I spent the summer working for a nonprofit affiliated with Lewis & Clark Law School. In training legal advocates to represent resource users, Western Resources Legal Center (WRLC) provides legal services free of charge to these users. WRLC tackles long and expensive legal issues involving timber sales, grazing permits, regulatory issues, and rule makings. WRLC advocates for traditional rural livelihoods and working farms and families; it helps ensure their voices are heard in local, state, and national debates concerning wildlife, regulatory, forestry, and land use law in the Northwest and beyond.
I worked on memoranda of law, briefs, and motions to federal courts on Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act issues. I assisted with settlement negotiations and saw first hand the power of litigation to compel necessary, and lawful, aCtion by the government. I strategized with attorneys in the midst of fast-paced litigation, hardly breathing as filing deadlines and settlement negotiations made for frenzied days researching civil procedure, then drafting-and then submitting-motions to the Court. I interviewed clients and expert witnesses and even helped argue a vital motion in federal court as a certified law student. Most importantly, I gained insight into the complexities of environmental litigation and saw the diverse interactions and varied alliances farmers, ranchers, and foresters made with government regulations, regulators and procedures, the media, and environmentalists and conservationists, as they worked to fairly and responsibly access resources on which they, and we all, depend.