LL.M. Program Celebrates 40-Plus Years, Offers New Course Taught by Distinguished Alumni

The LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law at the U of A School of Law is celebrating more than four decades of its leadership. It was the first of its kind when it was established, and today, it continues to lead the nation in this important area of law, connecting lawyers to our food system, from farm to plate.

To add to the joyful fervor and to celebrate its 40-plus years of Master of Laws graduates, the program is featuring a class, Selected Issues in Agricultural & Food Law, which is being taught exclusively by the LL.M. alumni. The alumni are one of the distinguished features of the LL.M. Program, and this class will strengthen the relationship between the network of over 350 LL.M. alumni who are leaders in their field and the current LL.M. students.

Each week features a different graduate and a new topic. The course not only explores new areas of agricultural and food law, but also showcases the many career opportunities available. It will target current areas of law that LL.M. students requested, including water law, hemp production, heirs property, international agricultural law work and climate change.

“Assembling this talented group of agricultural and food law attorneys was a joy,” said Susan Schneider, the William H. Enfield Professor of Law and director of the LL.M. Program. “It reminded me of how important our work is and how proud we can be of our alumni. My thanks goes out to them for their willingness to participate. And this is just a dozen of them — we could easily fill a future class with others that are also leaders in the field.”

“The ability to offer this course is a testament to how impactful the LL.M. Program has been over the past four decades,” said law school Dean Alena Allen. “The program continues to be incredibly innovative and impactful.”

Advocating for Policy in D.C. – Case Study of Meat Processing Legislation

Jan. 27, 2022

Kelly Nuckolls serves as visiting assistant professor of law and assistant director of the LL.M. Program. Nuckolls previously worked in Washington, D.C., as a senior policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, where she advocated for federal policies related to sustainable food and agriculture, including the farm bill, food safety and food labeling laws.

Perspectives on U.S. Agriculture from USDA Office of General Counsel

Janie HippFeb. 3, 2022

Janie Simms Hipp serves as general counsel for the USDA, where she oversees over 200 lawyers in Washington, D.C., and four regional offices. Hipp and her team of lawyers provide legal services for all programs, operations and activities of the USDA. A citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, Hipp was the founding director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the U of A School of Law. She has taught courses at the U of A and specifically within the LL.M. Program.

Climate Change and Agriculture

Ben ThomasFeb. 10, 2022

Ben Thomas is the senior policy director for agriculture at Environmental Defense Fund. He focuses on creating innovative and pragmatic solutions to address environmental risks from agriculture by working with key farm groups and policymakers across state and federal government. Thomas has previously served as Montana’s director of agriculture and also held multiple roles at USDA.

Agricultural Cooperatives

DDoug O'BrienFeb. 17, 2022

Doug O’Brien is the president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International, more well-known as NCBA CLUSA, where he works with the cooperative community, both domestically and internationally, to deepen its impact on individuals and communities. NCBA CLUSA is the primary voice for cooperatives in the U.S. that use the cooperative business model to empower people in their businesses and communities.

Water Rights

Lauren BernadettFeb. 24, 2022

Lauren Bernadett is a natural resources lawyer with the California law firm of Harrison Temblador Hungerford & Guernsey. She counsels private and public clients through regulatory compliance, administrative processes and litigation in state and federal courts. Prior to joining the firm, Bernadett represented clients before the State Water Resources Control Board and in negotiations with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The Evolution of Crop Insurance

March 3, 2022

Richard Flournoy is the deputy administrator for product management at the USDA Risk Management Agency where he oversees the development and implementation of federal crop insurance policies. He also served as acting administrator of the Risk Management Agency during most of 2021. Prior to serving in these roles, Flourney served in various capacities for the Risk Management Agency in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw and coordinated day-to-day operations of the agency, including implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill and communication with congressional offices.

USDA Foreign Agriculture Service

Melinda MeadorMarch 10, 2022

Melinda Meador is senior director of Africa Middle East Operations for the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, stationed in Washington, D.C. Her prior appointments include serving as agricultural counselor in the U.S. Embassy for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in Buenos Aires (2018-2021); serving as the director of the USDA Agricultural Trade Office with the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong (2014-2018); as USDA FAS Agricultural Attache for the U.S. Embassy in Bejjing (2010-2014); and as USDA FAS Agricultural Attache for the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France (2005-2009).

Representing Low-Income Farmers and Farmers of Color

Christina RiceMarch 17, 2022

Christina Rice is a staff attorney with the Land Loss Prevention Project, a non-profit advocacy and legal services organization in Durham North Carolina. Rice provides legal assistance to financially distressed and limited resource farmers, homeowners and landowners throughout North Carolina. Prior to joining the Land Loss Prevention Project, Rice was a clinical fellow at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.

Cannabis / Hemp Law

Marne CoitApril 7, 2022

Marne Coit is founder and principal at Coit Consulting LLC, where she provides strategic consulting services to support established and emerging cannabis-sector businesses amid evolving regulations and opportunities. Coit partners with major universities, accredited institutions and for-profit education providers to develop, deliver and scale cannabis and hemp law curricula and content for undergraduate, law, certificate and industry learning programs. She also serves as an expert witness on high-impact legal matters related to hemp industry, serves on advisory bodies, deliver presentations and provides insights on associated business and policy developments.

The Development of International Food Law

Michael T RobertsApril 14, 2022

Professor Michael T. Roberts is the founding executive director of the Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy at the UCLA School of Law. Roberts is a thought leader in a broad range of legal and policy issues from farm to fork in local, national and global food supply systems. He taught the first food law and policy course in the United States in 2004 and served as the leading force in the development in 2005 of the first scholarly journal, Journal of Food Law and Policy, devoted exclusively to the field. Since his arrival at UCLA in 2013, Roberts has authored and edited major foundational publications on food law, including the first major treatise on food law, Food Law in the United States (Cambridge University Press 2016). He is also co-editor of a case book, Food Law: Cases and Materials (Wolters Kluwer 2019). He is currently editing Research Handbook on International Food Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming).

Civil Rights and Protections at the USDA

Monica Armster RaingeApril 21, 2022

Monica Armster Rainge is USDA deputy assistant secretary for civil rights, and an agricultural lawyer and mediator who has worked in the public and private agricultural sectors for more than 25 years. Most recently, she served as the director of land retention and advocacy for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, where she led the development and management of outreach and technical assistance programs that support regional land retention and advocacy initiatives for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

More details on the alumni offering the course can be found on our website.




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