Emily Komie

I chose to attend Lewis & Clark because it has one of the top environmental law programs in the country, and I was also drawn to the breadth of experiential opportunities.

Emily Komie JD '24

Degree and Class Year

JD ’24


Chicago, Illinois

Undergraduate/Graduate School(s)

Colorado College

Areas of legal interest(s)

Environmental Law

Brief Background

Growing up in Chicago, I spent my summers exploring the city and swimming in Lake Michigan. I then attended Colorado College where I studied environmental science and filmmaking. During college, I was able to travel around the country playing for our women’s ultimate frisbee team. Before law school, I had many jobs including as a bartender, an environmental educator, and a backcountry kayak trip guide. Through my work experience, I realized that attending law school and studying environmental law was the best way I could combine my passion for protecting the outdoors with my skills.

What is your favorite class that you’ve taken at Lewis & Clark? Why?

My favorite class that I’ve taken at Lewis & Clark so far has been Lawyering with Professor Hadley Van Vactor Kroll. I loved this class because I was able to gain many practical skills to carry forward into my internship this summer and my future legal career. In particular, I feel that I have been able to hone in on my writing and public speaking skills through this class. Also, I feel very grateful to have had Professor Van Vactor Kroll because she has proven to be an invaluable mentor to me during my first year. I am looking forward to finally being able to take environmental law courses during my second year.

Why did you choose to attend Lewis & Clark?

I chose to attend Lewis & Clark because I knew that I wanted to pursue environmental law, and L&C has one of the top environmental law programs in the country. I was also drawn to the breadth of experiential opportunities that L&C offers. Lastly, I had never been to the Pacific Northwest and thought that it would be really fun to live in Portland for at least three years.

Do you have any bits of advice for students making their final law school choices?

My biggest piece of advice for these students is to follow your gut. There are many great law schools to choose from, and you could probably have a great experience at a variety of places. However, Lewis & Clark is truly unique in terms of its collegial atmosphere, passionate faculty, fantastic curriculum offerings, small class size, and beautiful location.

What was the hardest thing about adjusting to law school?

The hardest thing about adjusting to law school for me was the workload (especially after being out of school for a few years). Law school is very intense, but if you treat it like a 9–5 job, it is very manageable. I have found that I am able to take a full day off every weekend if I allot my time correctly. Also, you will adjust to the workload and lifestyle as you go along, and it starts to feel a lot better.

Give us a top 10 list about L&C/Portland/Oregon.

  1. Treehouse law school (the campus is adjacent to Tryon Creek State Park)
  2. Being close to so much nature! (the coast, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, etc.)
  3. Amazing food (some of my faves are Top Burmese in Northwest, Gino’s Italian in Sellwood, and the Hawthorne Asylum food carts in Southeast)
  4. Amazing coffee (some of my faves are The Dragonfly Coffeehouse in Northwest and Upper Left Coffee Roasters in Southeast)
  5. Amazing beer and wine (some of my faves are Kells Brewing in Northwest and White Rose Vineyard near Newberg, Oregon)
  6. Lots of outdoor markets (vintage flea market in Southeast, Saturday Market by the riverfront in the Pearl District, and the Lake Oswego farmer’s market)
  7. Great thrifting (Sellwood and Northwest Union are two of my faves)
  8. Many great parks (I love to play tennis, so I especially like the ones with the tennis courts!)
  9. The beautiful reflection pool on L&C’s undergrad campus
  10. Great music scene

Environmental, Natural Resources, and Energy Law