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Staff Profiles

Earthrise Law Center Staff at 20 Year Anniversary Party

Earthrise Law Center is the largest

environmental law clinic in America

Earthrise’s 1:3 teacher-student ratio provides for an intensive apprenticeship experience and our attorneys, as clinical professors, also serve as members of the Lewis and Clark Law School faculty, teaching substantive law classes and contributing both directly and indirectly to important extra-curricular experiences for students in environmental advocacy.

Tom Buchele Tom Buchele  503-768-6736

Clinical Professor & Clinic Co-Director

Tom anchors Earthrise’s legal practice as the senior coordinator of environmental initiatives. Prior to joining Earthrise, Tom was the director of the environmental law clinic at University of Pittsburgh for seven years, staff attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest, and a partner in the Chicago office of the prestigious national law firm Jenner & Block, where he focused on complex commercial and natural resources litigation. A distinguished graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois College of Law, Tom leads Earthrise’s land management and natural resource practice, including mining, oil and gas issues. In his spare time, Tom is an excellent gardener and baker, and enjoys canning, hiking and exploring tidepools up and down the Oregon coast.

Kevin CassidyKevin Cassidy  781-659-1696

Senior Staff Attorney

In January 2011, Kevin opened Earthrise’s East Coast office (Massachusetts) to better position the clinic to participate in environmental litigation of national scope and importance. Prior to joining Earthrise, Kevin was a Senior Trial Attorney in the Environmental Crimes Section of the United States Department of Justice. In his eight years as an environmental crimes prosecutor, Kevin was co-lead counsel for several significant prosecutions, including the 2007 trial of Southern Union Company. He received a B.A. from the University of Connecticut and a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School. Spending time outdoors with his wife and two young daughters is Kevin’s favorite pastime, especially at the beach where he can squeeze in a little saltwater fly-fishing.

Lia ComerfordLia Comerford  503-768-6823

Staff Attorney

Lia’s work as Staff Attorney at Earthrise has focused on pollution control issues, specifically in the areas of Clean Water Act enforcement and imminent and substantial endangerment under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as litigation related to genetically engineered plants and Oregon’s Right to Farm Act. Lia is a graduate of American University (B.A. 2008) and Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D. 2013) and is admitted to practice in Oregon, the federal District of Oregon, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lia spends her free time outdoors enjoying the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, doing yoga, and playing with her dog, cats, and chickens.

Doug DeRoy  503-768-6825

Legal Fellow

Doug started as Earthrise’s legal fellow in the fall of 2016. Doug is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley (B.S. 2008) and Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D. 2016). In law school, he earned a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, and focused on salmon and steelhead issues. Doug is also a volunteer River Steward for the Native Fish Society, and received the 2015 River Steward of the Year Award. In his free time, he enjoys fly fishing and tying, cooking, gardening, and river snorkeling.

Craig JohnstonCraig Johnston  503-768-6713

Professor of Law 

As one of Earthrise’s founding members, Craig supervises the organization’s clinical operations, while litigating cases and training law students in the art of practical legal advocacy. A graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School, Craig is a nationally-recognized expert on pollution law and has co-authored casebooks on both environmental law and hazardous waste law.  Craig is an avid runner and is the organizer of a cross-country relay effort.

Joy Keen  503-768-6851

Development & Communications Coordinator

Joy joined the Earthrise team in 2014 after working in the environmental non-profit field for a decade. She manages the organization’s fundraising and communications programs, as well as a multitude of other tasks around the office. Joy was the office manager at both the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, as well as being the Board President for Bark for 6 years and is still involved with them in an advisory capacity. She grew up in Michigan, graduating from Western Michigan University, but calls Portland home. When not spending her time volunteering to protect Oregon’s drinking water, Joy is an avid camper, gardener, mushroom hunter and recovering artist.

Allison LaPlante

Allison LaPlante  503-768-6894

Clinical Professor & Clinic Co-Director

As one of the organization’s most experienced staff attorneys, Allison leads Earthrise’s climate change campaign and related air and water quality improvement efforts. A graduate of Cornell University (B.S. 1996) and Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D. 2002), and a former law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Garr M. King, Allison is admitted to practice in Oregon and the federal district of Oregon, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In previous years, Allison expertly led the law school’s Environmental and Animal Law Moot Court teams to national championships. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cycling, hiking, and spending time with her husband and young sons.

Nina Robertson  847-636-1486

Staff Attorney

Nina opened Earthrise’s California office in August 2016. Based in San Francisco, she is expanding the clinic’s scope and impact though a wide range of cases involving water quality, endangered species, air quality, and environmental justice concerns, among others. Before joining Earthrise, Nina was a visiting assistant professor and staff attorney at Golden Gate University’s Environmental Law and Justice Clinic. From 2012 to 2015, she was an appellate attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where she litigated numerous cases in the U.S. courts of appeals. Nina clerked for the Honorable Henry H. Kennedy and the Honorable Barbara J. Rothstein in the U.S. District Court for District of the Columbia. She received a B.S. from Stanford University, a J.D. from Stanford University Law School, and an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and is admitted to practice in California. In her free time, Nina enjoys exploring the Sierra Nevadas and taquerias of California.

Dan Rohlf

Dan Rohlf  503-768-6707

Professor of Law & Of Counsel

As one of Earthrise’s founding members and previous Clinic Director, Dan holds the Of Counsel position.  In addition to working on Earthrise cases and supporting the law school’s growing LL.M. program, Dan focuses on biodiversity management and conservation, sustainability, and the intersection between science and law.  A graduate of Colorado College and Stanford Law School, Dan is admitted to practice in Oregon, the federal district of Oregon, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. In his spare time, Dan loves to run, cycle, and spend time with his wife and kids.

Jamie Saul  503-768-6929

Assistant Clinical Professor & Staff Attorney

Jamie joined the Earthrise team as a staff attorney in January 2015, and focuses on citizen enforcement and implementation of pollution laws including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Jamie relocated to Portland from Madison, Wis., where he practiced public interest environmental law for seven years with Midwest Environmental Advocates and McGillivray Westerberg & Bender LLC. Jamie is a graduate of the College of William & Mary (B.S. 1997) and Lewis & Clark Law School (J.D. 2007), and is admitted to practice in the State of Wisconsin, various federal district courts in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He enjoys whitewater kayaking, skiing, cycling, running, and trying to keep up with his two young daughters.


Claire Valentine-Fossum  503-768-6728

Legal Program Assistant

Claire joined Earthrise in the fall of 2015 after interning through Portland Community College’s paralegal program. She is from Portland, and attended Knox College (B.A. 2009) in Illinois. After graduating she lived in Chicago before heading home to the West Coast. Prior to Earthrise, Claire worked in journalism and various administrative positions. In her free time Claire enjoys cooking, writing poetry, cheering on the Timbers, and exploring the coast.

Claire is an Oregon Public Notary.

Contact Us

Earthrise is nestled at the top of the woods of Tryon Creek State Park.

Earthrise Law Center
at Lewis and Clark Law School
10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd
Portland, OR 97219

For general inquiries, email:

(503) 768-6851

(503) 768-6642


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