​​​​​​​​Leslie Welts JD'11, a bassoonist with the Vermont Philharmonic, knows how essential collaboration is, with each musician's particular role contributing to the performance. As a lawyer, she uses the same skills in collaboration to communicate with scientists and the public.​

Welts' law education has led her to an on-the-job science education as associate general counsel at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Department of Environmental Conservation.   

"I have learned a lot about wetlands, but I have learned even more about effectively communicating across disciplines. My increased ability to translate a scientific basis underlying a particular outcome to a member of the general public has been a fulfilling and exciting development for me in my legal career," Welts says.

She works with colleagues who are science and policy experts—wetlands ecologists, limnologists, aquatic biologists, river engineers. "We work together to identify the regulatory mechanisms we can use to reach the most environmentally protective outcome with the least legal risk," she says.

Welts credits the summer she worked at the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic with teaching her more than how to leverage legal actions to improve environmental laws. "Perhaps even more importantly, it taught me the importance of brainstorming legal strategy and collaborating with other attorneys. Not a day goes by that I don't run an idea by another attorney at the agency," she says.