Liberal Arts Cares About the Environment Too

Norrie State Park-2 by Esther Lee

Norrie State Park-2 by Esther Lee

Caroline Bertholf, a Siena senior completed the Siena Summer Legal Fellows Program summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014. Here six schools were selected, and out of those six schools only two students per school were chosen to take part in the program (with the exception of the Albany Law Program that selects three students to fill a newly created Intellectual Properties internship position). A very selective program, the Legal Fellows Program is the only one of its kind in the country.

This past summer Caroline attended the Pace University Law School’s Environmental Litigation Clinic where she learned firsthand how the not-for-profit environmental law sphere operates. The clinic focused its attention on the issues regarding the water quality of the Hudson River Basin ranging from the Adirondacks to Long Island Sound.

This 8 week program tackled 5 cases with other law students against pollution and advocating for a much cleaner river. Caroline was expected to do extensive research and was given special permissions to use legal search engines at Pace. She was also very excited about her unlimited access to the Law Library for research at Pace. Along with her research, Caroline met with attorneys on a weekly basis to report on her research 3 to 4 times a week. At these meetings they would check on her development, talk about current news on the topic, new strategies and get assigned new projects. And on Tuesdays she would have meetings with clients and sometimes phone conferences to make sure everyone was on the same page moving forward.

She developed relationships with the people in the organization and used LinkedIn to find followers and keep professional relationships. With LinkedIn especially she is still involved in that community.

Naturally, she attributed her success to her liberal arts education. Caroline explained how she felt her education was so well rounded because of the School of Liberal Arts. She can draw now from all of her different courses, balancing between her business, economics, and finance courses with her liberal arts courses. Caroline felt Siena prepared her to act professionally due to her professors pushing her to do so. From the way classes are held and students are expected to withhold a standard at Siena she felt it was easy to acclimate to the professional environment at Pace University Law School’s Environmental Litigation Clinic. Similarly, She felt capable to think with an open mind and understand different perspectives because of the Franciscan values that Siena follows so religiously.

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