During the summer of 2018, I served as the legal intern at Defenders of Wildlife in the organization’s Rocky Mountain and Great Plains office. After developing a strong affinity for the mountains of Colorado during my years as a teacher in Denver, I felt that my new legal skills could be put to good use protecting western wildlife and habitats. Luckily, Defenders had just such a project waiting for me.
Although I participated in legal calls and remained up to date on the majority of Defenders’ ongoing environmental litigation, my time was primarily devoted to a single cause: protecting giant garter snakes from the habitat loss that constitutes the primary threat to their continued existence. The giant garter snake matter was the first time I was present and engaged during the inception of a legal strategy that will likely lead to litigation. Being involved in these preparations was an invaluable experience that taught me to think critically about all potential angles of a case. After determining the legal questions that needed to be addressed, I wrote a series of memos that will eventually be used to help save these threatened reptiles. I am optimistic that my involvement in this crucial conservation issue will continue beyond my internship.
Interning at Defenders was an awesome experience. The knowledge I acquired about ongoing issues in wildlife law was both fascinating and motivating. The attorneys and field scientists I worked with were inspirational in their devotion to helping species being decimated by irresponsible human beings. The job affirmed the value of the work I put in during the past two years of law school and solidified my desire to continue working in the world of environmental nonprofits.