Recent HLS graduate Nick McDaniel reflects on the value of his experience at the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic.

Hi Dean Minow,

My name is Nick McDaniel, and I’m a 2011 HLS graduate and a current Environmental Law Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center.  I wanted to drop you a quick note to say hello, and also to sing the praises of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic.  The clinic was an important part of my time in law school, and it provided me amazing experience.  Now that I’m practicing and litigating significant energy and environmental cases in my fellowship, I realize even more how important that experience was in preparing me for what I’m doing now.

I chose the ELPC fellowship after my clerkship in part because I knew that I would get extensive litigation experience right away, and that has proven to be the case – I’ve performed discovery, drafted and argued pretrial motions, and deposed and cross-examined utility expert witnesses in important renewable energy and energy efficiency cases.  I feel like I’ve been very prepared for this responsibility and autonomy because of my 3-4 semesters with the clinic (one semester was an externship with DOJ Environment and Natural Resources Division).  I spent most of my time on our representation of small renewable energy contractors challenging electrical licensure requirements for solar photovoltaic projects – interacting with clients, performing discovery, and drafting motions and briefs.  After graduation and before starting into the serious bar-studying, I had the amazing experience of drafting and arguing our opposition to the Massachusetts AG’s motion to dismiss in our declaratory judgment action in Superior Court.  (I’ve stayed up-to-date to know that we won both our opposition motion and ultimately summary judgment).  I can’t imagine that all clinic experiences include opportunities like these.

Wendy and Shaun do an amazing job, and both have continued to serve as mentors to me as I’m beginning my career.  They’ve been invaluable resources for me in giving advice and support in my various job searches and in my practice.  Anyway, I’m sorry for this being a longer note than I planned to write, but I thought you might appreciate hearing about one alumn’s great clinic experience.