Clinic students Sarah Peterson (JD ’15) and Albert Teng (JD ’15) started their academic year seeing the real world impact of their work. First, they attended oral arguments in the case of United States Department of the Interior v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission before the First Circuit Court of Appeals (No. 13-2439). Second, the Clinic team traveled to Lowell, Massachusetts to visit the dam that was the subject of the case.Last semester, working with Clinic Director Wendy Jacobs and Clinical Instructor Aladdine Joroff, Sarah and Albert submitted an amicus brief in the case on behalf of nonprofit organizations regarding historic preservation issues relating to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision to amend the license for a hydroelectric project that impacts the Pawtucket Dam in the Lowell National Historical Park. Lowell’s history as the first large-scale planned industrial city in the United States, powered by its hydropower system, is protected by the Lowell National Historical Park Act (the “Lowell Act”). In its brief, the Clinic argued that the project approved by FERC would adversely affect the Pawtucket Dam, a historic resource of the Park, in a manner that contravenes the Lowell Act’s prohibition of adverse effects on the Park’s resources.
Clinic student Albert Teng said that “working on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s amicus brief for the Pawtucket Dam case was one of the best practical experiences of [his] legal education at Harvard.”
“The work involved was challenging yet also rewarding. We were called upon to synthesize and master a complex administrative record while also determining the relevant administrative law. We then translated these findings into an amicus brief for the First Circuit. The process of writing an amicus brief was different from my other legal writing experiences. The role of amici is to educate the court and I learned to adjust my writing tone to reflect that role. Throughout the process, we had tremendous support from our clinical supervisor, Aladdine Joroff; clinical director, Wendy Jacobs; and our client, the National Trust.”