Clinical Law Clerks and Summer Advocates
Midwest Environmental Advocates runs two programs for law students, our Summer Advocate Program and our Semester Clinical Law Clerk Program. Law Clerks and Summer Advocates develop valuable skills in client interviewing, legal research and writing, and community organizing.
To apply for a fall or summer law clerk position, send a cover letter, resume, and five-page writing sample via email to Ry Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also submit your materials by post to:
Midwest Environmental Advocates
612 W Main Street, Suite 302
Madison, WI 53703
MEA also accepts a limited number of non-law students for volunteer positions. For more information email Lauren Rudersdorf at email@example.com.
Summer Advocate Program
Semester Externship for UW-Madison Law Students
Midwest Environmental Advocates offers a unique experience for University of Wisconsin law students to get an in-depth look at all aspects of environmental law practice and nonprofit legal work.
Our externship provides the opportunity for students to gain a practical knowledge of the workings of environmental law and hone their skills on real issues and cases. Working as law clerks at Midwest Environmental Advocates, students are involved at all levels of environmental litigation from researching new topics in environmental protection to helping prepare briefs in ongoing litigation. We strive to provide students with the opportunity to see environmental law 'in action'.
Past activities have included delivering public comments at legislative hearings, meeting with community members to build grassroots coalitions, and documenting environmental violations ‘in the field.’
In the past, MEA has also been happy to offer seminars to provide students with a varied and in-depth look at all aspects of the practice of environmental law. Topics have included legal issues in citizen suits, using the Clean Water Act, the inner workings of the Department of Natural Resources, environmental justice, working effectively with citizens’ groups and lobbying. We hope to continue these seminars as interest and schedules allow.
Seminars are to be taught by a combination of Midwest Environmental Advocates staff and outside experts, including some non-lawyers, who provide unique perspectives on environmental law. Guest speakers have included local environmental attorneys in private practice, a former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a former Public Intervenor, among others.
Taken in place of regular classes, students are awarded seven credits on a pass/fail basis for the semester externship. Based on the standard university requirement for internship hours, students work 315 hours in the semester, including the seminars. Seminars are analogous to law school seminars and may include readings.
2017 Fall Law Clerks
Kelly Del Ponte
Kelly is from Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, and is a second-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science in Geological Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kelly hopes to further her legal education with MEA, and gain a better understanding of environmental advocacy.
Katie is a third-year law student at Marquette University and is from Crown Point, Indiana. She received her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Environmental Policy from Purdue University. Her primary interest area is water rights, especially on an international scale. She hopes to expand her practical knowledge in all aspects of environmental law and advocacy through her semester at MEA.
Daniel is a second-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Originally from Mill Valley, CA, Daniel received his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Oregon. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Daniel lived in Washington, DC, where he interned on Capitol Hill and for the Sierra Club before working as a paralegal for an intellectual property law firm. Following law school, he intends to return to DC to practice environmental and energy law in the public sector.
2017 Spring Law Clerks
Nash is a second year law student at the University of Michigan Law School and a first year graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Environment and Sustainability. He grew up in Milwaukee, WI, majored in Geography at the University of Vermont, and worked for three years in Salt Lake City, UT, as a groundwater pollution scientist. He came to MEA to pursue his interests in Great Lakes environmental policy, water and energy law, and agricultural pollution. He is an avid biker and looks forward to dusting off his rusty sailing skills on Lake Mendota this summer.
Seth is from Byron, IL, graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, and is a entering his third year at the University of Michigan Law School. He spent his undergraduate summers working as a Restoration Technician at the Byron Forest Preserve, restoring the local prairie to its natural condition. These summers ignited his interest in environmental advocacy. Seth believes a summer spent with MEA will allow him learn about the intricacies of environmental law and build relationships with those who understand the importance of conserving our environment.
Robert D. Lee
Growing up in Arkansas, Robert developed an interest in the environment while taking advantage of the many outdoor activities the Natural State has to offer. For several years after high school, he played in different touring bands, but eventually gave up that dream in pursuit of becoming a first generation college graduate. Robert put himself through school, graduating with an Associate of Arts from Northwest Arkansas Community College in 2012 and then with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with minors in History and Legal Studies from the University of Arkansas in 2015. Robert, his wife Madison, and their two pets reside in South Bend, Indiana, where he attends the University of Notre Dame. He is a third-year law student, a GLOBES fellow, and served as President of the Environmental Law Society. Robert is particularly passionate about Water Law and is eager to learn more about protecting such a vital resource during his time at MEA.
2017 Spring Law Clerks
Daniel Aranda, paralegal intern
Daniel grew up in Walworth County, Wisconsin and is in the Madison Area Technical College paralegal program. He graduated UW-Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in history and minor in political science and also attended law school for a year at Western Michigan University-Cooley Law in Lansing, Michigan. After completing his paralegal program, Daniel hopes to go back to law school. Through a paralegal internship at MEA, he hopes to gain a better understanding of how environmental law works. After completing his paralegal program, Daniel hopes to go back to law school. He is also an avid rock climber during the summer at Devil’s Lake.
Sloan is a second-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School from Onalaska, Wisconsin. She earned her undergraduate degree from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Business and Community Development, with minors in Politics and Economics. Sloan’s primary area of interest is food and agriculture policy and law, and environmental implications on public health. She hopes to gain meaningful legal experience working alongside experienced attorneys and staff at MEA through her time as a law clerk. She looks forward to joining MEA in living out their mission.
Andrew is from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and is a second year at Marquette University Law school. He is passionate about environmental issues and hopes to further develop his knowledge of the environmental law field with Midwest Environmental Advocates.
Galen is from Fullerton, California and is a second-year law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School. He earned a double major in Environmental Management and Legal Studies at Indiana University. Previously, Galen has experienced different areas of environmental legal work, including interning at an environmental consulting firm, an environmental nonprofit, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. As an MEA intern, Galen hopes to apply his previous environmental experiences as well as better understand the scope of environmental advocacy.
2016 Fall Law Clerks
Jessa Hackman is from North Prairie, Wisconsin and currently attends the University of Wisconsin Law School. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Marquette University. Jessa has previously worked in a variety of nonprofit settings ranging from youth development and domestic violence advocacy to sustainable agriculture and international grassroots community development. Her clerkship with Midwest Environmental Advocates equiped her with an understanding of the remedies and resources available to solve our local communities’ pressing environmental issues.
Kate is from Iowa City, Iowa and studied law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She also pursued a Master of Science degree in Water Resources Management from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Kate and her graduate cohort are currently conducting an environmental assessment of Stricker’s Pond in Middleton. During her clerkship with MEA, Kate gained a better understanding of Wisconsin environmental law, particularly in the areas of water and local land use policy.
Laura grew up in Stevens Point, Wisconsin and studied law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. Throughout law school, Laura took courses related to environmental law and criminal enforcement. As an MEA law clerk, Laura gained a better understanding of the legal remedies available to the public to protect the environment.
2016 Summer Law Clerks
Heather grew up in Marinette, Wisconsin, studied law at Vermont Law School and earned a Master’s Degree in Energy Regulation and Law. She gained experience as a student clinician working with local clients to develop renewable energy projects. Before law school she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Spanish at Lawrence University, with an interdisciplinary degree in International Affairs. Before attending law school, Heather worked as an environmental scientist with clean-up projects in northern Wisconsin. She hopes that she will better understand environmental laws and can help to positively resolve current issues affecting the people of Wisconsin during her clerkship at MEA.
Dan is from Oak Hill, Virginia and was a student and research fellow at the University of Oregon School of Law. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning and a political science minor. During his first year in law school, Dan collaborated with students and faculty on water law research projects and was named a co-director for the 2017 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. In his clerkship with MEA, Dan gained a practical understanding of the connection between environmental law and human health and well-being.
Zachary "Zack" Strom
Zack is from Los Altos, California, although he calls Wisconsin a second home. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and History from UW-Madison and is studying law at Northwestern University in Chicago. His primary areas of interest are in land use and water law, but he learned more about all aspects of environmental advocacy through his MEA summer clerkship.
2016 Spring Law Clerks
Lisa is from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin Law School. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado Boulder where she studied Environmental Studies, Sociology, and Geography. During her clerkship at Midwest Environmental Advocates, Lisa built on her previous experiences to gain a better understanding of the practice of environmental law and to further her interest in local environmental issues.
Melissa is from Mequon, Wisconsin and received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and studied law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Throughout law school, Melissa took courses related to environmental, food, and administrative law. She has also had various public interest clerkships specifically within food and environmental law. As an MEA extern, Melissa learned more about environmental action and contributed to MEA’s cause.
Colin is from Delafield, Wisconsin, studied law at Marquette University Law School and earned a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Colin gained an interest in the environment through yearly vacations to beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada, where his family has property near the Atlantic Ocean. In his clerkship at MEA, Colin gained a better understanding of the remedies available to the public to help protect our natural resources as well as some of the most pressing issues facing environmental conservation and protection.
2015 Fall Law Clerks
Evan grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, earned a B.A. in history and religious studies at UW–Madison and studied law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. His study and clerkship focus included water use, energy policy, and sustainable economies. Evan also clerked at MEA during the summer of 2015.
Kaitlin is from Mukwonago, Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin Law School. She earned a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her clerkship at Midwest Environmental Advocates, Kaitlin gained a better understanding of the current environmental law landscape in Wisconsin while exploring her interest in public policy work. Kaitlin also volunteered at MEA during the spring 2015 semester.
Adam is from Janesville, Wisconsin and studied law at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. He earned a B.A. in Biological Aspects of Conservation and Sociology from UW–Madison. During his first year, Adam joined the CU Environmental Law Society and was chosen as a first-year officer. In his clerkship with Midwest Environmental Advocates, Adam gained a better understanding of the issues surrounding resource and land use while moving toward a career in public interest law. Adam also clerked at MEA during the summer of 2015.
2015 Summer Law Clerks
Noelle is from Dearborn, Michigan and attended the University Of Iowa College Of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan where she studied sociology and political science. Prior to her clerkship with Midwest Environmental Advocates, Noelle worked with nonprofit organizations in the metro Detroit area and served MEA through public interest work while exploring environmental issues.
Logan is from Marion, Iowa and studied law at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He earned a B.A. in History from the University of Northern Iowa, where he took an interest in environmental issues after studying cultural and environmental history. Through his work at Midwest Environmental Advocates, he developed a better understanding of contemporary environmental issues in the Midwest and the legal solutions available to the public.
2014 Summer Law Clerks
Jared is from Appleton, Wisconsin, and studied law at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee. He has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a Summer Advocate for MEA, Jared assisted staff with legal research and document drafting for litigation involving a variety of environmental issues, including air quality regulation near frac sand mines.
Dana is originally from Houston, Texas, but now calls Chicago home. She received her B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and studied University of Colorado Law School in Boulder. At CU, she focused on environmental law, specifically Clean Air Act issues and international environmental law. At MEA, she furthered her understanding of environmental issues through work with the Clean Water Act, wetlands, and CAFO permitting.
Peter is from St. Louis, Missouri and received an Honors B.A. in International Affairs with a focus in International Economic Relations from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He clerked for MEA prior to beginning his 3L year at Marquette University Law School, where he studied water technology and policy, clean energy development, and real estate. Peter’s focus at MEA was on water quality and permitting issues and the related interaction between federal and state law.
Olivia Moe is from Stoughton, Wisconsin, and studied law at the University of Minnesota Law School. She received a B.A. in environmental studies and English from UW-Madison. In her MEA law clerkship, Olivia worked on issues related to frac sand mining and she hoped to use this experience at the intersection of law, science, and policy in a future career in environmental law.
2013 Fall Law Clerks
David McColloch is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and received his B.A. in Political Science from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He worked for MEA in his third year at the UW-Madison Law School, assisting with a range of issues involving water quality and local government. He is interested in environmental law, land use and planning, and government relations. He is looking forward to a career in public interest law.
Kellan Mclemore is from Denver, Colorado and received his B.A. in Biology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is serving his clerkship at MEA in his second year at the UW-Madison Law School. Through his legal research and support for litigation on water quality regulation near CAFO farms in Wisconsin, he hopes his time at MEA will further his interest in public interest law, particularly environmental law. His goal is to start a private practice in environmental law. Kellan clerked for MEA for both the fall 2013 semester and the spring 2014 semester, and was hired by MEA after his clerkship.
Maddy Ziegler is from Janesville, Wisconsin, and studied law at the UW-Madison Law School. She has undergraduate degrees in English and Political Science from the UW–La Crosse. She has a longstanding interest in the environment and is happy to have put that interest to work at MEA researching a wide range of environmental issues.
2013 Summer Law Clerks
Cassie McCrae is from Lake Helen, Florida, and studied law at the University of Texas School of Law. She has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago. As a law clerk for Midwest Environmental Advocates, McCrae worked on local land use issues and researched citizens’ rights related to frac sand mining and processing in Wisconsin. Cassie finished her law degree at the University of Texas School of Law and was a clerk for Judge Robert C. Chambers, Southern District of West Virginia, in Huntington, WV from August 2015-16.
David Conrad is from Stanley, North Carolina and studies law at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL. He has an undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from the University of North Carolina. As a law clerk for Midwest Environmental Advocates, David worked on comments on permits for CAFOs and researched citizens’ rights in reference to various water quality issues.
2013 Spring Semester Law Clerks
Erin is originally from Denver, Colorado, but has also lived and worked in New England and Southern California. As a law student at the University of Wisconsin Law School, Clark focused on real estate, land use, and environmental law. Having worked as an urban planner for the City of Pasadena, CA before entering law school, she hoped to combine her interest and expertise in municipal government and land use planning with the law. Her work with MEA included reviewing and commenting on proposed rule changes by Wisconsin administrative agencies that could impact environmental protection and enforcement.
Laura is from Deerfield, Wisconsin and studied law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Her undergraduate studies in social and environmental justice lead to her interest in environmental law. Her experience as a clerk at Midwest Environmental Advocates served to cement this passion.
Pamela M. Ritger
Originally from Milwaukee, Pam has worked on environmental issues in Washington D.C. and Ecuador. She completed a J.D., a Masters in International Public Affairs, and a certificate in Energy Analysis and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2013.
Before that she earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations with a concentration in Latin American Studies from Carleton College.
Since school, she began working with Clean Wisconsin as Grants Manager in September 2013 and became Staff Attorney and Climate Resilience Project Manager in March 2014. She works with Clean Wisconsin's Legal Department to strengthen and enforce regulations to protect our air and water, and to facilitate greater usage and development of clean, efficient energy in Wisconsin. Pam also works with Clean Wisconsin's Water Program, raising awareness and encouraging installation of green infrastructure practices in Milwaukee neighborhoods surrounding the 30th Street Industrial Corridor.