Skip to main content
Hillary Hoffmann, Vermont Law School
Online Faculty

Hillary Hoffmann

Professor of Law
Environmental Law Center
Center for Justice Reform

JD, S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, 2003

BA, Middlebury College, 1997


Curriculum Vitae

Hillary Hoffmann


Professor Hoffmann's areas of expertise include environmental law, federal Indian law, and natural resources law.  Her scholarship analyzes the systems governing natural resource uses on federal and tribal lands and explores the conflicts that arise from Constitutional and other legal challenges facing indigenous nations and indigenous peoples in the United States. She has also lectured and published extensively on the topics of energy development, mining, livestock grazing, and other extractive uses of public lands and tribal lands. Her recent book, law review articles, and amicus briefs have focused on some of the most high profile controversies at the intersection of environmental law and federal Indian law, including the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Bears Ears National Monument, and energy mineral withdrawals on public lands and submerged lands. 

Professor Hoffmann teaches a variety of classes, including specialty environmental law and restorative justice classes.  Her Utah Field Study class is taught on location in southern Utah and uses an experiential approach to teach students about the laws governing protected public lands (national parks and national monuments), unprotected public lands (BLM and state school trust lands), and the unique prospects for tribal environmental governance proposed by President Obama's proclamation creating the Bears Ears National Monument in 2016.  Her Truth and Reconciliation class uses Vermont's nascent efforts to reconcile state-sponsored human rights violations against Abenaki peoples as a framework for discussing Truth and Reconciliation in other North American regions and around the world. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Vermont Law School, Professor Hoffmann was in private practice at a large law firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her work included general commercial litigation, administrative appeals, and state and federal natural resource cases. She represented a wide variety of clients in state and federal court, and before the Department of Interior’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.  Professor Hoffmann received her BA in Spanish literature with high honors from Middlebury College and her JD from the S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. In law school, she was a William H. Leary Scholar, the Richard L. Dewsnup Fellow in Natural Resource Law, and a member of the Utah Law Review.  Professor Hoffmann is licensed in Utah and Vermont and is admitted to the Vermont Supreme Court, the Utah Supreme Court, the federal district courts for the districts of Utah and Vermont, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She is a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs and the American Law Institute. 



A Third Way: Decolonizing the Laws of Indigenous Cultural Protection (co-authored with Monte Mills, Assoc. Professor and Director, Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic, Alexander J. Blewett III School of Law, University of Montana), Cambridge Univ. Press (2020).


"Biden’s 30x30 Executive Order: Challenges and Prospects for Natural Resource Conservation" (with Daniel Lee), Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (December 2021).

"Climate change, population demographics, and wildfire planning in the West" (coauthored with Philip Higuera, Stephen R. Miller, and Shelley Ross Saxer) Environment, Energy, & Resources section of the ABA, September 1, 2019.

Speaking Regional Truth to Washington Power Over Federal Public Lands, 20 Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 161 (Sept 2019).

​Impacts of the BLM Fracking Rule in Indian Country, Environmental Law Reporter (Oct. 2015).​
The Flawed Law and Economics of Federal Land Seizure Statutes. National Resources & Environment, February 5, 2015.​


“Tribal Ecological Knowledge and the Transition to Ecological Law,” in From Environmental to Ecological Law, Routledge (Jan. 2021).


"Trump's America First Energy Plan Puts Industry First, Environment Last",  VJEL Top 10 Environmental Watchlist (co-authored with student Marisa Heiling, '20).

"Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments Litigation," Environmental Law Profs Blog, December 5, 2017.

Obama Administration Settles With Navajo Nation for $554M. Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, December 10, 2014 (co-authored with Andrew Settle).​

​Tenth Circuit Issues Decision Regarding Claims to R.S. 2477 Rights of Way Over Federal Lands. Environmental Law Prof Blog, December 5, 2014.

​What Shell's Ninth Circuit Loss Means for Preemptive Suits Under the APA. Environmental Law Prof Blog, November 15, 2014.​
​The End of the Road for RS. 2477 Claimants in Canyonlands National Park. Environmental Law Prof Blog, May 2, 2014.​

Legal Advocacy

Brief of Amici Curiae Federal Indian Law Professors in Support of Petitioner, Herrera v. Wyoming, United States Supreme Court (Sept. 18, 2018) (signatory).

Testimony Before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Natural Resources, Hearing on H.R. 866 and H.R. 1484, November 15, 2016.

​Brief of Amici Curiae Natural Resources and Property Law Professors in Support of Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance​, Utah Supreme Court, October 9, 2015.​

​Brief of Amici Scholars of Statutory Interpretation and Native American Law in Support of Petitioners, in Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma, et al. v. Borough of Jim Thorpe, et al., Supreme Court of the United States, July 2, 2015 (signatory).​

Brief of Amici Curiae Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. and Sierra Club in Support of Appellant the United States of America, in United States v. Estate of E. Wayne Hage, et al. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, May 16, 2014 (co-authored with John Echeverria).​


"The Environmental Law Legacy of the Roberts Court: 2005-2021," Boston Bar Association (March 17, 2022). 

“Restructuring Environmental Federalism: Indigenous Nations and the Future of Environmental Governance,” Indigenous Peoples, Native Nations, and Environmental Law and Policy, University of Miami Law School (Feb. 9, 2021).

"The Environment-Cultural Disconnect:  Protecting Indigenous Cultures in an Exclusionary Context," Fall 2020 Robert H. McKinney Family Environmental Law Lecture, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indianapolis, IN (Oct. 29, 2020) (with Prof. Monte Mills).

“Structural Deficiencies in Tribal Repatriation Laws,” Assoc. of American Indian Affairs Fifth Annual Conference, Healing the Divide, Ft. McDowell Yavapai Nation (Nov. 13, 2019).

“Energy Mineral Development on Public Lands in a Post-Extractivist Economy,” Economics for the Anthropocene Law & Governance Research Initiative (E4A) and Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) Speaker Series – Ecological Law, McGill University (June 6, 2019).

“Using Tribal Ecological Knowledge to Manage the Bears Ears National Monument,” Engaging Economies of Change, Canadian Society for Ecological Economics, 12th Biennial Conference, Waterloo, ONT (May 24, 2019).

"Ecological Law and Tribal Governance in the Bears Ears National Monument," Economics for the Anthropocene Webinar on Ecological Law and Governance, co-hosted by Vermont Law School and McGill University Faculty of Law (February 26, 2019).

"Tribal Natural Resource Co-Management Agreements:  the Bears Ears National Monument," Indian Law and Policy in the Era of Trump, Indian Nations and Indigenous Peoples Panel, American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA (Jan. 3, 2019).

FLPMA Mineral Withdrawal Revocations Under the Trump Administration, 9th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School (Sept. 22, 2018).

Interview, "Oil and Gas Drilling Could Endanger U.S. Archaeological Sites," All Things Considered, National Public Radio (Aug. 19, 2018). 

"FLPMA Mineral Withdrawals Under the Trump Administration," 64th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Natural Resources Law Teachers' Workshop, Victoria, B.C. (July 22, 2018).

Presenter, "Tribal Natural Resources Co-Management Agreements: Transitioning Natural Resource Management From a Jurisdictional Model to an Ecological Model," Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) Law and Governance Research Initiative and Ecological Law and Governance Association (ELGA) Workshop, McGill University Faculty of Law, Montreal, QC, October 18, 2017.

Testimony, "Legislative Hearing on H.R. 866, The Federal Lands Freedom Act and H.R. 1484, The Honor Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 Act," House Committee on Natural Resources, Nov. 15, 2016.
​Environmental Law in Indian Country​, Federa​l Bar Association, Washington, D.C., October 28, 2016.​
"Public Lands and Climate Resilience: Implementing the Paris Agreement Through Progressive Grazing Policies in the U.S. and Australia," 7th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship, Vermont Law School, September 23, 2016.
Environment Versus Development, University of Vermont Workshop, Reframing the Arctic: Cooperation, Not Conflict, July 6-7, 2015.​
"Fracking Waste Disposal in Indian Country," Merits and Ramifications of the BLM Fracking Rule, Environmental Law Institute, May 28, 2015.
"The Unsustainable Livestock Grazing Regime on Federal Public Lands: Lessons from Abroad," First Annual Sustainability Conference of American Legal Educators, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, May 8, 2015.​
​"Fracking Waste Disposal in Indian Country," Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Symposium (October 2014).
"A Constitutional Critique of Utah's Transfer of Public Lands Act," Presenter, 5th Annual Colloquium on Environmental Scholarship (October 2014).​
​"The Real Public Lands Standoff in Nevada: Unsustainable Livestock Grazing and Climate Change," New England Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Woodstock, VT (April 2014).
"Demand Management and Livestock Grazing in the Great Basin: an Integrated Approach to the Climate Crisis Facing Federal Rangelands," Shapiro Symposium on Public Lands, George Washington University (March 2014).
​"Cultural Resource Protection and Federal Livestock Grazing Policy," Virtual Guest Lecture Series, Mercer University Law School (November 2013).
​"Managing Multiple Incompatible Uses: Why the Forest Services Livestock Grazing Policy Fails to Protect Native American Archeological Sites," 19th International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, A Time for Integration, Estes Park, Colorado (June 2013).

Awards & Accomplishments


Member, American Law Institute (2020-present)

Commissioner, Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs (2019-present)

Co-editor, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Law Teachers’ Newsletter (2019-present)

​Member, Sierra Club Litigation Committee (2014-present)​​

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (2013-present)

Federal District Court for the District of Vermont (2006-present)

Vermont Supreme Court (2006-present)

Federal District Court for the District of Utah (2003-present)

Utah Supreme Court (2003-present)

American Bar Association

Awards, Honors or Grants

Richard Brooks Award for Outstanding Scholarship (2020)

Finalist, 2020 Land Use and Environment Law Review Annual Scholarship Competition

Dean’s Teaching and Service Award (2018/2019)