Born in Piscataway, New Jersey, Prof. Renz received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Montana in 1971 and 1979. From 1971 to 1975 he served in the United States Army, where he completed the Army’s Airborne and Ranger Schools and commanded a combat infantry company.
An expert on civil rights litigation, Prof. Renz has extensive trial experience. Among his more notable cases were Windy Boy v. Big Horn County, the first successful Voting Rights Act judgment in the United States on behalf of American Indians, I.B. v. School District and T.H. v. Montana High School Association, the first cases in the United States that established the right of learning disabled students to participate in interscholastic sports, their age notwithstanding, and Barger v. Rantz, which led to the establishment of a hepatitis diagnosis and treatment program at the Montana State Prison.
Prof. Renz has participated in over 100 appellate cases as either lead or co-counsel. These include several cases enforcing the right to know and a number of civil rights cases. Renz was a member of the legal team that represented the State of Illinois when it challenged the City of Milwaukee’s pollution of Lake Michigan. He was on the legal team that challenged the Army Corps of Engineers’ proposal to build the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and Locks and Dam 26 on the Mississippi River.
In 2006, Prof. Renz was co-director of the Montana Pardon Project, which successfully obtained posthumous pardons for 78 men and women convicted of sedition during World War I.
Prof. Renz has taught in the clinical program at the School of Law since 1993. His emphasis is in the area of civil rights, criminal law and procedure, and constitutional law. He has also taught in Afghanistan, at Kutaisi State University and the Tbilisi Institute of Asia and Africa in the Republic of Georgia, and at Osh State University in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Prof. Renz was first listed in Who's Who in American Law in 1990. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of American Civil Liberties.
Prof. Renz is admitted to practice in Montana (1979), Illinois (1979), and the United States Supreme Court (1988).