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Irma S. Russell Dean and Professor


Office: Law 140

Irma Russell became Dean of The University of Montana School of Law on July 1, 2009. Prior to coming to Montana, Dean Russell was the NELPI Professor and Director of the National Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Among the courses she has taught are Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, Natural Resources Law, Professional Responsibility, Administrative Law, Contracts, Environmental Law Seminar, International Environmental Law Seminar, Environmental Justice Seminar, Appellate Practice and Procedure, Sales and Leasing, Commercial Transactions, Legal Research and Writing, Appellate Advocacy, International Human Rights, International Business Transactions, Agency & Partnership, and Remedies.

Her recent publications include: The Power Structure: Energy, Politics, and the Public Interest in the LNG Debate, 2 Envtl. & Energy L. & Policy J. 49 (2007); chapter, Issues of Legal Ethics in Environmental Justice Matters (co-author: Joanne Sum-Ping) in The Law of Environmental Justice (Michael B. Gerrard & Sheila R. Foster eds., 2nd ed., ABA 2008); Measure for Measure: Professor Sunstein’s Use of Cost Benefit Analysis (Tulsa Law Review) (forthcoming); The Evolving Regulation of the Legal Profession: The Costs of Indeterminacy and Certainty, 2008 Prof. Law. 137 (A Centennial Celebration of the ABA Legacy of Lawyer Ethics). Her publications also include a book, Issues of Legal Ethics in the Practice of Environmental Law (ABA 2003). Dean Russell's publications may be accessed on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) at

Dean Russell is vice chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.  She is the chair of the Professionalism Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar and a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism. She also currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee and Secretary of the AALS Natural Resources Section. Dean Russell has served as chair of the Executive Committee of the AALS Section on Professional Responsibility and as a member of the Publications Committee of the Center for Professional Responsibility.

Dean Russell earned two undergraduate degrees (liberal arts and education), a master’s degree in English literature, and her law degree at the University of Kansas. She clerked for The Honorable James K. Logan, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Russell engaged in private practice for several years.

In practice, Russell represented potentially responsible parties, government entities, lenders, and other clients on issues arising under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), wetlands designation, site mitigation, and other environmental issues. She served as the Liaison of the ABA Environmental Section to the Association of American Law Schools and Chair of the Strategic Response Committee of the ABA Environmental Section. She also served as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ethics Committee, and as Section Liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She was founding Chair of the Memphis Bar Association Environmental Law Section and served as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Environmental Section. Dean Russell is an elected member of the American Law Institute, Phi Kappa Phi, the Judicial Conference for the Tenth Judicial Circuit, and the American Bar Association.