Business Law Clinic helps protect butterflies

Friday, May 1, 2020

The Business Law Clinic achieved a significant victory for an unusual beneficiary when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved an innovative conservation agreement that created partnerships to maintain monarch butterflies’ habitats.

Monarch butterflies and other pollinators are decreasing in population, in part because they require specific habitats. By entering into the conservation agreement, numerous companies and private landowners across the nation created a first-of-its-kind cooperative measure with the goal of preserving two million acres of land for the species.

This voluntary conservation effort is being viewed as a creative solution to combat the monarch’s decline, according to Business Law Clinic Director Willow Tracy.

Former Business Law Clinic student Lindsey Woodard (J.D.’19) took the lead on the clinic’s contribution to this effort, working on the terms of the agreement and creating bylaws for the task force responsible for the adopted conservation contract.

“A lot of agencies and public and private actors had to come to agreement to make this project work,” Tracy said. “Lindsey and her fellow clinic students helped make that happen by listening carefully to the needs of the task force and designing a complex decision-making process for the key players. This was a rare extra literal kind of win where a good contract made a bunch of butterflies happy!”