Irma Russell joined the faculty at UMKC in the fall of 2015 as the Edward A. Smith/ Missouri Chair in Law, the Constitution, and Society. Prior to coming to UMKC, she served as Dean of The University of Montana School of Law from 2009 to 2014 and as the NELPI Professor and Director of the National Energy-Environment Law & Policy Institute at the University of Tulsa College of Law. Professor Russell is past chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and of the AALS Section of Natural Resources and Energy Law. She currently serves on the Board of Dividing the Waters, an organization of judges and lawyers focused on issues of water adjudication in the Western United States, and on the Editorial Board of Natural Resources and Energy. She has served as the chair of the Professionalism Committee of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar and as a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism and the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She also served as chair of the following AALS Sections: Natural Resources & Energy, Professional Responsibility, and Socio-Economics, and as a member of the Publications Board of the Center for Professional Responsibility.
In practice, Russell represented potentially responsible parties, government entities, lenders, and others 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 was founding Chair of the Memphis Bar Association Environmental Law Section and served as Chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Environmental Section. Professor Russell is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the Judicial Conference for the Tenth Judicial Circuit, and the American College of Environmental Lawyers.
Professor Russell earned her J.D. from the University of Kansas. She clerked for The Honorable James K. Logan, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and engaged in private practice in Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Professor Russell teaches environmental law, administrative law, and professional responsibility.