Alumna Spotlight: Lizzie Lewis '15 Shares Her AUWCL Experience
Lizzie Lewis '15 has always had a passion for environmental conservation, and has channeled that passion into a career in environmental law and policy.
During her tenure at AUWCL, Lewis was active in the Environmental Law Society and served as president her 3L year. She was also a member of the Administrative Law Review. Her note, "Whale Wars: Reconciling Science, Public Opinion, and the Public Display Industry Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act," was published in the journal's 66th volume.
Lewis has worked on both domestic and international ocean conservation issues for various NGOs and government agencies, including Oceana, the Environmental Law Institute, and NOAA General Counsel's International Section. She is currently a Law Fellow at Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP in Washington, D.C., which specializes in litigation on behalf of grassroots conservation and advocacy organizations.
Since graduating from AUWCL, what do you feel has been a career highlight you would like to share with a current student?
As a Knauss Fellow in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), I worked with NOAA General Counsel on a memorandum addressing the domestic implementation of an international agreement through existing law. Over the course of this project, I developed a solution to an issue that had previously prevented the serious consideration of this method of implementation. This experience taught me that even a young and relatively inexperienced attorney can provide valuable insight and “fresh eyes” to help resolve important legal questions.
What advice would you give to a new law student?
I always tell 1L students and those considering law school to never forget why they chose to pursue a JD. It is important to keep the big picture in mind, especially as you are in the trenches of your first year. It is important to understand that there is no single “golden path” to succeeding in law school. Find the techniques that help you learn, and avoid the stress spiral. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
What advice would you give to a student about to graduate?
To those who are about to graduate, do not be afraid to take a roundabout path to achieving your goals. Your first job out of law school will likely not be your “dream job,” and that is okay. Treat every experience like a brick in the foundation of your career. Focus on developing the skill set and knowledge base that you need to achieve your ultimate objective. Take my career as an example. My first post-law school job was as a policy fellowship, which is not an ideal start for a wannabe-litigator. However, through a combination of tireless networking, careful project selection, and artful resume building, I was able to land my “dream job” in a public interest environmental law firm.
What experience at AUWCL do you look back on as having an impact on your career?
When I look back on my experience at AUWCL, I can definitively say that the mentorship and support of the environmental law faculty had—and indeed, continues to have—the biggest impact on my career. Inside the classroom, the quality of education I received from the environmental law faculty was unparalleled. Outside the classroom, my professors continue to act as sounding boards and offer their invaluable insight and advice. Moreover, as world-class environmental lawyers, they are both willing and able to connect me with other leaders in the field and help me expand my own professional network. My relationships with the AUWCL environmental law faculty have been instrumental in advancing my career.