Tara Zuardo, PEAC Student
Point of View
Degree: JD ’10
Hometown: Mill Valley, California
Why did you choose Lewis & Clark Law School?
My goal has always been to go into Animal Law, so Lewis & Clark was my first choice, especially since it has so many specialized, practical courses in both Environmental and Animal Law, like PEAC.
Why were you interested in PEAC?
While taking Professor Rohlf’s Wildlife Law class in my second year, I became interested in endangered species issues and how the Endangered Species Act could specifically be used in the field of Animal Law. I’m also the type of learner who needs practical experience in order to learn a subject, and the clinic was obviously very well-run and taught by staff attorneys who genuinely enjoy working with students and who are amazing, charismatic teachers.
What are you working on in PEAC?
All of my assignments thus far have addressed the Endangered Species Act. I have worked on some really interesting litigation and oral argument preparation related to grizzly bear and vernal pool habitat protection, as well as bald eagle listing petitions.
Favorite educational moment at PEAC?
It’s difficult to choose just one moment! I have had some great opportunities to learn how the Endangered Species Act is practically applied and litigated through the various moot courts I’ve done with Professor Rohlf in preparation for 9th Circuit arguments. Actually having to come up with an argument for a case has clarified certain complex sections of laws like the Endangered Species Act that were otherwise unclear from just reading textbooks. PEAC also provides an excellent opportunity for students to make the connection between how their supervising attorney explains a particular subject to them as a teacher, and then how that attorney explains that same subject to a judge in a court. It really is the best way for students to learn how to become attorneys and use arguments to convince a court.
How do you think PEAC experience will impact your future goals?
It’s hard for me to imagine what students who haven’t had a class like PEAC do when they have to, for example, write a brief for the first time after they graduate, especially in Environmental Law, where litigation can be so complex and science-based. This class has taken me to that next step of feeling prepared and confident to dive into these issues. It’s also provided me with a real education in subjects like Civil Procedure which seemed so elusive and abstract when I learned about them in class two years ago. But perhaps the most useful lesson has been on how politics and litigation work off of each other. Thanks to PEAC, I have a greater appreciation of how important agency policy is in addition to litigation, and my future goals will therefore be more interdisciplinary to address policy in producing change.
What are your post-graduate goals?
My goal is to use my legal education to obtain a job in wildlife and animal conservation, policy, and protection. In the long term, I hope that I can put my experience to use by founding a nonprofit involved in wildlife rescue, education, advocacy, and litigation.