Nancy Assaf McLaughlin portrait
  • Robert W. Swenson Professor of Law, College Of Law
  • Professor, College Of Law

Research Summary

Professor McLaughlin's research focuses on conservation easement, tax incentive, and nonprofit governance issues.


  • J.D., Law, University of Virginia School of Law


Professor McLaughlin received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.S. honors degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar.

She is a member of the American Law Institute and is serving as Associate Reporter for the Restatement of the Law of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations. She recently served as Reporter for the Uniform Law Commission's Uniform Conservation Easement Act Study Committee. She is a Fellow and serves on the Board of Regents of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She also is a member of the ABA’s Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law Section and its Charitable Planning and Organizations Group, and she serves as on the Section’s Conservation Easement Task Force and as a professional editor of the Section’s academic law journal.

Her research focuses on conservation easement, tax incentive, and nonprofit governance issues and she writes and lectures extensively on these issues. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Utah Open Lands (a state-wide land trust), a member of the Habitat Protection Advisory Committee of the Humane Society's Wildlife Land Trust, and a member of the Lands Protection Committee of Vital Ground, a land trust that works to protect grizzly bear habitat. She consults with land trusts, landowners, government entities, federal and state regulators, and others regarding conservation easements and nonprofit governance issues, and she blogs about conservation easement current developments on the Law Professors Nonprofit Law Blog.

Professor McLaughlin teaches Trusts & Estates, Estate Planning, Conservation Easements, Private Land Conservation, and the Law of Charitable Gifts.               

Selected Publications

Restatement of the Law, Charitable Nonprofit Organizations, American Law Institute, forthcoming (as Associate Reporter, with Jill Horwitz, Reporter, and Marion Fremont-Smith, Consultant)

ABA RPTE Conservation Easement Task Force Report: Recommendations Regarding Conservation Easements and Federal Tax Law, 53 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 245 (2018) (with W. William Weeks et al.)

Tax Incentives for Conservation Easement Donations: Learning from the U.S. Experience, in Tax Law and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary and Worldwide Perspective (Lexington Books 2018) (available from author upon request)

Tax-Deductible Conservation Easements and the Essential Perpetuity Requirements, 37 Va. Tax Rev. 1 (2017) 

Uniform Conservation Easement Act Study Committee Background Report (Uniform Law Commission, June 11, 2017)

Bogert et al., The Law of Trusts and Trustees (2017): Chpt. 20, Administration of Charitable Trusts, § 396, Deviation; § 397, Power of the legislature; § 398, Changes in trustees; § 400, Termination; § 401, Liabilities arising from contract or property ownership; § 402, Tort liability of charitable corporation and trustees for charity; § 403, Eminent Domain

Conservation Easements and the Valuation Conundrum, 19 Fla. Tax Rev. 225 (2016) (featured in P.J. Reilly, Conservation Easement Tax Deductions and Valuation Abuse, (Jan. 15, 2016))

An Introduction to Conservation Easements in the United States: A Simple Concept and a Complicated Mosaic of Law, 1 J. Law, Property, and Society 107 (2015) (with Professor Federico Cheever)

Interpreting Conservation Easements, 29 Probate & Property 30 (2015) 

13 Richard R. Powell, Powell on Real Property (Michael Allan Wolf, ed. 2014), Selected Sections, Chapter 34A: Conservation Easements
Conservation Easement Enabling Statutes: Perspectives on Reform, 3 Utah L. Rev. 811 (2013) (with Jeff Pidot)
Conservation Easements and The Doctrine of Merger, 74 Duke J. L. & Contemp. Probs 279 (2011)

Condemning Conservation Easements: Protecting the Public Interest and Investment in Conservation, 41 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1897 (2008)

Conservation Easements: Perpetuity and Beyond, 34 Ecology Law Quarterly 673 (2007)
Rethinking the Perpetual Nature of Conservation Easements, 29 Harv. Envtl. Law Rev. 421 (2005) (quoted in Kolb v. City of Storm Lake, 736 N.W.2d 546 (Iowa 2007))

Keeping the Perpetual in Perpetual Conservation Easements, Vermont Digger (Feb. 10, 2014) (with Professors John Echeverria & Janet Milne) 

                                                                                 View and download all articles at SSRN