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JUNE 2, 2021


Jun 22

LawCats Live:

COVID & Remote Worker IP

Weekend of Nov 5

Save the Date:



This week we enjoy a profile of another of our brand-new alumni – 2021 Master of Legal Studies graduate Cora Varas-Nelson.

In case you missed it, read all about this year's College of Law Convocation here.

Until the footnotes,



MLS Grad Looks to Improve Environmental Policy by Bridging Science and the Law

Cora Varas-Nelson

Science and the law can each be strengthened when they are intentionally connected. That’s where Class of 2021 Master of Legal Studies graduate Cora Varas-Nelson sees herself having the biggest impact. “I feel it is very important to bridge that gap between science and law,” she says. 

Cora has a PhD from the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment and is interested in evolution and the environment. Her research has varied from evolution in sexual behavior and conservation genetics to understanding the evolution of population using molecular techniques. She has studied how black bears evolve in certain environments and how barriers that bears face affect their population viability and long-term survival of the species. 

Eventually Cora reached a point in her career where she wanted to expand beyond research. 

“After a while, I wanted to communicate science better and use scientific information to do something else. [I wanted] to communicate to the public, to lawmakers, and try to do something else with that information.”  

Cora was inspired to look into law after a University of Arizona Law student in one of her labs was discussing how law can be used to make a difference on the various topics they were discussing. She adds: 

“I think students are the best ambassadors of the program. When you communicate what you are doing and you show excitement about it, that is how I became interested [in law].” 

She decided that a Master of Legal Studies degree from University of Arizona Law would best train her to communicate science to the public and to lawmakers.  

“To have a better protection of our wildlife and environment, we need an interdisciplinary and multi-methodological process. We need to pull together different fields and come out with different ideas on how to solve problems, and law is giving me that.”  

A key opportunity during Cora’s legal education was participating in the Natural Resource Use and Management Clinic, where she was able to combine science and the law. 

“To be part of the Natural Resource Use and Management Clinic provided me with hands-on research experience in real-world legal questions, interactions with clients, legal discussions and practice in legal writing. The clinic allowed me to investigate critical environmental issues that I cared about and that affect Arizona and the western part of the United States, including water, endangered species, public lands, climate change, tribal lands and other resources.” 

Cora says her year in the clinic allowed her to share ideas, present research, and combine science and law and collaborate with a variety of students and professors. 

“I was the only MLS student and everyone else was a JD student. I got to see the difference of opinions and thoughts and interact with faculty with different backgrounds. It was very interesting, and I learned a lot.”  

She says another standout was learning about the Colorado River with Professor Robert Glennon. The course covered the history and laws around the river and involved visiting farmers, talking to scientists and learning about the food supply chain and food safety. 

As for what’s next, Cora will take a break from her university teaching position to focus on research and integrating the law, especially around genetics and the environment. She says there are many fascinating issues that still need to close the gap between science and the related laws, and she looks forward to working on policy from a scientific perspective. 

Cora says, “I have opened my mind with new knowledge, and I want to see what is next and make a difference.”  

See the original story on our website.

See also:

For Next Stage of Her Evolving Legal Career, LLM Grad Turns to Indigenous Human Rights

26 Years after Foregoing College, BA in Law Grad Finds New Success

Husband-and-Wife SJD Students Graduate Together


Join Us for LawCats Live, June 22

Ownership of intellectual property between employers and their employees: How COVID-19 and a remote workforce could change the landscape

June 22, 2021, 12:15 p.m.

Via Zoom

Does your employer own your murder podcast? Join us for a conversation with Arizona Law’s Professor Diana Simon, who will provide an overview of who owns intellectual property when the creator of a work is also an employee, how courts evaluate the scope of employment in such situations, how COVID-19 and an increasingly remote workforce may impact the traditional analysis, and the implications for employers and creators alike.

This lively discussion will be moderated by Arizona Law’s Professor Susie Salmon.


Alumnus Morgan Rodman ('09) Named to White House Post

Class of 2009 alumnus Morgan Rodman was recently named Executive Director of the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA). He previously served as WHCNAA Executive Director during the Obama-Biden administration.

“The White House Council on Native American Affairs represents an important piece of the administration’s commitment to Tribal Nations,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, who serves as Chair of the WHCNAA. “Morgan’s breadth of experience and previous leadership in this role will help him once again successfully lead the administration’s all-of-government approach to strengthening our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribal governments.”

Read the full press release.


On our website:

Negar Katirai Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Study Domestic Violence Fatality Reviews in Australia

Recentering Globalization on Indigenous Rights

Featuring new book by professor Sergio Puig


Milczarek-Desai FB.jpg

Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Workers’ Rights Clinic and Co-chair of the Bacon Immigration Law and Policy Program Shefali Milczarek-Desai has received the Sustainable Economies Law Center Fellowship for the 2021-22 academic year.

Read about it and catch up on more Arizona Law faculty accomplishments.

@uarizonalaw, Facebook

Late May and early June offer one of the pivot points in the school year. We experience the intensity of finals – and grading. Even in this strange year we were able to gather for commencement and other smaller gatherings.

And then, students, staff, and faculty take a deep, collective breath, and move on to the next challenge, the next city, the next research project, and the "we'll get to that in the summer" business of running our college.

Less zoom. More room. And, being Tucson, a little more heat.


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