July 14, 2016

For Fly-Fisher Mark Tuai, Environmentalism and Sport Inextricably Intertwined

Mark Tuai gains real world experience being around a team of extraordinary attorneys dedicated to improving the environment.

By Mark Tuai


When I sat down to sift through Lewis and Clark’s employment database earlier this year, I decided that I wanted two things out of my summer clerkship experience. First, I wanted to gain hands-on experience that would allow me to apply the things I had learned during my 1L year. Second, I wanted to work for an organization that represented the interests of the environment. My desire to work for an environmentally focused organization was driven largely by my passion for fly-fishing. For most fly-anglers, environmentalism and the sport are inextricably intertwined. Damming, logging, and mining have had detrimental consequences for native fish across the West Coast and continue to do so today. As a consequence, I wanted to work for an organization that pursued litigation that would improve the quality of Oregon’s watersheds and beyond.

Earthrise Law Center appeared on my radar after I had lunch with my faculty advisor, Professor Dan Rohlf. Within a few weeks, I found myself in Earthrise’s workroom surrounded by passionate and likeminded individuals working to improve the environment. My assignments have been varied and I have had the opportunity to work with various environmental statutes as they apply to a range of issues. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to conduct both factual and legal research in areas that speak directly to my interests. One of the most valuable aspects about my summer experience at Earthrise has been the chance to sit in on litigation meetings. These meetings have been instrumental in shaping my understanding of how law is practiced. Environmental law and its real world application eluded me during my 1L year; however, I now feel better prepared to engage the subject matter both within the classroom and outside of it.

Earthrise has honed and refined the tools I acquired during my 1L year and put them to use. I am presented with challenging questions on a daily basis for which I am responsible for finding answers to. My time at Earthrise has helped me become a more creative advocate in a variety of ways. Whether I’m finding relevant case law or sifting through cases that might not appear favorable at first blush, I’m constantly pushed to think critically and creatively. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to improve my legal writing abilities and learn how to produce effective work product in a more efficient manner. Concurrently, I am gaining real world experience by being around a team of extraordinary attorneys dedicated to improving the environment.

“Perhaps the most rewarding

aspect about working

for Earthrise this summer

is that my work benefits those

who need legal representation.”

Some of the work I have done this summer has involved working with those who have been disenfranchised by the actions of others. Working for these clients has also given me the opportunity to assist in the restoration of wild places and species. This is something that I have always wanted to do, and Earthrise has been instrumental in helping me obtain the practical and meaningful legal work experience I was seeking. At the same time, I have learned a tremendous amount in the past weeks and I continue to grow everyday as a result of my summer experience. 


Mark is a rising 2L from Los Angeles, CA. Before enrolling at Lewis & Clark, Mark worked as an educator and studied Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Mark hopes to use his legal education to help preserve and reestablish native fish of the West. In his spare time, Mark enjoys cooking, fly-fishing, and exploring Oregon.