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Bonus Online Content: Clinic Alumni Tell Their Stories

Small Business Legal Clinic (SBLC)

Sean Clancy ’14Sean Clancy ’14

Business Attorney, Emerge Law Group

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I was there in 2013, during the spring semester of my 2L year. I advised multiple clients and prepared operating agreements, employee manuals, trademark clearance searches, and federal trademark applications—all tasks that are still part of my practice.

What work are you doing now?

I have expertise in trademark, copyright, and other types of intellectual property law. I serve a wide variety of businesses but I specialize in the media and cannabis industries.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

I completed a number of important legal tasks for the first time at the clinic, including meeting with clients, sending engagement letters, drafting legal documents, and advising people about their legal issues.

Memorable moments?

There were a series of clients with charming yet eccentric business ideas. Cat pillows? You bet. Restaurants serving only one thing? Sure. A social network for consensual, nonsexual cuddle parties? Why not. It was fun to see and share their enthusiasm and figure out how to help each client make their ideas reality.

How do you view the clinic now?

In addition to the obvious benefits of serving people who might not otherwise be able to afford legal services, the SBLC exposes students to the reality of legal practice. Learning the theory, doctrine, and case law in school is one thing—putting that into practice with real people who have real money at stake is quite another. The sooner students can be exposed to the realities, the better they will be at approaching law school and their career afterwards.

Shanelle Honda ’13Shanelle Honda ’13

Trial Attorney, Parsons Farnell & Grein LLP

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked at the clinic in the fall of 2012, which was my last semester of law school. I had the opportunity to help clients with trademark, employment, and entity formation matters. This included meeting with several clients to discuss their legal questions, researching and analyzing the issues, preparing a response, and then delivering the information to the client.

What work are you doing now?

I represent individuals and businesses in a variety of disputes, including breach of contract, corporate and partnership disputes, probate and trust matters, and insurance coverage. I participate in every phase of litigation, including drafting and arguing substantive and procedural motions, discovery, and preparing for negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and trial.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Through the SBLC, I improved my research, analysis, writing, and client interviewing skills. Regardless of whether you become a litigator or transactional attorney, these skills are essential. The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, is critical to every lawyer.

Memorable moments?

Many clients patiently waited for legal services. Not only were they grateful for the help, they were also invested in the learning process—theirs and ours. The clients were fascinating entrepreneurs with unique backgrounds and goals.

How do you view the clinic now?

In law school, most courses are academic and involve hypothetical scenarios. The SBLC provides a much-needed opportunity to work with real people in real situations. It gives students a chance to see what the practice of law really looks like and how academic education translates to solving actual legal problems. It also represents an incredible opportunity to see firsthand how lawyers and law students can empower small business entrepreneurs who must navigate complicated legal issues to follow their passions and support themselves and their families.

Levi Johnston ’09Levi Johnston ’09

Principal, Intelekia Law Group LLC

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I first participated in the SBLC as an intern in the spring of 2008. I returned as the student director that fall. My clients had questions related to entity formations, commercial leases, and regulations covering their business activities.

What work are you doing now?

I am one of the principals of Intelekia Law Group LLC, where I provide counsel to small businesses and their owners regarding business transactions, real property, and business disputes.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

As a 2009 graduate, my employment options were fairly limited due to the recession. The practical experience I received through the SBLC gave me confidence that I could competently represent clients even as a new attorney. Without the clinic experience, I would never have started my own firm right out of school. Even today, a lot of my practice involves discussions with entrepreneurs starting new business ventures, something I dealt with frequently at the clinic.

Memorable moments?

I am reminded on a fairly regular basis by current students that the SBLC continues to use my training video on how—and how not—to conduct an initial client interview. It was unscripted, so I had a little fun with it, not realizing I would have to continue to live down the performance a decade later!

How do you view the clinic now?

Traditional law school courses teach you to think like an attorney, but they don’t teach you how to set up a client file, bill your time, run a client meeting, or any of the other practical skills that make up the nuts and bolts of being a lawyer. The clinic did that for me. It was also my first opportunity to apply concepts on behalf of people who were genuinely appreciative of the services I provided.

Silvia Tanner ’15Silvia Tanner ’15

Senior Counsel and Analyst, Renewable Northwest

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked at the clinics almost every semester I was in school, starting in the first semester of my second year. I worked at the SBLC for two semesters. I also worked at the NCVLI and the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic.

At the SBLC, my work included counseling clients on entity selection, drafting the necessary documents for entity formation, and preparing employment handbooks and contracts. I also helped a Spanish-speaking client begin the process that eventually led him recover some of the capital that he was misled into investing in a business.

At the NCVLI, I connected victims with resources, summarized recent developments in victims’ rights jurisprudence, and researched whether mandatory-reporting requirements in other jurisdictions would apply to those operating the NCVLI’s victim hotline.

At the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic, I represented clients in landlord-tenant, family, and bankruptcy proceedings. My work included successfully negotiating better conditions for clients facing eviction, representing clients through divorce proceedings, and assisting clients preparing to file for bankruptcy.

What work are you doing now?

I’m with a nonprofit, public interest organization that works to expand market opportunities for responsibly developed renewable energy resources in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. As part of my work, I participate in electric utility planning processes and represent Renewable Northwest in front of utility commissions and the Bonneville Power Administration. I also engage in policy analysis and legislative review/drafting in support of our policy team.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

My practice today is substantively different, but the skills I gained at the clinics help me better represent my organization. For example, at the clinics I learned to communicate complex legal concepts to clients who often did not have a legal background. Today, I work in a very technical industry and must routinely speak on complex topics in an understandable and persuasive manner.

Memorable moments?

At the SBLC, I represented an Spanish-speaking client of modest means who had been persuaded to invest his savings in a business and business arrangement that were not what he was promised. He had little schooling and did not speak English, so he was especially vulnerable. His one previous encounter with an attorney had left him with a deep distrust of lawyers, so earning trust was difficult. Yet, it was key to my ability to represent him. In the end, my client successfully recovered some of his investment. Representing him highlighted for me the extreme vulnerability of communities at the margins and how much power practicing law gives us to help or hurt the vulnerable.

How do you view the clinic now?

The clinics helped me see the connection between the classroom and lawyering. Even for attorneys, the legal system is complex. Imagine how disorienting it may be for someone first encountering it, possibly under the stress of an eviction notice or a divorce. After receiving my first call on the NCVLI’s resource hotline I understood why I was in law school: to be a compass for my client as they navigate a complex system.

The clinics are of tremendous value for students, clients, and the school. Students gain invaluable experience under the supervision of a clinical professor, whose main job is to help them learn. Clients gain legal assistance that, given the scarcity of low- to no-cost legal services, would likely not be available to them but for the clinic. The school gains visibility in the community and looks more appealing to the ever-increasing number of law students that value practical skills. Work in the clinics. Support the clinics. You will not regret it.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC)

Ashley McDonald ’15Ashley McDonald ’15

Commercial Litigator, Slinde Nelson

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I first took the tax clinic as a 2L back when it was still part of the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic. The summer between my 2L and 3L, Director Jan Pierce asked me if I wanted to present an oral argument in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals related to a claim for attorney fees in one of the LITC’s tax cases. I eagerly accepted the opportunity. After months of preparation and multiple practice rounds with Portland-area appellate attorneys acting as judges, I argued before a panel of three judges in the Ninth Circuit. The LITC ultimately prevailed and was awarded attorney fees incurred prior to the IRS’s unilateral concession on the eve of trial. The Ninth Circuit also determined that the legislative intent behind the statute that the LITC relied upon in seeking attorney fees was to encourage the IRS to settle cases and that “settlement” did not mean the IRS unilaterally conceding a dispute at the last minute. This interpretation of the statute is very favorable for taxpayers.

In addition to taking two semesters of LITC, I also spent a semester with the SBLC. My favorite part of the SBLC was working directly with small business owners and entrepreneurs and helping them turn their dreams into something tangible. I enjoyed working with small business owners so much that I continue to volunteer as a pro bono attorney with the SBLC.

What work are you doing now?

I work closely with small businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

In addition to gaining courtroom experience, I learned how to communicate effectively with clients. As a young attorney, it can be difficult to learn how to draw out the necessary information from clients and communicate complicated legal concepts to them in a concise and understandable manner. The clinic taught me how to do so in a structured environment where I was mentored by experienced clinical professors.

Memorable moments?

My clinic group became very close over the term, so we had a happy hour together to celebrate at the end. I have several lasting friendships from that group that have provided me with laughter, encouragement, and a sounding board for all aspects of my life.

How do you view the clinic now?

Employers look for new attorneys with practical experience. Working under the guidance of clinical professors is an excellent way to get that and have a competitive edge when entering the job market. The clinic also gives students an opportunity to explore various areas of law and learn what they are passionate about before they enter the job market.

Erik Nelson ’11Erik Nelson ’11

Attorney, Internal Revenue Service Office of Chief Counsel

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked for the LITC during my 2L and 3L years, 2010 and 2011. I helped represent taxpayers with disputes before the IRS, such as appeals from notices of deficiency and seeking collections alternatives.

What work are you doing now?

I primarily do litigation in U.S. Tax Court, with a small amount of work advising and reviewing legal issues within the IRS.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic works in the same area I do now, just the other side. Working at the clinic gave me helpful experience in tax controversy work, as well as valuable perspective of the taxpayer’s side of a dispute.

How do you view the clinic now?

The clinic provides some of the best hands-on legal experience that you are likely to get in school. Many summer internships are full of tasks removed from actually dealing with day-to-day legal work and client interactions, but the clinics get you into the thick of it.

Clinics also provide invaluable service to those who need legal assistance but cannot afford to hire an attorney. In my experience, every instance of a clinic representing a taxpayer who would otherwise be pro se ends up being immensely beneficial to everyone involved.

Darin Wiseart ’07Darin Wisehart ’07

Principal, Wisehart Law, PC

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I was at the clinic for three semesters in 2006 and 2007. I worked closely with Jan Pierce on tax cases for the first two semesters, taking low-income clients with the help of the tax clinic. We had the ability to argue a large-docket tax case the second semester, one contending several million dollars. I think we did quite well with the tutelage of Jan; our result was better than we expected, given the circumstances. My final semester was broader, with cases from a few other areas, including landlord/tenant with Mark Peterson and bankruptcy cases through Richard Slottee.

What work are you doing now?

Currently I run Wisehart Law, PC, a firm that covers Salem, Portland, and every place between. Primarily, we file bankruptcies for individuals, but we take the occasional tax or consumer law case. We focus on helping people get free from debt, retain their houses, or reorganize their estate financially.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Many things I do today began with processes at the clinic, from talking through cases with the advisors to stepping forward and forcing myself to immerse in the law so that I could adequately represent the people that relied on me.

Memorable moments?

I have a vivid memory of arguing a case in federal tax court. There was very little pressure on us; the case facts were what they were and we knew we had Jan overseeing everything. Our job was to get the best result. The team, with Jan’s help, put together a good argument and did a solid job going through the witnesses to ensure all information was before the judge. Back then, I thought I didn’t have time for the case. What I didn’t realize was how much that case would set up every future case. The lesson was clear: come prepared and good results will follow.

How do you view the clinic now?

The clinic remains a very important place, in my view, because it represents a fundamental truth about law school and law practice: You get what you put into them. Spend the time on the issues and there is no greater place to develop. The clinic has amazingly knowledgeable people who are positive and do an excellent job helping you open your mind. I will be forever grateful for the accessibility of Jan, Mark, and Dick during my time at the clinic. Years after I graduated, I could still call any of them and have a chat about a case or situation. They are the quintessential teachers, and I hope they know how valuable they are to all the students that started their legal careers at the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic.

Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC)

Amy Saack ’17Amy Saack ’17

Associate Attorney, Davis Rothwell Earle and Xóchihua

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

During my 2L year, I investigated claims of innocence submitted by prisoners in Oregon. 

What work are you doing now?

I work on a variety of cases at a Portland civil litigation defense firm, including negligence, personal injury, employment, and construction defect.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

The CJRC provided a good introduction into both case management and case investigation, which are essential to the practice of law. Handling several cases simultaneously, which requires managing competing deadlines and priorities, allows law students to develop important time management skills. Investigating cases develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills—to say nothing of the very interesting subject matter. The CRJC also held relaxed, classroom-style learning sessions weekly with many interesting guest speakers from the Oregon legal community. 

Memorable moments?

The people I had the opportunity to work with at the CJRC stand out as the most memorable part of my experience there. It was a small group of very passionate law students, volunteers, and attorneys whom I otherwise would never have met. On a day-to-day basis, I had the opportunity to learn from and connect with people with a wide variety of experiences. On Fridays, we would often have more theoretical discussions (with snacks) about potential changes to the criminal justice system, and it was interesting to hear so many different points of view.

How do you view the clinic now?

Not only does the CJRC give law students an opportunity to dive into the real world of law, it also works to provide meaningful access to the legal system to some of the people who need it most. The CJRC represents a great opportunity for students to help others in the community while figuring out what they want to do after graduation. Students can do client interviews, practical legal research, or work on legislative initiatives—things you can’t do in a standard classroom. It’s this kind of experience that helps students discover what sort of legal practice they will enjoy in the long term. 

Crime Victim Litigation Clinic (CVLC)

Wyatt Rolfe ’06Wyatt Rolfe ’06

Of Counsel, Schroeder Law Offices, P.C., and Sole Practitioner

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I had the honor of being the NCVLI’s first legal intern during the summer of 2004, and then continued through the 2004–05 academic year. Some of my work with the NCVLI could be described as the genesis for the eventual CVLC clinic. The NCVLI staff were then laying the foundation for the clinic, as well as planning the strategy to become a national voice in victims’ rights law. I conducted a number of research projects for the NCVLI, including one for which I coauthored an article that addressed SLAPP suits and the applicability of First Amendment antitrust theories in the context of reporting crime. I also worked to develop legal resources for use by practicing attorneys. Included among these was a state-by-state analysis of crime victim restitution statutes.  

What work are you doing now?

I am a sole practitioner in my hometown of Walla Walla, Washington, and I also serve of counsel on water law issues for Schroeder Law Offices, P.C., in Portland. My areas of practice include adult guardianship, an area in which I still draw on experiences at the NCVLI.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

The position pushed me to hone my writing and research skills. The vision of [Professors] Doug Beloof and Meg Garvin was to create a national presence in the field of victim rights, so I was always mindful my work product might be relied on by attorneys elsewhere. I strove to produce work worthy of a national organization. I spent a lot of time immersed in the Bluebook. The position also exposed me to various constitutional concepts that present themselves in my practice today.

Memorable moments?

One day during the summer between my first and second years, I unexpectedly encountered [Professor] Meg Garvin at Boley Library. She was alone at a table, reading various pieces of literature about the civil rights movement and strategies employed by Martin Luther King Jr. to motivate change. It’s a moment I’ve reflected on many times. For me, it defined the difference between someone who’s truly leading an organization with vigor versus someone who perhaps is not.

I’ve kept just one law school textbook: [Professor] Doug Beloof’s Victims in Criminal Procedure.

How do you view the clinic now?

I suspect nearly every law student faces a period of self-doubt as to whether they can successfully practice law. I’ve been there as well. The CVLC provides genuine experience that fosters skills and confidence moving forward. I recall my first substantial memorandum for the NCVLI, completed shortly after my first year. I requested feedback on the memo and thoughts for improvement moving forward. It was a watershed moment when I heard “I’m not even worried about your writing, you’re already there.” My self-perception changed that day. I knew I could be successful.

The clinic is also instrumental in students’ development of practical hands-on skills. The fundamentals of simply filing a motion often go by the wayside in legal education. The CVLC, as well as other legal clinics available through Lewis & Clark, serve to bridge this gap.

Animal Law Clinic

Lora Dunn ’13Lora Dunn ’13

Director, Criminal Justice Program, Animal Legal Defense Fund

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

Spring of 2013. The clinic exposed me to a wide variety of real-life casework, including civil litigation, mediation, and public records work.

What work are you doing now?

My team assists prosecutors and law enforcement behind the scenes on animal cruelty cases, through legal research and on-site trainings.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

One of the most important classroom discussions I engaged in during law school was on the topic of burnout and compassion fatigue in animal protection work—and it was facilitated by Professor Hessler during the clinic. My day-to-day work now involves factual and legal analysis of violence against animals. I view photos, videos, and descriptions of truly heinous abuse and neglect of some of the most vulnerable victims. That clinic discussion and what I learned from it has helped me to maintain a healthy balance in my daily work and allowed me to continue doing what I’m passionate about. 

How do you view the clinic now?

The typical law school experience does not always adequately prepare students to hit the ground running as practicing attorneys. Clinics provide crucial hands-on experience with real-world cases.

Claire Howe ’13Claire Howe ’13

Executive Director, The Raven Corps

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked in the Animal Law Clinic in 2013, researching legislative history for a humane education organization called H.E.A.R.T. I also drafted memos for Mercy for Animals after researching state civil and criminal law related to their undercover investigations at factory farms.

What work are you doing now?

I am the executive director of a youth-based, youth-driven nonprofit organization devoted to advocacy around a plant-based diet.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Researching, writing, and communicating openly and effectively were integral parts of my work at the clinic. I must do all of those thing efficiently and effectively in my job now, so I am very grateful for that experience.

Memorable moments?

Professor Hessler had us participate in an exercise where we were asked to devise as many different ways to split an orange as possible. While this may not sound at first like a terribly intellectual activity, it was—and it forced me to think more deeply about the complexity of negotiation and the interpersonal skills that requires.

How do you view the clinic now?

The Animal Law Clinic was as much about exploring my potential as a lawyer as it was about fostering legal knowledge. I now work very closely with teen activists, which is something I never expected to be doing with my career but enjoy beyond measure. I believe that the clinic experience allowed me to be more comfortable and confident with that development, and will serve me well wherever my degree might take me.  

Kelly Levenda ’13Kelly Levenda ’13

Student Programs Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I was in the Animal Law Clinic during the 2012–13 academic year. I worked on a vegan prisoner project and a scientific survey of farmed animals’ capabilities for Farm Sanctuary.

What work are you doing now?

I work with law students to advance the emerging field of animal law and assist students in forming Animal Legal Defense Fund student chapters. I’m also the founder of Let Fish Live, a project that advocates for the consideration and protection of sentient aquatic animals.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

While at the Animal Law Clinic, I learned how to work with clients and manage competing ideas about how to best achieve legal protection for animals. That’s been really helpful in my current work.

Memorable moments?

I learned so much discussing recent animal law news, strategies, and other social justice issues with Professor Hessler and the other clinic students. It was great to hear a diversity of opinions from people I respect.

How do you view the clinic now?

The Animal Law Clinic is great way for students to obtain hands-on experience working for real-world clients. Students get the opportunity to work with expert animal law attorneys and influential organizations to further develop the field of animal law and encourage consideration of animals’ interests in the legal system.

Nzioki Makau LLM ’17Nzioki Makau LLM ’17

Judge, Employment and Labour Relations Court, Kenya

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked at the Animal Law Clinic in 2016.

What work are you doing now?

I am a judge in the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kenya. I’m eyeing a slot on the appellate court where I can put to work some of my new-found skills.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

I train judges and magistrates on animal law issues—the last training was in South Africa, where I was invited by the South Africa Judicial Training Institute and UNODC. My work at the clinic also helped prepare me for the conservation challenges I face, especially when they are set against development concerns.

Memorable moments?

I will never forget the genius of some of my fellow students. I could always depend on them to give me a fresh perspective despite my many years as an attorney.

How do you view the clinic now?

The Animal Law Clinic gives one hands-on experience in various fields.

Raj Reddy ’17Raj Reddy ’17

Director, Animal Law LLM Program, Lewis & Clark Law School

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

During the 2016–17 academic year, I developed a study regarding the development of aquaculture in the United States and reviewed applicable laws, both welfare-based and not. In addition, I created animal welfare framework for U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer’s office for consideration in his signature Sing Your Own Farm Bill.

What work are you doing now?

I currently teach a number of courses at the Center for Animal Law Studies, where I oversee the world’s first and only advanced animal law degree program.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Certainly the writing experience I gained during my time at the clinic helped me appreciate the framework of farmed animal law, especially as it relates to aquaculture.

Memorable moments?

I remember with some fondness the camaraderie in the class. It’s not often in law school that one gets to work on real-life issues with others, and I appreciated having that community of peers.

David Rosengard JD ’15, LLM ’16David Rosengard JD ’15, LLM ’16

Staff Attorney,  Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I was part of the Animal Law Clinic for the spring 2015 semester. I worked on issues surrounding foie gras production, filed FOIA requests to gain access to records of federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act violations, tracked and analyzed those HMSA violations, assisted vegan prisoners in their efforts to secure appropriate meals, and produced a guide aimed at prisoners, their attorneys, and other interested parties on the relevant legal issues surrounding access to vegan meals while incarcerated. This guide was later published inAnimal Law Review as “‘Three Hots and a Cot and a Lot of Talk’: Discussing Federal Rights-Based Avenues for Prisoner Access to Vegan Meals.”

What work are you doing now?

I work to see justice done on behalf of animal crime victims by assisting law enforcement and prosecutors with trial-level issues, filing amicus briefs on cases with animal law implications, consulting on legislative efforts, and training attorneys, government agents, and animal advocates on best practice approaches to addressing animal cruelty. I also teach animal law as an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark Law School.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

When I started at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, I quickly found myself using each of the legal skills I honed in the Animal Law Clinic—from filing FOIA requests, to parsing out distinctions between lawful and unlawful treatment of animals, to constitutional analysis, to composing succinct legal writing under deadline. During my first few months at ALDF, I consistently found myself well prepared by work I had done as at the Animal Law Clinic.

Memorable moments?

Something that really stands out for me is the class portion of clinic. Amidst the busy rush of the law school experience, this was a rare opportunity to think intentionally about not only how we do legal work, but also why. The Animal Law Clinic gave me the opportunity to discuss those issues with other focused, committed students, alongside the wise guidance of Clinic Director and Professor Kathy Hessler. Honestly, the class experience alone was worth it—it was the sort of experience every law student should be able to have prior to graduation.

How do you view the clinic now?

The Animal Law Clinic enables students to build practical skills applicable to any legal practice, as well as a portfolio of successful legal work particularly pertinent to the field of animal law. Beyond that, the Animal Law Clinic encourages its students to think about the law in ways that ultimately make us more able to identify the kind of legal practice we wish to undertake, and to do it well when we get there.

Earthrise

Liv Brumfield ’13Liv Brumfield ’13

Field representative, Office of U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked in the clinic during the summer of 2012 and the 2012–13 academic year. I mostly worked on cases related to Oregon public lands, but I also helped with some Clean Water Act cases—including a trial!

What work are you doing now?

I am the liaison between the Representative Blumenauer and Oregonians on issues and policies related to the environment and natural resources, energy, food and agriculture, animal welfare, tribal/native communities, and other items as assigned.  

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Everything, from the fundamental tenets of administrative law, which help me navigate executive agency bureaucracy and craft effective legislation, to a familiarity with a variety of environmental issues and stakeholders in Oregon and across the country. At the clinic, I gained knowledge—such as the ability to navigate complex agency documents and write in a clear, persuasive manner—and began relationships that continue to serve me well to this day.

Memorable moments?

First, participating in a Clean Water Act trial with Professors Dan Mensher and Jamie Saul. This was a rare event for Earthrise and an incredible opportunity to learn by doing and watching stellar attorneys in action. Second, a field trip with Professor Tom Buchele and another student to the site of one of Buchele’s cases was an amazing immersive experience that changed the way I think about Oregon forests.

How do you view the clinic now?

Earthrise prepares students to tackle real-world problems by exposing them to real issues and people, and by challenging them to explore, think creatively, and hone their knowledge and skills to be effective advocates on behalf of the natural world. There are no students who are more motivated and tenacious than those who participate in Earthrise, and the planet needs them!

Amy Van Saun ’11Amy Van Saun ’11

Staff Attorney, Center for Food Safety

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

In 2010–11. I worked on a preliminary injunction, administrative appeals to federal agencies, and a case to stop the spraying of pesticides.

What work are you doing now?

At CFS, a national nonprofit organization, I defend farmers, communities, and the environment from industrial animal factories, aquaculture, genetically engineered crops and animals, and the overuse of toxic pesticides, especially in the Pacific Northwest. I also work to ensure the transparent labeling of genetically engineered foods and protect the integrity of the organic label.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Environmental public interest litigation is exactly what I do now, so Earthrise was excellent preparation. At Earthrise I drafted standing declarations and worked on a preliminary injunction against USDA (an agency I often litigate against now), administrative appeals to federal agencies, and a case to stop the spraying of pesticides in a national forest.

Memorable moments?

Winning our preliminary injunction against the USDA to stop the importation from Hawai‘i of municipal garbage, which was potentially full of invasive species, to a landfill in Washington near tribal lands. My favorite funny moment was writing and performing a skit to present a new mining case to the class. I got to play Earthrise Clinical Professor and Codirector Tom Buchele, with a homemade mask and everything! He was a great sport about it.

How do you view the clinic now?

The clinic provided me real-world training on actual cases, and prepared me more than any theoretical class could have for the actual practice of environmental law. Working at the clinic helped me discover that I love litigation and allowed me to pursue a career in environmental public interest litigation with confidence. I formed relationships with the clinical attorneys as well as the other students that continue to be extremely important to my career and work today.

International Environmental Law Project (IELP)

Si Won Park ’06Si Won Park ’06

Associate Professor, Kangwon National University Law School

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

I worked during 2004–05. I helped prepare a practitioner’s handbook for local governments to develop eco-labels without violating international trade law. I also prepared a briefing for lawmakers relating to the WTO Appellate Body’s Report in the Sardines case, a dispute between the European Union and Peru concerning the EU’s protectionist labeling practice disguised as a consumer safety measure.

What work are you doing now?

I am teaching environmental law and am the director of environmental law center at Kangwon National University. I organize biannual environmental law conferences and manage the publication for our biannual law journal, Environmental Law and Policy, a leading environmental law review in Korea.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

My IELP experience motivated me to learn more about international environmental law. I followed it with a semester in Washington, D.C., on an externship with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a prominent international environmental law think tank and advocacy organization.

These experiences helped me land a job at the Korean government research institute, where I advised the Korean delegation to the UNFCCC negotiations.

How do you view the clinic now?

It gives you opportunities to work on real cases and think like a lawyer.

Alice Stroud LLM ’01Alice Stroud LLM ’01

Africa Policy and Capacity-Building Director, Born Free USA

When did you work in the clinic? What did you do?

When at the clinic in 2000–01, I focused my research on the assessment of financial contributions at the International Whaling Commission and drafted recommendations for a more equitable contributions scheme. These proposals were incorporated into a working document reviewed by IWC member countries and directly influenced debate on this issue before the commission.

What work are you doing now?

My current focus is developing the ability of African governments to fight wildlife crime and building consensus between African countries to conserve shared resources and implement international agreements. I now have 14 years of experience leading Africa-based capacity-building programs.

What parts of your work at the clinic prepared you for your career?

Drafting in-depth legal guidance to facilitate decision-making by government representatives.

Memorable moments?

Attending meetings of the International Whaling Commission and seeing the documents I had drafted from scratch being discussed by governments as guidance for decision-making.

How do you view the clinic now?

It is important because it gives you hands-on international law experience, which is unique. As a result, it strengthens your ability to find a paid position practicing international law after graduating. [Professors] Chris [Wold] and Erica [Lyman] have the respect of multiple decision-makers in important international agreements—and they are great colleagues to work with.

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