Get to know our LLM/SJD students and alums

Julio OrellanaJulio Orellana is a Peruvian Lawyer who recently completed an LL.M. in Global Environmental Law (August 2022 – May 2023) as a half-merit scholar, at The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

I am a Peruvian attorney who embarked on my legal career at a young age. At 17, I earned a Full Scholarship for Academic Excellence to study Law at the Universidad Científica del Sur. It was during this journey that my passion for Environmental Law was ignited. I participated for the first time in the inaugural Moot Court Competition on Environmental Law in Peru and South America, advancing to the semifinals as the lead speaker. Subsequently, I took part in the following two editions, reaching the semifinals in each round.

From a young age, I was enthusiastic about creating something that would contribute to the legal community. I initiated a start-up project at the age of 19, which later materialized into 'Juris Locus,' an Instagram-based legal content portal that provides informative news, memes, and concise articles to legal professionals and law students.

By the age of 20, I ventured into the professional world. I was hired as a legal assistant and later became a legal intern at a law firm. During this time, I delved into environmental crime cases, conducted legal research, and gained practical experience in the Peruvian judicial system. I honed my skills in legal research and collaborated with university professors on various research projects.

I was also invited as a guest researcher by the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador, co-authored articles for a Chilean legal journal alongside my dean and am currently engaged in producing publications on topics related to international environmental law, rights of nature, and plastic pollution.

My path led me to the joint LL.B and LL.M (American system) double-degree program offered by Pace University and the Universidad Científica del Sur. Following extensive preparation, I received my acceptance letter, and in the fall of 2022, I commenced my master's studies. In 2021, I also had the opportunity to be a virtual exchange student at Boise University.

During my legal studies, I served as a teaching assistant twice. Once, alongside the dean, in the Civil Procedural Law course, and the other in Introduction to Law.

During my LL.M. program, I conducted in-depth research on plastic pollution under the guidance of Professor Achinthi Vithanage. This research spanned my final semester and analyzed legislation related to plastic pollution in both developing and developed countries.

My study took place in the context of the 2023 International Plastic Treaty, a significant global effort to combat plastic pollution. By comparing legal approaches across different countries, I gained insights into the complexities of environmental law and the urgent need for coordinated international action on this issue."

As a student, I had the privilege of enrolling in the UN Diplomacy Practicum, which allowed me to undertake a legal internship from December 2022 to May 2023. This program seeks to establish a new paradigm based on the rights of nature, moving away from the anthropocentric approach. I interned at the Harmony with Nature program under UNDESA. Here, I supported the direction and execution of the 'Mother Earth Day' event held on April 24, 2023, which brought together leading professionals in the environmental and sustainability fields. I served as an event organizer, providing guidance to ambassadors in both English and Spanish. This experience significantly impacted my professional life. After my internship concluded, I was retained as an academic staff for the United Nations Harmony with Nature program.

In May 2023, I completed my master's degree and was offered a position in New York to establish an NGO aimed at catalyzing the work accomplished within the Harmony with Nature program over the past 12 years. Currently, I am utilizing my Optional Practical Training (OPT) benefit, which allows international students who have completed a degree in the United States to work. In this capacity, I serve as the expert in International Environmental Law and Legal Research Associate, developing the NGO's strategic plan and assisting in legal research direction.

Within this program, I initiated a volunteer initiative for young professionals, where I currently oversee recent graduates from Peru and Brazil in researching, compiling, and writing articles on contemporary legal issues in Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

Lastly, at the age of 22, I became the youngest professor at the Universidad Científica del Sur, where I teach courses on Sustainable Development, Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Environmental Law Clinic, and Thesis Seminar.

Questions and Answers

What do you look forward to most during the day-to-day of the new job?

Starting a new job is truly exciting, and what I look forward to most in my day-to-day role is the opportunity to put into practice what I've studied and to continue learning even more. My academic background has been diverse, which is thrilling when applying it within a new professional environment. The legal landscape in Peru is quite distinct from the American system, but I've chosen a path in international environmental law that demands a multidisciplinary approach and a variety of perspectives.

In my current role as a professor, I see the challenge of being an effective educator, constantly pushing oneself to find the best ways to reach and teach students. Learning happens on the journey as we apply the knowledge we've acquired. On the other hand, in my position as a legal researcher, staying in constant contact with international regulations, not only in English but also in Spanish, is a genuine challenge. Personally, I enjoy such challenges. Whether it's a job or academic pursuit, if it mentally stimulates me and presents intellectual challenges, it's worth pursuing. As a professional, I find these challenges highly motivating.

Can you give a piece of advice to current 3Ls struggling to look for jobs?

I have many friends who are currently in 3Ls, and I know how challenging it can be to find a job that aligns with your studies, let alone sustain it. My recommendation, without a doubt, regardless of being an excellent student with good grades, is to expand your network of contacts and engage in valuable networking. This is something I didn't see as crucial during my student years in Peru, and I didn't have many opportunities for it. However, here in New York, I consider it a key factor in at least securing your first job.

What was your favorite thing about being a student at Haub Law?

My favorite thing about being a student at Haub Law was the opportunity to meet friends, professors, professionals, and high-value individuals. I was fortunate to meet people who significantly impacted my life in New York. Friends from all over the world, sharing entirely unique experiences, learning customs and traditions, and missing our own countries. These are things that, as graduation approaches, you realize were the best moments of a stage in our lives.

It was an honor to be a student of truly exceptional professors in their fields. I had a slight language barrier at the beginning, but the confidence and dedication some professors displayed in the classrooms were so reassuring.

The overall environment was both challenging and a wonderful memory. I will always hold the highest regard for my alma mater, which provided me with one of the greatest opportunities of my life: professional and personal growth.

Being in touch with the city and having access to the United Nations (a dream I never thought could come true) were some of the advantages I had as a student at Haub Law. Now, as an alumnus, I truly see that the education was of high quality, the advice I received really works, and as a lecturer, I am a friend and colleague of some Pace professors, which makes me extremely proud.

Satvika Krishnan

Satvika Krishnan is an Indian Lawyer who recently completed an LL.M. in Global Environmental Law (August 2021- December 2022) as a full merit scholar, at The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University.

Satvika KrishnanHer career as an environment lawyer began in India, when she first interned and then worked as a Research Associate with the Environment Support Group, India a not for profit public interest, advocacy and campaign initiative actively addressing environmental and social justice concerns. She has majorly contributed to the organizations advancement of public interest litigation petitions relating to conservation of lakes, solid waste management and biopiracy. Satvika’s key area of contribution has been to the organization’s work with Indigenous Perspectives of Manipur State, in protecting the rights of indigenous fisher communities dependant on the Loktak lake region by way of my research for a review petition before the High Court of Manipur. She has assisted in critiquing massive investments, destructive of biodiversity rich wetlands and associated traditional livelihoods and floating villages of indigenous fisher communities. Her main focus has been towards finding solutions to combat climate change, in pursuance of which she has worked with the organizations team in developing “Bangalore City’s Climate Action Plan” by evolving a transparent consultative process.

This experience validated Satvika’ s passion for environmental protection and led her to pursue her masters in International Environment Law at Haub Law. Amongst the schools she applied to, Haub Law was at the top of her list, and to get in with a scholarship was nothing short of a dream come true. “Haub Law has given me an education I craved and the opportunity to learn from the most outstanding Professors in this field.  Apart from being great at what they do, everyone that I have had the opportunity to learn from has been extremely warm and encouraging and has gone above and beyond to support my goals and endeavors. Another unique feature of this LL.M. program is the abundance of practical opportunities to pursue my interests in a way that I couldn’t have ever imagined getting anywhere else”, Satvika says.

As a student of International Environment Law an opportunity to participate in the UN Diplomacy Practicum and to see what she studied theoretically play out practically in the real world was a learning and experience that took everything she wished to learn and understand about diplomacy to the next level. Through the practicum Satvika had the wonderful opportunity to intern with the Permanent Mission of the IUCN to the United Nations, where she attended meetings on behalf of IUCN, and prepared memoranda and/or research papers on a range of issues. Satvika also had the opportunity to engage with other professionals in this field through her role as Communications Vice Chair of the International Environment & Resources Law Committee under the American Bar Association’s section on Environment, Energy and Resources where her role mainly involved acting as moderator of the committee’s SEER Connect discussion board by encouraging dialogue between the committee’s members; promoting Section programs, publications, and initiatives; and providing timely, brief content to the committee’s Connect community.

Satvika says, “It’s all these factors that have shaped where I am heading today”.

Satvika recently completed her internship with UNEP’s Law and Economy Divisions in Nairobi and Paris. Her work with, the Directors office at the law division involved working on environmental law and governance issues, focused on the fields of environmental rule of law and Multilateral Environmental Agreements; human rights and environment, environmental crime and progressive development of international environmental law. With the Economy Division in Paris, she assisted in a variety of tasks relating to agenda integration with Multilateral Environmental Agreements and a coordination programme with the UN system on Sustainable Development Goal 12. Responsibilities predominantly include: research and analysis. She also supported the development of products to be hosted on the SDG 12 Hub website. This includes research and mapping of knowledge tools, support in the coordination of technical meetings, and drafting of technical documents. Satvika

During the last semester of her LL.M. she began working with Professor Nicholas Robinson on a guided research project on plastics and the operationality of the treaty. The issue has become of deep interest to her as she has continued to research this area. Currently, Satvika continues her plastics research as a Research Fellow at the Global Center for Environmental Studies under the guidance of Prof. Nick Robinson. She hopes to build her expertise and continue working on the plastics issue as headway in this area can really solve a lot of other environmental problems caused because of it. She hopes to play a role in solving this while keeping environmental justice concerns as the core and basis for all the research she does and solutions she proposes.

Questions and Answers

  1. What do you look forward to most during the day-to-day of the new job?

The thing that is my main driving factor for my work with UNEP or in the case of my guided research is to be completely present and focus, because these are important issues I care strongly about and I believe, deserve my undivided attention. Even if its just 3-4 hours a day, I try to give it my best. What I look forward to is these efforts paying off in the future. Yes there is the additional bonus of feeling good about your performance and I am a lawyer at heart! I enjoy negotiation, legal research and analysis, but its really more about the larger picture. It’s about your efforts however big or small, to contribute to a solving a much larger problem. So I make a conscious effort not to make the work I do about me.

  1. Can you give a piece of advice to current 3L’s struggling to look for jobs?

I am about to begin this process myself, so I feel you! I understand how stressful this can be. My advice to 3L’s and LLM’s graduating in May is to really narrow down what you want in terms if the kind of job you’re applying for, rather than arbitrarily sending out 100’s of applications. When you narrow it down, it’s easier to cater each application to the job you’re applying for. Take the time to write each cover letter and to develop different versions of you CV. It’s important to do this so employers can see your skills and interests even before they actually speak to you, and this can only be done when you connect the dots of your experiences and cater each application to really show an employer that you’re what they’re looking for. 10 well-designed applications I believe will take you farther than trying to apply to everything you come across.When you really concentrate on a few that you really want, your intent and interest is clearer and more apparent in your application.

  1. What was your favourite thing about being a student at Haub Law?

So many things! The lovely people I met, the beautiful campus, classes! I felt this warmth and calm everyday that I spent on campus. I don’t even need to say anything about the quality of education! Our environment law program is ranked #1 for a reason.

A law school environment can be really cut throat and harsh, but Haub law was the opposite of that. With the support and warmth of teachers like Prof. Narula, Prof. V, Prof. Robinson and all the others I’ve been fortunate enough to engage with, I feel like I’ve come out a 100 times more confident and most importantly like my voice and my opinions matter. The environment in class when we’d engage in group discussions was just so respectful always. It didn’t turn into an argumentative debate just for the sake of having a louder voice and I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful that is and how rare it is to find that quality in law schools.