We've Got Quite the Team!

We've Got Quite the Team!

This month we're celebrating our Graduate Fellow Attorneys and their accomplishments. We hired two new Fellows this fall and are sending off our third this month.

The Graduate Fellow Attorney position at the Conservation Law Center aims to give recent graduates practice in the field. Fellows work with the center for 1-2 years and then continue to work for both public and private firms; we have former Fellows now working with Earthjustice, Beveridge & Diamond, and the Tennessee Attorney General's office.

The 2017 Annual Fall Appeal

October 18, 2017

Dear Supporter,

The facts about water make you think: human beings are about 70% water. And so is our home; the earth’s surface is about 70% water.

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Only air is as important to us as water, and if there’s anything we all have in common, it is our love of water. We build cities by it, we recreate in and on it, we photograph and paint it, and we even decorate our public spaces with it.

For the Conservation Law Center, this has been the year of water. Water has always been in our portfolio of work, of course. But this year, matters involving water headed the list.

That may be because the water we need most of all doesn’t cover 70% of the earth’s surface.  Freshwater is, in fact, really scarce. Way less than a per cent of the water we have is fresh water…and that water, despite our love for it, isn’t in good shape.

We did a special report on the waters of our home state. You can review it at www.conservationlawceter.org/water.  Our conclusions, in short? We have a lot of work to do to conserve this most vital of resources.

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More water-related work: we are waiting for an Indiana Supreme Court decision on a case in which we argued for protection of the Lake Michigan shore. The Great Lakes alone hold about 20% of the world’s fresh surface water, and those waters need continued attention if they are going to be as clean and healthy as they should be.

To mention just one more water project, we helped a couple of clients purchase protective conservation easements on river bottomlands, The easements will help keep silt and agricultural chemical run-off out of the rivers—and ultimately help eliminate the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Water conservation challenges are big challenges. And CLC is working on them while we maintain our efforts to help our clients protect forest, preserve endangered species, and conserve land.

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You have heard this before from me, but it bears repeating, because it is true, and because it is easy to forget. Your support really matters to us. We can do what we do—protect fresh waters, provide high quality counsel to conservation organizations, and train the next generation of conservation lawyers only because you make it possible.

Two generous long term supporters have made a total of $70,000 available to match your contribution to us. So every dollar you give becomes two dollars of support for the Conservation Law Center.

Please contribute this year. It matters. And we will do great things with the resources you provide!


W. William Weeks

P.S. This year, more than ever, CLC’s work, and the work of our clients, is needed. The results we achieve this year will be felt for generations to come.

Hello, World!

We all need clean, abundant water

We all need clean, abundant water

August is Water Quality Month (#WQM17) and Conservation Law Center (CLC) is sponsoring a social media campaign to raise awareness of the importance of water quality and availability in Indiana. Here is our Letter to the Editor from CLC Director Bill Weeks and Indiana University's Dr. Jeffrey White about the #WQM17 initiative.

Former Fellow Spotlight: Peter Murrey

I worked as a Graduate Fellow at the Conservation Law Center for two years directly after law school. During that time, I gained a wide range of experience in conservation law, took on significant responsibility, and mentored students in the Conservation Law Clinic.  If you want to make a difference for the environment and develop the skills to be an effective lawyer, I highly recommend the Graduate Fellow program at the CLC.

I enjoyed great responsibility over projects at the CLC. Bill and Jeff initially assigned me portions of their cases, such as sections of briefs or memos on specific legal issues. As I gained more experience, they trusted me to handle cases on my own, including assisting conservation organizations with tax, property, and nonprofit governance questions. The CLC encouraged me to identify potential projects and make them my own. I was the lead attorney on a number of comments to federal agencies, including comments urging increased protection for streams impacted by coal mining, critiquing plans for oil and gas permits in National Wildlife Refuges, and addressing serious flaws in a plan to permit significant impacts on endangered birds and bats from wind farms across the Midwest. I also coauthored a winning brief in a D.C. Circuit case arguing for greater protections for endangered bats impacted by wind turbines, helped prepare for the oral argument, and sat at the counsel table in the D.C. Circuit. It’s rare to have these opportunities so soon out of law school.

During the second year of my fellowship, I gained firsthand experience in clinical legal education by teaching law students in the Conservation Law Clinic. The process of crafting an assignment based on my caseload, managing interns, and grading student work made me think more deeply about my own cases and writing. Bill and Jeff also encouraged me to assist in their seminars. I taught one class in a seminar developed by another Graduate Fellow on legal protections for endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and created and partially taught a seminar on skills for conservation lawyers.

My experience as a Graduate Fellow led to, and constantly assists, my current job as an Assistant Attorney General in the Environmental Division of the Tennessee Attorney General’s office. The leadership opportunities at the CLC showed I could handle my own caseload and the broad range of legal issues I worked on as a Fellow highlighted the breadth of my experience. Most of all, the CLC drove home how important quality legal work is. With the natural world on the line, you can’t afford to bumble through a case. The CLC taught me what it means to zealously represent clients and the environment.

Peter Murrey