September 2014 Alumni Highlight

Emily Masalski '05Emily Masalski ('05) has enjoyed a dynamic environmental legal career and practiced environmental law in Chicago for almost a decade.  She was recognized as the Illinois State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer of the Year for Cook County in 2011 and named as a 2010-2013 Illinois Rising Star in the environmental litigation category by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine. Emily also received the American Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division, Star of the Quarter Award in 2010.

Emily is mother to two-year-old Elsa and an adopted dachshund/shi tzu/terrier mix named Waffles, after the dog in the Woody Allen movie “Manhattan.” (She is also expecting her second child.) While Emily acknowledges that “it [may not have been] the best decision having a puppy and a young toddler at the same time,” she remains undaunted. She made partner at her prior firm in April 2014 and joined Rooney Rippie & Ratnaswamy LLP, a boutique environmental, energy and litigation firm in Chicago, in June 2014.  Her practice focuses on advising businesses and individuals in environmental compliance, commercial litigation and enforcement matters. Emily, a native of Chicago and proud Illini (that is, a graduate of the University of Illinois), previously practiced at another firm for over seven years in the areas of banking, creditor’s rights, commercial litigation, and environmental law. She began her career at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.  Emily enjoys environmental law because “it is a highly technical field and constantly changing.” One of her favorite parts of the job is researching how different municipalities address historical contamination issues.

When asked what she took from Pace that has benefitted her most in her career, Emily said, “My former classmates and Pace alumni have been excellent resources!”  In fact, when she moved back to Chicago from New York City, she found an unadvertised job opening through an alumni connection.

Emily advises recent Pace grads and current students to find a mentor who will help guide them on successful career growth and transitions.  “Figure out what you like best, and then look for a job that lets you do more of that.  Although environmental jobs might be hard to find, there are always different outlets for you to utilize your environmental background.  Get involved with local community groups and build your network.”  To say that Emily is involved with her local community is an understatement.  Among other positions, she serves as Vice Chair of Standing Committee on Women and the Law, Secretary of the Environmental Law Section Council, and member of the Diversity Leadership Council for the Illinois State Bar Association.  She is also the former Chair of the Special Committee on Young Lawyers for the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and a member of the Chicago Bar Association.