Pennsylvania attorneys who specialize in environmental and energy law have a new way to stay up to date on their area of practice, thanks to the work of an ambitious Widener Law alumnus and three students who are supported by the school’s Environmental Law Center
and the Pennsylvania Bar Association Environmental & Energy Law Section.
The group launched the online Environmental & Energy Law Section Newsletter
in early April. The newsletter is intended to provide section members with relevant information about their practice area, help them be better attorneys and give them a platform to communicate with other members on relevant topics. It is distributed to roughly 500 attorneys.
The newsletter is the work of 2009 Harrisburg campus graduate Brandon J. Pierce, who serves as editor in chief, and current Harrisburg campus students Jon Johnson, Matt McDonnell and Mark Wieder, who serve as staff members.
The project began after Pierce, who is the judicial law clerk to Common Pleas Court Judge John Thompson Jr. in York County, contacted Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach
, director of the Environmental Law Center, and asked about environmental-law-related projects he could assist. He learned the newsletter had gone defunct over the last decade, and was invited to help revive it.
The newsletter is available only online, in a format that is both cost- and environmentally friendly. It also allows the staff to include links to outside relevant content that would be difficult to include on paper. The first issue went live April 4 and was highlighted two days later at an annual meeting for environmental attorneys in Pennsylvania.
“We’re definitely very thankful to both the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Environmental & Energy Law Section and Widener’s Environmental Law Center for the opportunity to put this together,” Pierce said. “We hope to continue putting out a high-quality publication.”
Dernbach said Widener’s Environmental Law Center is pleased to provide institutional support to the effort. Johnson, McDonnell and Wieder have all expressed interest in environmental law issues, and work on the newsletter provides them an opportunity to work on matters of importance in that area – as well as begin making connections in the legal community.
“This project is an ideal example of service learning,” Dernbach said. “It represents a real hands-on educational opportunity that adds incredible value to their Widener experience.”