Christopher Brooks, MSEL 2007, JD 2010
Work at the ENRLC gave me a good taste of what it means to be a practicing environmental attorney and helped me to hit the ground running . . .”
BA, History, University of the South
Christopher Brooks, a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, wants to protect and preserve the natural environment of the southeastern United States. During the summer of 2009, Chris is working in the Atlanta office of the Southern Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization that protects natural resources throughout the Southeast.
"I was originally attracted to VLS based on the school's reputation for having the top environmental law program," Chris says. "After visiting South Royalton the summer prior to my first year I was truly convinced that this was the place for me. I really enjoy the sense of community, the relaxed atmosphere, and the ability to work so closely with my professors."
One of those opportunities for interaction with faculty that Chris enjoyed was as a clinician at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic (ENRLC) in the 2009 spring semester. "Chris has been a steady hand in the clinic, working long hours on several cases related to water pollution," said David Mears, director of the ENRLC. "He has a passion for protecting water that has translated into a high quality work product on these cases. We have also benefited from Chris's dry sense of humor and his willingness to pitch in to help the other student clinicians."
Chris has enjoyed the benefits of his clinical experience, as well. "My experience at ENRLC has been without a doubt the most rewarding experience during my time at VLS. I was able to work with an extremely talented group of attorneys who gave me the opportunity to work on projects ranging from fast-paced litigation to long term policy initiatives." Stepping out of the classroom and into a hands-on experiential program gave Chris practical skills needed for his summer work with the Southern Environmental Law Center. "Work at the clinic gave me a good taste of what it means to be a practicing environmental attorney and helped me to hit the ground running when I started my most recent internship."
Last summer, Chris was a judicial intern to Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. of the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Chris has also worked as a legal intern for the Two-Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission in Woodstock, Vermont, where he researched local planning and zoning options for small municipalities wanting to improve local water quality and watershed protection, and as a volunteer for the White River Partnership, where he helped establish natural riparian buffer zones in the White River Watershed. After graduation from VLS, Chris says, "I hope to pursue my interest in water law and the growing need for increased water conservation and protection in the Southeast."
Chris earned his Master of Studies in Environmental Law (now the Master of Environmental Law and Policy) degree at VLS before starting the JD program. He earned his BA in history from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. In his spare time, he has volunteered on a number of Habitat for Humanity projects in Kentucky and Tennessee.
Professor Stephen Dycus, who taught Chris in his Water Resources Law class, said, "This is a smart, curious, civic-minded young man who has the potential to make a real difference in the world, and he seems determined to do so."