1 West Coast's Summer Internships - A Personal Perspective | West Coast Environmental Law

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West Coast's Summer Internships - A Personal Perspective

West Coast welcomes student interns every summer (see the posting for summer 2010 student intern positions). This winter, we have also been to be joined by two “summer” law student interns from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia!

This past summer West Coast was fortunate to work with two summer law student interns from UBC Law. Dani Bryant and Simone Tielesh spent their summer internships researching legal issues with our team – here are their reflections on their experience at West Coast:

Last summer was a great learning experience for us! As summer law students, we developed skills and knowledge to compliment a variety of West Coast’s program areas. We worked on a wide range of projects, including conducting research on:

  • Legal questions related to the plans to build crude oil supertankers and pipelines to the coast and lands of northern BC,
  • The role of carbon sequestration in current international conventions, North American legislation and carbon markets, and
  • The involvement of First Nations in the environmental assessment process, including comparative legal research on other countries’ practices, and the extent to which these processes respect and incorporate Indigenous peoples’ values.

We also took part in researching, developing and writing 'On the Ground', a survey of how West Coast’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF) has used the law to protect the environment over the past 20 years.

Not only did we gain valuable research skills and knowledge about current environmental law and policy issues, but we were also learned about the day-to-day running of a non-profit. We participated in staff meetings, helped forecast and develop new program initiatives, compiled website content and took part in conference calls with other environmental non-profit organizations. It was great to work in the West Coast office environment, where the staff is so passionate about their work, supportive of each other, and always willing to explain issues and answer tough questions.

As interns we were able to expand West Cost’s research capacity and provide the staff counsel with the answers to relevant legal and policy questions. We also supplied a fresh outsider’s point of view in regard to promotional materials and website content. And, hopefully we were great company to boot!

West Coast’s summer law student program is valuable for students interested in the fields of environmental law and First Nations law because it offers the opportunity to work with experts in the field, to engage with current legal issues, and to network with other non-government organizations. The program also connects West Coast to faculties of law in BC and beyond, raising its profile among students and breeding future environmental lawyers – who may just end up working for West Coast or as EDRF counsel.

It was a fulfilling and memorable summer – we would recommend this opportunity to any law student with a passion for public interest law and the environment."

--Dani Bryant & Simone Tielesh, UBC Law students