Environmental Law and Policy Hack Competition

We are excited to announce the 2021 Hack Competition Problem and invite teams to register for the competition! Finalist teams will present innovative solutions to a distinguished panel of judges at the end of the Fall semester.
Environmental Law & Policy Hack

General Information


  • Identifying the Challenge: Pulling from the expertise from our environmental faculty and in consultation with colleagues in the environmental field (an advisory council), Pace Environmental Law will identify an emerging environmental challenge that could benefit from innovative law and policy approaches; craft a challenge prompt, or problem, describing the issue and providing a framework for the development of law and policy solutions; and invite participants to study the issue, brainstorm solutions, and propose innovative and practical solutions. 
  • Selection and Implementation:  A panel of Pace faculty and possibly invited professionals with expertise relating to the challenge subject will select three team submissions as finalists.  A representative from each of the finalist teams will present the team solution to a panel of distinguished judges, who will select the wining team solution.  All participating teams will be invited to view the finalist presentations remotely.  The winning team will receive a trophy and a cash prize, with the money to be put toward implementation of the team’s policy concept.

Team Registration & Payment

​​​​​​2021 Registration
*Registration will close September 30, 2021

General Information: Registration is open through September 30, 2021.  The nonrefundable registration fee is $50.00 payable online by credit card through eventbrite. Teams must include at least two current law students, may be interdisciplinary, and the participation of at least one community or government stakeholder is strongly encouraged. Each team must also have a law school faculty advisor as their Team Coach. 

To Register- https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-virtual-pace-environmental-law-and-policy-hack-competition-tickets-157837954571

Post Registration & Payment- Please e-mail, aolson@law.pace.edu a list of the following:

  1. School name
  2. Participating Law Students
  3. Team Coach
  4. Any other participants

The final round will take place on Friday, November 13, 2020 via Zoom.

2021 Official Hack Schedule

Environmental Law and Policy Hack Competition Schedule-
Friday, November 19, 2021, via Zoom 
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

The event will be recorded and available to view through the Pace Law website in support of the Hack's goal to promote and disseminate creative, interdisciplinary thinking about sustainability policy challenges.

Team Submittals

  • Submitting Solutions: Submissions should evidence careful analytical study of the challenge, describe relevant legal background and considerations, propose a practicable law and policy solution, and include a path to implementation. All submissions will be posted to a competition web page with the goal of contributing to public thought on the selected issue.  The length and format of submissions are set out in the Official Rules.

Please be sure to see 2021 Official Hack Rules to review FULL list of rules for competing teams.

  • Length and form of briefs- Each team is required to submit an electronic copy of the Team Brief as specified in Rule IV (C). 
  • Format- All text and footnotes shall be in 12-point Times New Roman type. Total length of the brief, excluding the Table of Contents, Table of Authorities and Appendices, may not exceed thirty-five (35) pages. All citations shall be complete and in the form prescribed in the latest edition of the Harvard Law Association’s Uniform System of Citation (“Bluebook”). Appendices may be used to recite the text of statutes, constitutional provisions, regulations and materials that are not generally available.  Teams are also invited to include as Appendices maps, illustrations, or other tools useful to explain the proposal provided that they can be submitted in a manageable electronic format. Any tools developed outside of the Team Brief (e.g., phone app, spreadsheet, or other tool) must be described in the Team Brief.    
  • Certification- Each Team submitting a brief in the Competition shall certify that such brief has been prepared in accordance with these Rules.  The certification shall be included in the Team Brief as the last page.


 Service of briefs and certification.
a.    Each Team shall serve upon the Board the Team Brief, Certification, and any other tools by email to Anne Olson, aolson@law.pace.edu no later than Friday, October 15, 2021
b.    Briefs emailed with a date later than October 15, 2021 will be subject to a one-point deduction per day late pursuant to Rule IX. 

Oral Presentations

The Environmental Law and Policy Hack Competition will be a virtual event. Please be sure to view ALL presentation details for competing teams in the 2021 Official Hack Rules.  

 Final round. Three (3) Teams shall progress to the final round. The winning Team will be selected by the judges based on the Team Brief and presentation. 
1.    Time and place. The final round will take place on Friday, November 19, 2021 via Zoom. 
2.    Time allowed for presentations. Oral presentations shall be limited to a total of twenty (20) minutes per Team. Following the presentation, Judges shall be allotted fifteen (15) minutes to question the Team.
3.    Participants. One (1) representative of a Team must participate in the presentation. Additional team members that attend may also participate in the 

Questions, 2021 Hack Problem




2020 Environmental Law and Policy Hack Competition

Congratulations to first place winners Bradley Adams and Kathryn Leidahl representing Drake Law School.

Final Round Presentations:


Julie Cheslik
Professor Julie Cheslik
Julie M. Cheslik received a bachelor of arts with highest distinction from the University of Iowa in 1982 and a J.D. with high distinction from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1985, where she was an associate editor of the Law Review. She was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1985 and was law clerk to estados unidos District Judge Joseph E. Stevens Jr. from 1985 to 1987. From 1987 until joining the Law School faculty in the fall of 1989, she was in practice with the firm of Stinson, Mag and Fizzell, specializing in commercial litigation and general corporate practice. In 1987 and 1988, she served the school as a volunteer writing instructor. Professor Cheslik teaches the courses Property I and Property II, Land Use and Estates and Trusts. Cheslik also served as the Editor of The Urban Lawyer until 2017.

Shelby GreenProfessor Shelby Green 
Professor Shelby Green teaches Real Estate Transactions and Finance, Historic Preservation Seminar, and Property at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. After graduating from law school at Georgetown University Law Center, Professor Green worked as an associate at Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody), in Rochester, N.Y. and Washington, D.C., where she focused on corporate, litigation, communications, labor law, and tax (kicking and screaming) matters.  For many years, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, White Plains, N.Y.  She is currently a member of the Board of the John Jay Heritage Center, Rye, N.Y.  Professor Green also serves the community through her pro bono work for which she received a service award from the New York State Bar Association.  For three years, she served as the director of the Pace LL.M. Program in Real Estate Law.  Currently, she is the editor of the “Keeping Current—Property” column in Probate & Property, a magazine published by the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association.  She has authored articles in the areas of property law and corporations.

Christopher RizzoChristopher Rizzo, Esq.
Christopher received his B.A. in 1997 from  Manhattan College (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and completed his J.D. in 2001 from Pace University School of Law School (cum laude; Articles Editor, Pace Environmental Law Review; Certificate of Environmental Law) Chris Rizzo’s practice includes a wide variety of litigation, environmental and land-use matters. They include litigation and transactional matters arising out of environmental impact reviews for state and city-sponsored projects, compliance with local zoning and preservation laws, open space preservation, open space easements, development agreements and licenses, management of hazardous materials and energy generation. His practice also includes general litigation, often related to land-use disputes, construction and contracts. He works closely with the firm’s real estate department and corporate department on due diligence related to land transactions and corporate mergers and acquisitions. In a pro-bono capacity, he is involved in several community-based organizations focused on revitalization of New York City’s parks and public spaces. 

Dan ZarrilliDaniel Zarrilli
Daniel is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and holds an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT and a BS in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University. He resides in Staten Island with his wife and three children.As New York City’s Chief Climate Policy Advisor and OneNYC Director, Daniel Zarrilli is preparing America’s largest city for the future and delivering on New York City’s Green New Deal. Under Daniel’s leadership, New York City recently released its newest long-term strategic plan, OneNYC 2050, which includes bold new actions to confront our climate crisis, achieve equity, and strengthen our democracy, demonstrating what a Green New Deal looks like in action. Since 2013, he has positioned New York City as the global leader in the fight against climate change. Notable successes include launching a comprehensive $20 billion climate adaptation program, aligning the city’s GHG reductions with the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement, committing to divest the City’s pension funds from fossil fuel reserve owners and invest billions into climate solutions, suing fossil fuel companies for the damage caused by climate change, reaching a first-of-its-kind agreement with FEMA to provide new climate-smart flood maps, and delivering on Mayor de Blasio’s groundbreaking 2015 OneNYC resilience strategy, which for the first time incorporated equity into New York City’s sustainability efforts. Until recently, Daniel served on NOAA’s advisory committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment. He also concluded a 3-year term on FEMA’s National Advisory Council and advised the State of Louisiana on its 2017 Coastal Master Plan update. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Asset Management at the New York City Economic Development Corporation and spent five years with Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation. 

Top 3 Finalist Team Photos & Qualifying Briefs: 

Vermont Law School

Vermont Law School

Drake University School of Law

Drake School of Law


University of Colorado Law School

Colorado School of Law