Jamie Pleune (Class of 2007) has joined the faculty of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law as an Associate Clinical Professor and will teach and supervise the environmental law clinic. “I believe that supervised clinical education provides an opportunity to begin engaging with the law from a professional, rather than a purely academic, viewpoint,” she explains. “Karl Llewellyn characterized the law as the ‘craft of doing and getting things done with the law.’ Working collaboratively with other students and lawyers on behalf of a client in a live case requires students to figure out how to use the law strategically, how to build legal arguments, how to give and receive professional feedback, and basically how to ‘get things done with the law.’” To that end, Pleune describes her role as facilitating and fostering the student experience.
Professor Bob Adler, who has worked with the environmental law clinic in various ways for the past 17 years, said he as “truly delighted with Jamie’s decision to join us. Jamie was a standout student here at the College of Law, and now joins us with superb additional training and experience due to her two-year fellowship with Georgetown’s environmental law clinic. She hit the ground running and is already doing a fabulous job.”
In the supervised environmental law clinic, students have the opportunity to practice public interest environmental law by working with Western Resource Advocates (WRA) on one or more of their live cases. Students are assigned to a particular issue in a case and must become familiar with the facts and develop or implement an appropriate legal strategy for that issue. Assignments range from writing a portion of a brief to preparing and submitting legal comments during an administrative proceeding to advising a client on their legal options. “We meet with the attorneys from WRA once a week for strategy sessions led by one of the students,” Pleune says. “Throughout the semester, students receive detailed feedback on their writing and oral communication skills.”
The environmental law clinic also facilitates an externship program. Students are placed in law offices in a federal agency, state attorney general, private law firm, or environmental advocacy group in Salt Lake City. Placements outside of Salt Lake City may be arranged with special permission.
“I am proud to be teaching at the College of Law,” Pleune says. “We have a very strong environmental program and I am glad that we now offer students the opportunity to further develop their practical and professional skills through the environmental law clinic.”