Staff Profiles

Fall 2022 Staff Fall 2022 Staff

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 & 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

tbuchele[at]lclark[dot]edu     503-768-6736

Clinical Professor

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 Cassidy

Kevin Cassidy

cassidy[at]lclark[dot]edu    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 in Rhode Island for hazardous waste crimes. He received a BA from the University of Connecticut and a JD from Lewis & Clark Law School. Kevin is admitted to practice in the states of Massachusetts and Oregon (inactive), the U.S. Courts of Appeals for Ninth, Seventh and First Circuits, and federal district courts in Massachusetts, Illinois and the District of Columbia. 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 Comerford Lia Comerford

comerfordl[at]lclark[dot]edu    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 (BA 2008) and Lewis & Clark Law School (JD 2013) and is admitted to practice in the states of Oregon and Washington, the U.S. District Courts for the District of Oregon and the Western District of Washington, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Ninth Circuits, and the U.S. Court of International Trade. Lia spends her free time outdoors enjoying the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, doing yoga, and playing with her dog, cats, and chickens.

Alex Davis

amdavis[at]lclark[dot]edu    503-768-6728

Development Associate

Alex joined Earthrise in the fall of 2017. Alex studied Philosophy at the University of Oregon (BS 2016). During his time in Eugene, he worked for the University’s Zero Waste Program and was active in several Environmental Student Organizations. Before coming to Earthrise he worked as a legal assistant at an intellectual property law firm. In his free time he enjoys reading, hiking, and trying out the many brunch spots of Portland.

Lydia Dexter

lydiadexter[at]lclark[dot]edu    503-768-6654

Legal Fellow

Lydia joined Earthrise as a Legal Fellow in the Fall of 2023 after graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School (JD 2023, cum laude) where she focused on environmental law and its intersection with Indigenous Peoples’ issues and federal Indian law. Lydia moved to Oregon following her graduation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Bachelors’ of Journalism in Advertising & Public Relations and Spanish. During law school, Lydia served as the President of the Native American Law Student Association and was the first solo Editor-in-Chief of the Animal Law Review. She also gained experience working for Earthrise as a clinic student and summer law clerk, as well as dedicating two years to the Native American Law Student Association Moot Court team. In her free time, Lydia enjoys going for long walks around Portland, crafting, and spending time with her cat, Soup.

Allison LaPlante

laplante[at]lclark[dot]edu    503-768-6894

Clinical Professor & Clinic Director

As one of the organization’s most experienced staff attorneys, Allison leads Earthrise’s advocacy efforts related to water pollution, water quality standards, and aquatic species protection. Allison has significant experience litigating cases under statutes such as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Prior to joining Earthrise in 2005, Allison clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Garr M. King in the District of Oregon. Allison is a graduate of Cornell University (BS 1996) and Lewis & Clark Law School (JD 2002, cum laude). Allison is admitted to practice in Oregon state courts and the federal District of Oregon, the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, D.C. Circuit, 2nd Circuit, 3rd Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. In her spare time, Allison enjoys cycling, hiking, and spending time with her husband and young sons.

Haley Nicholson

haleyn[at]lclark[dot]edu     503-768-6825

Legal Fellow

Haley joined Earthrise as a Legal Fellow in Fall of 2022 after graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School with certificates in Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Public Interest Law. Before coming to Portland, Haley graduated from the University of Oregon’s Clark Honors College in 2019, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science. During law school, Haley worked as a law clerk for the Environmental Division of the California Department of Justice, the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel, and for the Honorable Jolie A. Russo. Haley also volunteered for the Northwest Environmental Defense Center and the National Lawyers Guild but spent most of her time on the Lewis & Clark Law School Environmental Moot Court team. Haley loves powerlifting, hiking, reading fiction, playing piano, and painting during her free time.

Professor Dan Rohlf

Dan Rohlf

rohlf[at]lclark[dot]edu     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 LLM 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.

Karen Russell

karenrussell[at]lclark[dotedu      503-768-6851

Budget and Financial Administrator

Karen joined Earthrise in the summer of 2017 after a 3-year stint as an Accountant and then as Contracts Manager at Moovel North America, a software company dedicated to facilitating mobility in urban settings.  Karen also teaches Water Law as an Adjunct Professor at Lewis & Clark Law School and an Environmental Law and Policy course at Lewis & Clark College.   Since 2006 Karen has worked as a Nonprofit Consultant advising organizations on all aspects of nonprofit organizational management, with a focus on financial management and accounting.   From 1990 to 2006 Karen worked in a variety of roles at WaterWatch of Oregon.  As Interim Executive Director Karen was responsible for all aspects of fundraising, budgeting, staff management and working closely with the organizations board of directors.  As Senior Staff Attorney Karen was a constant presence before the Oregon Water Resources Department, pushing the agency at every opportunity to reform long-held water policies that ignore the needs of fish and other instream users. Karen has drafted numerous bills to reform Oregon water law and analyzed the environmental impacts of all water bills considered by the Oregon Legislature.  Karen is a graduate of the University of Washington (BA 1985) and Lewis & Clark Law School (JD 1990) and is a member of the Oregon and Washington State Bars.  Karen is highly regarded within and beyond the environmental community for her knowledge, experience and environmental advocacy.  Karen enjoys telemark skiing, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, knitting and reading books the old fashioned way.

Contact Us

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

Earthrise Law Center
at Lewis & Clark Law School
10101 S. Terwilliger Blvd
Portland, OR 97219

For general inquiries, email:

(503) 768-6736

(503) 768-6642