Success Stories

Faculty Focus: Professor Katrina Kuh

An avid long-distance runner, Professor Katrina Kuh has loved the outdoors since she was a child. This passion for the outdoors turned into a passion for the environment, which led Professor Kuh to pursue her JD, and ultimately, a career in environmental law. Professor Kuh joined Haub Law in 2017 and is currently the Haub Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law and serves as the Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Hack Competition. She teaches Administrative Law, Environmental Survey, Climate Change Law, International Environmental Law, and Torts. Learn about Professor Kuh’s background, her thoughts on traveling, climate anxiety, and more in this candid Q&A.

How did you become interested in environmental law and climate change law? 

My parents always loved the outdoors. We were often tight on money and camping felt like getting something for nothing. Coupled with the fact that I’m a long-distance runner, I spent a lot of time outside. I spent two summers living and working in Boulder, CO just so I could run there. The single biggest predictor of whether a person will care about environmental issues is whether the person spent time in nature as a child with a trusted adult and that was something we did together often as a family.

In terms of climate change, I wasn’t a visionary. In law school, we all had to satisfy a writing requirement to graduate. My good friend wrote a paper on possibly being able to sue large GHG emitters under nuisance. It was ultimately cited by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Connecticut v. EPA.  He was a visionary! I only really started to focus on climate change after I started teaching at Hofstra Law School in 2007. They let me develop a seminar and I created a course on climate change law. Every time I teach climate change law, I think that the next time that I teach it, there will surely be a new federal statute focused specifically at GHG reduction, but, alas, I’m still waiting. As a professor, I really love teaching the class. Every time you teach the class you have to rework it because it is constantly changing and evolving.

What are some of your other projects you are working on?

I just had an article published in the Marquette Law Review, Informational Regulation, the Environment, and the Public, contributed to a report, Legal Aspects of Climate Change Adaptation. I’m working on a couple of new writing projects as well. I’m working on a law review article with a professor from another school that explores eco-necro tourism, or “last chance” tourism, from a legal perspective.  I have previously touched on these issues in a blog  post “How to Travel Responsibly in an Era of Climate Change.”

I’m also writing a book chapter focused on environmental aspects of the constitution with James May, a Pace alumnus and visiting scholar, and editing a book based on a project by the Environmental Law Collaborative, Adapting to a 4 C World.

Earlier this year, a book of which I am a co-author came out - “Climate Change Law: An Introduction.” I wrote this with fellow Haub Law Professors Karl S. Coplan, Shelby D. Green, Katrina Fischer Kuh, Smita Narula, Karl R. Rábago (former professor), and Radina Valova. There are many policy makers who don’t have a JD who are finding themselves working on climate policy issues. Even those who do have a JD may not have taken a course specific to climate policy. This book is a punchy, straight to the point introduction to climate change. We wanted to come together to provide an onramp to climate policy in the US. The goal is to define terms, but also get the readers quickly to the legal questions and debates. I will be using it as one of the texts for the Climate Law class at Haub Law moving forward. I even did a Q&A on the book when it came out to go over the basics of it!

At Haub Law you are the Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Hack Competition - can you talk a bit about that?

Yes, we just announced the problem for the next competition, which invites students to propose a private environmental governance initiative. The goal in selecting and drafting the problem is to find an emerging environmental issue that could benefit from a new perspective and is manageable for students to address in a meaningful way in the competition timeframe. We like encouraging interdisciplinary teams and want to encourage students to think about intersections between law and policy.

How do you deal with Climate Anxiety? 

I’m a worrier by nature and I struggle with this. I was talking with my kids at dinner and said, jokingly, marry whomever you want, just make sure they’re Canadian, so you can get a Canadian passport. My daughter was sobbing the next morning because she felt it was too much pressure to marry someone Canadian. It’s important to think about worrying that’s productive versus unproductive. The best antidote, for me, is feeling like you’re trying to do something. Working on climate mitigation eases my climate anxiety. 

How do you approach travel?

When I travel with my family, I prioritize taking them to special places that will be significantly altered in their lifetimes. We’ve been to the Everglades, Venice, Glacier National Park, glacier skiing in Europe, and to the Galapagos. Over Christmas, I wanted to take my kids to Grande Isle in my birth state - Louisiana. However, due to Hurricane Ida, they’re were not allowing non-residents.

Maria Profeta '22

Daring to Dream: First Generation Student Gives Back

A first-generation American, and the first in her family to go to college and law school, Maria Profeta always had the goal to use her education to better her family and her community. Once she decided that law school was the means to that end goal and public interest work would be her focus, she knew that Haub Law was the place for her. Now a 3L, with her journey at Haub Law nearly complete, Maria shares with us her experience as a law student during the pandemic, the mentors she gained, the experiences she values, and what’s next for her.

What are your post-graduation career goals?

I have accepted a position as an Assistant District Attorney with the Manhattan DA’s office to begin post-graduation (after taking the bar of course!).

What brought you to law school?

I graduated from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University with a BA in International Affairs concentrating in Security Policy. My goal has always been to use my education to better my family and community. I have always been interested in public service and using my degree to help a greater number of people. At times, I thought being a lawyer was a far-fetched dream, but I knew if I had the opportunity to enter into this field I would stop at nothing to make that dream a reality. Haub Law’s glowing public interest credentials, coupled with its strong roots in the local community, made coming to school here a no brainer.

What opportunities have you participated in as a student at Haub Law?

I have completed two internships with the US DOJ’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as well as interned for the NYS Department of Education, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY (SDNY). These internships have all been valuable experiences in different ways. I have also had the opportunity to dip my toe into all Haub Law has to offer by participating in the advocacy program, serving as a Vice Chair of NELMCC as well as Chair of the Honor Board, and helping students as Articles Group Editor of Pace International Law Review and as a Dean’s Scholar. Being a Dean’s Scholar for Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Torts, and Contracts was a very impactful experience for me. There is nothing I enjoyed more than meeting the incoming 1Ls each year and helping them navigate their law school journey. These experiences easily translated into my penchant to help others. I would be remiss to forget to mention one of the best rewards of attending Haub Law and being a Dean’s Scholar has been the lasting impact on fellow students I had the pleasure to help along the way, as well as strong friendship bonds that grew from serving the student body as a Dean’s Scholar. Many of my Dean’s Scholar “students” are now Dean’s Scholars themselves and some of my closest friends.

How has the pandemic changed your experience at Pace?

COVID struck during the second semester of my first year, so completing a large portion of my law school career virtually has created some challenges, ones that I know I share in common with the rest of my fellow students. However, I’m grateful to Haub Law for providing a tight-knit community where I could reach out to my peers and professors for help during the beginning stages of the pandemic and beyond. If anything, it made my roots at Haub Law, with my professors, and with my friends even stronger.

Which professors have made an impact on you during your time as a student?

I’ve been fortunate enough to build long-lasting relationships with professors and staff members who have become mentors. This long list of incredible people includes Dean Angie D’Agostino, Dean Jill Gross, and Professors Bennett Gershman and Perry Carbone. I owe a big thank you to Professor and Dean Emerita Michelle Simon, who really took me under her wing for the past three years as her TA, Dean’s Scholar, and research assistant– three experiences that have undoubtedly shaped my law school career and future as a lawyer.  I am grateful to have them all as role models and attribute much of my current and future success to their mentorship.

What are some of your hobbies outside of law school?

I love to garden and cook– especially for those I love. I’m a self-proclaimed tea aficionado. I love music and I play the piano and violin. Both hobbies I hope to get back into after studying for the bar! I also love to travel and spent time before the pandemic solo traveling through Europe, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. I’m really looking forward to more adventures in the coming years!  I also speak Italian and have a rescue cat named Mildred.

What is your advice for future law students?

Write down your goals, keep them somewhere you can see them every day, and always keep those goals in mind when things get difficult. Also, being a law student is one part of your identity - don’t forget about your family, friends, and other aspects about yourself that make You, You. Lastly, never forget about where you come from and those who helped you get to where you are today.

The Campeche Brothers

Marlon '19 and Ulises '24: A Passion for Immigration Law

Once he decided that he was going to pursue a career in law, Marlon Campeche ’19 knew that the Immigration Justice Clinic at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University would best fulfill his desire to practice immigration law. Knowing that he too ultimately wanted to practice law, Marlon’s brother, Ulises (JD Candidate '24), studied political science in undergraduate school as a stepping-stone towards that goal, ultimately choosing Haub Law to pursue his studies in immigration law as well. In this Q&A, siblings Marlon and Ulises speak about their impactful experiences at Haub Law, the Immigration Justice Clinic, the collegial Haub Law atmosphere, their paths to law school, and more.

What was each of your paths to law school?

Marlon: I decided I wanted to pursue a career in law when I was in high school. I used to volunteer as an ESL teacher to adults at nights. That experience motivated me to believe that I could do more for the immigrant community. Therefore, in college I majored in political science with a clear aim towards law school post-grad. 

Ulises: I’ve always been interested in law, particularly beginning throughout my years in high school. As a senior, I took AP Government & Politics and I feel that that learning experience solidified my interest in the field of law. Studying political science as an undergrad certainly exposed me to a variety of fields, but as I mentioned, I’ve always been drawn to learning and understanding the important role that law and courts have on society, particularly the immigrant community. 

What was it about Pace in particular that appealed to both of you?

Marlon: I chose Haub Law because I always admired, and wanted to be part of, the Immigration Justice Clinic ran by Professor Vanessa Merton. The Clinic serves our local immigrant community in Westchester, the community where my brother and I were raised. I knew choosing to attend Pace and to join the Clinic was the right decision for me.

Ulises: While I chose Haub Law for their network connections with prestigious firms and organizations, I mainly based my decision off what my brother had told me about his experience while at Pace. Law schools have a certain stigma that everyone is constantly competing against each other, but thus far I haven’t felt or experienced that here at Pace. Whether it’s professors or classmates, there seems to be a level of collegiality, companionship, and empathy and that is something I appreciate.

Marlon, what area of law are you practicing in?

Marlon: I currently practice immigration law at a non-profit organization in Brooklyn, New York. I work for the removal defense team, which means I primarily defend people in removal proceedings at immigration court. Many of my cases are asylum-seekers, immigrant children and victims of domestic violence. 

What area of law are you interested in, Ulises?

Ulises: I’ve always been interested in the field of immigration as it’s been a recurring theme in our family. We’re children of immigrants and empathy, humility and determination are values our parents inculcated in us from a young age and is something I adhere to each day. I hope to be able to advocate for immigrant rights, particularly for children facing a legal system alone. 

Which experiences stand out to both of you from your time at Pace?

Marlon: As I mentioned before, my favorite course was the Immigration Justice Clinic. The Clinic provided me with first-hand experience of lawyering real cases, which ultimately was an upper-hand when searching for employment. Professor Merton is so knowledgeable in the field, and her teaching style pushed me to become a better attorney. I will always be grateful for Professor Merton and the Clinic.

Ulises: Although I’m still a 1L, I would say I grew to enjoy civil procedure. It was overwhelming at first, but Professor Mushlin certainly engaged his students and broke down each concept to the most minute detail as possible for us. Also, Professors Mushlin, Kuh, and Humbach were very understanding in light of some personal issues during my first semester and their empathy and understanding was very much appreciated.

Marlon, was there any advice you gave Ulises upon entering law school?

Marlon: Before Ulises entered Pace, I told him it would not be easy. I told him it would be a very different experience than undergraduate and thus he should prepare as much as possible. I did not worry too much, because I know my brother is a hard-worker and very dedicated to his academics. However, I often stress the importance of taking some time off and hanging out with friends -mental breaks are also very important in law school.

Jennifer Kelly-Kennedy '22

An Impactful Experience

Jennifer Kelly-Kennedy knew that she wanted to be a lawyer from an early age. After graduating from Catholic University and majoring in politics, Jennifer spent a few years gaining work experience before studying for the LSAT and applying to law school. Set on focusing on environmental law, she knew that Haub Law was the best option for her. Haub Law did not disappoint, as she experienced a variety of positive internship placements throughout her three years. Now, a soon to be graduate, we asked Jennifer to discuss her Haub Law experience and post-graduation plans with us in this Q&A.

What brought you to law school and Pace in particular?

I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, from an early age. Neither of my parents nor any of my grandparents were lawyers, but for some reason or another I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. My mom was a nurse and my dad an accountant, and they just wanted the best for me. Growing up, my mom always told me “If you have the ability to help other people, then you have the responsibility to help other people.” And this has always been the mantra I’ve tried to follow in my career, which is why I love environmental law.

My cousin is a successful Haub Law graduate, and she too specialized in environmental law, so it was an easy decision when I chose the #1 ranked Environmental Law program in the country.

You are now a 3L, what experiences from your time at Pace were most impactful?

I enjoyed all of my law school internships and clinic experiences. The spring of my 1L year, I was a research assistant in the Land Use Law Center for Professor John Nolon. There, I assisted Professor Nolon with research for a law review article that had been accepted for publication. During my 1L summer, I was the Environmental Law Clerk at PSEG, where I assisted attorneys in Superfund litigation work. I was also a judicial intern for a Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of New York in the spring of my 2L year, where I performed citation checks, case law research, and helped draft a Report and Recommendation regarding a federal habeas corpus petition. I was also the Vice-Chair of the Judges Committee for NELMCC as a 2L, where I learned the importance of patience when helping organize a large, virtual event.

My 2L summer I interned at the EPA Region 2 in their NJ Superfund Division, where I did a lot of legal research on a variety of issues, including CERCLA’s petroleum exclusion, as well as corporate liability under the Office of Alien Property Custodian. The fall semester of my 3L year, I was a student attorney in the Food and Beverage Law Clinic, where I provided transactional legal services for a beginning farmer project in upstate New York, as well as performed legal research and analysis on U.S. Trademarks, preparing applications for trademark filings, all under the guidance of Professor Jonathan Brown.

Additionally, I’ve been a member of Pace Environmental Law Review for the past two years, as a Junior Associate as a 2L, and Managing Editor as a 3L. This year, PELR hosted a symposium, in which we invited eight panelists to speak on the topic of Labor and Environment: Envisioning a Green New Deal.

I say all this to drive the point home that, I am proud of all of these experiences and grateful to have had so many opportunities at Haub Law, as I’ve learned something different from each one, and made great connections along the way.

I have also been very fortunate to have had many professors at Pace that have made an impact on me, but two specifically stick out: Professor Katrina Kuh, who I had as a 1L for Torts, as well as being just a great mentor to me in the environmental program and as I wrote my law review note; and Professor Alissa Bauer, my 1L Legal Skills and AAA professor, who taught me to be the best legal writer I can and have more confidence in my skills. I am truly very thankful for their kindness and guidance.

What are your plans post-graduation?

I have accepted a post-grad position as an Honors Attorney at the Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. I am beyond thrilled to be working for the federal government again, this time as an attorney. It is a two-year position, where the Honors Attorneys rotate between the different Administrations (FAA, FTA, Office of General Counsel, etc.) every few months, in order to get a better sense of what each division does. I am excited to incorporate all of my environmental law experience and knowledge in with my future work at the DOT. Environmental issues and DOT projects go hand-in-hand, and after the recently passed Infrastructure Bill, the DOT is going to be busier than ever! For me, this is a dream job, and I cannot be more thankful to the many people that have helped me along the way. I’m not sure if I would have been as competitive of a candidate if I weren’t a Pace environmental law student.

What is your advice for future law students?

Be kind, we’re all in this together, and the law community, especially the environmental law community is smaller than you think, so maintaining positive relationships with colleagues is crucial. Stay humble, everyone has good days as well as bad. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a Haub Law alum and learn from their experiences. Take advantage of opportunities presented to you, even if you don’t think it’s what you’re interested in, and don’t be discouraged if setbacks happen. Trust the process!

Faculty Focus

Visiting Professor Debra Moss Vollweiler

Debra Moss Vollweiler is a Visiting Professor at Haub Law for the spring semester of 2022, and the 2022-2023 Academic Year. While at Haub Law, Professor Vollweiler is teaching Secured Transactions, Corporations and Partnerships, and Contracts. She is a tenured Professor of Law at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law, in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and is the former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean of the College of Law. A frequently published scholar, her research and works have focused on professionalism, teaching, learning, and attorney discipline. An expert on the law school curriculum and teaching, learn more about Professor Vollweiler, her background, career, and advice for law students in this student-led Q&A.

You are teaching Secure Transactions and also Corporations and Partnerships at Haub Law this semester, what brought you to Pace?

I am currently a Visiting Professor here at Haub Law - from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law in sunny, warm Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I recently finished five years of intense administrative work at NSU. I was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and I was the interim dean for a period of that time as well. I was Interim Dean during 2020, which meant I was in the seat when the pandemic hit. I was actually serving in both roles simultaneously at that time. We did get a new dean, and I assisted with that transition, but I ultimately decided that I was not spending as much time on teaching, which I truly love, because of that intense administrative role I had. So, I was looking for a way to return to teaching and that can be hard to fully immerse yourself in when you've been an administrator on a faculty. Nobody ever kind of really wants to let you go. And so my thought was if I could visit at another institution, it would give me the space and time to really dedicate myself fully into what I love to do and teaching and sort of be a hard break from what I was doing I loved my time as an administrator, but I am just so thrilled to be back in teaching.

I am from New York and I actually have a ton of family up here, my children are in New York, Boston, and Maryland, and we already had an apartment in New York.  Being in this area was a big draw and when I thought about making the change, and when I saw that Pace was looking for someone whose teaching aligned exactly with what I wanted to do, I was immediately interested.  I met some of the faculty and talking to them, I thought it was a great place to relaunch my full-time teaching journey so I'm thrilled to be here.

Now that you have been here, what do you think about Haub Law?

Actually, I have loved everything about it. I'm so impressed with everybody at Pace, everybody has really been very welcoming and helpful. Everyone is so dedicated to what they do-- students, faculty, staff alike. I'm really impressed with that. 

You have mentioned a few times that your true passion is teaching – can you tell me about that?

When you look at some people's scholarship, they really connect their scholarship to the substantive law of what they do. People who teach environmental law often write about environmental law. My scholarship from the very beginning, and I'm going back 20 something years, has been about teaching, so I have spent the bulk of my career, not just being a teacher, but reading about good teaching, trying to think about teaching, and writing about teaching.

Since people who teach in law school don't necessarily come through the same path as other teachers-- if you wanted to be a K through 12 teacher you need certain degrees and student teaching and training, I've spent a lot of time reading about the formal training and reading into those resources that other kinds of teachers get and trying to import them and translate that to law school teaching.

Most faculty talk about their scholarship and their teaching dovetailing, but mine is a little different, as it is about the idea of teaching, not about contracts or corporations or secure lending. So I have literally spent my entire career thinking and learning how to be a teacher. I will say also when I was waiting for my bar results when I took the bar exam (I'm licensed in Florida) and it was a long wait for the bar results, I actually paid the bills by being a substitute middle school math teacher. So, that was actually where I got the idea that you know there's a lot more to teaching than we think about, and I went into practice after that. I didn't go right into teaching, but that was the first seeds of my personal understanding that teaching was a discipline to itself. In addition to the law, you could pair it with whatever subject you want, but it's a discipline that was sort of the root of that idea.

So, if anybody needs help with their algebra homework, you can let me know!

Cupcake NY
Professor Vollweiler is pictured here in front of a cupcake ATM in New York City, which she uses as a case study in her Secured Transactions class.

What are you currently working on right now?

I am currently working on an article that takes a concept that I saw once in passing, that's being used in other parts of education. I'm trying to think about how to use this in law education, which is something called a “skill”abus--replacing a traditional syllabus with a “skill”abus . I am reading and investigating everything I can find about how to do this and how this idea hasn't really formally reached law schools. Traditional syllabi are focused so much on doctrine--you know, 'in this class we're going to cover this case' and in this case gross negligence and corporate formation and whatever the doctrine is of the course.

However, there are skills that you're teaching underlying that doctrine in every course, not just how we think in law school of skills courses like interviewing and counseling or trial advocacy, but that in every single course your teaching skills are built in. These could be anything from oral advocacy to critical thinking to whatever it is, so a “skill”abus signals the building of the skills into the benchmark of the syllabus so that this becomes more transparent and apparent to students. The whole goal of the course, and my idea, is to explain the concept of skills in every course, why they should be up front for students, not hidden underneath the doctrine of the syllabus, and to model some ways that we can reimagine syllabi to be “skill”abus.

What advice do you have for students who one day would like to go into contracts or secured lending?

I think for students who want to go into contracts or secure lending. I think there's two things I want to get across. Number one – I think it's important to not dismiss the importance of foundational courses.

I think sometimes students get frustrated in a course like contracts or corporations because you're not drafting contracts, and you're not actually learning exactly the steps to take in whatever state you're in to form a corporation and to incorporate something--you're learning the underlying foundational theories and principles. So I would say my first advice to students is don't diminish the importance of those foundational courses. Understanding all of those underlying concepts and how they relate to one another is a really important step. 

My next advice would be, then if you're still interested in the subject after the foundational courses, or if you become interested after the foundational courses, take as many levels in the subject as you can. If you can, take what the ABA would call a simulation course workshop, such as in a contract drafting that gives you the opportunity to apply your foundational knowledge to fictional clients. But then, close the loop and take that learning into a live client experience, whether it's through some type of a clinical experience or an externship or any type of position to appreciate each step of that path and what you learn at each point. Don't try to jump to the end right away. Don't try to say, well, I'm just going to get a job and learn there, I don't need all of this training.

I think that you will be a better lawyer by having taken your time and really practicing the skills at every step. I also want to say that even if you think you don't want to do contracts, or secured lending or deal with sales of goods, it's so ubiquitous in the world, that it's kind of hard to find an area of law where you're never going to touch any of those subjects. So I would encourage all students to take these kinds of foundational courses.

I can tell you I once had a student a long time ago, sat in the very back of my contracts class, who very clearly did not like the contracts class and one day before class I was just chatting with people get to know them. And I said, so what are you thinking of contracts and he says, I hate this class, I don’t want to learn it. I just want to be a sports lawyer. Of course, sports lawyers do contracts constantly. But in first year contracts, there are no sports law cases --you're talking about an opera house that burned down and you're talking about somebody not showing up for work on a sailing ship in the 1800s. But you still need to learn these foundations.

So that would be my other piece of advice, keep your mind open to all of the things that you want to do.

Thank you for doing this, I have friends in your classes and they absolutely love the class and have mentioned how great of a teacher you are.

I'm glad to hear they're enjoying the class. I really love these classes, so it's always nice when someone else shares my enthusiasm. It is always nice to hear that feedback regarding my teaching since I have spent a good deal of my scholarship and focus on thinking about teaching; really, it is actually wonderful to hear.  I am looking forward to returning next year!

Fencing DMV
Outside of the law, Professor Vollweiler enjoys many hobbies, one of them being fencing. You can see her on the right, scoring a touch against a colleague. She rediscovered her collegiate sport during the pandemic.

Learn more about Debra Moss Vollweiler.

Pamela Guerrero '22

Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow

A first-generation US Citizen, Pamela Guerrero entered law school with a passion for immigration law. Throughout law school, she followed that passion by participating in the Immigration Justice Clinic. Now, a 3L, after the bar exam, Pamela is set to follow her dreams as she was awarded a prestigious Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship.  Learn more about Pamela, her background, her experience with Haub Law’s Immigration Justice Clinic, and more in this Q&A.

Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about your background and how you chose Haub Law.

I am a first-gen US citizen from Dominican parents who originally moved to Washington Heights, Bronx, New York, but then settled in Westchester. My parents are both professionals (administrators in education), but neither of them ever served as lawyers in this country so I am also a first-gen law student. As a child, I had the rare opportunity of attending the first public Montessori School in Yonkers, NY and then went on to double major in Political Science/International Studies and minor in Spanish at Manhattanville College. I graduated from my undergraduate program a semester early and immediately started at Haub Law as a January admit. I came to law school, because I learned of many socioeconomic inequities in the US while attending undergraduate school and wanted to be in an advocacy position to be able to address these issues. I was especially concerned with the immigration system in this country and wanted to become an immigration lawyer to provide newly arrived children and adolescents with the protection they need to thrive in the US. Geographically, Pace was the perfect place for me and I saw it as a place with diverse learning opportunities.

You mentioned, immigration law as an interest of yours, are there any other areas you have developed an interest in?

Yes, International Law and Health Law.

You are now a 3L, thinking back, which experiences at Haub Law have stuck with you?

Participating in the Immigration Justice Clinic. The Clinic has challenged me by making me learn how to do all the practical tasks of lawyering (such as maintaining client files and setting appointments) on top of the usual lawyer tasks related to client representation. It has also made me intellectually engage with other immigration lawyers within NYS and actively question the purpose of many immigration laws. The pandemic may have limited the contact I could have had with clients, but I have still been able to prep clients for hearings and learn how to establish rapport with potential clients. Finally, the clinic has provided me with a community of students that are interested in doing the best pro bono work possible and this has encouraged me to improve myself as a person and as a legal advocate. 

Along the same lines, which professors have had an impact on you?

Professor Smita Narula and Professor Vanessa Merton have made an impact on me. Seeing their passion in their work firsthand is inspiring and serves as a continuous reminder that there are lawyers who strive to work toward better for the clients that they serve. Both professors are also very research-oriented, which has taught me that being a lawyer can also mean being a student for life and that is a good thing. 

Which student organizations are you involved in on campus?

I am an E-Board member for the NLG – Pace Chapter. I am also president of the International Law Society. My participation in campus activities has allowed me to engage with many members of the Haub Law community and contribute to the excellent camaraderie that was already there. Just because we are in law school, studying and working hard a lot, doesn't mean we can't have exciting events that create great memories.

What does justice mean to you?

To me justice means that everyone is provided with the resources they need to thrive in their country and that no one person or group of people is left behind. We normally touch on equality when discussing justice, but what is really needed is equity because not everyone has the same socioeconomic needs. Instead of striving to make everyone equal we must simply do better and allow every difference to be accounted for in any conversation related to societal improvement. Thus to me justice is essentially equity and encouraging support for people/groups that have been traditionally disenfranchised and marginalized. 

What are some of your hobbies outside of law school?

I enjoy hiking on local trails and doing some urban exploring in NYC. The harder the trail is the better it tends to be (Bear Mountain is one of my favorites for hiking due to distance and challenge). As for urban exploration, I keep all the places in NYC that I hear about saved on my google maps and then take a day to visit all the doable places. I tend to find a lot of rare food places like an ice cream place that does ice cream towers in a jar or unique hobby places. I also tend to frequent The Strand, a very large bookstore in lower NYC. I also enjoy traveling outside of New York and have been to Chile, Switzerland, France, Canada, and other far-flung places.

What are your plans after law school?

I was awarded an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellowship and received a post-graduation immigration law placement with The Advocates for Human Rights in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Before I leave, I plan to study for and take the NY Bar exam and perhaps hike the Catskills one last time.

Bryan '19 and Brendan '23

Meet the Conway Brothers

Bryan Conway, a prosecutor in Orange County, NY, and Brendan Conway, a 2L at Haub Law, grew up with several family influences in the field of law. Despite this, law school was not always at the forefront of Bryan or Brendan’s mind. After spending some time interning with a family court judge Bryan’s mind was made up and he decided to pursue a career in law. For Brendan, it was during his junior year of undergraduate school that he began to think about law as a potential career. Bryan made the decision to attend Pace, in part, based on its excellent academic reputation and location. A few years later, his brother, Brendan, also keen on Haub Law’s location saw his brother’s positive experience at the school and decided to pursue his legal education there. Read more about Bryan and Brendan and their law school journey in this Q&A.

Was your path to law school similar – was law school always on your radar?

Bryan: Initially, I wanted nothing to do with becoming a lawyer. My dad is an attorney, and, from what I could tell, it was long hours (and lots of writing). However, all it took was a few days interning with a family court judge in college to realize the impact that lawyers have on an everyday basis. I decided then and there that I’d like to pursue a career in law.

Brendan:  I went to James Madison University and graduated with a business degree in Finance. I originally wanted to start working right after college, but during my junior year I started to think about going to law school. I did not always want to be a lawyer, but the idea of going to law school was not as intimidating to me as it ordinarily might have been because my dad, brother, and aunt all went to law school and currently practice law. Once I decided for sure that this was something I wanted to pursue, it was nice to be able to lean on them for support during the application process. I graduated college in May of 2020 and started at Pace the following fall.

Why did you both choose Pace?

Bryan: I knew I wanted to be close to my family in Rockland and that, ideally, I’d like to practice law in New York. Pace has an excellent academic reputation, is affordable and allowed me to commute from home - it made the decision an easy one. 

Brendan: After living in Virginia for four years, I knew I wanted to come back to the tri-state area to attend school. I wasn’t completely sold on going to school in New York City, so I wanted to expand my search. I liked how Pace was located in Westchester, but also has ties to the city for postgraduate employment. Additionally, seeing how Pace helped my brother successfully secure a job only made the decision easier.

Which classes or professors left a positive impact on each of you?

Bryan: Trial Advocacy, Evidence, and Criminal Procedure, to name a few. Professors Hatcliffe and Mushlin left a major impact on me as a student. It was evident that both loved teaching and practicing law-, those two factors coupled with their personalities made it easy to look forward to their classes. 

Brendan: I took Wills, Trusts, and Estates with Professor Crawford this past fall. I really liked everything about the class and loved having her as a professor. I also enjoyed taking Contracts with Dean Anderson during my first year.

Bryan, you are currently a prosecutor in Orange County. Brendan, are you also interested in criminal law?

Brendan: I am interested in both estate planning and real estate law, and I hope to practice as an estate planner after graduation. Seeing my dad and brother both practice criminal law has definitely been interesting, but I have never had a strong desire to work in that field.

Bryan – was there any advice you gave Brendan upon entering law school?

Bryan: I really tried to convince him that medical school was a better option (kidding!). Generally speaking, I told him to take advantage of all of the internships/externships/clinics that Pace has to offer- doing so exposes you to practical legal work and allows you to see what fields you like or dislike.  

Faculty Focus

Professor Jason J. Czarnezki

Jason J. Czarnezki is the Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law and the Associate Dean of Environmental Law Programs and Strategic Initiatives. Professor Czarnezki joined Haub Law in 2013, and teaches Natural Resources Law, Sustainable Business and the Environment, Property, and the Environmental Law Seminar: Current Challenges. Since he joined Haub Law, the environmental law program has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as number one in environmental law for the last two years in a row and for three times in the last four years. A generational environmentalist, learn about Professor Czarnezki’s recent research interests, his family full of outdoor enthusiasts, and more in this Q&A.

Let’s start with discussing your recent work – both in and out of academia.

Recently, I’ve been working on researching eco-labeling, sustainable procurement, and the evolution of sustainable business law. I’m looking at challenges that individual consumers face when buying products. There are many issues in this category: consumers are overwhelmed by labels, there is a lot of greenwashing, consumers do not understand what product labels mean, whether or not the burden should be on consumers, and how to make labels more accessible.

I have also been looking at retailers, wholesalers, and public institutions (schools, government agencies, etc.) in the context of sustainable procurement. How do we measure non-price characteristics such as environmental footprints (for example, carbon, land use, and water), social welfare and economic welfare? For example, EU law allows public purchasers to employ life cycle costing – they don’t have to buy the good with cheapest price. 

Outside of academia, I work with cleanteach and sustaintech startups that are harnessing sustainability data to improve and green the supply chain and their products. 

Additionally, we have over 300 students involved in our environmental law program in some way. Part of my role in administration is to organize and create intellectual projects for the program (Garrison and Kerlin Lecture, NELMCC). We always ask what can we improve and how can we innovate? Through this culture, we have created the Food Law Initiative, the Environmental Law & Policy Hack, and the new Sustainable Business Law Hub. 

Can you tell me a bit about the new Sustainable Business Law Hub?

More and more law firms are adding ESG groups to work with clients on disclosures, climate risks, and drafting environmental policy statements for their companies. The Hub will serve as an incubator space, student-training program, research endeavor, and think tank devoted to addressing global sustainability challenges through policy and research projects, relationships with the business community, and capacity building in private environmental governance. Students will be able to work closely with faculty experts and receive practical training and experience. We hope that more students will pursue the JD/MBA and participate in ESG corporate externships. Students involved in the Hub will jump into their first job after graduating understanding how they can help their employers foster sustainable business practices.

How did you become interested in environmental law? And what keeps you interested in environmental law? 

It’s the family business! My grandfather graduated from the first graduating class of what is now the College of Natural Resources in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. My relatives are park rangers, foresters, and lumberjacks. I grew up in a family that went camping, hunting, and fishing. My grandfather worked as a supervisor in the Milwaukee County Parks System, pioneering at-the-time novel ideas like mulching grass back into the lawn rather than bagging it in plastic.  My father served in the Wisconsin State Legislature, sponsoring significant environmental legislation. I decided to go to law school to work in environmental law. 

Two things keep me interested in environmental law. First, I enjoy my administrative role as vehicle to create opportunities for students that lead to careers of impact and meaning in the field of environmental law. For example, we have increased funding for the DC externship, created the Haub Scholar program, created more student scholarships—all things that can be transformational student experiences. We have also diversified our curriculum, which now includes environmental justice, climate law, and food law, as well as add significant diversity to our environmental law faculty and staff.

Second, I enjoy nature and value conservation, and exploring how law shapes our environmental values. What brings me the most joy, though, is teaching my students and facilitating their exploration of nature. I love taking my students on “natural resources tours” of NYC and can’t wait for my natural resources law field course in Grand Teton National Park to return. 

Do you have any advice for students interested in environmental law? 

My advice to an environmental student isn’t different than to a non-environmental student. Work hard. Look a few years past graduation. You’re not going to graduate from law school and be EPA Administrator. Many graduate have to do other things first. They might do real estate law or big law for a few years before switching to environmental law. Two alumni come to mind. One does legal sustainability for a major company. The other is General Counsel for a large environmental non-profit. Both were in non-enviro jobs initially. While you’re in school, think about what skills you need to have to do that job down the line. Look at the resumes of people with your dream jobs and see what they did. Finally, do not rob from your future self, as my spouse likes to say. There’s so much you don’t know. You might be interested in a job you didn’t think you would like. Be open-minded. All law contains environmental issues. 

As we reflect on Earth Day, what advice can you give students to make a difference in saving our planet and promoting conservation and sustainability?

I wrote a whole book about this called "Everyday Environmentalism.” There are so many actions, big and small, that each of us can take. “The low-hanging fruit include, to name a few: try to eat organic and local, eat less meat and shift away from red meat, live close to where you work and play, see if your household can get along with only one car (and try to make it a fuel efficient one), walk and take public transit, compost as much as possible, stop engine idling, buy compact fluorescent light bulbs, adjust down the thermostat, decrease household water temperature, keep proper tire pressure, and work to educate yourself about the ecological and economic costs of your actions in the long term. Engine idling, for example, accounts for a substantial portion of carbon emissions and fuel consumption, measured at 1.6% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and 10.6 billion gallons of fuel per year. Attempts to address idling through public education campaigns have proven successful in Canada, and similar success in the United States would prevent 7 to 26 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year and reduce fuel consumption by 660 million to 2.3 billion gallons each year. Recall that generating public awareness is a tool always to consider when seeking change in individual decision-making. “

Jumping to your non-academic interests – what are some of them?

I like playing music, but haven’t played at all during the pandemic because I want to be outside. I enjoy swimming in lakes, kayaking, cooking, exploring the NFT market, and splitting wood.

Learn more about Professor Czarnezki.

Fabiola Robles '22

A Woman in the Law

Born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, Fabiola Robles is a first generation college graduate and will be the first in her family to obtain a law degree. Fabiola grew up with four older sisters who have had a significant impact on her outlook and drive. “To be a woman in the law, for me, signifies advancement and accomplishment. We have come so far, but we have a long battle ahead as we continue to fight for equality, not just for women, but for other marginalized groups. As I continue throughout my career, they are the women who I keep in mind, as they are some of the strongest, hardworking, dedicated, and focused individuals I have ever met in my life. They are my inspiration. I have witnessed them face several obstacles and overcome them. There are not enough words to do justice how great and inspiring they are to me, all I will say is if I can be half the woman they are, I would be happy.”

Studying at John Jay College, the more exposure Fabiola gained to the legal field the more fascinated she was with it. Fabiola notes that, “After graduating from John Jay, I worked at a law firm and met many attorneys who served as my mentors and helped me gain more exposure to different areas of law, which solidified my decision to pursue a law degree.”

Since starting her law studies at Haub Law, Fabiola has taken a variety of courses with different professors, but it is Professors Bridget Crawford, Bennett Gershman, and Noa Ben-Asher who have had the biggest impact on her. “I am taking the Feminist Legal Theory Seminar right now with Professor Crawford and the most interesting thing to me is the definition of feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Throughout the course, we have read about different perspectives of pioneers of feminism, and it is fascinating to see their different approaches and views on feminism. The course has opened my eyes to think differently about my approach to certain topics, it has made be more mindful and aware about my own feelings and beliefs, and how each feminist theorist may analyze my opinions. Overall, it has been a very rewarding class.”

With graduation impending in May, Fabiola’s immediate goal is to study and pass the bar exam. As far as advice for future law students, Fabiola states, “You have to want it. In my opinion, saying law school is hard is an understatement. While the work may be doable, there will be times you want to give up, those are the moments that will really test your dedication, and the only thing that will get you through is your desire to accomplish your goals, your drive to get that degree. So, my advice is you have to want it. If you want it, that drive, that motivation, that desire, your dreams and your goals, will get you through every single time.”

Haub Alumni of the Month: Fred Mauhs (LLM '21)

Never Too Late to Make a Change: From Wall Street to the Adirondacks

Fred Mauhs spent 32 years in the banking industry before deciding to shift his focus to environmental law and completing his LLM at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Fred’s concern about climate change coupled with his love for the outdoors ultimately helped him come to the realization that he desired to use his legal skills to help avert the climate crisis. A day after quitting his banking law position, Fred applied to Haub Law’s LLM program. Learn more about Fred’s career before becoming an environmental lawyer and since becoming one, how many mountain peaks he has climbed, and what he feels is the most pressing concern of environmental law for the next few years, and also for the foreseeable future in this Q&A.

What was your background prior to enrolling at Haub Law School?

Well, I spent 32 years in the banking industry. I served as General Counsel for the US branches of two foreign banks and their affiliated broker-dealers—24 years with a German bank and then 8 years with the Spanish Bank BBVA.   

Interesting. Why did you get into banking law?

After graduating law school, I got a job out in Oregon. I was a young associate at a large law firm and it was grueling work. I had to work most weekends. I spent what free weekends I had mountain climbing, particularly Mount Hood, near Portland. I discovered that virtually every time I climbed Mt. Hood I would run into a lawyer who seemed to never have to work on weekends.  I learned he was inhouse counsel for a bank in Portland.  I later left Oregon to study law in Germany on a scholarship program, the last segment of which was an internship.  While all the other scholarship recipients applied to law firms for their internship, I decided instead to apply to the legal department of an international bank headquartered in Düsseldorf—mainly because of that in-house bank lawyer in Portland who spent all of his weekends mountain climbing. 

After finishing the internship it happened that the bank was looking to hire its first lawyer for its New York branch.  They chose me for the position, which worked out  swimmingly well for me, in that it was fun and challenging work--and I was able to spend most weekends rock climbing in the Shawangunks near New Paltz.

So how did you end up doing an LLM?

In 2019, I decided to quit banking law partly because, after 32 years, it wasn’t intellectually challenging anymore, but mainly out of my concern about climate change. I realized that I should be using my law license and my legal skills to help avert the looming crisis. So I gave notice, and on the return home that evening on the commuter train along the Hudson River, I was thinking okay, now what am I going to do? How do I fight climate change when I'm not even an environmental lawyer. And I suppose looking out at the river helped me recollect that Pace has had a famous role advising the organization Riverkeeper. And so I figured they must have good environmental law classes there.  I googled the law school and discovered that they offered an LLM in environmental law, with a specialty and energy and climate law. I thought, wow, this is precisely what I need to do right now to kick start an environmental law career, so the next day I applied.

And what was your experience like once you got to Haub Law? Any particularly memorable moments there?

Well, I arrived at Haub with high hopes and high expectations, and I have to say that all of my expectations were exceeded many times over. I also ended up having far more fun than I thought you were supposed to have at law school.

The most memorable moment for me was actually before classes started, at the LLM orientation. I went there with more than a little trepidation at the thought of probably studying with people that were half my age.  But when I arrived I discovered that nearly all my future classmates were accomplished lawyers and committed environmentalists from every continent of the world. And just hanging out with these classmates was like a course in environmental law unto itself. It was a great group, and we developed some very deep and lasting friendships.

Talk to me about some of the professors you had while you were here?

Haub Law attracts very high caliber professors, and I had the good fortune of taking classes from a bunch of them.  

Professor Kuh, for example, brought to her Environmental Survey and Climate Law classes not just a wealth of knowledge but also her experience from private practice at a large law firm. Similarly, Prof. Brown brought his terrific transactional law experience to bear in the Food and Beverage Law Clinic.  Professor Robinson, who taught me Environmental Impact Assessments, and Professor Nolon who taught me Land Use law—there are simply no other professors with their breadth and depth of knowledge in their respective fields.  Professor Narula is perhaps the most inspiring professor I’ve ever had. Professor Valova and the team at the Pace Energy and Climate Center under Craig Hart’s leadership gave me a terrific grounding in one area I now practice in, which is energy law.   And Haub Law’s externship at UN missions, then under the leadership of Prof. Tafur, is an experience that is simply unmatched elsewhere.

Do you have any advice for lawyers who may want to switch their area of practice?

Yes!  For other Wall Street lawyers out there and experienced lawyers in any practice, who are interested in or concerned about the environment – my message to them would be:  quitting a comfortable business law position on Wall Street to become an environmental lawyer should not be viewed as a strange or quirky thing to do--although I admit I myself initially had doubts about making the jump. But, in retrospect, it was the most natural and important decision I could have made in my entire legal career. For any lawyer who is concerned about the looming environmental catastrophe, which is climate change, switching your practice to environmental law should be the easiest career decision you could make. And I'm not the only Wall Street lawyer out there to have made that change. But there should be more. And you can do what I did, which is wait until you're 60 to make the move, but you can also do it in your 40s and your 50s, which is in retrospect what I should have done myself.

Did anything else about your experience at Haub help shape, or influence what you're doing now?

With the exception of my work on conservation easements for land trusts and land owners, which began before I enrolled at Haub, everything I do now has been shaped by Haub and by its professors. I use what I learned there in both my practice and my advocacy.  More broadly, though, Haub has sharpened my understanding of our environmental threats and the ability—and oftentimes the failure—of our current laws and international institutions to address them.

So what are some of your passions besides environmental law? You mentioned mountain climbing.

I got into mountain climbing in a big way both during and after my JD program at GWU, and climbing was the primary reason I moved to Oregon after graduation. Now I'm an “Aspiring Adirondack 46er”—thus far I’ve climbed 28 of the 46 peaks there since I turned 60.

But I have enjoyed just about any activity that's outdoors:--bicycling, hiking, backpacking, climbing—whether rock, ice or snow--and water sports like swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.  During migration season I’m nuts about birdwatching, and in winter I love cross-country and backcountry telemark skiing. I love it all, like so many others students and professors at Pace.

What do you feel is the most pressing concern of environmental law for the next few years, and also for the foreseeable future?

Well, I think that is an easy one. Climate change is the most pressing environmental problem. It defines our Anthropocene Era in which we now live and in which we could perish relatively soon in geologic time.  And the most pressing environmental law issue is the astounding total absence of effective climate change law in the United States in light of that existential problem.

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