Conservation Law, P.C., Jessica E. Jay, Attorney at Law


Conservation Law, P.C. is a law firm devoted to protecting working landscapes and environmentally significant lands in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West through the use of perpetual conservation easements.

Jessica E. Jay, Esq., the founder and principal attorney of Conservation Law, P.C., represents landowners and easement holders to conserve land using durable but flexible perpetual conservation easements drafted to anticipate changes over time.  Jessica is dedicated to ensuring the permanence of such land conservation through sound conservation transactions with practical stewardship and enforcement mechanisms.  The first consultation is free; please feel free to contact Jessica E. Jay, Esq. at Conservation Law, P.C. by phone at 303-674-3709, or by email by clicking here.

DISCLAIMER:  The information provided here is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. 


Conservation Permanence through Legal Practice 

Jessica represents statewide, regional, and local land trusts including Colorado Open Lands, Aspen Valley Land Trust, Estes Valley Land Trust, Rocky Mountain Conservancy, and Palmer Land Conservancy, in their ongoing stewardship and perpetual conservation easement projects. She also represents private landowners conserving farms and ranches, urban and rural wildlife habitat, land for public trails, recreation, and education, historic properties, and scenic open space all over Colorado. She assists public entity-landowners, including the Town of Crested Butte, City of Durango, and Gunnison County, Colorado in the protection of land with perpetual conservation easements and exploration of public access on conserved parcels, including e-bike usage.    


Conservation Innovation through Collaboration

In addition to the practical work of assisting landowners and easement holders to protect land through the use of flexible but durable perpetual conservation easements, Jessica also collaborates with the conservation community to innovate for landowners and easement holders regarding conservation tax incentives, stewardship and enforcement mechanisms, and the framework for modification and termination of perpetual conservation easements. She creates and publishes legal guidance for federal and state tax and conservation law, orphaned and neglected conservation easementsagricultural water rights leasing, and mineral rights and extraction on conserved properties


Shaping Conservation Policy and Law

Jessica’s expertise and perspective, shaped by decades of practice in land conservation law, informs courts, legislatures, regulators, and policymakers in the creation of conservation statutes, policies, and case law.  She was nominated by the Colorado legislature to the HB 19-1264 Working Group to recommend legislation for the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions crafting processes for addressing orphaned and neglected easements, reparations to Colorado landowners denied tax credits, and alternative methodologies for analyzing and awarding conservation tax credits.  This lawmaking builds on the foundation of Jessica's policy guidance on these topics.

Click here to be connected to statutes and cases citing to Jessica's research.  Ms. Jay is a member of the Land Trust Alliance’s Conservation Defense Network, and has both served on and counseled the Land Trust Alliance Conservation Defense Advisory Council, which advises the Alliance on matters involving the enforcement, defense, and permanence of perpetual conservation easements. She has just published Opportunities for Reform--A To Do List for Sustainable, Perpetual Land Conservation in the Vermont Law Review Summer Volume 2022, as a part of the Vermont Law School's Land Use Reform Symposium.


Recent Publications

Opportunities for Reform and Reimagining in Conservation Easement and Land Use Law: A To-Do List for Sustainable, Perpetual Land Conservation, 46 Vt. L. Rev. 387, July 2022

From the most urgent and obtainable in the short term to the most sea-changing and aspirational in the long term, presented here is a view of the immediate, ongoing, and future needs for reform or reimagining in land conservation law. These reforms and reimagining include bolstering and expanding conservation incentives in the face of extensive abuse, integrating private land protection within communities, adjusting land monetization and valuation approaches, unbundling land ownership notions, and re-democratizing and restoring land access and use. Such reforms and reimagining are intended to sustain and secure perpetual land conservation as a continuing, dynamic, and flexible source for critical resource management and protection at the local, state, federal, and global levels, while ensuring equitable, inclusive, diverse, and just land protection in the context of past, current, and future generations of land use and users.

Down the Rabbit Hole with the IRS' Challenge to Perpetual Conservation Easements, Part One, ELI's Environmental Law Reporter, February 2021

When the Internal Revenue Service began disallowing gifts of perpetual conservation easements for claimed failures of perpetuity requirements, it tumbled land trusts, landowners, and the U.S. Tax Court down the rabbit hole to a baffling land below. The Service’s drop into matters beyond valuation and into elements intended and necessary for easement durability and flexibility has caused a confusing array of Tax Court decisions. Part One of this two-part Article examines how the Service lures the land conservation community and the Tax Court into Wonderland distortions, and the precarious tower of cards upon which its legal theories rest.

Down the Rabbit Hole with the IRS' Challenge to Perpetual Conservation Easements, Part Two, ELI's Environmental Law Reporter, March 2021
Part Two of this two-part Article identifies the fundamental elements of law and the process of law to topple the Service’s card construct, and awaken and return everyone to the world above ground.

Upcoming Presentations

Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, Presentation, March 2023

          Using the Tax Code to Preserve Ecosystem Services & 2030 Objectives 

Land Trust Alliance, Webinar, April 2023

         Federal Tax Law Update

Vermont Law School, Law Course, June 2023

          Land Conservation Law

National Land Trust Rally, Conference, September 2023

Federal Tax Issues: Latest and Greatest, Workshop