June 01, 2011

Lorena Wisehart

Trustees for Alaska, Anchorage, AK

Trustees for Alaska, Anchorage, AK


I am grateful to PILP and the dedication of its volunteers and contributors for making it possible for me to spend my summer interning at Trustees for Alaska, a nonprofit environmental law firm in Anchorage, Alaska. Trustees works to protect and sustain Alaska’s natural environment by providing low or no-cost legal counsel to a diverse range of clients including local, regional and national environmental groups, Alaska Native organizations, community groups, and commercial and sport fishing organizations.


Prior to law school I worked as a botanist addressing environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest. I chose to intern at Trustees for Alaska because of the experience it would provide to continue to work on environmental issues that I care deeply about. Trustees for Alaska works to protect marine ecosystems, address impacts of global warming on Arctic communities, assure laws protecting clean air and water are enforced, and prevent destructive impacts of mining while promoting conservation of biodiversity and sustainable management of public lands.

My work at trustees included researching the facts and law relevant to potential legal claims under the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and Clean Water Act. I gained significant substantive knowledge in the areas of environmental and administrative law while improving my research and writing skills in a real world setting. I participated in weekly staff meetings that allowed me to learn more about the legal issues staff were involved with as well as the day-to-day operations of a public-interest environmental law firm.

I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to do such challenging and engaging work under the guidance of outstanding attorneys who also happen to be wonderful mentors and people. The experience of learning to use legal tools to solve some of Alaska’s most difficult environmental problem has better prepared me to succeed as an environmental advocate in law school and beyond.