Drake Law team wins first annual Elisabeth Haub School of Law Environmental Law & Policy Hack Competition

November 16, 2020

A team of students from Drake Law School won the first annual Elisabeth Haub School of Law Environmental Law & Policy Hack Competition.

The students, Bradley Adams and Kathryn Leidahl, won a $2,000 prize that goes toward implementation of their proposal to tailor landscape ordinances to support Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s stormwater management. (Read the brief here.)

Three teams were chosen as finalists for the first annual Elisabeth Haub School of Law Environmental Law & Policy Hack Competition, an environmental law and policy problem-solving event that invites students to propose an innovative and practical response to a current environmental challenge and awards seed funding to support implementation of the winning concept.

Two other teams along with the Drake team were selected as finalists by a panel of Pace faculty: The University of Colorado Law School team, Leah Vasarhelyi, Lucas O’Brien and Dillon Clayton, who proposed producing climate-friendly landscapes in Denver that promote mitigation and adaptation to climate change. (Read the brief here.) And the Vermont Law School team, Mariana Muñoz and Arielle King, who proposed developing “micro pocket wetlands” in Hartford, Vermont, to mitigate the impacts of climate change. (Read the brief here.)

“The finalists were all very impressive in their knowledge of their target communities and the ways environmental law, policy and politics intersect at the local level,” said Prof. Katrina Fisher Kuh, Interim Executive Director of the Environmental Law Program at Haub Law, who organized the competition. “Each of these proposals would bring great benefits to their communities and would also provide a useful model for climate change mitigation in New York and Westchester County.”

Law students around the country were challenged to propose policies that local governments can use to create vegetative spaces that will help to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The virtual presentation of team proposals and the announcement of the winner took place on November 13.

This competition is intended to orient law students toward the development of practicable environmental policy; encourage students to collaborate with policy stakeholders, including from government and the community; catalyze the conceptualization and implementation of innovative solutions to pressing environmental problems; and further our commitment to advancing environmental protection.

Students were invited to contemplate the complex law and policy questions posed by local management of climate-friendly vegetative spaces and to offer nuanced analysis and concrete guidance for a specific community or communities facing these questions. Teams were invited to select a specific jurisdiction upon which to focus or to make a proposal addressed to typical municipal laws.

The final-round judges who chose the winner are Prof. Julie Cheslik of the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law; Prof. Shelby Green of Haub Law; Christopher Rizzo, a Haub Law alumnus and a Litigation, Environmental Law, and Land-Use lawyer with Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP; and Daniel Zarrilli, Chief Climate Policy Advisor and OneNYC Director, NYC Office of the Mayor.

For more information about the judges and the competition, click here.

About Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University offers J.D. and Masters of Law degrees in both Environmental and International Law, as well as a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) in Environmental Law. The school, housed on the University’s campus in White Plains, N.Y., opened its doors in 1976 and has over 8,500 alumni around the world. The school maintains a unique philosophy and approach to legal education that strikes an important balance between practice and theory.

Haub Law launched its Environmental Law Program in 1978, and it has long been ranked among the world’s leading university programs. Pace’s doctoral graduates teach environmental law at universities around the world. Pace’s J.D. alumni are prominent in environmental law firms, agencies and non-profit organizations across the U.S. and abroad. In 2016, the Law School received a transformational gift from the family of Elisabeth Haub, in recognition of its outstanding environmental law programs. law.pace.edu.

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