2L Green Awarded RMMLF Scholarship, Places 2nd in ABA SEER Writing Competition

In May 2015, 2L Jonathon Green was awarded a $9,000 Joe Rudd scholarship from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. He was also informed that he placed 2nd in the ABA SEER Endangered Species Act writing competition for his paper, “On the Cusp of Disaster: The King’s Tale of the Effects of Bycatch in the North Pacific Fishery.”  The paper will be published in Volume 15 of the Endangered Species Committee Newsletter. In the interview below, he talks about his interest in environmental law, praises the number and quality of environmental and natural resources law courses offered by the College of Law, and explains why he believes students should submit their work to competitions.

Let’s start with the scholarship—how did you learn about it, what does it cover, and how do you feel your experiences and education at the College of Law helped to make you uniquely qualified to receive it?

I first learned about the RMMLF scholarship through professors Keiter and Craig.  I have never been shy about my intent to practice in Alaska, and both of them were quick to encourage me to enter for the Joe Rudd scholarship.  The Joe Rudd Scholarship is partly awarded based on a candidate’s demonstrated commitment to practice natural resource law in Alaska. Currently, I am clerking for a boutique utility law firm in Anchorage, Kemppel Huffman & Ellis.  The scholarship is a $9,000 tuition scholarship for 2015-16 and qualified me for the University’s Graduate Tuition Benefit program, for a combined “savings” of $17,200 off tuition—I’m pretty stoked! Additionally, the scholarship includes registration, travel, and accommodations to the RMMLF Institute in Anchorage, AK this year.

I love how many environmental and natural resource courses the school offers, I’ve taken every one I could so far–literally.  Natural Resources, Environmental Law, Ocean and Coastal, Outdoor Recreation, Mining, Conservation Easements, and Water law so far and I am enrolled in Administrative law, Energy, Oil & Gas, Indian, Environmental Conflict Resolution, and International Environmental law for next year.  I think the sheer variety of natural resource and environmental courses provided me with an advantage over law students at other member schools.  Plus, knowing professor Keiter, recent RMMLF president, probably didn’t hurt me!  Finally, I think having a great relationship with Professor Craig—I may have already taken four of her classes—helped her to write me an excellent recommendation letter.

Second, talk about your paper.  How did you first become interested in the topic?  What role, if any, did Professor Craig or your other professors play in helping you to shape it?

 The paper I wrote for the ABA SEER ESA competition started last fall in Ocean and Coastal law.  Actually, it started on the Kenai River near Soldotna, Alaska in 2006 when I spent 80 hours fishing for king salmon one week without a bite–at peak season. I had been going up there every summer for many years with my family and had gotten addicted to catching and watching people catch 40-80 lbs kings without fail.  But 2006 was the first year that the king salmon return underperformed—and badly. I stopped fishing for kings, but paid scrupulous attention to any developments or biological theories on the culprit for the decline.  When I saw Canada’s new bycatch regulations for trawl fisheries perform incredibly well in 2012, I wanted to see what could Alaska do to mirror it? I got the opportunity to dig into the matter in Professor Craig’s Ocean and Coastal Law class last fall and birthed a behemoth of a paper that I am still working on several different versions. When Professor Craig let me know about the ABA competition topic on conservation of species, I knew I had to figure out how to summarize the highlights in 2,000 words. That was possibly the hardest thing I’ve done in law school so far, and without Professor Craig’s help and revisions I don’t think I could have possibly managed to do it, let alone take 2nd place.

Third, would you encourage your fellow students to apply for scholarships and submit their work for publication? If so, why?  

 There are a couple reasons why my classmates should enter competitions whenever they can, even if they don’t win. So far I’ve entered 3 of the ABA’s competitions this year and plan to enter another. So far I’ve lost one, took 2nd in the other, and am waiting to find out on the 3rd, but more than winning taking the time to write and rewrite a piece and submit it has been a huge help for me at my job and in my classes.  Often, there are very few entries submitted to a given competition and it might surprise you how good your odds really are. Plus, if you manage to get published it’ll look great on your resume.