Get to know our LLM/SJD students and alums

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.