Ryan Frank, Editor-In-Chief
Ryan grew up in Billings, MT and spent time in the Beartooth Mountains. He earned his B.S. in Economics from Montana State University. During college, he interned with The Property and Environment Research Center; this internship solidified his interest in law and policy as they relate to environmental issues. Ryan is now pursuing his J.D. and Masters of Public Administration at UM. When not in the law school, he enjoys snowboarding, trail running, surfing, and hanging out with his dog, Finn.
Kirsten Gerbatsch, Conference Editor
Kirsten earned her B.A. from Reed College. Since then, Kirsten served two terms as a FoodCorps (AmeriCorps) service member in Michigan, then moved to Montana to manage the state FoodCorps program. In Montana, Kirsten turned toward politics and policy advocacy. She worked on state legislative campaigns and went on to serve as the deputy communications director at the Montana Budget and Policy Center to advance progressive economic policies and elevate the voices of Montanans marginalized from decision-making power. Now, Kirsten is pursuing a J.D. because she is passionate about centering Native voices in climate change accountability and holding the government accountable to protect the ecosystems and communities she loves. Kirsten also likes to ski uphill and float rivers while identifying lichen and wildflower species.
Taylor Simpson, Publication Editor
Taylor grew up in Rome, Georgia. Running and climbing the ridges and valleys of Northwest Georgia are what first inspired Taylor to become interested in conservation. Soon after moving to Montana for college, Taylor realized he could never leave the West. He earned a degree in conservation biology and ecology from Montana State University where he worked in the Plant Ecophysiology Lab. After interning with the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in Bozeman, MT he realized it was time to put down the test tubes for case books and attend law school. After a year of being a ski bum at Bridger Bowl, Taylor moved to Missoula to pursue both a J.D. and a masters in environmental studies. He is not sure where his path will take him after law school, only that it will be in the West protecting the lands he has fallen in love with.
Jo Phippin, Publication Editor
Jo grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and is a big Ravens fan. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and B.S. in Criminology from Virginia Tech while working as a wrangler in Greenough, Montana during the summers. She moved to Montana full-time as soon as she graduated. Prior to pursuing her J.D., Jo interned with Planned Parenthood, worked at 406 Brewing Company, and continued to explore Montana’s wilderness. When she isn’t at the law school, you can find Jo on a trail, on a horse, or on a chairlift.
Henry O'Brien, Managing Editor
Henry grew up in Seattle and went to undergrad at the University of Washington. After getting his degree, he worked as an electrical engineer in the construction industry in Seattle and then New Orleans. Henry came back West to Montana for law school to be closer to the roadless areas of public land where he likes to spend his free time.
Liz Forster, Managing Editor
Liz Forster grew up in southwestern Connecticut among the maples and oaks. She headed west to Colorado for undergraduate, where she majored in Environmental Policy and minored in Journalism. For two years after graduating, Liz worked as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s environment reporter. Her time with the Gazette exposed her to the on-the-ground hurdles in effective environmental management, specifically forest and wildfire management. She thereafter turned to the law in hopes of helping facilitate collaborative and science-driven management policies.
Holly Seymour, Business and Technology Editor
Holly grew up in Montana, and attended the University of Montana for her undergraduate studies in Political Science and Spanish. After graduating, she spent two years working for a local Missoula environmental nonprofit before returning to graduate school to earn a master's degree in Environmental Studies. Her passion for protecting water and wild places in her home state led her to jointly pursue a law degree. Holly spends her free time playing on Montana's beautiful rivers with her two dogs.
Aspen was raised in Ninemile, Montana by wildland firefighters. She recieved her B.S. from University of Montana while spending field seasons in the Bob Marshall Wilderness working on forest dynamic projects for the Forest Ecology Lab. After graduation, she worked as a reserach ecologist on forestry, disturbance regimes, and ecosystem resiliency projects in places like Iceland, Utah, and Mexico. Aspen is now pursuing a J.D and Masters of Public Administration at Univesrity of Montana to help bridge the gaps between science and management by supporting science-driven policy and actionable climate change mitigation efforts. In the winter, Aspen coaches sking for Missoula Freestyle Team and spends her free time backcountry skiing. Any other time of year she is focused on climbing, trail running, and figuring out how to bikepack.
Gina grew up in Hamilton, Montana, and the surrounding Saphire and Bitterroot ranges. At Montana State University, she pursued her love of reading, majoring in History, and later earned her teaching certification. Gina was fortunate to teach for two years in Kasigluk-Akiuk, located within the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska, before returning to Montana for Law School. When not in school, Gina is on the lookout for small trout, huckleberries, and discount lift tickets.
Clare grew up in Cleveland, Ohio before moving south to pursue a degree in biological science at the University of Alabama. After graduation, she moved to Montana for what she thought would be a three-month internship in the Centennial Valley. She never left; and spent the past four years working for the Centennial Valley Association on invasive species management, environmental education, and predator-conflict reduction. She hopes to combine this grassroots conservation experience with a legal education to advocate for and protect the West’s working landscapes. In her free time, she enjoys trail running, horseback riding, skiing, and spending time with her hound dog named Sadie.
Valan grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He graduated from Allegheny College near Pittsburgh with a degree in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. He then moved out all the way to Montana to pursue his master’s in Environmental Philosophy. Afterwards, he worked on environmental advocacy and political campaigns before deciding to pursue a law degree, hoping to specialize in environmental and public interest law. He’s a hiker, weightlifter, poet, drag king, and devoted cat dad.
Originally from Columbia Falls, Montana, Quenton grew up exploring the public lands in the northwestern portion of the Treasure State. He earned his B.S. in Economics from Towson University in Maryland and his M.B.A. from Sam Houston State University in Texas before returning to Montana with a newfound appreciation for his home state's great outdoors. When not in school, he enjoys skiing, hiking, and hanging out with his dog, Bode.
Originally from Helena, Malcolm grew up playing all over Montana. When he was a kid, he hunted along the Tongue River in southeastern Montana and backpacked in the Bob during the summer. Now he loves to paddle, ski, and run everywhere in between. The responsibility to care for and protect the communities and places that fill his cup became part of his worldview early on. Malcolm is excited to continue helping expand upon the strong legal foundation environmental advocates built around the same vision. Onward!
Born and raised in Billings, MT, Zachary completed his undergraduate degree in political science at Montana State University before working on political campaigns at the state and federal level. Impacted by the ever-worsening housing crisis, he led a tenants union, wrote and researched housing policy, and served as a consultant on the subject to local officials and local and national media outlets. A stint living and working closely with field workers in Mexico convinced him that too few of the critical voices have a say in our relationship to land and each other in the West. Focused on tribal and federal Indian law, he hopes to use his background and legal skills to change that. When not working, he loves to spend time with a wild and curious 4-year-old, play music, and break New Year’s resolutions.
Paul was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and raised in Bayfield Colorado. He subsequently moved to Missoula to attend the University of Montana, where he majored in History (emphasis in Islamic Studies) and Political Science. Before attending Law School, Paul was a raft guide for five years as well as a cameraman where he worked for the Montana Tourism board and on shows such as Mountain Men. He also enjoys backpacking, hiking, fishing, and traveling. After Law School, he hopes to become a Judge Advocate General for the United States Army.
Alec grew up in Bozeman and was a competitive swimmer in his youth. As with any good Montanan he enjoys skiing, hiking, and backpacking. His favorite range is the Beartooth, but he has spent time exploring the Crazies, Winds, and Tobacco Roots. Alec has always pursued a greater understanding of our world so he attended MSU to study Biochemistry. After recognizing the large amount of work needed to sustain and protect our environment and realizing that navigating bureaucracy was key to accomplish this, he decided to attend law school. He can be found in the mountains taking photos and chasing down his energetic dog, Bo.
Professor Michelle Bryan
Professor Michelle Bryan teaches in the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Program and is Co-Director of the Land Use & Natural Resources Clinic, which works on behalf of Montana governments and is among only a few such clinics nationwide. She has been honored to receive the Garlington, Lohn & Robinson Faculty Teaching Award and the Margery Hunter Brown Faculty Merit Award for her professionalism in the classroom, her research, and her public service. Growing up in farming and ranching communities in the West, Professor Bryan was drawn to the fields of natural resources and environmental law. Before joining the law faculty, she worked in private practice representing a variety of clients including local governments, private landowners, non-profits, developers, and affected neighbors and community groups. She brings this diversity of perspective to her scholarship, her teaching, and her work with government clients. Her current research interests include the relationship between land and water use, planning in an age of climate change, the balancing of environmental and land use rights, and the role of public trust in water use. Outside of teaching, Professor Bryan has served as board member and past president of the Montana Justice Foundation. She enjoys hiking, fly fishing, and exploring the vast spaces Montana. Professor Bryan graduated from The University of Montana School of Law with high honors and served as an editor of the Montana Law Review. Prior to law school she was a policy specialist for the Water Resources Center in Bozeman, Montana.
Professor Monte Mills
Monte Mills is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. He teaches a variety of Indian law courses and works with clinical students on a range of legal matters in the Indian Law Clinic. Prior to joining the faculty at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana, Monte was the Director of the Legal Department for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe in Colorado, an in-house counsel department that he helped organize and implement in 2005 following completion of a unique two-year in-house attorney training program. As Director of the Tribe's Legal Department, Monte represented and counseled the Tribe on a broad array of issues, including litigation in tribal, state and federal courts, legislative matters before the Colorado General Assembly and the United States Congress, and internal tribal matters such as contracting, code-drafting, and gaming issues.