January 2015 Alumni Highlight

Robyn Hanson (’06)Robyn Hanson (JD ’06) spends her weekdays as a Trial Attorney at the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), where she has worked since 2008. Robyn’s Washington, D.C. career began when she participated in Pace’s DC Environmental Externship Program in the summer after her 1L year. It was then, as a legal extern for DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Section, that she grew fond of public interest law and environmental litigation. After graduation, she moved Washington and began work at EPA. When friends and former DOJ colleagues notified her of an attorney opening in the Environmental Enforcement Section, she didn’t hesitate to fill out the application and throw her hat into the ring, and in the fall of 2008 she started at DOJ. Robyn now counsels federal agencies in the development and initiation of civil judicial actions on behalf of the United States under major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Oil Pollution Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Robyn’s cases are either resolved by a negotiated settlement or adjudicated in the federal courts. (*Because Robyn is the conscientious federal attorney she is, she reminds us that the views expressed in this article are hers alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Justice or the United States!)

One of Robyn’s proudest professional accomplishments to date came in 2011 when she became an adjunct professor for Pace, co-teaching the summer DC Environmental Externship class that she had once participated in as a student. The opportunity to work with Pace students and guide them in their individual explorations of environmental law and legal practice has been a wonderful experience for Robyn over the last four years. “It not only brought me great pride, but it also strengthened my practice of law,” she says.

Having experienced Pace’s environmental law curriculum as both a student and an adjunct professor, Robyn reports that it is “top notch.” Between traditional classes, externships, and her time working for the Pace Environmental Law Review and the Pace Environmental Law Clinic, she graduated with the training and field awareness that she needed to hit the ground running and knows that her DC Externship students will graduate with the same advantage.

Robyn advises students and recent grads to “be persistent and follow your own internal barometer when it comes to your goals and the path your career takes.” She recognizes networking as an essential skill, one you can never practice enough. “You never know when an unexpected opportunity will arise, just waiting to be shared. Do not give up.”

After living in DC for almost eight years and loving its history, driven professional environment, and culture, Robyn recently moved to Colorado, where she continues to work for DOJ at its Denver field office location. She looks forward to exploring this new city with her boyfriend, Brian Emeson, and their dog, Pax. She is especially excited about weekend adventures in the Colorado mountains! We wish Robyn the best of luck in her new position and expect to continue to hear great things from her for years to come.