OHIO ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER CRUSHES EXPECTATIONS—IN A GOOD WAY
BY JAMES MADERIOS, LAW STUDENT UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO COLLEGE OF LAW, CLASS OF 2010
I am happy to say that, in my experience as an intern for ten weeks this summer at the Ohio Environmental Council’s William W. Ellis Ohio Environmental Law Center (OELC), very few of my expectations were met.
Arriving at the OELC office, I expected this internship to confirm my perception of stodginess and pretentious swagger in the legal community. Instead, I found people who truly care more about the work than their image, and that clients who receive the OELC’s services recognize quality and genuine dedication when they see it.
It was a refreshing surprise and one that has inspired me to keep studying environmental law with a hope of practicing it some day. I can’t imagine what more an internship could do for a person.
During my time at OELC, I completed several research projects that helped to better safeguard the future of Ohio’s environment.
For example, I worked to help mitigate the damage caused by “longwall” coal mining in Southeast Ohio, due to its detrimental effects on local aquifers. I helped to advocate anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) legislation by providing legal citations and other information to lawmakers.
I also helped author a law review article that will be published this fall in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. The article looks at carbon capture and sequestration (the process of capturing carbon dioxide and storing it underground) from a legal and regulatory perspective.
The simple truth is that there may not be as much of a financial reward in environmental law as in other types, which means you enter this field for other reasons. For me, the reason is truly wanting to help prevent a greater loss of Ohio’s natural beauty and preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
With any luck, I will be able to find a way to make a career out of supporting Ohio’s non-profit environmental community. It is immensely rewarding and the OELC in particular offers what I suspect is an unmatched experience as measured by the dedication and technical expertise of its staff.
I would highly recommend anyone with an interest in the environment to find a way to intern or volunteer with this important organization.
Support the OELC’s internship program with a donation or by volunteering your legal expertise. Learn more at http://www.OhioEnviroLawCenter.org or by calling (614) 487-7506.