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Josh Berliner and Zach Berliner 2018
Pace Law's highly-ranked Environmental Law Program continues to attract passionate, engaged students, such as Josh and Zach Berliner. Below, the brothers and second-year students reflect on their path to Pace and the opportunities they have pursued here.
Why Pace Law?
Josh: The main reason why I decided to apply to (and ultimately attend) Pace was because of its comprehensive and well-known environmental law program. For a few years now, I have known that I want to pursue a career in environmental law. Pace offers such a vast array of opportunities to get involved, both inside and outside of the classroom, with real world environmental law problems. The other main reason why I chose Pace was because when I toured campus, I instantly picked up on how welcoming the Pace community is. In that moment, I knew that Pace was somewhere I could really see myself fitting in and being an active participant. People really care about each other at Pace and I wanted to be a part of that.
Zach: I hail from Northern New Jersey and have a passion for environmental and sustainability issues, so coming to Pace was close to a no-brainer for me. I was drawn to Pace’s strong environmental law program, its proximity to New York, the nation’s largest city, and its small, tight-knit community. During my first visit to campus, I recall how friendly everyone was, from the dean to the 1L students. It truly felt like a family to me, rather than the competitive environment that is typical of law schools. I could vividly envision myself on campus every day, studying what I’m passionate about.
What stands out to you the most from your 1L experience?
Josh: Looking back on the first year, I think that the one thing that stood out to me the most was just how quickly I became very close with many of my classmates. Because you are in the same section (and with the same group of people) in every class for an entire year, you get to know each other very well. Because of this, I can say that some of my best friends in life are those that I made during my first year. Each of us had our backs and helped each other out in so many ways (academically, emotionally, personally, etc.).
Zach: I would say my experiences in the classroom stood out to me the most. It was terrifying, but also humbling, to be called on and asked questions, some of which I didn’t know the answer to. I recall how different being in a law school classroom compared to a college classroom felt for me. A law school class requires more preparation, more attention to detail, more focus. I vividly remember struggling with this aspect during the first few weeks, but also upon retrospection realize how much progress I made in such a short period of time.
How did you spend your summer?
Josh: This summer, I served as an Honors Law Clerk for the Office of Pesticide Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C. As an Honors Law Clerk, I conducted legal research and drafted memoranda on a proposed EPA regulation having to do with certifying users of certain pesticides. In particular, I helped my office sift through and understand the legal public comments submitted during the notice and comment period for this proposed regulation and drafted a memo on the potential legal challenges that could be brought against EPA in light of this proposed regulation. I also participated in a mock administrative hearing before EPA’s chief administrative law judge. I was able to land this internship by participating in the D.C. Environmental Law Externship program through Pace’s Environmental Law Program. Because the director of the Honors Law Clerk program at EPA has close ties with Pace’s program, Pace sends multiple students to intern at EPA every summer.
Zach: This past summer, I had the privilege of serving as an Honors Law Clerk at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C. I landed the position through Pace’s D.C. Externship Program. Once I applied and was accepted into the program, I received an email from the Environmental Law Program (which has a close connection with the intern supervisor at EPA) asking to send along my resume if I was interested in working at EPA for the summer. A few short days after sending along my resume, I was called by the EPA intern supervisor who offered me the position on the spot. Having this EPA connection is crucial for Pace students, as all other interns at the EPA have to apply through USA Jobs – a competitive, arduous process.
I had a very fulfilling summer at EPA and in D.C. It was fascinating to see how a federal regulatory agency operates on a day-to-day basis, how decisions are made, and how priorities are set. I also had much substantive legal work to do, which helped me refine my professional and analytical skills enormously. D.C. is also a great city with a unique history, layout, and culture. I was never bored largely due to the city’s vast amount of sightseeing, restaurants, music venues, and outdoor opportunities.
What is on the horizon for you in your 2L year and beyond?
Josh: I’m really excited to start my 2L year because I’m going to be delving into multiple environmental law courses and extracurricular activities. In terms of academics, I will be taking environmental skills, evidence, climate change law, and energy law. I also will be serving as a member of Pace’s Environmental Law Review and as Treasurer of Pace’s Environmental Law Society. Additionally, I will be participating in the Federal Judicial Honors Program, in which I will work closely with a faculty member in the fall on a piece of legal writing and then conduct legal research, analysis, and writing for a federal judge in the spring. I also will be volunteering at the Pace Energy and Climate Center and will be playing trombone in the Environmental Earth Day Band.
Zach: As I enter my 2L year, I’m excited to embark on my studies in Environmental Law. I’ll be taking Environmental Skills, Energy Law, Climate Change Law, and Evidence. I’ll also be participating in the Federal Judicial Honors Program, where I’ll work with a faculty member to write a court opinion in the fall and then work in the chambers of a federal judge in the spring. I’ll be serving as the president of the Pace Energy & Climate Law Society, as well as working with a professor on some research regarding the International Court of Justice. I will also be a 2L Associate on the Pace Environmental Law Review. It will be a busy semester, but also a fulfilling one.