sterling is presenting a series of lectures as part of the Gender and the Law course, and is teaching a seminar on juvenile justice issues to Ph.D. students. “I am so lucky to work with this group of students, who are from all over the continent – I have students from Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Teaching them has really helped me advance my thinking about juvenile justice, the tie between our country’s recent move away from rehabilitative principles and the erosion of informal social institutions, and the ways that juvenile system stakeholders can reify the commonsense notion that system-involved children should not be treated the same as system-involved adults. I hope they are learning from me as much as I am learning from them.” Read More

Civil Litigation Clinic Represents Asylum Seekers

This fall, with the help of adjunct professor Theresa Vogel, the Civil Litigation Clinic has been able to represent individuals seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and asylum as well as individuals in immigration detention seeking bond. At this halfway point in the semester, second and third year students litigated more than twenty cases in the Denver and Jefferson County Courts! As practitioners in these fields know, these types of cases involve discrete legal matters with no formal discovery. Thus the student attorneys have been able to represent these clients from start to finish, providing a unique educational opportunity that compliments the longer-lasting and more complex civil litigation opportunities provided by the law school’s Environmental Law and Civil Rights clinics. Read More

Legal Externship Program Continues to Grow

In 2016-17, Denver Law's Legal Externship Program placed 418 students in more than 520 externships, and worked with over 310 supervisors. Summer enrollment alone increased by 50 percent. As always, our students engaged in a robust set of activities, growing their skills and impacting real people and real issues. Students wrote petitions of certiorari for Colorado Supreme Court justices, helped lawyers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prepare for a trial regarding religious discrimination for Muslim workers, crafted arguments for cutting edge litigation regarding the cannabis industry, and supported a state task force pursue legislation on mental health support for the criminal justice system, among many other experiences. Read More

Reflections from the First Class of Clinic Fellows

In the summer of 2015, our first class of clinical graduate fellows matriculated in Denver Law’s Clinical Teaching Fellowship LLM program. Clinical Fellows are enrolled in a three-year program during which they are in residence at one of the Denver Law’s in-house clinics, where they learn clinical supervision, classroom teaching, and have the opportunity to develop as scholars. Two and a half years later, our Fellows are now in the last year of their fellowships. During that time, they’ve grown into thoughtful teachers, emerging scholars, and wonderful colleagues. While it will be difficult to "push them out of the nest," we’re looking forward to having them join the wonderful nationwide community of clinical teachers. Click here to read their reflections about their fellowships.

Clinic Faculty Highlights

Patience Crowder, "What’s Art Got to do With It?: A Rebellious Lawyer Mindset in Transactional Practice," 23 Clinical L. Rev. 53 (2016).

Danielle Jefferis (Visiting Professor), “Institutionalizing Statelessness: Residency Rights in East Jerusalem,” East Jerusalem after Fifty Years of Israeli Occupation and Prospects for the Future (2017).

Tamara Kuennen, "Domestic Violence Dynamics and the Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Families," (Aug. 17, 2017, Denver CO) (with Amy Pohl).

Chris Lasch, Jose Sabino Espino-Paez v. State of Colorado. Prof. Lasch argued before the Colorado Supreme Court, raising the important question of what procedural protections the State of Colorado will afford to criminal defendants who are subjected to immigration removal proceedings on the basis of a guilty plea entered without the effective assistance of counsel.

Kevin Lynch, "A Fracking Mess: Just Compensation for Regulatory Takings of Oil and Gas Property Rights," 43 Colum. J. of Envtl. L. (forthcoming 2018).

Laura Rovner, “Everything Is at Stake if Norway Is Sentenced. In that Case, We Have Failed”: Solitary Confinement and the “Hard” Cases in the United States and Norway, 1 UCLA Crim. J. L. Rev. 77 (2017).

Robin Walker Sterling, "Narrative and Justice Reinvestment," __ Denver L. Rev. ___ (2017).

Lindsey Webb, "Positive Disruption: Addressing Race in a Time of Social Change Through a Team-Taught, Reflection-Based, Outward-Looking Law School Seminar," (co-authored with Alexi Freeman), ___ U. Pa. J. Law & Social Change ___ (forthcoming 2018).

More clinic faculty highlights

Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208