Brett Berntsen, Managing Editor
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Brett came to Montana for a summer trail work job and hasn’t strayed far since. He completed his undergraduate degree in Journalism at the University of Montana and worked as a newspaper reporter for several years before growing interested in law. Brett enjoys nearly all outdoor activities, however his passion for fishing tends to control his more of his spare time.
Dan Brister, Editor-In-Chief
The son of a Cape Cod fisherman, Dan first experienced wilderness from his father’s boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Backpacking and snowboarding led him first to the Green Mountains of Vermont, then to the Rockies of Montana, where he’s lived since 1996. He earned a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont and an M.S. in environmental studies from the University of Montana. Dan’s two decades of experience working to protect wild bison in and around Yellowstone inspired his book of essays, In the Presence of Buffalo. Dan lives at the base of the Mission Mountains with his wife Andrea and four-year-old daughter Pearl. He is pursuing a law degree to become a more effective advocate for the wild lands and species of the West.
Hallee Kansman, Conference Editor
Hallee grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and is a major Detroit Sports fanatic. She earned her B.S. from Eastern Michigan University, and when she wasn’t in preseason for soccer, traveled across the country to visit national parks. From 12 years of hiking and camping in Montana, she fell in love with Glacier National Park. So much so, that she decided to continue her education in Montana. Hallee is pursuing a joint J.D. and Public Administration Masters at UM, and is also working on an environmental certificate. If you don’t see her at the school, you can probably find her on a trail!
Thomas Mooney-Myers, Conference Editor
Thomas grew up in north Seattle and did his undergraduate studies in southern California. Post-undergrad, he alternated summers in Alaska guiding kayak and fishing trips with winters in Utah as a ski patroller. Interactions with various natural resource issues across the West and a contentious unionization process led him to law school, where he has focused his studies in natural resource and criminal law.
Aaron Rains, Publication Editor
Aaron grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota where he developed a keen interest in the natural world around him. After bouncing around the West chasing the visions of Jack Kerouac and Edward Abbey he landed in Bozeman where he completed a B.A. and M.S. in land resource and environmental science at Montana State University and a not-so-brief stint ski patrolling. After law school Aaron would like to work in natural resource management and public land conservation. In his free time Aaron enjoys informally studying snow hydrology, the invertebrate diet of the Oncorhynchus genre, and the behavioral patterns of Cervus canadensis nelsoni.
Layne Ryerson, Business Editor
Layne grew up in Helena, Montana. He graduated from Carroll College with a degree in environmental science, and was a member of the Carroll College track team. He spent the last five summers fighting fire with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and as a result, has developed a passion for the enjoyment and protection of the great outdoors. He enjoys tennis, running, and anything else that gets him outside.
Seth Sivinski, Publication Editor
Seth grew up in Seattle Washington where he explored the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. He went to college at the University of Wyoming, where he studied political science. In Wyoming, Seth continued to explore the outdoors and was part of a small community of dedicated climbers who worked to find and develop new climbing areas around Wyoming and Northern Colorado. After traveling the U.S for a year, Seth went to graduate school at the University of Washington where he received focused on Arctic environmental issues and received a master’s degree. Seth spent the following year in Washington D.C. where he saw that he could have more of an impact by pursuing a law career.
Bradley Tinker, Business Editor
Bradley grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2012, after ten years of racing motorcycles competitively, he attended the University of New Mexico. He graduated in three years, with one being spent in Barcelona. He went on to receive an M.B.A. from Boise State University focused on sustainability and social responsibility. After law school, he intends to practice law while he enjoys sunshine, the outdoors, and traveling.
Mitchell WerBell, Managing Editor
Mitch was raised in Kennesaw, Georgia, and while he loves all things Georgia (e.g., Athens, the Atlanta Braves, and the Allman Brothers), the Blue Ridge Mountains shaped him. He explored the rivers and forests around Boone, North Carolina by whitewater kayak, climbing rope, and mountain bike, earning his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University in 2011. Prior to law school, Mitch was a city planner, a career that developed his passions for the built form, efficient and transparent government, and the intricacies of the law and land use. Outside of the law, Mitch likes kayaking, fly fishing, bird hunting, and watching Georgia football.
Originally from Great Falls, Montana, Seth has enjoyed exploring the numerous trails, state and national parks Montana has to offer. Having meandered throughout the state, he has grown to appreciate its vast and diverse landscape.
Ali grew up in Harleysville, Pennsylvania, playing soccer, swimming, and running cross country. She earned her B.S. in Photography from Drexel University in Philadelphia, and headed west shortly thereafter for a newspaper reporting job in Polson, Montana. The Treasure State quickly became her home. When not at school, Ali can usually be found on a bike, exploring the local trails or endless country roads. After law school, she hopes to advocate for Montana’s wild places and sustainable development.
Nyles was born and raised in Hardin, Montana. He gained a B.A from Montana State University in Environmental Studies which sparked his interest in pursuing a law degree. When he isn't at the law school, you can find Nyles on the public lands of Montana enjoying one of the numerous outdoor activities that they have to offer.
Dylan is originally from the south suburbs of Chicago and grew up spending time on the shores of the Great Lakes. Having developed a love for public lands, she worked at a camp that ventured on canoe trips in the rivers and lakes of Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Dylan earned her B.A. in Geology from Indiana University along with minors in Native American and Indigenous Studies and Music. She moved to Montana to pursue her J.D. with a focus on American Indian law and natural resources law. Dylan is also pursuing a Masters of Public Administration at UM to develop a greater understanding of how policy and law work together in these areas.
Emily was born and raised in Billings, Montana before moving to Missoula. Realizing her love for the outdoors, she graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, rafting and exploring the great state of Montana and beyond.
Tony grew up in Weedville, Pennsylvania. In 2010 he moved west and spent a few years bouncing around the Pacific Northwest hitch hiking, working on farms, and getting involved in environmental issues. He lent his time to a number of radical environmental organizations including Earth First!, the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, and the Buffalo Field Campaign before attending the University of Montana to earn a B.A. in Ecology. After a unique experience with the legal system he was inspired to set his sights on a J.D. He hopes to fight for the wild and help provide legal support for the grassroots organizations working in the field to protect the environment.
Connlan grew up in Helena, Montana. He graduated from Montana State University with degrees in Social Studies Education and History along with a minor in Native American Studies. He has spent many of his summers exploring Montana’s outdoors and various rock-climbing scenes. After law school, he hopes to work within tribal government practicing environmental law.
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.